Mind and habit changing books for 2019 and ones for 2020
It will be World Book Day this week, and with this comes a reminder of what a gift reading is for us all and how I really must, again, begin reading novels again.
My amazon history shows me that I have an unhealthy interest in cookery and climate change. The cookery (not cooking per se, just the books) is not new, but the climate is. In this category, I’ve also included nature & rewilding and then mixed a little bit of how-to business & wellbeing for good measure. We are living in a unique era and after decades of relative stability, things feel quite different now. I felt the need to read up.
One thing that this changeable landscape can affect is our psychology. Eco-anxiety is a real and present danger. In an attempt to keep it at bay I have found reading up on the subject helps. As does choosing your material. So, one book that drew me in recently is Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good (Emergent Strategy)
Whilst I have still to finish this, it’s a book on hope and reclaiming one’s privilege of feeling good — owning it and not giving it away as freely as we might do when confronted with the heaviness of the media. Joy is a gift given freely. It’s ours for the taking. A strategy I’m keen to implement.
Patagonia is a global business in the world of selling clothes for us to experience the outdoors. From the get-go, the business side was a side hustle for Yvon Chouinard so he could fund his life of climbing and surfing. The story of his enormous success is an inspiring one, and one of unusual business decisions based on his greater responsibility as a human rather than to be driven solely by the bottom line.
How Bad are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything by Mike Berners-Lee
We all know we must reduce our carbon footprint but I’ve always felt that there has been a missing part of this puzzle. It’s all well and good to know we must reduce, but how do you count your actual impact? This book helped.
If you want to know anything about small business and modern-day PR, then Lucy is your lady.
Amazingly the majority of PR books prior to this being published were written by men when the majority of people that work in PR are women. It was a gap that was desperately needed to be filled and she’s done it with warmth, generosity, and wit.
If you have been struggling with hope in this rather odd time then I couldn’t suggest this book more. It’s practical, useful and incredibly insightful. Co-written by 70+ scientists, all specialists in their fields, it has spawned a huge movement globally and it is great to hear of all the things that are feasible, actionable, right now.
Feral: Rewilding the Land, Sea and Human Life By George Monbiot
Monbiot has written book after book on environmentalism and climate change but this book is his love letter to nature. His writing has richness and detail that transported me to his world — even when on the beach I was with him in Scotland, with wind and rain whipping him sidewards. He so evidently loves the natural world and feels a deep connection to it, one that I envy in my current urban existence. Nonetheless, after immersing myself in his world, I came up for breath, and now carry some of his stories with me — I wish I was still within its pages.
Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm by Isabella Tree
Are you familiar with the term — rewilding? I wasn’t until last year, but this book showed me what was possible and see its huge value. From the cultivated Southern lands of Sussex lies an experiment to allow nature to naturally repair itself and in doing so, bringing more life, and richness than the author ever hoped for. And this is a book of hope. One traditional farm, two untraditional farmers, taking a punt on a new approach to landholding. It’s a cracker. And best of all, you can go visit (and stay) on their property and take a look at what the future could be, for yourself.
On the bedside table — yet to read..
I’ve just moved back to Australia and after 16 years away, it’s been an interesting cultural shift to reflect on the Australia I left, and the one I’ve returned to. The bushfires took a toll greater than anyone expected this year — only weeks before they burned, we took a drive through all that gorgeous land, reminding me of the pull this country has and the gorgeous, natural beauty of it all.
The political landscape is one much more different and I’m reminded daily how regressive this country can be. Sadly the topic of coal and carbon is still very much a bi-partisan discussion and one that is boringly stuck on either side of the political spectrum. But one good thing that may come from The Black Summer is it’s brought this topic to the front of the queue. Let’s hope it moves it out from this stalemate and inline with the rest of the progressive action we have seen in other parts of the world.
But I digress — This book is written by Ross Garnaut, an Economics professor who has been on the front line of climate change policy and assessment here in Australia and he has a plan. The opportunity, he claims, is exciting and equally unique. With the right policies, we could generate huge volumes of clean energy and carbon sequestration simply because we have lots of space and lots of sun. If we use this opportunity wisely, we could see Australia leading the way into a very rich and industrious future -where high-intensity industry — Green steel and aluminum could be produced with zero emissions, and we could be a major energy generator for neighbouring countries which have limited land to do this themselves (hello Singapore)
It’s a dense book, but an exciting proposition. I’m going to soldier on through.
‘Given the way we live now,’ writes Robyn Annear ‘it would be easy to suppose that newness has always been venerated’ How true is that. This is a short history of how second hand has been an integral part of our history. Keen to have a read.
If you are still hankering for the thrill of the new, then this book might be right up your street. Last year, I gave myself an ultimatum to stop buying new too and it was surprisingly easy. With amazing shops online now selling vintage and second hand with a curated eye, it’s amazingly easy to get your fix without the true cost of fast fashion.
Seems I like a how-to! Written in 2015, it’s getting on now, and it’s probably more important than ever a book read. I’ll let you know how I get on.
So, that is me and my evenings for the next wee-while. Have you read anything of late that is interesting and worth a place on my beside?