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THE CLIMATE BOOK

Vital reading for anyone who cares about the planet.

The world’s most recognizable climate activist gathers crucial wisdom from prominent scientists and thinkers.

In this galvanizing follow-up to No One Is Too Small To Make a Difference, Thunberg presents an urgent collection of writing by leaders in the fields of science, engineering, history, philosophy, and activism. The brilliant and alarming narrative tells it like it is: Though politicians, fossil fuel stakeholders, and other relevant entities have known for decades that a warming climate will have devastating results for Earth, most have done little about it. “It is my genuine belief,” writes Thunberg, “that the only way we will be able to avoid the worst consequences of this emerging existential crisis is if we create a critical mass of people who demand the changes required.” Throughout the book, the contributors—among other luminaries, Elizabeth Kolbert, Michael Oppenheimer, Naomi Oreskes, Mike Berners-Lee, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Margaret Atwood—clearly explain the tipping points that have already occurred, permanently altering the oceans, forests, fauna, and atmosphere and the fact that a concerted, global effort is required to effect positive change. The contributors also lay bare the fact that irresponsible, even pernicious, action by those who pushed for fossil fuel use but “greenwashed” information about the effects of greenhouse gas emissions has resulted in prolonged inertia, allowing the problem to get much worse. Yet most of the contributors remain optimistic that, with enough public outrage and demands for change, a solution is possible—only if we act immediately. In the last part of this book, Thunberg provides a guide to what needs to be done and how every single person on the planet can play a role. “We have the unfathomably great opportunity to be alive at the most decisive time in the history of humanity….Together, we can do the seemingly impossible. But make no mistake—no one else is going to do it for us.” The book includes numerous illustrative graphs and charts.

Vital reading for anyone who cares about the planet.

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2023

ISBN: 9780593492307

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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THE BACKYARD BIRD CHRONICLES

An ebullient nature lover’s paean to birds.

A charming bird journey with the bestselling author.

In his introduction to Tan’s “nature journal,” David Allen Sibley, the acclaimed ornithologist, nails the spirit of this book: a “collection of delightfully quirky, thoughtful, and personal observations of birds in sketches and words.” For years, Tan has looked out on her California backyard “paradise”—oaks, periwinkle vines, birch, Japanese maple, fuchsia shrubs—observing more than 60 species of birds, and she fashions her findings into delightful and approachable journal excerpts, accompanied by her gorgeous color sketches. As the entries—“a record of my life”—move along, the author becomes more adept at identifying and capturing them with words and pencils. Her first entry is September 16, 2017: Shortly after putting up hummingbird feeders, one of the tiny, delicate creatures landed on her hand and fed. “We have a relationship,” she writes. “I am in love.” By August 2018, her backyard “has become a menagerie of fledglings…all learning to fly.” Day by day, she has continued to learn more about the birds, their activities, and how she should relate to them; she also admits mistakes when they occur. In December 2018, she was excited to observe a Townsend’s Warbler—“Omigod! It’s looking at me. Displeased expression.” Battling pesky squirrels, Tan deployed Hot Pepper Suet to keep them away, and she deterred crows by hanging a fake one upside down. The author also declared war on outdoor cats when she learned they kill more than 1 billion birds per year. In May 2019, she notes that she spends $250 per month on beetle larvae. In June 2019, she confesses “spending more hours a day staring at birds than writing. How can I not?” Her last entry, on December 15, 2022, celebrates when an eating bird pauses, “looks and acknowledges I am there.”

An ebullient nature lover’s paean to birds.

Pub Date: April 23, 2024

ISBN: 9780593536131

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2024

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ELON MUSK

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

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A warts-and-all portrait of the famed techno-entrepreneur—and the warts are nearly beyond counting.

To call Elon Musk (b. 1971) “mercurial” is to undervalue the term; to call him a genius is incorrect. Instead, Musk has a gift for leveraging the genius of others in order to make things work. When they don’t, writes eminent biographer Isaacson, it’s because the notoriously headstrong Musk is so sure of himself that he charges ahead against the advice of others: “He does not like to share power.” In this sharp-edged biography, the author likens Musk to an earlier biographical subject, Steve Jobs. Given Musk’s recent political turn, born of the me-first libertarianism of the very rich, however, Henry Ford also comes to mind. What emerges clearly is that Musk, who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome (“Empathy did not come naturally”), has nurtured several obsessions for years, apart from a passion for the letter X as both a brand and personal name. He firmly believes that “all requirements should be treated as recommendations”; that it is his destiny to make humankind a multi-planetary civilization through innovations in space travel; that government is generally an impediment and that “the thought police are gaining power”; and that “a maniacal sense of urgency” should guide his businesses. That need for speed has led to undeniable successes in beating schedules and competitors, but it has also wrought disaster: One of the most telling anecdotes in the book concerns Musk’s “demon mode” order to relocate thousands of Twitter servers from Sacramento to Portland at breakneck speed, which trashed big parts of the system for months. To judge by Isaacson’s account, that may have been by design, for Musk’s idea of creative destruction seems to mean mostly chaos.

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781982181284

Page Count: 688

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

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