Nonfiction November 2021: Be the expert, etc

Week 3 of Nonfiction November … a record, for me!

Nonfiction November, as you know, is hosted by several bloggers, with Week 3: (November 15-19) – Be the expert/Ask the expert/Become the expert hosted by Veronica at The Thousand Book Project: Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert). 

I’ve done this particular Nonfiction November theme three times before: in 2020 I focused on ageing; in 2019 it was Indigenous Australian rights and lives; and in 2017 it was memoirs on the experience of racism. What to do this year? Hybrid memoir/biographies? Literary biography? Both these interest me, and I have some expertise in them, but I think I’ll go a bit left-field and do Climate Change. While I try to keep informed about climate change, I am certainly NOT an expert.

Become the expert

If I had to choose three books to read, these three seem like good places to start:

Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac’s The future we choose: The stubborn optimist’s guide to the climate crisis (2020): The authors led negotiations for the United Nations during the 2015 Paris Agreement of 2015. I like the idea of a book that’s stubbornly optimistic, because that’s me too. (I know, I know, what am I thinking in the face of too much evidence to the contrary!) 

Tim Flannery’s The climate cure: Solving the climate emergency in the era of COVID-19 (2020): It’s on my TBR for a start. It’s by an Australian scientist who has been writing and acting on this topic for decades. Not only is this his latest, but it encompasses discussion of how the pandemic has affected the climate debate and climate action.

Jane Rawson and James Whitmore’s Surviving and living with climate change (2015): This is an older book now, but it’s Australian and I know from Lisa (her review) that it is packed full of practical strategies which, I’m presuming, will still be valid even if there are now newer strategies for us to also consider. That’s the thing with climate change, isn’t it – things keep changing!

Ask the expert

However, I’m not an expert on what is around on this subject matter, but I do know a blogger who is, Stefanie of A Stone in the River. Some of you may know her from the So Many Books blog, but a few years ago Stefanie switched to focusing on “the Climate Emergency, transitioning to post-fossil fuel zero carbon life, bicycling, gardening, books, community, interbeing, wonder and joy”. As well as sharing her own knowledge and practice about living as green and clean as she can, she also shares books, articles and links to a wide range of relevant information. She’s my go-to blogging expert on the topic.

However, there’s also Marcie, at Buried in Print. She reads broadly but one of her reading projects is Read the Change which encompasses her reading on a range of current issues, including human rights and eco-literature. Marcie also wrote an excellent article, “Rewriting the climate apocalypse” for Herizons, a Canadian feminist magazine. It explores recent non-fiction and fiction writings by women on the environmental crisis. It’s an excellent read and, while I know this is a #nonfictionnovember post, I did like this from Kai Minosh Pyle:

I could try to write a nonfiction piece explaining those things, but sometimes a story lets you get at tangled-up issues in a more nuanced way.

Yes! It sometimes can … but, still, I do like nonfiction too!

Also, I’d love to see what expertise you have or would like to develop – if you’d like to play along.

36 thoughts on “Nonfiction November 2021: Be the expert, etc

  1. Well that’s a pretty good subject to be expert on, though enormously frustrating to see what might be done and isn’t.

    I remember the Rawson/Whitmore book though I’m sure I didn’t read it – perhaps Jane discussed it on her (now quiet) blog. I read and was impressed by BIP’s Rewriting the Climate Apocalypse. I too prefer to come at issues through fiction.

  2. Firstly thank you for alerting me to Marcie’s Reading the Change project, I’ll bookmark it for future reference.

    Secondly, I almost picked literary biography as my topic for this week, but I only have seven more (maybe) posts left for AusReading Month, and I’m saving them for my reviews now (where you will see why I nearly picked literary bios as my want to become the expert topic).

    Thirdly, if you’d like to try some climate/environment fiction, I can highly recommend Richard Powers (The Overstory and Bewilderment are the ones I’ve read so far, but Cathy has also read some of his earlier ones too).

    • Thanks Brona. Glad to point you, and anyone else to Marcie’s Reading the Change.

      I look forward top seeing your literary biography posts.

      My reading group did Overstory but it was the month my Mum died so I didn’t get to read it. It was second on our list of favourite reads for the year, though I have to admit a poor second to Too much lip (don’t tell Bill!) which was the out and out winner! I hadn’t heard of Bewilderment.

    • Thanks Shelleyrae. Yep, furious here too – how can they be so blind to what seems to be the wishes of the majority of people? Well I guess we know – big money. And thanks re Molesworth’s book, I don’t know that so am glad to have it on my list.

  3. Ooooh, I made sure to follow A Stone in the River. Her blog sounds interesting and like a great way to help me keep up on climate change news. Plus, she totally sold me with her flock of chickens named “Dashwoods” from Sense and Sensibility!

  4. The Future we Choose is a good one! If anyone is interested in birds and climate change, Earth’s wild Music by Kathleen Dean Moore is really good. I also found Elizabeth Kolbert’s Under a White Sky really good. Thanks for the mention! 🙂

    • Thanks Stefanie for endorsing the book, and adding in the others. Earth’s wild music is a great title!

      And, a great pleasure to mention you. Looks like you’ve got at least one more follower, from a countrywoman!

  5. One thing for sure about with your topic is that there are a zillion books on this theme – the challengeI i imagine is to sift out those that lack real substance or that are simply treading familiar ground.

    • Thanks Karen. Yes, you are absolutley right. Two of mine were recommended by the Climate Council of Australia and the other by Lisa. Also two were authors I know and can trust, and the third – co-authors – had a strong CV! So, I figured I was on good ground. It’s hard though, as you say, to know where to start with so many books out there.

    • I tried three times to comment on your post but something just didn’t work. If you come back here, here is my response:

      “Great expertise, Deb. I love trees too, and have reviewed a book on my blog on Australia’s remarkable trees, as well as a few essays about trees including John Muir’s A wind-storm in the forests.

      I’d love to read some more recent books, particularly those ones about communication between the trees.”

  6. Thanks Words … I have heard of Vargas before but not this book, probably not surprisingly. And yes, I’d say I’ve read more fiction about climate change than fiction too.

    I like the sound of your expert subject, and will come visit!

  7. The Future We Choose sounds great – like you I like the idea of stubborn optimism, and I believe there is evidence that shows that’s more productive than despair and doom and gloom when it comes to the climate crisis – because as long as people feel optimistic they are willing to make changes, but if people tip into despair then we all end up effectively fiddling while Rome burns because we think it’s pointless to engage with change. So I think it is the right approach, even in the face of recent figures!

  8. Pingback: New to my TBR #nonficnov – louloureads

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