72 books like Odds Against Tomorrow

By Nathaniel Rich,

Here are 72 books that Odds Against Tomorrow fans have personally recommended if you like Odds Against Tomorrow. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming

Hans Ohanian Author Of Einstein's Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius

From my list on the climate-change disaster and how to avoid it.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hans Ohanian is a physicist who has taught at several universities before retiring to engage in full-time research, writing, and acting as reviewer for several scientific journals. In one of his first books he included two chapters on “Energy, entropy, and environment” and “Nuclear energy.” This gave him valuable expertise for reviewing the five great books he recommends here.

Hans' book list on the climate-change disaster and how to avoid it

Hans Ohanian Why did Hans love this book?

This is a pie-in-the-sky 30-year plan for reducing CO2 in the atmosphere by joint worldwide implementation of 80 “solutions.” For each of these, the book proposes a number of giga-tons of CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere and the resulting dollar cost and savings.

I admire Hawken for his quantitative approach and his imaginative list of “solutions.” The numbers reveal the enormity of the drawdown enterprise. Some “solutions” are merely the usual renewables. Some came as a nice surprise to me, such as LED lanterns with batteries and small solar panels for residents in off-the-grid regions.

But I fear many of the solutions will never be rigorously implemented and would have a high policing cost to ensure compliance. For instance, the first solution involves the collection of refrigerant gases from expiring air conditioners. Who will voluntarily pay for this?

By Paul Hawken (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

• New York Times bestseller •

The 100 most substantive solutions to reverse global warming, based on meticulous research by leading scientists and policymakers around the world

“At this point in time, the Drawdown book is exactly what is needed; a credible, conservative solution-by-solution narrative that we can do it. Reading it is an effective inoculation against the widespread perception of doom that humanity cannot and will not solve the climate crisis. Reported by-effects include increased determination and a sense of grounded hope.” —Per Espen Stoknes, Author, What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming…


Book cover of Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America

Karl F. Seidman Author Of Coming Home to New Orleans: Neighborhood Rebuilding After Katrina

From my list on understanding and appreciating New Orleans.

Why am I passionate about this?

After hurricane Katrina, I was shocked by the scale of displacement and devastation, and the failed government response. I decided to use my planning classes at MIT to assist with rebuilding efforts. Over the next ten years, my students and I worked with several dozen organizations across New Orleans and provided ongoing assistance to three neighborhoods. Through this work and my relationships with many New Orleanians, I learned so much about the city and came to appreciate how special New Orleans, its way of life and people are.   

Karl's book list on understanding and appreciating New Orleans

Karl F. Seidman Why did Karl love this book?

There is no New Orleans without the Mississippi River.  

Rising Tide tells the story of government and engineers’ flawed efforts to control this mighty river, and how they contributed to the disastrous 1927 flood that left over one million people homeless and destroyed scores of towns. 

It provides a rich picture of the enduring social and racial divides in early twentieth-century New Orleans.

Moreover, it reveals how the city’s wealthy white leaders chose to flood neighboring communities to protect the city while undermining efforts to compensate the victims—creating a precedent for injustice and corruption, and ensuring a long-standing distrust of the city’s levees and flood control system.    

By John M. Barry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award and the Lillian Smith Award.

An American epic of science, politics, race, honor, high society, and the Mississippi River, Rising Tide tells the riveting and nearly forgotten story of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. The river inundated the homes of almost one million people, helped elect Huey Long governor and made Herbert Hoover president, drove hundreds of thousands of African Americans north, and transformed American society and politics forever.

The flood brought with it a human storm: white and black collided, honor…


Book cover of All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis

Anne Louise Burdett Author Of Dirt Gems: Plant Oracle Deck and Guidebook

From my list on nerdy science books that break your heart and put it back together again.

Why am I passionate about this?

Working with the natural world has long been my life’s compass. I have been dedicated to conservation, education, and management of terrestrial and marine ecosystems for my entire career. I strongly believe we must approach the crisis that we now live in with humor, joy, and devotion, and we must be able to fall in love with this world over and over again, even if it breaks our hearts. This is why I write, and this is how I live. I love reading science books that allow this connection, that lead me into the complexities of why we must never stop feeling wonder at this magnificent world.

Anne's book list on nerdy science books that break your heart and put it back together again

Anne Louise Burdett Why did Anne love this book?

If I’m being completely honest, I bought this book because of my very large professional crush on both of the editors. I work in climate science, so I have signed up to have my heart destroyed over and over again. I read about all the species that are dying and threatened, the ecosystems collapsing, the fishermen fighting for their livelihoods, and the coastal communities slammed by storms.

This book covered all these topics, but if you’re going to learn about this, (as we all should), we also have to be given the reasons to keep at it. We have to not lose the will to fight or the ability to see beautiful, generative, and imaginative solutions and outcomes. This book helps with that, too. 

By Ayana Elizabeth Johnson (editor), Katharine K. Wilkinson (editor),

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked All We Can Save as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • Provocative and illuminating essays from women at the forefront of the climate movement who are harnessing truth, courage, and solutions to lead humanity forward.

“A powerful read that fills one with, dare I say . . . hope?”—The New York Times
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE

There is a renaissance blooming in the climate movement: leadership that is more characteristically feminine and more faithfully feminist, rooted in compassion, connection, creativity, and collaboration. While it’s clear that women and girls are vital voices and agents of change for this planet, they…


Book cover of Pale Horse, Pale Rider

Yvonne Ventresca Author Of Pandemic

From my list on on pandemics published pre-COVID.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the author of short stories and novels including my young adult debut, Pandemic, which continues to be a timely read about surviving a widespread deadly virus. After the H1N1 pandemic of 2009 (commonly called Swine Flu), I was fascinated with the idea of a global illness that could be much, much worse. I researched historical diseases, interviewed public health officials, and the idea for my novel was born. Written and published before COVID-19, some of the details are eerily predictive of coronavirus. Pandemic won SCBWI’s Crystal Kite Award the year after its publication, and a June 2022 reissue of the original novel includes updated resources and backmatter.

Yvonne's book list on on pandemics published pre-COVID

Yvonne Ventresca Why did Yvonne love this book?

During the flu pandemic of 1918, the author, Katherine Anne Porter, became deathly ill but recovered. Published over twenty years later, Pale Horse, Pale Rider is her fictionalized account about falling in love with a soldier during the war, then fighting to survive the influenza outbreak. I love that Porter drew from her own experience to write this short novel. (She disliked the term novella.) Pale Horse, Pale Rider is a beautifully written story about a devastating disease.

By Katherine Anne Porter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The classic 1939 collection of three short novels, including the famous title story set during the flu epidemic of 1918.

From the gothic Old South to revolutionary Mexico, few writers evoke such a multitude of worlds, both exterior and interior, as powerfully as Katherine Anne Porter. This sharp collection of three short novels includes “Pale Horse, Pale Rider,” Porter's most celebrated story, where a young woman lies in a fever during the influenza epidemic, her childhood memories mingling with fears for her boyfriend on his way to war. Also included is “Noon Wine,” a haunting story of tragedy and scandal…


Book cover of The Empire State Building

Jason M. Barr Author Of Cities in the Sky: The Quest to Build the World's Tallest Skyscrapers

From my list on real estate titans built New York skyline.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an economics professor, I’ve spent the past twenty years researching why cities build upward. Though I mostly look at cities through the lens of statistics and data, every building has a personal and dramatic story that exists behind the numbers. And no matter where you go in the world, great cities with their towering skyscrapers all owe a debt to New York—every city wants its own version of the Empire State Building to signal its economic might. New York is the world’s metropolis. As the (now cliché) song line goes, “If I can make there, I’ll make it anywhere,” is a true today as a century ago.

Jason's book list on real estate titans built New York skyline

Jason M. Barr Why did Jason love this book?

The Empire State Building is not only the world’s most iconic skyscraper but is also my personal favorite. No other building captures the spirit of New York in quite the same way. During the Roaring Twenties, it was built from a cocktail of profit and ego.

The developers engaged in a height competition against Walter Chrysler and his skyscraper. It is a better building because of the competition rather than despite it. Tauranac provides a fascinating account of how Al Smith, former governor of New York, and John Raskob, former General Motors executive, decided to enter the Manhattan real estate game in the hopes of making themselves the skyscraper kings of New York. In the process, they changed New York and world history.

By John Tauvanac,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Empire State Building as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Empire State Building is the landmark book on one of the world's most notable landmarks. Since its publication in 1995, John Tauranac's book, focused on the inception and construction of the building, has stood as the most comprehensive account of the structure. Moreover, it is far more than a work in architectural history; Tauranac tells a larger story of the politics of urban development in and through the interwar years. In a new epilogue to the Cornell edition, Tauranac highlights the continuing resonance and influence of the Empire State Building in the rapidly changing post-9/11 cityscape.


Book cover of High Maintenance

Marilyn Simon Rothstein Author Of Crazy to Leave You

From my list on by authors who make me laugh.

Why am I passionate about this?

Children were seen and not heard when I was growing up in Flushing, Queens, where I had one tree in front of my house. I moved to Connecticut as an adult and now I look out on woods and bears sneaking into my garage. The result of my silent childhood is I’m an excellent listener and an even better eavesdropper—superb traits for a writer. I owned a Connecticut advertising agency for most of my adult life then realized I could make less money if I became an author. My first book was published when I turned 63—which is amazing because I'm only 40. 

Marilyn's book list on by authors who make me laugh

Marilyn Simon Rothstein Why did Marilyn love this book?

Let me start by saying I adore every book by bestselling author Jennifer Belle, from her debut, Going Down, to her latest, The Seven-Year Bitch. Belle is witty, wonderful, and truly New York, New York. Here I will discuss High Maintenance, her top-of-the-charts, five-star love story between a woman—and an apartment. Protagonist Liv Kellerman is engrossing. Upon leaving her husband and a fabulous penthouse, Liv relocates to a hovel in Greenwich Village that is certainly from the “beat” generation. In her efforts to be top floor again, she becomes a realtor in the cutthroat Manhattan market. You won’t want to put this one down.

By Jennifer Belle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked High Maintenance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Liv Kellerman is 26, newly divorced, and has just lost the love of her life. Her husband? You've got to be kidding. It's her apartment she's in mourning for - her lovely penthouse apartment with its Empire State Building view. On her own for the first time in her life, Liv is forced to relocate to a crumbling Greenwich Village hovel, but things are about to get a lot worse. She's about to become an estate agent. Belle's gift for creating eccentric and winning characters, and her acute observations of both the absurd and the poignant in everyday life, are…


Book cover of Gotham

Jonathan H. Rees Author Of The Fulton Fish Market: A History

From my list on the history of New York City.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Professor of History at Colorado State University Pueblo and have published eight books, mostly about the history of food. After encountering Up in the Old Hotel for the first time during the early 1990s, I started reading New York City history in my spare time. The Fulton Fish Market: A History is my way to blend my expertise with my hobby. Each of these books are beautifully written, informative, and fun. If you’re interested in the history of New York City and you’re looking for something else to read, I hope you’ll find my book to be the same.

Jonathan's book list on the history of New York City

Jonathan H. Rees Why did Jonathan love this book?

I am definitely recommending some very big books here! 

This one is easily recognizable because of the size of its spine, but it’s also incredibly interesting – an economic, social, and political history of New York City from its founding to consolidation, I think the best thing about this book is all the subjects it covers which I knew nothing about. 

New York City during the American Revolution comes to mind. So does the early history of New York’s apartment buildings. There’s a reason this book won a Pulitzer Prize. 

I like the sequel too (called Greater Gotham, only by Wallace), but prefer this book, I think, because I know the post-1898 history better while much of this book was novel to me.

By Edwin G. Burrows, Mike Wallace,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

To European explorers, it was Eden, a paradise of waist-high grasses, towering stands of walnut, maple, chestnut, and oak, and forests that teemed with bears, wolves, racoons, beavers, otters, and foxes. Today it is the city of Broadway and Wall Street, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, and the home of millions of people, who have come from every corner of the nation and the globe.

In "Gotham", Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace have produced a monumental work of history,on ethat ranges from the Indian tribes that settled in and around the island of Manna-hata, to…


Book cover of Summer at Tiffany: A Memoir

Kay Xander Mellish Author Of How to Work in Denmark: Tips on Finding a Job, Succeeding at Work, and Understanding your Danish boss

From my list on women leaving home to find success in the big city.

Why am I passionate about this?

I left my hometown of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, at age 18 to attend university in Manhattan, where I started my career in journalism and the media. Since then, I’ve lived in Berlin, Germany; Hong Kong; and now Copenhagen, Denmark, generally moving to advance my career and explore new worlds. Whenever you move to a new place and establish yourself in a new culture, there’s always a learning curve. Helping other women (and men!) adapt to their new environment is why I started the “How to Live in Denmark” podcast, which has now been running for more than 10 years. 

Kay's book list on women leaving home to find success in the big city

Kay Xander Mellish Why did Kay love this book?

This book is so light-as-air that I’ve read it several times and forgotten it entirely in between readings, so it’s always new again. Two 21-year-old friends from Iowa travel to New York City for a summer working at Tiffany’s in 1945, just as World War II is ending. It’s a summer of jewelry, dating, Broadway shows, riding on open-top buses, and a plane that crashes into the Empire State Building.

It’s the perfect beach read; you can probably polish it off in one sun-drenched afternoon.

By Marjorie Hart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Summer at Tiffany as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York City, 1945. Marjorie Jacobson and her best friend, Marty Garrett, arrive fresh from the Kappa house at the University of Iowa hoping to find summer positions as shopgirls. Turned away from the top department stores, they miraculously find jobs as pages at Tiffany & Co., becoming the first women to ever work on the sales floor, a diamond-filled day job replete with Tiffany-blue shirtwaist dresses from Bonwit Teller's—and the envy of all their friends.

Looking back on that magical time in her life, Marjorie takes us back to when she and Marty rubbed elbows with the rich and…


Book cover of James and the Giant Peach

Ben Guterson Author Of Winterhouse

From my list on kids suddenly caught up in mysterious circumstances.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been drawn to stories that feature mysterious locales and secret objects and strange or magical occurrences, so books with these elements—particularly when the main characters in the books are young people learning about themselves and the world around them—are often very satisfying to me. There’s something naturally engaging, I believe, in tales where someone is thrust into a disorienting situation and has to make sense of the uncertainty he or she faces. The books I’ve written for young readers all tend in this direction, and so I’m always on the hunt for stories along these same lines.

Ben's book list on kids suddenly caught up in mysterious circumstances

Ben Guterson Why did Ben love this book?

Bizarre, misshapen, and sweet, this is the Roald Dahl book I find most alluring. A much-beloved tale, the plot sounds phantasmagoric in distillation: a house-sized peach sprouts overnight from a tree outside the shack where young James is essentially kept imprisoned by two cruel aunts; the boy tunnels into the fruit’s pit, befriends the band of enormous talking insects within, and the whole gang embarks on an adventure where the peach bobs out to sea, is carried through the air by hundreds of seagulls, is attacked by creatures who live on clouds, and eventually comes to rest on the spire of the Empire State Building. Intrigue, humor, and rambunctious versifying abound—and the once-forlorn James is not only unvanquished but happy. Nice ending.

By Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked James and the Giant Peach as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl in magnificent full colour.

James Henry Trotter lives with two ghastly hags. Aunt Sponge is enormously fat with a face that looks boiled and Aunt Spiker is bony and screeching. He's very lonely until one day something peculiar happens. At the end of the garden a peach starts to grow and GROW AND GROW. Inside that peach are seven very unusual insects - all waiting to take James on a magical adventure. But where will they go in their GIANT PEACH and what will happen to the horrible aunts if they stand…


Book cover of Flotsam

Barbara Lehman Author Of The Red Book

From my list on wordless with surreal or magical realism elements.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love wordless books immoderately, and I also love books that have meta, surreal, or magical realism elements. This list combines these two features! I was personally so happy that The Red Book was described in a review as “a wordless mind trip for tots,” and I think all the books on this list would perfectly fit that description (and much, much more!) too.

Barbara's book list on wordless with surreal or magical realism elements

Barbara Lehman Why did Barbara love this book?

Impeccable artwork, precision storytelling, and singularly unique invention are all packed into this amazing book experience. The basic concept is brilliant and mind-bending, and actually maybe even a little bit mind-melting. On top of that is an additional treat of wonderful and whimsical glimpses into a magical undersea world, obviously painted with true passion for the subject matter.

By David Wiesner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam--anything floating that has been washed ashore. Bottles, lost toys, small objects of every description are among his usual finds. But there's no way he could have prepared for one particular discovery: a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera, with its own secrets to share . . . and to keep. In each of his amazing picture books, David Wiesner has revealed the magical possibilities of some ordinary thing or happening--a frog on a lily pad, a trip to the Empire State Building, a well-known nursery tale. This time, a…


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