The best books that keep us turning pages and thinking about the kind of world we're leaving to future generations

Who am I?

When I began writing my first novel, the words “what happens next is up to all of us” became my guiding mantra. I have just completed my second novel with the same theme, The Space Between Dark and Light. It will be released early in 2023. During the years between the two books, I have become a speaker on topics related to the environment and peace. In 2020, I received an award as a Creative Environmental and Peace Activist from Visioneers International Network. It is the thought of the world our grandchildren (and generations after them) will inherit from us that makes me care passionately about the future.


I wrote...

I Call Myself Earth Girl

By Jan Krause Greene,

Book cover of I Call Myself Earth Girl

What is my book about?

All Gloria ever wanted was a normal life. Instead, she is having recurring dreams about Earth Girl who recounts the story of her abduction and rape during a time of war. When Gloria discovers she is pregnant, despite her husband’s long absence, she begins to question her sanity. Could she really be carrying Earth Girl’s baby? While unraveling the mystery that ties her to the past and the future, Gloria confronts questions about the way we live, the choices we make, our relationship to the earth, and our responsibility to future generations. 

The books I picked & why

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A Children's Bible

By Lydia Millet,

Book cover of A Children's Bible

Why this book?

I loved this book. It made me laugh and it made me cry. Any book that does both is on my list of keepers, and Lydia Millet did both so well. She created characters I care about and put them in situations that kept me turning pages.

The plot revolves around a group of kids vacationing with their parents who were friends in college and have reunited for the first time. The narrator, a teenager, describes the adults in less than flattering terms, especially when a hurricane descends on their rented mansion.

Millet portrays the absurdity of ignoring what is right in front of us. She deftly leads us to the ending, which is somehow both heartbreaking and hopeful. It touched me deeply, and I have thought about it often.

A Children's Bible

By Lydia Millet,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Children's Bible as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pulitzer Prize finalist Lydia Millet's sublime new novel-her first since the National Book Award-longlisted Sweet Lamb of Heaven- follows a group of eerily mature children on a forced vacation with their parents at a lakeside mansion. Contemptuous of their elders, who pass their days in a hedonistic stupor, the children are driven out into a chaotic landscape after a great storm descends. The story's narrator, Eve, devotes herself to the safety of her beloved little brother as events around them begin to mimic scenes from his cherished picture Bible.

Millet, praised as "unnervingly talented" (San Francisco Chronicle), has produced a…


Bewilderment

By Richard Powers,

Book cover of Bewilderment

Why this book?

This novel intrigued me because of Robin, a young boy who cares deeply about endangered animals. Powers uses the child as a device to make readers think about our earth and its inhabitants. I did the same with the character in my novel. Both children agonize over how to make adults pay attention to the crisis we face.

While the plot centers on a father’s intense devotion to his struggling son, Powers succeeds in portraying nature’s magnificence and its increasing fragility. I am in awe of his ability to create such a page-turning plot in a message-driven book.

Bewilderment

By Richard Powers,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Bewilderment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The astrobiologist Theo Byrne searches for life throughout the cosmos while single-handedly raising his unusual nine-year-old, Robin, following the death of his wife. Robin is a warm, kind boy who spends hours painting elaborate pictures of endangered animals. He's also about to be expelled from third grade for smashing his friend in the face. As his son grows more troubled, Theo hopes to keep him off psychoactive drugs. He learns of an experimental neurofeedback treatment to bolster Robin's emotional control, one that involves training the boy on the recorded patterns of his mother's brain...

With its soaring descriptions of the…


Ishmael

By Daniel Quinn,

Book cover of Ishmael

Why this book?

Ishmael is one of the most unique novels I have read. Years after reading it, I still think about it. I’m sure it is one reason I am concerned about the impact of our choices on the people who come after us. Hard to imagine that a book about a gorilla who teaches a human using the Socratic Method could have such an impact on me. But it did. The gorilla wants to help humans understand why things are the way they are. (This is something I want to understand too.) All of this sounds philosophical, and it is. At the same time, the book was a page-turner for me. I read it one day. It entertained me and made me think.

Ishmael

By Daniel Quinn,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Ishmael as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most beloved and bestselling novels of spiritual adventure ever published, Ishmael has earned a passionate following. This special twenty-fifth anniversary edition features a new foreword and afterword by the author.

“A thoughtful, fearlessly low-key novel about the role of our species on the planet . . . laid out for us with an originality and a clarity that few would deny.”—The New York Times Book Review

Teacher Seeks Pupil.
Must have an earnest desire to save the world.
Apply in person.

It was just a three-line ad in the personals section, but it launched the adventure of…


Leave the World Behind

By Rumaan Alam,

Book cover of Leave the World Behind

Why this book?

This novel pulled me in quickly with its portrayal of a middle-class family hoping to spend a relaxing week in a rented home they could never afford to own. The family’s plans go awry quickly when the owners show up at door wanting to stay there as a refuge from the total blackout in NYC. Adding suspense to witty social commentary, Alam creates a sense that something very bad is happening, without ever describing what that bad thing is. I had a few ideas, but the author outsmarted and surprised me with the ending. I feel he captured a lot about modern life and the anxiety many of us feel about the future. Yet, it was entertaining and made me laugh a few times.  

Leave the World Behind

By Rumaan Alam,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Leave the World Behind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*A THE TIMES #1 BESTSELLER*
*THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER*
*A BARACK OBAMA SUMMER READING PICK 2021*

'Easily the best thing I have read all year' KILEY REID, AUTHOR OF SUCH A FUN AGE

'Intense, incisive, I loved this and have still not quite shaken off the unease' DAVID NICHOLLS

'I was hooked from the opening pages' CLARE MACKINTOSH

'Simply breathtaking . . . An extraordinary book, at once smart, gripping and hallucinatory' OBSERVER

_______

A magnetic novel about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong

Amanda and Clay head…


Parable of the Sower

By Octavia E. Butler,

Book cover of Parable of the Sower

Why this book?

Released in 1993, the dystopian story it tells begins in 2024. This grabbed me because back when I read George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1984 seemed like the distant future. I didn’t think anything in the book could happen in my lifetime. But history proved me wrong. Butler’s version of 2024 is overwhelmingly negative, and there are some elements that ring true now. But the plot is interesting and kept me reading even when the story was grim. I like Lauren, the main character, because she keeps looking for ways to survive and help others. She believes if we are willing to change and adapt, we can create a better future for those who come after us. I believe that too.

Parable of the Sower

By Octavia E. Butler,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked Parable of the Sower as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The extraordinary, prescient NEW YORK TIMES-bestselling novel.

'If there is one thing scarier than a dystopian novel about the future, it's one written in the past that has already begun to come true. This is what makes Parable of the Sower even more impressive than it was when first published' GLORIA STEINEM

'Unnervingly prescient and wise' YAA GYASI

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We are coming apart. We're a rope, breaking, a single strand at a time.

America is a place of chaos, where violence rules and only the rich and powerful are safe. Lauren Olamina, a young woman with the extraordinary power to…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in dystopia, Long Island, and gorillas?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about dystopia, Long Island, and gorillas.

Dystopia Explore 258 books about dystopia
Long Island Explore 13 books about Long Island
Gorillas Explore 9 books about gorillas

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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