This Christmas we’ve decided to make your present buying a lot less stressful by asking the 4th Estate team to hand-pick books for all your relatives. Hopefully this will mean less umming and ahhing in the bookshop, and more oohing and ahhing on Christmas Day…
Your brother is still championing green. At first, you thought it was just the aftermath of his (second) gap year spent decadently roaming Latin America and South-East Asia (but never Thailand, Thailand is so 2009), however, after buying a new bicycle, joining The Green Party, scoring within the lowest 10% of Channel 4’s ‘Human Footprint Calculator’ test and embarking on a new ‘minimalist’ approach to his interior decorating, you – no longer sceptical but still amused – decide to help him embrace his new lifestyle with a few festive treats…
Likelihood is that your eco-warrior brother will fall somewhere between the vegetarian–fruitarian spectrum. If he’s of the vegetarian/vegan persuasion, then Anna Jones’s latest cookbook is a superb way of liven up his kitchen. Full of smart, practical and delicious vegetarian/vegan and gluten free recipes to cater to all taste buds, even the biggest carnivores among your family will start looking forward to supper at his, even if he’s swapped cushions for chairs at the dinner ta – I mean floor.
Carefully crafted, this stunning portfolio of the world in all its majesty is a fantastic reminder of the beauty of life on earth. From Palaeolithic images etched deep in the French mountains to snapshots of celebrations at a Bangladeshi water festival Visions of Earth is full of gorgeously striking images of our planet. It’ll make your brother (and probably everyone else who comes across this book) fall in love all over again with Mother Nature.
Sir Smit, founder of the wonderfully eco-centric Eden Project discusses how it started as a small project with a tiny shoestring budget of £3,000 to become one of the biggest horticultural and charitable enterprises in the UK today. A brilliant source of inspiration for your environmentally friendly brother who – who knows – may be the next man behind a similarly bold, hugely transformative and eco-savvy project. That or an allotment. Or maybe just a flower bed.
A very pertinent discussion on the rise of Chinese growth. What the nation’s phenomenal growth means for the environment and in turn, the other 80% of the world’s population. Watts’s serious – but extraordinarily hopeful – message is the perfect encouragement your brother may need to sustain his eco-friendly lifestyle. And it’s a fantastic topic of conversation.
A chilling prophecy into the future of mankind. In Ballad’s dystopian world, water is now so precious a commodity that civilization disintegrates in the face of scarcity. Powerful and potent, Ballad’s masterpiece is a harrowing illustration of the fragility of life. A read that will keep your brother enthralled for many a winter evening.
This book is the ultimate devil’s advocate to the doomsayers out there. It posits that mankind – and our planet – is not headed for destruction, for our capacity to think, invent, and create sustainable solutions to some of the biggest environmental challenges we face will save the day. It also includes criticism on the pioneering work of population economist Thomas Robert Malthus whose model spelled destruction if exponential population growth was to go unchecked. More optimism than climate change denial, this work is a powerful argument on how our planet still has a fighting chance. It can’t all be doom and gloom after all.
Words by Emmanuella Kwenortey.
Left to right: RAPTOR: A Journey Through Birds by James Macdonald Lockhart (4th Estate), THE GREAT SOUL OF SIBERIA: In Search of the Elusive Siberian Tiger by Sooyong Park (William Collins), BARKSKINS by Annie Proulx (4th Estate)
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