Green fiction is a relatively new genre that celebrates the natural world. It’s also called eco-fiction and includes many books centered on nature or in which environmental themes are paramount. If you love hiking or biking through the country side, take along one of these books that explores the magic of woodland and cave or examines our role as stewards of it.
Wallace Stegner Stegner
The title comes from a geological term meaning the point where mine tailings settle after being moved; it symbolizes the transplanted easterner Susan who follows her husband out west. Written from the perspective of a grandson, this story of failed love examines how strongly place can affect lives and relationships.
Leslie Silko Si
After being imprisoned in a World War II POW camp, Tayo returns to the Laguna Pueblo where he meets his mother's people. By connecting with his mythological history and heroes including Thought Woman, Corn Mother, and Sun Father, he begins to heal.
T. Coraghessan Boyle Bo
It's the 21st century and 75-year old, Tyrone Tierwater, an eco-terrorist who has served time, undertakes a new action trying to save endangered animals, but in trying to save them, he puts his own family at risk. A suspenseful novel lightened with humor that pays tribute to Edward Abbey.
Marilynne Robinson Robinso
An intense story of two young sisters, Ruth and Lily, who were abandoned by their mother and left in the care of a series of relatives in Idaho. They seek solace by a lake, and one sister refuses to become domesticated by the civilized and tame.
Barbara Kingsolver Kingsol
Diana Wolff, a Forest Service biologist and animal tracker, seeks solace in a cabin high in the Appalachians, but a stranger enters her world bringing both romance and danger. Full of detailed descriptions of mountain animals, plants, and weather, this novel makes you want to haul your backpack and spend a summer in the mountains.
David Guterson Guterso
Set on the fictional island of San Piedro off the Washington Coast, this novel investigates a murder in this settlement of "5000 damp souls." What the reader remembers are the evocative and brooding descriptions of intriguing characters and magnificent rain forest.
Louise Erdrich Er
This book tells the story of two men in love with the same woman, an ordinary enough plot, but made extraordinary by its language and setting on the Chippewa Reservation. Filled with native myths and startling nature imagery.
Richard Powers Po
The wild sandhill cranes of Nebraska are threatened, and a man suffers a car accident and resultant brain injury. The hero recognizes how vital cranes are to our spiritual fabric and begins to take steps to save them.
Annie Dillard Dillard
Pioneer life in the hamlet of Whatcom near Bellingham Bay in Washington State is the focus of this novel. Dillard celebrates the beauty and fecundity of the earth, but also presents a realistic view of the hardships of nineteenth century farming when people carved a hard existence from the land.
John Nichols Nichols
In mountainous New Mexico where water is more valuable than nearly anything, a handyman diverts a stream. In the process he revives a ghost town but instigates a fight over water rights. In Spanish, milagro means miracle, and a miracle occurs that helps these farmers fight development and keep control of their ancestral lands.
Edward Abbey Abbey
This classic novel of ecoterrorism celebrates Hayduke II and his motley friends who drive through the canyons and deserts of the Southwest burning billboards and trying to change consciousness about how humans interact with nature. A comic and provocative look about how one group hopes to save the planet, including some illegal choices.
Conrad Richter Richter
Set in New Mexico in the nineteenth century, this book chronicles the conflict between ranchers and pioneering farmers who fight over valuable grassland. The "nesters" want to fence it in; the ranchers want their animals to roam freely. The battle continues into the next generation.
Rick Bass Ba
Three novellas that each explore a different natural landscape: Texas rangeland desiccated by drought, a Montana wilderness where stars dominate the night sky, and an ancient seabed buried under the foothills of the Appalachians.
Margaret Atwood Atwood
This dystopian novel, the 2nd in a series following Oryx and Crake, features the world after most of humanity has been killed by climate change. Two hardy survivors, a former sex worker and a healer, find strange gene-spliced animals including a lion and lamb combo called a liobam. Atwood brings humor and a strong environmental ethos to her dark material.