I love a good novel with an environmental theme and reading in the summer is one of the best ways to relax. There have already been many days this summer where it’s too hot to do anything except sit under a tree, sip a cold drink and get immersed in a novel. So I have created a list of books that I think are some of the best environmental fiction reads.
Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
Amphibian by Carla Gunn
The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood
I chose Remarkable Creatures because it is a fascinating journey into a place in England called Lyme Regis, famous for fossils, where Mary Anning changed the course of natural history and the beliefs of Victorian England. This historical fiction centers around the young Anning, who even influenced Charles Darwin and his writings.
Crow Lake takes you to Northern Canada and tells the story of a family that is bound together by loss. The author of this book has a deep grasp on human psychology and impressive knowledge about the biology of the northern landscape.
Amphibian is a delight to read because there is something so endearing about novels written from the perspective of a child. This book entertains while subtly bringing important issues into your mind. So much of what we adults say makes absolutely no sense and it often takes children to point this out.
I couldn’t leave The Celestine Prophecy off the list, as few books have ever been penned with a better ‘hook’ (almost like The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, where you can’t put it down until you know who, what, where, and why!).
What good is a must-read list without a classic on there? Well, if you haven’t read Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, then it’s time you did. Even if you have read it before, if you pick it up again you will admire how a book from the 1970s remains just as funny today. I still enjoy these timeless lines:
For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons. ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
I saved the best for last. The three Margaret Atwood books I have listed must be read in the order they were published. These books will transport you into a science fiction future that has been spawned by Atwood’s creative mind taking oddities of today and spiralling them out of control. By the time you finish MaddAddam, the way you look at our world will never be the same…
Enjoy your summer reading and please feel free to make other book suggestions in the comments section below. I am always looking for the next great read.
Stay tuned for an upcoming blog on great environmental non-fiction reads.
Jane Dunne is a Senior Editor at Specialty Technical Publishers and she has just recently finished working on an update of Environmental Auditing: Federal Compliance Guide.