Friday, January 1, 2010

Post # 7: My 2010 Reading List

I've been giving some thought to my personal reading list for 2010. I have rather eclectic interests and resultant reading habits. (I like classical english novels, a few english-language poets, and the Bible - but that's a different reading list.) When it comes to energy/society/environment issues, I like to read penetrating analysts by broad thinkers - even if I don't agree with them. (Why waste my time only reading authors who think like me?) I believe our reading should stretch us, enrich us, inform us, and stir us to action.

With this as background, here' s my current 2010 energy/society/environment reading list:

The GeoPolitics of Energy: Achieving a Just and Sustainable Energy Distribution by 2040 by Judith Wright and James Conca. I've met Jim Conca. He's an articulate and passionate communicator of our global energy plight, and its connection to quality-of-life issues for the 2/3 of the world population who are suffer through their days and nights with little of no access to energy.

The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler: A controversial hit that sparked an intense debated among businessmen, environmentalists, and bloggers when it was published 2005 and 2006. Kunstler is a strong critic of rural sprawl in America, and a strong believer in peak oil. (I'm already into this one...)

Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air by David JC MacKay: A recent, very popular book on low-carbon energy options. MacKay is getting high marks for his pragmatic, penetrating analysis of our options.

Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto by Stewart Brand. Brand is the founder of the Whole Earth Catalog. In recent years, he (like Patrick Moore, the co-founder of Greenpeace) has evolved away from his earlier narrow solution set to our global energy/environment problems, to a broader "portfolio" approach to solving our complex problems.

Blackout by Richard Heinberg. Heinberg is a well-known advocate of our need to move away from fossil energy sources. Has a sharp focus on global, systems-level solutions. From what I know of him, he also has a refreshing tendency not to sugar-coat the warts of any of the energy sources and solutions.

Two books by Vaclav Smil: (1) "Energy in Nature and Society: General Energetics of Complex Systems", and (2) the more recent "Global Catastrophes and Trends: The Next Fifty Years". Smil, a Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Manitoba has a reputation as a provocative and thoughtful analyst. However, from my limited exposure to his writings, his position on nuclear energy appears dated and unbalanced. Nevertheless, he tends to be a mind-stretcher.

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond: Pulitzer Prize winning book on the fate of human societies (His more recent book, "Collapse" is one of my favorites.)

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. Bryson is a great science writer. This book, which was originally published in 2003, is supposed to be one of his best.

A Road More or Less Traveled by Otis & Roberts. A book recently published by two young men who hiked the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. It's full of hilarious stories, thought provoking introspective, and reflective criticism about our society and our culture. (Yes, I'm already well into it...)

What Jesus Demands From the World by John Piper. Piper is one of my favorite modern Christian writers. Always thought-provoking, hard hitting, and always focused on bringing the reader to a personal engagement with Jesus Christ and personal obedience to His Word.

I told you it is an eclectic list .... :)

Cheers, and Happy New Year!

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