What We Are Reading Today: Falter by Bill McKibben

Updated 15 April 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Falter by Bill McKibben

  • It is a powerful and sobering call to arms, to save not only our planet but also our humanity

Falter, the environmentalist Bill McKibben’s latest book about threats to the planet, combines fear of bad outcomes with hope for good outcomes.  It is a powerful and sobering call to arms, to save not only our planet but also our humanity.

McKibben’s worst fear is summarized in his subtitle: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?  

In a review published in The New York Times, Jared Diamond said McKibben’s book “is much more about grounds for fear, which take up some 18 chapters, than about grounds for hope, which take up five.”  Diamond added: “Fear will motivate some people who are currently undecided, and increase the motivation of others already convinced. But in my experience most people need a strong dose of hope to be spurred to action.” 

The review also said that McKibben “explains the present dangers to civilization, which include the risk of nuclear war and multiple hazards associated with climate change: Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, rising sea levels, and ocean warming and acidification.”


What We Are Reading Today: The River Ki by Sawako Ariyoshi

Updated 25 May 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: The River Ki by Sawako Ariyoshi

The River Ki, short and swift and broad like most Japanese rivers, flows into the sea not far south of Osaka. On its journey seaward, it passes through countryside that has long been at the heart of the Japanese tradition. 

The River Ki dominates the lives of the people who live in its fertile valley and imparts a vital strength to the three women, mother, daughter and granddaughter, around whom this novel is built.

It provides them with the courage to cope, in their different ways, with the unprecedented changes that occurred in Japan between the last years of the last century and the middle of this century.

Sawako Ariyoshi, one of Japan’s most successful modern novelists, describes this social and cultural revolution largely through the eyes of Hana, a woman with the vision and integrity to understand the inevitability of the death of the traditional order in Japan, says a review published on googlereads.com.

Ariyoshi writes with a love for detail bound to a broader understanding of the importance of the geographical and biological forces that mold her characters — and the result is a story that flows with all the vitality of The River Ki itself.