On Finishing Tim Flannery's "Here on Earth," in Contrast to Justin Torres's "We the Animals"

So last night I reached the end of Tim Flannery’s new excellent book of nonfiction, Here on Earth: A Natural History of the Planet, which I rate as one of the best books of nonfiction I’ve read since Timothy Egan’s (two Tims?) The Big Burn (2009), and comparable to Jared Diamond’s Collapse (2004). In some ways it deals with climate change, but overall it deals with the dangerous state of our planet in a broader sense, with multiple threats to stability and sustainability. Much of it revolves around the question Are we a Gaian or a Medean species? Or put another way (the Gaian/Medean makes much sense when reading the book), are we going to save and nurture our environment, or are we going to destroy it, and in so doing, destroy ourselves? He has several scenarios, and overall is hopeful. He doesn’t play the doomsday games common in James Howard Kunstler’s books, for example. It’s an intelligent, lively, and even cerebral book.
At the same time I was reading Here on Earth I reviewed Justin Torres’s new novel(la), We the Animals, which is completely opposite. It’s a short but good novel about some mixed-race kids growing up in New York State, and one of them ends up being gay. It’s raw, emotional, and plucks the heartstrings. Tim Flannery plucks the mind-strings. Both are worth reading.

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