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In celebration of world book day, we have put together a selection of our current favourite literary works.
Richard Powers’ writing poetically speaks to our precarious contemporary moment and sheds light on the interconnected and indispensable nature of all life on earth. In light of global eco-destruction, his work re-imagines the relationship between plants and humans anew and powerfully calls for the protection of non-human worlds.
Rooted in an array of native mythologies, Sharon Blackie’s work takes us back to cosmologies centred around wild and powerful women – the guardians of our ancestral lands. Folklore, magic, and ecological consciousness coalesce as she explores the meaning of place, history, and the imagination.
‘You and the tree in your backyard come from a common ancestor. A billion and a half years ago, the two of you parted ways. But even now, after an immense journey in separate directions, that tree and you still share a quarter of your genes…’
Powers tells the fictional story of nine individuals whose lives coalesce as they advocate for the protection of forests. He explores themes such as climate action, activism, the interconnectedness of all life forms. In The Overstory, trees are framed as the indispensable companions that they are; nurturing and sustaining an endless array of life cycles, including our own.
The Echo Maker
On a winter night, Mark Schluter’s truck turns over run a near-fatal accident. His sister, Karin, returns reluctantly to their hometown to look after him. But when he finally awakes from his coma, Mark believes that Karin – who looks, acts, and sounds just like his sister – is really an identical imposter.
‘A psychological thriller, a flawed love story, a study of authenticity in emotions, a commentary on America’s relations with itself and the world, humanity and ecology… undoubtedly magnificent’ – The Times
The Gold Bug Variations
Biologist Stuart Ressler sets out to track the genetic code. His efforts are sidetracked as he falls in love with a member of his research team. Years later, a young man and woman investigate why the eminently promising Ressler disappeared from the world of science.
If Women Rose Rooted
Drawing on powerful women and guardians of the land in Celtic mythology Blackie leads us on a quest to find our place in the world:
‘If women remember that once upon a time we sang with the youngest of seals and flew with the wings of swans, that we forged our own paths through the dark forests while creating a community of its many inhabitants, then we will rise up rooted like trees.
And if we rise up rooted, like trees…well then, women might indeed save not only ourselves, but the world.’
Drawing on myth and fairy tales found across Europe – from Croatia to Sweden, Ireland to Russia – Sharon Blackie brings to life women’s remarkable ability to transform themselves in the face of seemingly impossible circumstances.
These stories are about coming to terms with our animal nature, exploring the ways in which we might renegotiate our fractured relationship with the natural world, and uncovering the wildness – and wilderness – within.
‘Above all, to live an enchanted life is to fall in love with the world all over again. This is an active choice, a leap of faith which is necessary not just for our own sakes, but for the sake of the wide, wild Earth in whose being and becoming we are so profoundly and beautifully entangled.’