One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret
By Catherine Coleman Flowers
It is easy to turn away from what Ms. Flowers calls America’s dirty secret. But don’t. Especially not now, not when the country is in the throes of a profound reckoning about its inequities.
Ms. Flowers’ book is ostensibly about the indignity of living without proper sanitation, chronicling the lives of people who can’t afford to install or repair septic tanks under their houses in rural Alabama. The book is also a memoir of growing up Black in Alabama (her short praise song to the front porch is one of my favorite passages) as well as an episodic tour of her town, Lowndes County, a crucible of the civil rights movement.
The book’s greatest value, though, is in the details Ms. Flowers, a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” recipient, shares about how to organize for social change, which, you quickly learn, requires far more steady strategic thinking than generating bursts of public outrage. It’s less about one woman’s fight than a primer on how to fight. — Somini Sengupta
In Search of Future Fossils
By David Farrier
This is the kind of book that stays with you — which is appropriate, since it’s about the persistence of the junk and other objects we are leaving behind, from plastic waste to spent nuclear fuel. Our own fossils, so to speak. Mr. Farrier writes, “Our future fossils are our legacy and therefore our opportunity to choose how we will be remembered. They will record whether we carried on heedlessly despite the dangers we knew to lie ahead, or whether we cared enough to change our course.” It’s a thought-provoking and elegiac book that asks us to think about the generations to come, and what they might think of us if we don’t mend our wasteful ways. — John Schwartz
ALL WE CAN SAVE
Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis
Edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson
The collection of essays, poems and artwork by more than 40 women on topics ranging from sustainable architecture to how Indigenous values could inform the climate movement is a powerful read that fills one with, dare I say … hope?
Since its release in September, the editors have made good on their desire for action, forming “circles” dedicated to both discussing the writings and uplifting female climate leaders committed to tackling the climate crisis. So far, more than 350 people have signed up to lead such circles. You can go here to learn more about “All We Can Save” circles and how to get involved. — Lisa Friedman