Staff Pick

Collections of previously published essays and speeches can be a mixed bag, but the sixteen pieces—plus a substantial, new introduction, itself worth the price of the book, and an epilogue detailing the Green New Deal—in Naomi Klein’s blistering On Fire (Simon & Schuster, $27) form not only a coherent picture of the state of the Earth, but, looking back over the last decade of climate change events, constitute an invaluable timeline of the increasing evidence of a climate crisis, our growing awareness of the need to act—and the failure of leaders to take the necessary steps. Written with her signature passion and eloquence, this book is vintage Klein. In reports from 2010’s BP Deepwater Horizon spill, the 2017 wildfires in British Columbia, and the long aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, she demonstrates how the “exploitation of individual workers” and “the decimation of individual mountains and rivers“ are both based on an “indifference to life” that has brought the planet itself to its knees. At the same time, though several World Climate Conferences have failed to curb carbon emissions, more people have organized to demand action. Klein finds hope in groups such as Extinction Rebellion, the Sunrise Movement, and, most of all, Greta Thunberg and Alexandria Octavio-Cortez.

On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982129910
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Simon & Schuster - September 17th, 2019

Staff Pick

“It is … tragically difficult to talk about the planetary crisis in a way that is believed,” Jonathan Safran Foer states in We Are the Weather (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25). His own effort ranges from a blunt catalog of statistics to a debate with his soul and a recontextualizing of the crisis as a post-Biblical event in which “we are the fl ood and we are the ark.” His most powerful move is to compare the climate crisis to World War II, when civilians at home hung blackout curtains, ate less meat, and drove slower, all for the common good. But they also failed to act on the first reports of the Holocaust, finding it too awful to be believed. Similarly, today we watch glaciers melting yet don’t really believe it’s a crisis. What will it take to get us to act? Foer makes a compelling case for diet as the place to start. Because animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation and contributes an outsize amount to greenhouse gas emissions, if every American cut back on meat by 90% and dairy by 60%, we could begin to get things under control. Foer, a repeatedly lapsing vegan, admits how difficult this is. He also reminds us that it’s one of the easier of the many sacrifices we will have to make—soon.

We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374280000
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 17th, 2019

Staff Pick

Since the astonishingly direct poems of her 1980 debut, Satan Says, Sharon Olds has redefined the American poetic landscape as few other poets have. Making the body central to her work, she has found the poetry of traditionally “unpoetic” subjects, writing with unflinching honesty and compassion about violence and injustice—both in intimate, personal spaces and in the larger public arena. But as she shows the harm a family can inflict on its members, she also articulates why family is important; exposing the wounds caused by “cruelty/and abuse of power,” she never doubts that the better side of humanity can triumph. Her rich new collection, Arias (Knopf, $29.95 hardcover, $18.95 paper), at nearly 200 pages is a kind of double-album that takes Olds’s abiding concerns to new levels of power and artistry—without sacrificing anything of the conversational clarity that makes her work so compelling. In the opening poem, she moves in just twenty lines from “pouring the hot milk/into the coffee,” to “looking up/the purple martin” to elegizing Trayvon Martin—a deft illustration of the unity of the personal and the political as well as a glimpse of how a poem is made.

Arias Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525656937
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - October 15th, 2019