12 Earth Day Books for Adults

Human hands nurturing the Earth
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Nowadays you will be hard-pressed to find anyone who has not heard of climate change. But long before Greta Thunberg’s ardent pleas, Green Peace campaigns and Earth Day protests became the driving force behind the modern environmental movement, concerns for our natural world first appeared in fiction. 

This year, to help you celebrate Earth Day in style, we have selected twelve spellbinding tales, depicting the beauty and fragility of our planet, which will inspire you to protect our environment for future generations.

A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury 

Image Credit: William Morrow and Co

Terrible repercussions await those travellers who meddle with time. But in the age of ambitious expeditions some life lessons can easily be forgotten…

In the 21st century, any time portal can be opened for a sizeable fee. However, a safari trip back to the Cretaceous period is an opportunity a seasoned hunter Eckel cannot afford to miss. Soon, together with his four companions, he is transported 66 millions years back in time, when ferocious dinosaur predators roamedthe Earth. But the extinct species hunting trip goes awry, when adventurers fail to observe the gentle equilibrium that exists in nature, changing the course of history. 

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Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Image Credit: Create Space Independent

Herman Melville’s masterpiece gained its worldwide popularity thanks to its vivid portrayal of a perilous whaling mission to the South Seas. Often referred to as “the first climate manual”, this coming-of-age tale follows Captain Ahab and his crew aboard the whaling ship Pequod. For Ahab, who has lost a leg to an 80ft sea monster, his unquenched thirst for revenge turns into a deadly obsession. The quest comes to a tragic end after the ship is attacked and destroyed by a gliding great demon of the seas.

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The Wandering Earth by Cixin Liu

Image Credit: Head of Zeus

“In The Wandering Earth, our planet is in extreme danger. The Sun has become unstable and it’s been predicted that, in a few years, a helium flash will completely burn all the planets of the solar system. Under the Unity Government, all the nations of Earth have been working for centuries on transforming the planet into a giant spaceship and setting it on a thousands-years-long journey in search of a new sun.

At the beginning of this novella, we witness the first phase of this transformation. The Earth Engines, gigantic devices higher than the Everest, have stopped the planet and will soon set it in motion on its interstellar voyage. 

This is science fiction at its best. A tale full of sense of wonder, but also of deep human emotions: melancholy, grief and utter faith in the capability of humanity to overcome even the biggest obstacles.”- Odo

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The Lord of The Flies by William Golding

Image Credit: Eric Johnson

An ultimate story of survival, The Lord of The Flies follows a group of children marooned on a tropical island after a disastrous plane crash. As the harsh reality descends upon the young castaways, tempers begin to fray and friendships are put to the test. It’s not long before the first shoots of democracy are ripped out by anarchy when the voice of reason is silenced by primordial needs of the tribe. Smeared with blood and savagery, this twisted allegory brings to light the wickedness of the untamed heart away from civilisation. 

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The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey

Image Credit: Beehive

“This incendiary call to protect the American wilderness centers on Vietnam veteran George Washington Hayduke III, who returns to the desert to find his beloved canyons and rivers threatened by industrial development. On a rafting trip down the Colorado River, Hayduke joins forces with feminist saboteur Bonnie Abbzug, wilderness guide Seldom Seen Smith, and billboard torcher Doc Sarvis, M.D., and together they wander off to wage war on the big yellow machines, on dam builders and strip miners. Moving from one improbable situation to the next, packing more adventure into the space of a few weeks than most real people do in a lifetime, the monkey gang puts fear into the hearts of their enemies, laughing all the while.”- Nate

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Walden by David Henry Thoreau

Image Credit: Everymans Library

In 1845, Thoreau moved to a cabin that he built with his own hands along the shores of Walden Pond in Massachusetts. Shedding the trivial ties that he felt bound much of humanity, Thoreau reaped from the land both physically and mentally, and pursued truth in the quiet of nature. In Walden, he explains how separating oneself from the world of men can truly awaken the sleeping self. Thoreau holds fast to the notion that you have not truly existed until you adopt such a lifestyle—and only then can you reenter society, as an enlightened being.

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The Bear by Andrew Krivak

Image Credit: Bellevue Literary Press

“A book of silences and beauty. So much is left unsaid in this tale of a father and daughter making their lives in the wilderness, after the apocalypse. And yet everything in it speaks eloquently of loss, perseverance, and an austere love at the very heart of things. A powerful antidote to the dystopic despair of so much apocalyptic fiction, this novel, if you let it, will reach down and change you, in deep and subtle ways, for the better.”- John

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Journey to The Centre of The Earth by Jules Verne

Image Credit: Dover Evergreen Classics

When the chance discovery of an ancient cryptogram reveals a path to the Underworld, the adventurous Professor Otto Lidenbrock sets off to Iceland, determined to reach the centre of the earth. But nothing can prepare him and his nephew Axel for what they will find beneath the ground; measureless caverns and vast subterranean seas reveal all of the earth’s known history and more, while dinosaurs do battle, giant men herd mastodons, and danger and excitement wait around every corner. 

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Latitude of Longing by Shubhangi Swarup

Image Credit: Quecus Publishing

A spellbinding work of literature, Latitudes of Longing follows the interconnected lives of characters searching for true intimacy. The novel sweeps across India, from an island, to a valley, a city, and a snow desert to tell a love story of epic proportions. We follow a scientist who studies trees and a clairvoyant who speaks to them; a geologist working to end futile wars over a glacier; octogenarian lovers; a mother struggling to free her revolutionary son; a yeti who seeks human companionship; a turtle who transforms first into a boat and then a woman; and the ghost of an evaporated ocean as restless as the continents. Binding them all together is a vision of life as vast as the universe itself. 

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Image Credit: Subterranean Press

This chillingly prophetic account of life after the global swine flu outbreak follows a group of performers on their tour around The Great Lakes. Twenty years after a stealthy killer almost obliterated the human race, the world faces new challenges. As the troupe travels around performing for new settlements, they discover a seedy underbelly of scattered outposts with their own heinous laws. Violence, pseudo-religion and mysterious disappearances cast a menacing shadow over their journey as they begin to wonder whether civilisation will ever be restored to its former glory.

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Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Image Credit: Corsair

There is a terrible danger lurking around the marshes in North Carolina. For the residents of Barkley Cove, wetland is the source of fear and speculations, while for social outcasts down on their luck like Kya Clark, it’s their home. Raised by Mother Earth and taught by sympathetic humans, she has learnt to overcome deprivation and loneliness in order to survive in the wilderness. 

Denounced as the Marsh Girl, Kya is often subjected to public harassment and mockery whenever she visits the town. So when the tragedy strikes, a savage witch-hunt ensues. The death of a local celebrity sends the ripples of rage across town blaming the Marsh Girl of all deadly sins. In the hope to clear her name, Kya will have to deploy all tools in her arsenal to win this fight against bigotry and misogyny.

Enriched with lush descriptions of nature, this coming-of-age story weaves together the themes of first love and loss, mystery and redemption into one riveting read. 

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Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Image Credit: FSG Originals

Exquisitely crafted by the master of creepiness, this eerily dreamlike Sci-Fi tale offers a chance to lose yourself in a disturbing world of obliteration. Abandoned ‘for reasons that are not easy to relate’, unspoilt coastal Area X has been puzzling scientists for decades. After all, anyone who has ever ventured into this lush eden came to regret it. Determined to uncover its lethal secret, four hopefuls embark on a perilous expedition, where inexplicable moans, unmapped tunnels and mass hallucinations are just a few of many surprises that are yet to unhinge their minds. Fans of H.P. Lovecraft will particularly appreciate this highly unsettling tale which has the power to sneak under your skin and haunt you for days after you have read it.

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Stella is a Marketing Consultant and has been writing content for Full Text Archive since 2015. When she is not writing, she is meticulously planning our social and e-mail campaigns. Stella holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Russian Literature, which has provided a broad foundation from which she continues to explore the written world.

She spends her free time reading, visiting old castles and discovering new coffee shops. She can be reached at stella

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