At the Rebel Library we are big fans of Leena Norms’ engaging, deeply thoughtful and unashamedly book-mad podcast No Books on a Dead Planet. The show’s tagline is “We read climate crisis books so you don’t have to.” But while nobody has to read books, the NBOADP podcast, like the Rebel Library, sets out to tempt you. So we defy you to remain immune to this month’s top recommendations, as chosen by Leena Norms.
Leena Norms worked in the book publishing industry for almost a decade and is the author of the poetry collection Bargain Bin Rom-Com. Alongside her No Books on a Dead Planet podcast, Leena has a YouTube channel devoted to social issues and sustainable fashion, and runs Positive Panic Patches that makes recycled scout-style badges you can earn by doing ‘climate dares’.
Researching books to feature on my podcast No Books on a Dead Planet means I always have a climate book on the go. Here are a few gems I’ve found along the way…
A Guide to Eco-Anxiety: How to Protect the Planet and Your Mental Health by Anouchka Grose
I must have read this book at least three times (all of them in audio, it’s only five hours long and the audiobook reader has the most comforting voice!). It’s an all-in-one emergency pack for when the dread rises. She covers everything from ‘pre-traumatic stress’, pleasure in the face of apocalypse and some tough-love truths about freaking out before the worst has happened – as well as advice on how to talk to children about the climate crisis and some fun facts about waste in the film industry! It’s really a bento box of solid research and pep talks. I wouldn’t leave my house without it downloaded to my phone!
The High House by Jessie Greengrass
This one really swept me up and stuck in my teeth long after finishing it. The High House follows Caro as she settles into a mysterious homestead on a hill, prepared for her and her younger brother by her now absent parents. As the surrounding world changes drastically and the village below begins to disappear, she reflects on the future her parents predicted, and the chilling way it has come to pass. This was both an indulgence and a conk on the head for the prepper in me who fantasises about self-sufficiency but deep down knows collective action is what will really save us.
The Ice by Laline Paull
This is the perfect escapist-without-escaping-entirely climate read. If you love a courtroom drama or a whodunnit, this is the perfect dark mystery to dig in to…with a twist. It follows the friendship of Sean and Tom, two men who bond over their love of the Arctic – but have very different ideas of how to protect it. Tom becomes a celebrity conservationist, whilst Sean chases power and founds a Davos-style retreat in an attempt to win over the darker underbelly of the billionaire class. When one of them is killed in a glacier accident, the other is left to answer for their actions and forced to face the differences that drove them apart. A real thrill from start to finish!
From What Is To What If by Rob Hopkins
Written by the co-founder of the Transition movement, this short book will pummel you with examples that answer the question ‘but what can we actually do‘? From reclaiming our towns to overturning our idea of local money, this is full of real world examples of how the future could not only be safer, but more fun…and most importantly, give you ideas on how to start now.
Other Recommendations from Leena in the Rebel Library
Poem of the Month
The Flower that Breaks Rocks by Yvonne Reddick
He introduced his daughters to Ben Nevis.
You take the bearing. Line up the arrow,’
pointing to Moonlight Gully Buttress,
Minus One Gully. We didn’t care
until Dad found us a saxifrage. Its blooms
were spokes of the North Star.
‘Saxifraga means rock-breaker.’
Dainty Alpinist, chinking her roots into fissures
and fractures, like crampons in toeholds.
But I see now what he could only glimpse.
That she and the other Alpines – roseroots
and pearlworts – are scrambling skywards
until all that remains for them is cloud.
Yvonne Reddick is a writer and researcher. Her debut collection Burning Season, published by Bloodaxe, won the Laurel Prize for Best UK First Collection of Ecopoetry. Her work appears in publications such as The Guardian, PN Review and The North. Her books Ted Hughes: Environmentalist and Ecopoet and Anthropocene Poetry are published by Palgrave Macmillan.
Contact our Librarian if you would like themed book lists to support teaching about climate change.
We’re always looking for contributors to our growing collection of literature to explain and explore the climate and biodiversity emergency. If you’re a writer or poet and would like to share your work or ideas, please get in touch! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for prose or email@example.com for poetry.