Endless Summer Reading List
Where climate fiction and real news collide
As Washington State was having one of its wettest and coldest springs on record, I finally had a chance to read Gold, Fame, Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins. According to Vogue magazine, this book is a “sun-struck apocalyptic road trip of the California dream. . . working at the intersection between history and myth, reality and sheer imagination. And, refreshingly and believably, it’s often very, very funny. . . This is not the nameless desolation of The Road, but a wildly vivid, arid world, radically altered and populated with characters whose multiple narratives propel the story.”
I love this description and, personally, I found Gold, Fame, Citrus to be devastatingly beautiful—I’ve been haunted by it for weeks.
As most Pacific Northwesterners moped around most of April and May, I found myself feeling immensely grateful. I was thinking things like, “It’s still green here! It’s so lush! We still have time!” Being transported to arid, abandoned California through Watkins’ book made me forget where I was for a time and the stark images, like of all of the emptied homes and swimming pools across LA, are hard to forget.
Good fiction stays with us forever. Climate fiction is particularly pervasive in that it often interweaves with the news. Reports of record low levels in the West’s second largest reservoir are real. Water cuts will soon be a reality affecting California, Arizona, and Nevada and other southwestern states as early as this year. Meanwhile, record flooding in WY and MT have called for an evacuation of Yellowstone Park.
Sometimes we can’t make these thing up.
The news on a lot of fronts has been troubling, especially today. That is one of the reasons I took a few weeks off from this project after the massacre in Uvalde, TX. I am now recommitting to creating two posts a month and I feel an urgent need to talk to people about the important ways they care for the Earth, and each other, women’s bodies especially.
Her Deepest Ecologies the podcast will be coming in September. In the meantime, summer has begun. Any climate fiction on your summer reading list? I’d love to know and share a list here next month.