A list of books in the field of fiction, near fiction and fantasy that have been recommended by GreenSpirit members as providing inspiration and a depth of insight that only works of the imagination can supply.
Collated by Erna Colebrook
Kenneth Grahame. The Wind in the Willows (HarperCollins, 1994), pp. 272. ISBN 0 00 647926 X
The adventures of Mole, Ratty, Badger, Toad and the River.
Text available online.
Ursula La Guin. The Earthsea Quartet (Penguin Books, 1993), pp. 691. ISBN 0 14 015427 2
Comprising A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore and Tehanu.
As a young dragonlord Ged, whose use-name is Sparrowhawk, is sent to the island of Roke to learn the true way of magic. Ged becomes an Archmage and helps High Priestess Tenar escape from the labyrinth of darkness. But as the years pass, true magic and ancient ways are forced to submit to the powers of evil although these are finally overcome by the dragon Kalessin.
Rudyard Kipling. Just So Stories (Penguin Books, 1998), pp. 160. ISBN 0 14 062113 X.
How the Camel got its Hump, The Beginning of the Armadillos, The cat that Walked, The Butterfly the Stamped and many more stories of beginnings.
C S Lewis. The Chronicles of Narnia (Diamond Books, HarperCollins 1997).Boxed set comprising: The Magician’s Nephew; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; The Horse and his Boy: Prince Caspian; Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Silver Chair; The Last Battle.The history of the world of Narnia and of the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve who became kings and queens there.
Phillip Pullman.Northern Lights (Scholastic Press, 1995), pp. 416. The Subtle Knife (Scholastic Press, 1997) pp. 352.
The Amber Spyglass (Scholastic Press, 2000), pp. 560.
The complex plot is driven by an affirmation of physicality and also of consciousness. The ‘Dust’ which streams through the story’s parallel universes without communication with intelligent beings will leak out into nowhere. If you want to know how this and kindred themes are woven into a narrative with a wonderful variety of living characters, read these books!
[Click here for a review of the trilogy by Jean Hardy]
Dan Simmons.Hyperion (Bantam Books, 1990), pp. 482. ISBN 0 553 28368 5.
The Fall of Hyperion (Bantam Spectra, 1991), pp. 517. ISBN 0 553 28820 2.
Endymion (Bantam Books, 1996), pp. 624. ISBN 0 553 57294 6.
The Rise of Endymion (Bantam Books, 1998), pp. 709. ISBN 0 553 57298 9.
J R R Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings (Harper Collins, 1993), pp. 1137. ISBN 0 261 10325 3.
Comprising The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. The story of the quest to destroy the Great Ring as told by Bilbo and Frodo of the Shire. “The English-speaking world is divided into those who have read The Lord of the Rings and those who are going to read them.” The ecological aspects of these stories is studied in Patrick Curry. Defending Middle-Earth (HarperCollins, 1998).
Aldous Huxley. Island (Grafton Books, 1976), pp. 336,
ISBN 0 586 04439 6
This was Huxley’s last novel, first published in 1962. While Island is a work of fiction, it is the vehicle Huxley used to communicate his ideas about how people in a good society would interact with each other and their environment.
See also www.island.org/Huxley/ for quotes and comment.
Barbara Kingsolver. Prodigal Summer
Hardback: (Faber & Faber, 2000), pp. 455,
ISBN 0571206387 Paperback: (Faber & Faber, 2001), pp.453,
The key character in this story of an Appalachian spring is a female coyote who does not appear until the very last page but who provides the thread weaving the other characters together. This is a beautiful story, very well told. [Click here for a review by Christine Avery]
William Fiennes. The Snow Geese (Picador, 2002), pp. 250,
ISBN 0 330 37579 2
Snow geese spend their summers in the Canadian Arctic. Each autumn they migrate south, to Delaware, California and the Gulf of Mexico, and in the spring they fly north again. One year William Fiennes decided to go with them and to write the story of his travels. The result is a mesmerizing story about the joy of being alive, of being on the move and – above all – of returning home.
Ursula Le Guin. Always Coming Home.
(University of California Press), pp. 524,
ISBN 0 520 22735 2
The people in this book might be going to have lived a long, long time from now in Northern California. The main part of the book is their voices speaking for themselves in stories and life-stories, plays, poems and songs.