Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet

Staff Pick

This is not your usual plant trees-don’t-eat-meat-manual to stopping the ravages of climate change. While many environmental activists and leaders—including the U.N.’s Christiana Figueres, a major architect of the 2015 Paris Agreement—have made Buddhist practices instrumental to their work, the book’s eponymous link is drawn mainly indirectly. But it is everywhere in this eloquent, reassuring meditation on awakening and compassion, and it is crucial. Crucial not just to “saving the planet” from fires and floods, but to lifting humankind from the divisiveness and exploitation that have mired us in the dire conditions we face. Everywhere demonstrating the peace, calm, and joy promised to us on (and as creatures of ) the path of mindfulness, this esteemed master shows us how concentrating on the breath and putting aside the self fosters awareness, keeps us open, and  lets us realize the connections between ourselves, others, and nature. With the communities built on this insight, we can see that we are all parts of one whole, and that only together do we have the necessary strength and energy to create lasting, meaningful change.

Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet By Thich Nhat Hanh Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062954794
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: HarperOne - October 5th, 2021

Warmth, by Daniel Sherrell

Staff Pick

As other writers have recently done, Sherrell homes in on troubling issues by framing his timely book around a letter to an unborn child. In this case the issue is climate change and the child is a real question. As Sherrell, an activist with NY Renews, struggles to determine what he “owe[s]” a future family, he turns the Problem—as he calls it throughout this deeply felt and uneasy meditation—from every conceivable angle; starting with the powerful account of a man whose self-immolation caused the briefest flutter in attention to that Problem, he examines his own growing up in a changing world; the anachronistic connection of young children to stuffed figures of animals they may never actually see; the troublesome term “environmentalist,” which he feels shows “the cheapening of a god into a religion”; the anniversary of Katrina as a model for commemoration of those lost to climate, where loss is perhaps salvaged if the moment of silence is viewed as “not the absence of sound but the presence of something that cannot be spoken”; and much more. Though feeling language is “plainly inadequate to any real consideration of the Problem,” Sherrell’s own often takes a lyrical bent, and he lavishes care and attention on describing the natural world, as if to make it—and us—linger here long enough so we can find a way through this unfathomable time.


Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of Our World By Daniel Sherrell Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143136538
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Penguin Books - August 3rd, 2021

Eva's Man, by Gayl Jones

Staff Pick

Eva is notorious for keeping her secrets, only revealing her life—if that’s what she does—once it’s seemingly over.  The narrator of Jones’s stunning second novel (published in 1976 and more vital than ever), Eva has been sentenced to a prison for the criminally insane for killing and mutilating her lover. Locked in with her memories—and a volatile cell mate who bates and laughs at her—she obsessively replays thirty+ years of verbal and physical abuse by men. As she tells and retells her story she also relates those of other Black women, making the novel an important act of witnessing—and essential reading. But beyond the unblinking look at Black women’s brutalization, as well as how the currents of violence also damage the men, the book is valuable for Jones’s jaw-dropping literary skill. Eva’s interior monologue is a mesmerizing weave of repetition and rhythm; intercutting multiple scenes and voices—often two or three different ones simultaneously—Jones impeccably captures oral cadences to convey the textures of people caught in anger, pain, and frustrated longing.

Eva's Man (Celebrating Black Women Writers) By Gayl Jones Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807028995
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Beacon Press - October 20th, 2020