Summer Reading List

In my old blog, I once referred to myself as a book collector. Before, I knew that book collectors are a thing and that there are people that buy books for millions of dollars. That said, I would still consider myself a bibliophile.

I am like my father. I read every day, but what I'm reading changes continuously: periodicals, newspapers, and books. I've even recently tried my hand at audiobooks - I still like reading along with the voice. My interest spans from history, cultural, fiction, foodie lore, self-help, non-fiction, biographies, memoirs, autobiographies, and religious.


Now, I am old fashioned; I prefer the actual paper copy. I fancy reading (the same way that I watch movies) accompanied by a treat. Historically my favorite combo is sour candy (Sour Patches, Sour Straws, etc.) and paper. But I also genuinely enjoy tea, coffee, tea cookies, chocolate, or fruit. I appreciate reading everywhere. EVERYWHERE: outside, in bed, on the plane, in the car, on the couch, by the pool, at the beach, ANYWHERE.

 I love wandering through bookstores. I search for books sold at Good Will, on the street, in little libraries, in actual libraries, in used bookstores, half-off books, dollar stores, indie bookstores, chain bookstores, and Ashley's connects (she worked in the publishing industry for years). But during the pandemic, I've been revisiting books and searching for new books to read. Searching for new books online is quite weird for me. I prefer randomly bumping into my future read on the shelves. Like through the simple action of roaming and letting it all unfold, we choose one another. "Hey, you."

But that process is no longer the case, and so I was on the internet exploring ideas to compile my summer reading list. While seeking black authors and nature, I came across this article:


"Finding My Climate-Conscious Tribe: Black Nature Lovers and Writers,"

by Kim-Marie Walker.

Her article is beyond a good read. I read it while sitting outside during the sunset, having hot chamomile and honey milk tea. Reading the piece feels like you are listening to your brilliant and relatable friend list her outdoor adventures and recounting books. It's marvelous.

Anywho, here is a list of some of the books that she recommends:

  1. PlanetWalker (2005) by environmentalist John Francis

  2. The Cooking Gene (2017) by Michael W. Twitty*

  3. Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape (2015) by geologist Lauret Savoy

  4. Matthew Henson (1866-1955). In 1912, Henson wrote A Negro Explorer at the North Pole (2001)

  5. In Mississippi Solo, A River Quest (1988), Eddy L. Harris

  6. The Lost Daughter: A Memoir (2013), Mary William

  7. Rahawa Haile, author of Going At It Alone (a fantastic piece about her solo trip up the Appalachian Trail) is writing her memoir

  8. Warren M. Washington’s Odyssey in Climate Modeling, Global Warming, and Advising Five Presidents (2007)

  9. Dianne D. Glave’s To Love the Wind and the Rain: African Americans and Environmental History (2005) and Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage (2010)

  10. Legacy on the Land: A Black Couple Discovers Our National Inheritance and Tells Why Every American Should Care (2010) by Audrey and Frank Peterman

  11. Birding for Everyone: Encouraging People of Color to Become Birdwatchers (2007) by John C. Robinson

  12. The Environment and the People in American Cities: 1600s-1900s. Disorder, Inequality, and Social Change (2009) by Dr. Dorceta Taylor

  13. The Wrong Complexion for Protection: How Government Response to Disasters Endangers African-American Communities (2012) and Race, Place and Environmental Justice After Hurricane Katrina: Struggles to Reclaim, Rebuild, and Revitalize New Orleans and the Gulf Coast (2009) by co-authors Robert Bullard and Beverly Wright

  14. Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet by Ibrahim Abdul-Matin (2010)

  15. Race, Poverty and the Environment Journal, a periodic publication edited by Carl Anthony.

  16. Sustainable South Bronx: A Model for Environmental Justice (2007) by Majora Carter

  17. Diary of An Environmentalist (2009) by Norris McDonald, founder of the African American Environmentalist Association (1985)

  18. Black Faces, White Spaces (2014) by Carolyn Finney

  19. Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land (2018) by Leah Penniman (“the first comprehensive ‘how-to’ guide for aspiring African-heritage growers to reclaim their dignity as agriculturists and for all farmers to understand the distinct, technical contributions of African-heritage people to sustainable agriculture.”)

  20. Mélina Mangal’s The Vast Wonder of the World, an illustrated book about Ernest Everett Just (1833-1941)

  21. The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature (2016) by J. Drew Lanham

*The Cooking Gene is peculiarly resourceful, I borrow it electronically from the library over and over. I have to revisit it consistently; it is written like the most intricate quilts (so rich in history, in food, in social justice, in Twitty's memoir, etc.)


Thank you so much, Kim-Marie Walker, this booklist is about to take my summer to another level.


Polepole, Friends.

Shelby