Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope For a Future on Earth? by Alan Weisman (2013, Little, Brown and Company; 502 pages)
Winner of the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for science writing, the 2013 Paris Book Festival Prize for nonfiction, the 2014 Nautilus Gold Book Award, and the Population Institute’s 2014 Global Media Award for best book, this is one of the most provocative and extraordinary non-fiction books I’ve read in awhile, a book that should be mandatory reading in every school in the world. The author, Alan Weisman offered a great talk in TEDxSitka in the summer of 2014, speaking precisely about the topic of this book:
With a million more of us every 4½ days on a planet that's not getting any bigger, prospects for a sustainable human future seem ever more in doubt. For this long awaited follow-up book, Alan Weisman traveled to more than 20 countries to ask what experts agreed were probably the most important questions on Earth - and also the hardest: How many humans can the planet hold without capsizing? How robust must the Earth's ecosystem be to assure our continued existence? Can we know which other species are essential to our survival? And, how might we actually arrive at a stable, optimum population, and design an economy to allow genuine prosperity without endless growth? The result is a landmark work of reporting: devastating, urgent, and, ultimately, deeply hopeful. By vividly detailing the burgeoning effects of our cumulative presence, Countdown by Alan Weisman reveals what may be the fastest, most acceptable, practical, and affordable way of returning our planet and our presence on it to balance.
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Find this title in our catalog: Countdown
Recommended by: Maite
Nocturne: Creatures of the Night -- celebrated animal photographer takes the viewer on a journey through nighttime in the animal kingdom
Nocturne: Creatures of the Night by Traer Scott (2014, Princeton Architectural Press; 129 pages)
This stunning book is an exquisite collection of portraits of 42 nocturnal animals by animal photographer Traer Scott. The photographs are minimalist, set against a dark background that allows showing each chosen animal in its splendor with beautiful details and features. The pictures are accompanied by fantastic and unique information about each subject, designing the book for both readers eager of detailed information and non-readers that enjoy the pure beauty offered by an exquisite photograph.
The author explains in the book’s introduction that the idea of this particular journey into darkness “began with visions of brilliantly colored, powdery wings beating soflty through the warm night sky." She explains that “while photographing Nocturne I had the opportunity to play the role of both observer and nurturer.” And she shares great information about the process of taking each picture; for example, about the time she was able to photograph the porcupine: “When porcupines feel threatened they often emit a very distinctive, extremely unpleasant odor as a warning before launching their infamous signature defense – an army of small, razor-sharp quills.”
From the kangaroo rat to the serval, the Madagascar hissing cockroach, the spiny mouse, the barn owl, the red panda, to the cecropia moth and many others, this book offers seventy-five full-color photographs of forty different species, and hours of pure joy to readers of all ages. It is an absolute must read.
For more from the author’s website, click here
Find this title in our catalog: Nocturne
Recommended by: Maite
To The End of June: The Intimate Life of American Foster Care by Cris Beam (Mariner Books, 2013; 338 pages)
Who are the children of foster care? What, as a country, do we owe them? Cris Beam, a foster mother herself, spent five years immersed in the world of foster care looking into these questions and tracing firsthand stories. The result is To the End of June, an unforgettable portrait that takes us deep inside the lives of foster children in their search for a stable, loving family. Beam shows us the intricacies of growing up in the system—the back-and-forth with agencies, the rootless shuffling between homes, the emotionally charged tug between foster and birth parents, the terrifying push out of foster care and into adulthood. Humanizing and challenging a broken system, To the End of June offers a tribute to resiliency and hope for real change.
This is an incredibly accurate portrait of the American Foster Care, based on real stories. The reading is an unforgettable experience for many reasons. Beam allows us to follow a group of teenagers aging out of the foster care system in New York, teenagers that carry a desperate need of a sense of belonging, a home. The author is not shy about describing the very often exhausting experiences of pre-adoptive homes and group homes, prospective adoptive parents, birth parents, and, of course, the children and teenagers. This is an absolutely fabulous read for anyone interested in understanding the fabric of the American Foster Care System.
Find this title in our catalog: To The End Of June
Recommended by: Maite