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Ecology Action Recommended Reading List

Bookshop Santa Cruz and Ecology Action recently solicited recommendations for books about the environment and/or climate change. From these community suggestions, Bookshop and Ecology Action worked together to curate a "top ten" book list which features some of the most accessible and influential books that educate and inspire action. (See below) You can view the full list of recommendations from our customers and constituents here.

We have also created a list of recommended children's books (for all ages) on the environment. View the curated kids' list here

In addition to the recommended reading lists, Bookshop and Ecology Action are sponsoring a community-wide read of the book Coming of Age at the End of Nature: A Generation Faces Living on a Changed Planet, edited by Julie Dunlap. We encourage you to pick up a copy, then join us for a moderated book discussion on May 23rd

Coming of Age at the End of Nature: A Generation Faces Living on a Changed Planet Cover Image
By Julie Dunlap (Editor), Susan A. Cohen (Editor), Bill McKibben (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781595347800
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Trinity University Press - October 11th, 2016

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The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250062185
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - January 6th, 2015

In the long history of our planet, there have been five great extinctions. Now, humans are causing a sixth extinction. In this engaging, thoroughly researched Pulitzer Prize winner, Kolbert takes you through the past five extinctions while outlining the sixth. Informative but never dull, this book is non-fiction at its best – the kind that makes you want to take action. - Flannery

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451697391
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 4th, 2015

This book is a real eye-opener into how tightly the fossil fuel industry has weaved itself into every aspect of modern life and how difficult, and necessary, it is to unwind from it. Many shocking revelations but offers glimmers of hope and blueprints for change. - Bookshop Santa Cruz Customer Review

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Flight Behavior: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062124272
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - June 4th, 2013

In Flight Behavior, one can clearly sense Barbara Kingsolver’s origins as a biologist through her taut and beautiful descriptions of nature. Set in the rural community of Tennessee’s Appalachian Mountains, we meet Dellarobia Turnbow, a young wife and mother who feels confined by the constraints of her bucolic life. On her way to commit an act that threatens to break her family apart, she stumbles upon a mysterious phenomenon of nature that holds a resounding effect that will reach far beyond Dellarobia’s small community. There are no simple answers in this book. And that natural phenomenon that Delorobia discovers? We Santa Cruzans are in the unique position to find our own version of it right here in our own backyard. - S.M.C.

Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679740247
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Vintage - September 1st, 1992

Ms Williams book helps us understand our deep connection to nature and how it is an important, sustaining part of our well being. - Bookshop Santa Cruz Customer Review

Silent Spring Cover Image
By Rachel Carson, Linda Lear (Introduction by), Edward O. Wilson (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9780618249060
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - October 22nd, 2002

Silent Spring is based on science and was ahead of it's time. A heartfelt example of paying attention to research and intent to inform.

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Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345326492
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - January 12th, 1985

Edward Abbey is a grumpy, offensive desert rat. It is this boldness and direct attitude that makes this book so good. His short, punchy prose is packed with both interesting facts about the Utah desert and his own brand of radical environmentalism, but it's his vivid descriptions of the desert that make you want what any good nature book should make you want: to get outside! - J

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Braiding Sweetgrass Cover Image
ISBN: 9781571313560
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Milkweed Editions - September 1st, 2014

Beautifully written merging of science and indigenous knowledge and how the two do not need to be exclusive, but can compliment each other very well. Fascinating narrative on how culture shapes our worldview and how we relate to the natural world and view our place in it. - Bookshop Santa Cruz Customer Review

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The Water Knife Cover Image
ISBN: 9780804171533
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Vintage - April 5th, 2016

Paolo Bacigalupi's book The Windup Girl was one of the best science fiction novels I’ve read over the last decade, so I was eager to read his next adult sci-fi work. (His young adult stuff has also been fantastic.) The Water Knife does not disappoint. It reminds me of early William Gibson tales, but the playing field is the water-parched Southwest rather than the online world. In this thriller with a hard-hitting environmental theme, ecological disasters have changed the face of the earth and water has become more valuable than gold. —Dave

The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature Cover Image
ISBN: 9781571313157
Availability: Backordered
Published: Milkweed Editions - October 11th, 2016

Lanham has written an unforgettable memoir about growing up in rural Edgefield County, South Carolina, a “rich refuge for wild things.” With gorgeous (and sometimes heartbreaking) prose, he describes the full-sensory experience of the natural world around him—the same land that his ancestors were forced to toil. “In me, there is the red of miry clay, the brown of spring floods, the gold of ripening tobacco. I am, in the deepest sense, colored.” As an African-American ornithologist and wildlife ecology professor, Lanham not only searches for rare birds, but is one. His essays on identity and belonging are powerful, and his passion for the natural world is inspiring. Without an emotional connection to nature, how can we possibly be fully committed to saving it?


The Ohlone Way: Indian Life in the San Francisco-Monterey Bay Area Cover Image
ISBN: 9780930588014
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Heyday Books - April 1st, 1997