Groundglass, by Kathryn Savage

Staff Pick

“Groundglass” is an “ill-defined small swell of cells,“ which points to Savage’s father’s cancer diagnosis and to the “mysterious” illnesses striking people in the industrial Midwest, where Savage grew up and still lives. In photography, however, it’s a device “useful for manual focusing,” a definition that applies to Savage’s restrained, haunting prose as she mourns her father and investigates the responsibility for his death. Suspecting it’s one more product of big business, Savage tours brownfields and Superfund sites—located mostly in communities of the Indigenous and people of color—showing us playgrounds built on toxic landfills, trucks and trains spilling heavy metal dust as they go, aquifers exhausted by fracking, and more. Tracing “our death cult of consumerism” back to the Europeans’ theft of native land, Savage examines her own complicity in the ongoing violence and gives voice to the testimony of activists as well as victims.

Groundglass By Kathryn Savage Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566896405
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Coffee House Press - August 2nd, 2022

Fen, Bog and Swamp, by Annie Proulx

Staff Pick

If Proulx’s expansive Barkskins were stripped down to its nonfiction bones, it might be the kind of brief, deeply researched chronicle this one is. With different kinds of peatlands and the story of their use and abuse standing in for characters and plot, this book is as impassioned and immersive as any of Proulx’s fictions (and if we’re lucky is the basis for a future novel). Adroitly presenting tens of thousands of years of natural  history, including the development of peat and the special properties of sphagnum moss, then moving into the central role of wetlands in indigenous cultures, their destruction by Europeans, and surveying the range of objects they’ve preserved, Proulx writes with her usual literary flare, showing us “light softening to peach nectar,” enriching our estuary English with words including paludification and histol, speculating on the types of peatland in Dante’s Inferno, and reminding us of the beauty and wonder of that life-giving element, water, the “original shape shifter.”

 

Fen, Bog and Swamp: A Short History of Peatland Destruction and Its Role in the Climate Crisis By Annie Proulx Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781982173357
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - September 27th, 2022

The World as We Knew It, Edited by Amy Brady and Tajja Isen

Staff Pick

To counter the overwhelming nature of climate change, Brady and Isen sought to map ”connection[s] between the personal and the planetary” by asking 19 writers to chronicle what's affected them most in this turbulent time so far. With names including Lydia Millet, Omar El Akkad, and Lidia Yuknavitch, the anthology meets high standards of range and literary quality. Starting with the unbreathable air of Bangkok, examining the long shadows of hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, et al,  and ending with revelations of melting Arctic permafrost as astounding—a prehistoric wolf cub--as they are chilling—potential new viruses—these vivid essays offer urgent glimpses of what no one is prepared for, whether it’s getting through Wisconsin winters of snow so heavy it “felt like the world was caving in,” or climbing a flooded Sierra Nevada where “a mistake could kill you,” or, an insistent theme, struggling with whether to bring children into all this and what to tell them if you do, since there’s “no playbook for parenting in the apocalypse.”

 

The World As We Knew It: Dispatches From a Changing Climate By Amy Brady (Editor), Tajja Isen (Editor) Cover Image
By Amy Brady (Editor), Tajja Isen (Editor)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781646220304
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Catapult - June 14th, 2022

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