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(CU Independent Illustration/Josh Shettler)
(CU Independent Illustration/Josh Shettler)

Environmental reads for environmental Boulder

Summer is almost here, though with the current weather outside, it may be hard to believe it. For some, it may be the last summer in Boulder. Hopefully, you can fill your last moments with adventure, as well as squeeze in some pleasure reading on the side.

You know, read the book that has been sitting on your nightstand all semester long–a book you really wanted to get into, but with all the other assigned readings, just could not find the time. If this happens to be one checkpoint on your bucket list, here are five books I recommend that not only fit with the Boulder lifestyle of environmentally conscious, but fit with the goal to explore and experience new adventures as well.

(CU Independent Illustration/Josh Shettler)
(CU Independent Illustration/Josh Shettler)

“Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen

This New York Times bestseller is a novel for everyone. It takes you through the journey of everyday life. Never have I read a more relatable book that also pushed the boundaries of my understanding of what it means to be a family in America. It’s a story of love and obsession. It is a story of the environment and of the human condition with all its imperfections. The last few chapters are bound to make you cry joyfully because Franzen succeeds in renewing faith in the goodness of humanity, that at times, seems uncertain.

“Lilith’s Brood” by Judith Butler

This book is out of this world – quite literally.  Ever imagine what it would be like if humanity was on the verge of extinction? I bet you have, seeing as how this theme is running rampant in literature and media today. This novel answers this fantasy, but not in the cannibal zombie kind of way. In this novel, you get aliens that will scramble your mind; they are unfathomable and grotesque, as well as familiar and loving. They represent what we, especially here at Boulder, seek but have not been able to fully obtain – coexistence with each other and the natural world.  These aliens are biotech geniuses that have a love for humans – not their form, but their faulty personalities and quirky characteristics. This book lends itself to the feeling of “The Twilight Zone,” creating an apocalyptic world that is uncomfortably perfect and too good to set down.

“Solar Storms” by Linda Hogan 

Hogan’s novel is a lyrical piece of art. The novel is told through a Native American perspective and will have you thinking about nature and the Western world in ways you’ve never thought of before. Hogan’s novel is also not all fiction, for it bases its central issue around a historical event – the building of a dam in the 1970s that caused destruction to not only the surrounding wilderness, but also Native American culture and way of life. This book is full of vivid description and is deeply seated in a story of love between people and earth, and the journey of healing fragmented lives. The story takes the reader away to a new dimension of coexistence, and you may not want to come back.

“The Road” by Cormac McCarthy

McCarthy’s novel does not invite you to visit a world of color and love, but, instead, a world of apocalypse, where all living signs of nature are dead and a man and his son are left to survive in a bleak, empty world in the hopes of discovering some sort of salvation. McCarthy’s writing traps the reader in this apocalyptic landscape and even on a warm night, you might find yourself reaching for a blanket in a mental attempt to escape the frostbitten cold of this fictional, yet eerily imaginable world.

“The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver

Does “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad ring a bell?  If so, here is the female version of that classic story of Africa and the white – this time woman’s – journey through its jungles and culture. Five hundred plus pages long, the novel is an engaging, powerful read. Personal connections with the women characters are easy to create, and new perspectives regarding God, man, and western ideology are difficult to shake off.

For more environmentally themed reads, look here or here.

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kitty Winograd at

About Kitty Winograd

Kitty is a senior at CU majoring in English and minoring in Ebio. Kitty loves baking, reading literature (assigned or not) and looks forward to watching Boulder Creek change colors every year. Upon graduation, she hopes to continue happily writing on issues that concern and interest her, especially those centered around the natural world and humankind's interaction with it. As a side note, Kitty is an identical twin, and both can often be seen on campus. Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kitty Winograd at

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