Saturday, October 20, 2007

Latest great reads: The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman

You know you’ve got a great book when you have to stop every chapter or so to exclaim aloud “Wow! This is so good!” (Yes, I am that much of a geek--not only because I actually do this, but also because I admit to doing it.) The World Without Us is just one of these books. And whether you’re a geek or not, you will certainly find something new and interesting in Weisman’s research. Essentially, this is a look at what the Earth might be like if humans were to, well—leave. It asks the question, “How big a footprint do we as humans really leave on the Earth?” And I was surprised a bit by the answer he proposes.
While the title might imply some sci-fi take on doomsday, this is pure non-fiction. I saw it at Barnes and Noble filed in the nature section, but I would say it goes beyond a discussion of ecology-it’s also a look at history and geography, oceanography, and sociology. If you are even marginally interested in the “natural world,” you should take a look at this one. It’s well-written in the best way, which is to say it’s not only good research, but it’s also engaging. I had a hard time setting it down. Page turning non-fiction? Indeed.

It’s going on my shelf next to Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, another absorbing and provoking read—and one that had me exclaiming aloud many times last summer.

What's on your shelf? I'm always eager to find new things to read!

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