Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Are You There, Oprah? It’s Me, Erin

Dear Oprah, First of all, I hope you don’t mind me addressing you this way. If the title of my letter reminds you of Judy Blume’s classic Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, that’s only because, in terms of the bookselling community, you really are no less than a god. And I mean that in an Old Testament, terrifying and power-wielding kind of way. Secondly, did you get the book I sent? Of course, there have been a few, but I’m referring to the most recent one, An Unreasonable Woman by Diane Wilson. It came in a yellow Jiffy padded envelope with UPS Tracking number IZ 040 871 03 4495 6004. Have you seen it? I sent it out last Tuesday, attention: you. In case you missed the package, or in the event it was snatched up by a rival book club host lingering outside your mailroom, here’s a brief reminder of its contents: Diane Wilson was a fourth generation shrimper and a mother of five when she learned that her tiny county was rated among the ten most toxic in the US. At that point she began what would turn into a heroic, 12-year campaign against the toxic emissions from Formosa and Dow Chemical that were poisoning her community with cancer and destroying the bay she counted on for a living. Her new book, An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters, and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas, is the wild story of her fight. The package I sent included the book, and might have also included a fashionable black and hot pink button that reads: An Unreasonable Woman. Diane’s book is out this fall and had been getting rave reviews, but now a trespassing charge from one of her political actions is threatening to put Diane in prison for 4 to 5 months! Oprah, I know you wanted to have Diane on your show—mainly because she had a dream about being on the program. But I’m writing today to warn you that if you don’t hurry up and call us, she’s going to have to go to prison and we’ll both be screwed! You’re probably thinking “What can I, O, possibly do about this?” Well, there are several easy options. The first and most preferable is to call me immediately at 802-295-6300 x106 and arrange to meet with Diane Wilson, probably while wearing your “Unreasonable Woman” button and holding a well-combed copy of her book. Another option is for you to personally visit Diane in prison. This wouldn’t be quite as good, since I’m told you would not be allowed to wear a button inside the facility. Third, even if you miss Diane entirely, you can still promote her book on your show! It would also really help if you could carry a copy everywhere you go. Any of these options would be preferable to the course your producers seem to be pursuing right now, which is to ignore Diane Wilson entirely. Please, Oprah, don’t let me down! Sincerely, Erin L Hanrahan PS. If you want to talk to Oxygen about buying Diane’s film option from Lifetime and producing a movie, that would be OK, too.


Why Title a Book “Parachuting Cats into Borneo”?

Looking for crisp, concise, and targeted advice for success? Change-management experts Axel Klimek and Alan AtKisson offer that, and more, in their new book Parachuting Cats into Borneo.The authors expose the most significant impediments—helping readers recognize their habitual patterns of thinking and perceiving a situation, critique their own beliefs regarding change, and then move beyond these […] Read More

Why Modern Wheat Is Making Us Sick

Why is modern wheat making us sick?  That’s the question posed by author Eli Rogosa in her new book Restoring Heritage Grains.Wheat is the most widely grown crop on our planet, yet industrial breeders have transformed this ancient staff of life into a commodity of yield and profit—witness the increase in gluten intolerance and ‘wheat […] Read More

A Dictionary to Survive the Future

When British economist David Fleming died unexpectedly in 2010, he left behind his great unpublished work, a masterpiece more than thirty years in the making—an intellectually evocative and inspiring dictionary, Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It. In it, Fleming examined the consequences of an economy that destroys the very foundations—ecological, […] Read More

Michael Ableman’s 15-Point Urban Food Manifesto

What if farms and food production were integrated into every aspect of urban living—from special assessments to create new farms and food businesses to teaching people how to grow fruits and vegetables so farmers can focus on staple crops.That’s the crux of Michael Ableman’s Urban Food Manifesto, which has been ten years in the making […] Read More

Q&A with Michael Ableman: How Urban Farming Can Improve Society

Street Farm is the inspirational account of residents in the notorious Low Track in Vancouver, British Columbia who joined together to create an urban farm as a means of addressing the chronic problems in their neighborhood.Street Farm is a story of recovery, of land and food, of people, and of the power of farming and nourishing […] Read More
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