Great Green Reads

Eva Lewandowski

I recently wrote a blog post about young adult books with environmental themes (you can read it here).  I don’t want to leave out those of you who might be looking for a more mature reading experience, so I thought I would recommend a few adult novels that deal with sustainability or the environment.  As talking about environmental issues becomes more mainstream, more and more authors are choosing to incorporate green topics into their novels.  That means there are a lot of good books to choose from, especially among those published in the last two decades.  

If you are interested in reading a novel with a strong environmental theme, you might consider one of these:

Ultimatum by Matthew Glass – This is more or less a political thriller, and while it might not be the best book I’ve ever read, it’s frighteningly real plot struck a chord with me.  It’s set in the very near future, when global climate change and its effects have become so widespread and powerful that world leaders are forced to broker a deal to deal with carbon emissions.  Unfortunately, in this book the deal-making goes horribly wrong, and the US and Chinese governments find themselves on the brink of all-out war.

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver – It would be almost impossible to compile even a short list of green-themed novels without including something by Barbara Kingsolver.  She is probably the most well-known author whose fiction consistently deals with the environment, wildlife, and our connection to nature.  In Prodigal Summer, Kingsolver addresses all of those issues in a beautifully told story that is hard to put down. 

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett – Set in the Amazon Rainforest, this book follows a scientist for a pharmaceutical company who travels into the wilderness to recover the body of a colleague.  It deals with the impact that research by big drug companies can have on the rainforest and its occupants, as well as the effects that living in such a biologically rich and wonderful area can have on people who aren’t used to such places.

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