Book Corner


Gathering Light  by Kathleen Stocking

You don’t have to have been born,or even live in Leelanau County, to appreciate Kathleen Stocking’s latest book: Gathering Light. If you are lucky enough to live there she has dedicated her work to you. 



And when you read about the geology, land, culture and people, you will also learn so much about Kathleen herself, her family, her growing up in Leelanau county, and her varied and enriching experiences around the world. It explains all the effort to preserve the Sleeping Bear Dunes and Seashore. She is  a conscious observer of all that has changed, and is changing, on this peninsula and elsewhere.

I personally learned more about Hank Bailey and his long history in the county, and his perspective on the treatment of Natives, their endurance and contributions.  You can also learn about all the other families and personalities that have formed so much of the culture there.

This is a must read for all who care about our NW Michigan environment, geology, history and culture. Thank you Kathleen for enriching all of us!

Review by Ann Rogers, Posted August, 2019.



The Overstory   a novel by Richard Powers, 2018.

Published in 2018 and winner of the National Book Award

As mentioned in the on-cover reviews, the author has combined  "the wonders of science with the marvels of art". The Overstoryis not your typical novel or documentary.

The Overstory: A Novel by [Powers, Richard]

This is the story of a group of people so different in background, economic circumstance, and health,  who have one thing in common: a growing awareness that there is a world beyond us, a world we need to learn and communicate with. It also leads them to act and resist in the destruction of that world, another lesson for us. We may not agree with all their means, but we can feel their desperation to act.

If you call yourself an " environmentalist", this is a must-read. it will inform, inspire, enrage, and hopefully push you to keep true to your commitment.

As John Muir is quoted : "We all travel the Milky Way together, trees and men...In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness".

It is now out in paperback at Horizon Books.

Review by Ann Rogers, Posted July, 2019.


The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner  by Daniel Ellsberg, 2017

Dedicated “to those who struggle for a human future”.

In 1946 Albert Einstein wrote:” The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe”.

The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner

As the author reveals from his many years of working on nuclear plans for the Rand Corporation, the U.S. and Russia both had plans for a Doomsday Machine, an expensive system that if used would bring about global destruction and death to almost everything on earth. 

The secrecy and deception about these weapons by our government , and even the policies that continue today,threaten the survival of the human species We need to know the real history of nuclear age, and have  radical changes in nuclear policy. As Ellsberg contends: “no country on earth should be trusted with nuclear weapons”. How can we tolerate the prospect of a nuclear winter? What would justify any government having or planning their use? Yet today our government is asking for yet more funding to upgrade them.

This is not for bedtime reading, but it is a must for anyone wanting to learn more of the secret working of our government and the threats proposed by the warmongers in Washington.

Review by Ann Rogers, Posted June, 2019.


Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play itself Out? (2019), written by Bill McKibben

   Remember Bill McKibben, the guy who came to Michigan to warn us about Climate Change in what seems like so many years ago? At that time, many of us went to the Straits of Mackinaw for a rally against Line 5 where he was a speaker.  Well, he has a new book just out called “Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play itself Out?” This is our reality right now, right here, not only someplace else. 

 While his first chapter is about hope, the rest is very bleak in offering an account of how the climate crisis, combined with new technological developments like AI and genetic manipulation threaten the very future of the human race. Even if you have read a great deal about the climate crisis, I encourage you to check out this new approach. Some folks in our high tech world think the can mitigate the problem with artificial means or by creating humans who adapt to what is coming.

   As the person who has done the most to bring this crisis to our attention,  McKibben’s books are gems, keeping us informed of what we need to be thinking about. It is supposed to come out in paperback around September; get the hard cover or watch for the lesser-priced edition.

Review by Ann Rogers, Posted May, 2019.




Lake Nation: The People and Fate of the Great Lakes (2018), written by Dave Dempsey. 
With nearly 45 million people living in the Great Lakes watershed area, shouldn’t we be paying more attention to what some are planning for the future, and why it matters?
Who represents these people, and who represents the water and those of us who care about it.?
The proposed sale of Great Lakes water in 1998 gave impetus to the creation of the Great Lakes Charter,Lake Nation: People and the Fate of the Great Lakes but as we know, it still is not strong enough to deter greed and allow the selling of ground water to Nestle.
Now we have more challenges in pipelines, diversion, pollution  and the climate crisis.
Dave’s new book seeks answers from interviews with those who love the lakes and those who study and understand the science and ecology involved.
It is also a call to action, to make all of us citizen activists in making protection a priority.
We are all connected to the Great Lakes and all the streams, rivers and groundwater that is part of our watershed.
Now we must all speak for the waters.

Review by Ann Rogers, Posted January, 2019.




Raising Elijah (2013) by Sarah Stein-grater

Anyone who is concerned about the effects of global warming, and /or the exposure to all the toxic contamination of the environment on us and our children, would learn much from Raising Elijah. Although the author intended her writings as a way to learn how to protect children, it has a message for all of us.Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis (A Merloyd Lawrence Book)

Sandra is a biologist and an ecologist who became alarmed about the effects of environmental change and degradation on her 2 children and decided to teach them as much as she could without diminishing their ability to celebrate and enjoy life.

Even thought the book was published in 2011, it is just as vital today, especially if you are a parent, grandparent , teacher or child care professional.  Indeed we all need to be concerned and informed enough to take action.

Review by Ann Rogers, Posted December, 2018




The Right to Be Cold, (2015) written by Sheila Watt-Cloutier with a forward by Bill McKibben is described by the sub-title "One WEoman's Fight to Protect the Arctic from Climate Change", but it is more than that. 

It is a memoir of her growing up in the traditional, sustainable way of life of an Inuit.  She was taught the 4 values essential to their culture and life:

1.  Knowledge and respect of land and sea

2.  Responsibility of the people to the land and all its in habitants

3.  Generosity and hospitality to the extended family (as in a hunt)

4.  Individual autonomy and strength in choices

Now, the changes induced by climate change, resource extraction, and the related social and health problems such as cancer and birth defects, are threatening the very existence of the Inuit. Oil and gas drilling have a history of failure, and no connection to their culture. Proof of this is seen in the schools where oil companies are brainwashing youth by pushing the curriculum to train for vocational work. On top of all this, greenhouse gases produced outside the Arctic (mostly in the US and China) are affecting their land and waters.

All that is happening there is a barometer for what is happening to the planet. It is also a violation of the human rights of the Inuit and other Indigenous peoples. The author not only makes this connection, she has spent her life working to convince others such as the ICC-Canada and UN groups, and integrating the traditional wisdom of living sustainably where everything is connected.

This is the right story for a holistic view, and a lesson for our times.

A “courageous and revelatory memoir” (Naomi Klein) chronicling the life of the leading Indigenous climate change, cultural, and human rights advocate

Review by Ann Rogers, Posted November, 2018.


The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities and the Remaking of the Civilized World.

As Elizabeth Kolbert says, this book  is “deeply persuasive and deeply unsettling”

It is Jeff Goodell’s latest attempt to convince the few remaining climate change skeptics by traveling the world, speaking  to eye-witnesses on the front lines of change and the scientists who have been studying this for decades. One of those scientists, Jason Box, has gone to Greenland every year to study the changes, and has been interviewed by Peter Sinclair. (Remember him from our own forums on green renewable energy?)

Goodell tackles everything from the impact of fossil fuels, to climate apartheid, salinization of soils and drinking water, and the inundation of modern coastal cities and military sites.

Rising seas are re-shaping our world and will change our way of life forever. Old-fashioned engineering will only be temporary and the billions needed will be wasted.

There is no permanent solution other than working within nature’s rules.

Will we heed the warnings and change our thinking?  That remains to be seen.

Review by Ann Rogers


The Death and Life of the Great Lakes”, by Dan Egan, just published in 2017 Highly recommended this month 


This is a good companion reader and update on Jeff Alexander’s book, “Pandora’s Locks” which was published in 2009.

The author describes the ecological unraveling of 20% of the world’s fresh waters from the building of the earliest canals up to the present, including, mistakes by the EPA and the effects of Climate Change.

He also describes how the remedies for each malady or intrusion turned out to have consequences no one anticipated. Check out the latest on quagga and zebra mussels, the 3 varieties of Asian Carp, and the effects of toxic algae.
Both authors talk about the unplanned ecological experiments with the goal of growth at any cost. Ben Franklin in 1746 warned, “When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.”

Looking for solutions from the natural world are critically important for the healing and health of the lakes. The authors offer a hopeful solution. Will we heed them?


A footnote: Dan Egan will be in Elk Rapids for Green Elk Rapids Days this coming summer.

Watch for the date and details.

Review by Ann Rogers

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