If you are just joining us, here is my introductory post detailing each week’s discussion topics and this wonderful roundup over at Kim’s blog, which highlights some of the great recommendations from all the participants last week. Remember, you can post any day this week, just remember to pop back to this post and add your link to the Linky below so I can share your post!
Now! Onto this week’s topic. For the second week of Nonfiction November, we are discussing Book Pairings. The original intention of this week’s theme was put together a fiction book and a nonfiction book that go well together. If you decide to pair two nonfiction books together, that works too! It could be two (or more!) books you’ve read, one book you’ve read and one you have not, or two books that you’ve added to your TBR and want to read that you think will complement and inform each other.
I’m going with a fiction book I’ve read about a topic I really want to learn more about:
The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi is easily one of my favorite reads of this year. It chronicles a western United States in the not-so-distant future that is barely hanging on. Texas has been abandoned for lack of water and refugees are traveling west to find new homes. The wealthy live in pristine gated communities and never worry about their water running out, but that means that someone has to fight for those water rights. A Las Vegas water knife, or a soldier who fights to secure water rights using any means necessary, is sent to the dying Phoenix to check up on a colleague who has been acting strange. There he crosses paths with a reporter who is on the brink of uncovering something dangerous and a Texas refugee just trying to survive any way she can.
It’s a fast-paced, dark novel with incredible characters and fascinating world building. It is recognizably the United States and it feels possible, which makes it all the more terrifying. But the truth is, what I know about the real drought in California and climate change is pretty limited to what I read in headlines and short articles, so I thought I would put together a list of nonfiction titles I could read about the topic.
The first thing I learned is that there are so many. It felt impossible to narrow it down! So I tried to pick books published in 2015, with two exceptions.
- Climate Change: A Very Short Introduction by Mark Maslin – This is my first exception. Published in late 2014, this is a part of Oxford University Press’s Very Short Introduction series and it seems like the perfect place to start when it comes to understanding a complex topic such as climate change.
- A Great Aridness by William Debuys – This was published in 2013, but the topic is right on point. A Great Aridness focuses on the Western United States and its future without water. According to the summary, this book discusses the future of the Colorado River as a major water source for the western US, which is a big plot point in The Water Knife. Reviews say the book is beautifully written and I’m looking forward to this one!
- The West Without Water: What Past Floods, Droughts, and Other Climactic Clues Tell Us About Tomorrow by B. Lynn Ingram and Frances Malamud-Roam – As the title suggests, this book seems to have a very similar focus to A Great Aridness, but I decided to leave it on the list, because it was published in 2015. I am also intrigued that this book seems to take the approach of looking at the climate history of the western US to predict what will happen in the future.
- Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change by George Marshall – Some of the recent studies about climate change that have been released are downright terrifying, but they don’t seem to mobilizing anyone to make to changes. This book looks at why, from a psychological point of view, it seems to be difficult for us to actually do anything about it and how to find common ground to actually come to a solution. It’s a very interesting way to look at the issue and definitely jumped out at me as a book I’d like to read.
- Betting the Farm on a Drought by Seamus McGraw – So we have one overview, two books looking at a specific region as a way of talking about climate change on a global scale, and one book about the psychology behind our reactions to climate change. This last book is about the human side of climate change. McGraw speaks to a wide range of people – farmers, fishermen, scientists and politicians – to get a portrait of the human impact of climate change with the hope of starting conversation and, hopefully, changing minds.
I can’t wait to read your book pairings! Don’t forget to add your link to the linky below and check back on Friday to get a rundown of what everyone discussed!