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Reading Buddies

As we face a climate-altered future together, it helps to read together. Reading Buddies is a book club open to all, one title at a time. We focus on books related to climate, social, and environmental justice, meeting in person or on Zoom.  

Photo: With author Ranae Hanson at the Saint Anthony Park Library, summer 2022.

Current book: Spring 2024

Saturday, April 27, 3:00–4:30 pm
St. Anthony Park Branch Library
2245 Como Avenue, St. Paul

Light refreshments provided.

“What can I do, personally, about the climate crisis? . . . [Roop] says that civic engagement is one of the most effective ways for individuals to make a difference and to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the climate crisis....Ask yourself, what are you passionate about? Using this passion may motivate you to help shape the future of your community.”

—The New York Times Climate Forward newsletter

Join us to discuss The Climate Action Handbook, a browsable, visual guide to the many and varied solutions at hand when we act as individuals, households, and community members. Travel and work, consumer choices and habits, home energy, food and farming: when we change our patterns even slightly, we help shift societal norms.

About the author: Heidi Roop, PhD, is director of the U of M Climate Adaptation Partnership and an assistant professor of climate science known for her skill in communicating with broad audiences. Her research as taken her from Antartica to California to the shores of Lake Superior.  

Past book selections

In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben makes the case that the forest is a social network. This book illuminates the processes of life, death and regeneration that characterize woodlands all over the world-- and the challenges urban trees are up against. About the author: Peter Wohlleben is a German forester whose books have transformed the way people view trees and forests.  


The Sentence is a novel that asks what we owe to the living and the dead. A tiny Minneapolis bookstore is haunted in 2020 by the ghost of a recent customer. Tookie, who has landed a job there after years of incarceration, must solve the mystery of this haunting during a year of grief, isolation, and racial reckoning in the Cities and the nation. About the author: Louise Erdrich is the Pulitzer-winning author of many books. An enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain band of Chippewa, she lives in Minneapolis.

Blending history, journalism, and memoir, Rez Life is  a nonfiction view of Native American reservation life, especially in Minnesota and Wisconsin, the home ground of Ojibwe writer David Treuer.  With vivid characters, the book spans past and present— and recent movements to preserve language and culture. About the author:  Author of The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, Treuer divides his time between the Leech Lake reservation and Los Angeles. 

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A Half-Built Garden is science fiction that extrapolates from our climate emergency. In 2083, a young scientist stumbles upon alien arrivals who have crossed the galaxy to save humanity, aiming to convince them to leave their ecologically ravaged home and join them among the stars. But some earthlings have already begun to save their planet, forming watershed networks to heal ecosystems and communities. Should they stay or should they go? About the author:  Fiction writer Ruthanna Emrys lives in the Washington DC area. 

From What Is to What If is a call to action to reclaim our collective imagination. Shrinking our carbon footprint and building happier communities are two sides of the same coin, says author Rob Hopkins. Subtitled Unleashing the Power of Imagination to Create the Future We Want, the book is told through the stories of people and communities around the world who are doing it now and witnessing rapid, dramatic change.  About the author: Rob Hopkins is widely regarded as the founder of the Transition movement. He lives in Totnes, England.

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Watershed: Attending to Body and Earth in Distress, winner of a MN Book Award for memoir/creative nonfiction, explores the parallels between the health of our bodies, communities, and ecosystems. Ranae Hanson reflects on her youth in the Minnesota northwoods where three watersheds meet; climate truths learned from her students in the Twin Cities, many from immigrant families; and the lessons in her own diabetic health crisis. About the author: After 30 years of living in Saint Anthony Park and teaching at Minneapolis College, Ranae Hanson now divides her time between Minnesota and Seattle.

The Seed Keeper, winner of a MN Book Award in the novel category, spans several generations of a Dakhota family. Rosalie Iron Wing returns to her childhood home in the Mankato area, rediscovering her heritage and the ancestors who protected their families, traditions, and a precious cache of seeds through years of hardship. About the author: Diane Wilson is the author of Spirit Car, former executive director of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance, and a Mdewakanton descendent.

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All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, is an anthology by women climate leaders: scientists, journalists, farmers, lawyers, activists and innovators across generations, geographies, and races. About the editors: Ayana Elizabeth Johnson (left) is a marine biologist and founder of Ocean Lab, a think tank for the future of coastal cities. Katharine K. Wilkinson is an author, strategist, and teacher.

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