Considering that water makes up the majority of our bodies and our planet, we don’t usually give it much thought until we have too much or too little of it. But one way or another, water—whether we’re talking about the melting polar ice caps, rising seas and flooding, shifting ocean currents, water rights and the right to water, or hurricanes—will be taking center stage for the foreseeable future. In these three starred titles, Indie authors have written eloquently about water, including protecting the Colorado River system, swimming for 700-plus kilometers off the coast of Ireland, and making a variety of fluid connections.
In Living River, conservationist and photographer Dave Showalter explains why the Colorado River system needs our protection. The Colorado not only provides water for more than 40 million people, says Showalter, but it also irrigates the farms that grow nearly all of the United States’ winter produce. But the legal rights to the river are more than a century old and need revision. “With climate change driving the worst drought in 1,200 years and population growth exacerbating an unsustainable demand for its water, the Colorado is shrinking fast, and the reservoirs behind its dams are at historic lows. If the river and its tributaries dry up, the consequences for the people and wildlife that rely on the watershed will be catastrophic,” says our reviewer. The book, which depicts the beauty of the river and also proposes solutions for saving it, is “an informative examination and celebration of the beautiful and endangered Colorado River and its importance for people and wildlife.”
Alan Corcoran’s memoir Unsinkable: Cancer, Five Boats, and My 500 710-Kilometre Sea Swim charts his charity swim around the coast of Ireland in memory of his father. Swimming the gelid, rough Irish coast took months of tolerance training; lap swimming in an indoor pool wasn’t nearly enough to prepare him for the “one hundred metres of icy blackness [that] flowed beneath me.” Our reviewer notes that Corcoran is a fine writer, especially when describing the sea’s numerous challenges, including powerful rip currents and “sharp spears of rain [puncturing] the water like bullets.” Our reviewer says, “The memoir not only details the athleticism necessary to accomplish his ambitious goals, but also defines Corcoran’s endeavors as affecting, determined efforts to work through grief and to channel his anger and negativity surrounding the loss of his father into a physical challenge.”
In the poetry collection Waves, PJ Thomas explores literal and metaphorical connections to waves and water: “I need fluidity, / so the waves can pass through me; / waves of the moon rays / glinting from the bay, / the song in the poplars, / and the silvery wind / playing across the wheat tops.” Thomas also writes about the flora and fauna along Ontario’s Otonabee River, not far from the author’s home (“Crickets sing through the dusk / that comes so much earlier now”). Our reviewer calls the work a “sublime poetry collection with a simple message: Embrace the ebb and flow of existence.”
Chaya Schechner is the president of Kirkus Indie.