a book by Rachel Louise Snyder
On this unexpectedly affecting, and at times hilarious, pant-chasing excursion into global trade, readers meet the designer for Bono's righteous label, Edun; cotton classers in Azerbaijan who judge the material's quality; and textile workers in Cambodia and China. Afterward, it'll be hard to pull on a pair of jeans and not think about the people who made them. --M.B.S.
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THE LAWS FIELD GUIDE TO THE SIERRA NEVADA
a book by John Muir Laws
If you have room for only one Sierra Nevada guidebook in your pack, make it this little gem. A beautiful resource for better understanding the region, it includes entries on insects, tracks, stars, scat, and mushrooms as well as the usual plants, birds, and animals. Dense with illustration, it's the perfect all-ages introduction to field guides. Well-researched natural-history notes pull the reader more deeply into the story of these iconic mountains. --Pamela Biery
a book by Mark Bowen
Widely acknowledged as the preeminent climate scientist of our time, James Hansen, the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has spent decades alerting us about global warming and beseeching governments to take action. Author Mark Bowen relates how Hansen's efforts landed him in hot water with greenhouse-gas-emitting industries--and the Bush administration, which tried to muzzle this courageous public servant. --Marilyn Berlin Snell
a book by David Wann
If your New Year's resolutions bit the dust, this book can help you reassess your goals. Our overconsumptive lifestyle is out of sync with our real values, author David Wann says, and we can find greater contentment by creating vibrant communities, right-sizing our homes, valuing our time, and nurturing our health. Wann provides a useful compendium of tidbits and sources, but his concepts will be familiar to Sierra readers. --Debra Jones
a film by Rob Stewart
Like a sleuth in scuba gear, filmmaker Rob Stewart uncovers the grisly reality of a multibillion-dollar black market: the shark-fin industry. He also presents a convincing case that these rulers of the ocean, vilified by Jaws and the news media, are misunderstood and in need of saving. The film is both heartbreaking and hopeful as Stewart explores and fights for the most expansive but neglected ecosystem on Earth. --Katie Mathis