Thursday, May 13, 2010
There are a lot of important books that need to be read because of what they say, and a few that are wonderful books because of how they say it, but only a tiny few that need to be read both because of what and how they say it.
And none of that tiny last category have a worse, less-appealing title than Bill McKibbin's new book Eaarth, which ought to get somebody in the publisher's title-approval office slapped.
If you read the book you understand the point he's trying to make (that we no longer live on the old Earth we once enjoyed -- we're now deep into the totally uncontrolled experiment called "Let's dump millions of years of carbon into the air over the course of a few decades and see how bad things get" and we're way ahead of schedule for bad things permanently disrupting and destroying lives - and species - so it seems to someone like McKibbin that Earth is no longer the right name for our little wounded planet, thus Eaarth).
The problem is that, with such an unappealing title, which will make some people think it's a science fiction book (especially with the gigantic black X across the cover, stolen from that great, disturbing Ed Norton movie, American History X), not enough people will read it. And that would be a great shame. It's a beautifully written, important book. Every person at or over the age of 14 and many 12- and 13-year-olds should read this book.