Staff-Picked Reads

From the employee-owners of Chelsea Green Publishing

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Look no further. Your next read is right here. We asked our employee-owners what their recommended reads are. You'll thank us later.  If you’re still looking for some inspiration, check out our new releases for a look at the best new books of the season.

Receive 35% off all books in this guide with code CGP18!

Happy Reading from the employee-owners of Chelsea Green Publishing

In 2012, Chelsea Green decided to practice what it publishes and became an employee-owned company. Transitioning to employee ownership will keep Chelsea Green an independent publisher and ensure that the publishing vision started in 1984 lives far into the future.

Eager

The name of my wedding DJ was "Super Flying Beaver," so I was drawn to this book from the very beginning. And, it did not disappoint! Full of fun beavers facts that make for lively conversation at any cocktail party, Eager by Ben Goldfarb is not only an entertaining book, but shows us how beavers can play an important role in helping to solve some of our most pressing environmental problems.

Christina Butt, Senior Book Strategist

Lessons in Resilience Collection

Recently, author Michael Foley (Farming for the Long Haul) included this Wendell Berry quote in an email he sent me: "Expect the end of the world. Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.”

Berry's words informed my recommendation of these three titles—all of which focus on resourcefulness, self-reliance, and resilience while accepting that we live in uncertain times. More succinctly (and here I’ll quote hip hop artists Cypress Hill): "When the st*t goes down, you better be ready.”

Read these books. Study them. Keep them close at hand. With a little bit of knowledge and preparation, it will be easier to laugh at the absurdity of it all.

Sean Maher, Director of Marketing

Mesquite

My current favorite book is Mesquite: An Arboreal Love Affair by Gary Nabhan. Gary is a gifted and prolific writer, but this book, like Gary himself, is entirely unique. It's a fascinating natural and cultural history of the amazing and resilient mesquite tree, wrapped in an often goofy, pun-filled barrage of personal stories and tales of metamorphosis from deep in the Sonoran Desert.

In this sense, Gary belongs to the proud tradition of environmental heroes and writers like Edward Abbey, who have found both truth and humor in the stark beauty of this arid landscape. Plus, who can resist a book with a foreword by someone named Petey Mesquitey?

Ben Watson, Senior Editor

A Language Older Than Words

I read A Language Older Than Words more than a decade ago while I was working at a different job. I can still picture the red chair I sat in, the dirty window sill I had my feet on, and the nor'easter that raged outside my little moldy apartment. I also remember thinking that Derrick Jensen was brilliant, that I was pretty lonely in this f$$ked up world, and that I needed to be around people who were reading, writing, thinking, and publishing in this way.

Brianne Goodspeed, Senior Editor

Lean Logic

Lean Logic advocates asides, long-windedness if it comes with a story, frank untruths if there is a reasonable chance that the other person can untangle the irony, broken logic if it reflects the difficulty of explaining things which break your heart or are hard to understand. It does not share the modest self-restraint which we find in Psalm 131: "I do not exercise myself in great matters which are too high for me."

Lean Logic finds that, when dealing with great matters, it can, from time to time, be a good thing if there are cracks and faults in the argument, for the repair of which help is invited. It is a reminder that a conversation is a cooperative affair, not just a series of beautifully-manicured statements.

Jeffrey Slayton, Sales Assistant

Being Salmon, Being Human

Being Salmon, Being Human is a brilliant book and the first Chelsea Green title that I read before I began working here. Martin Lee Mueller shatters the mind-body divide that limits so much of our thinking about what it means to be and allows himself to slip fully into the scaly skin of a salmon swimming beneath the oceans’s surface. In the process he gains, and communicates to the reader, a truer understanding of what it means to be human.

This book evoked within me a desire to live a more embodied life and to break down those artificial barriers I’d so long maintained between myself, as human, and the other animals with whom we share this planet. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to escape their narrow and rigid sense of what it means to exist.

Nick Kaye, Editorial Assistant

The Seed Underground

I liked Janisse Ray as soon as I read the dedication to her book The Seed Underground. "For Wendell Berry—No monument would be tall enough."

Ray tells stories of her travels in search of heirloom seeds and the families that treasure them. So captivating is her storytelling that it doesn’t matter whether you have ever saved seeds yourself or ever even planted a seed. The Seed Underground is for anyone who loves their home place and their family stories, or wishes they had a home place and heritage to tell stories about. It is for anyone who shares Ray’s anger and despair about how broken our food system is and is looking for signs of hope in the work of seed saving.

Ray’s beautiful, soulful stories lead to a call to action. "I may not have a lot of hope," Ray writes, "but I have plenty of love, which gives me fight." Read The Seed Underground, and be inspired to fight.

Fern Marshall Bradley, Senior Editor

Oil, Power, and War

A daring, brilliant work of research bringing to light a dark and alternative history of America's pursuit of oil, while examining the origins and consequences of our reliance on fossil fuels. From its earliest days drilling in Pennsylvania and its heydays brought on by the advent of Ford's automobile assembly line, to the many wars it has spawned spanning the last hundred years, Auzanneau follows the U.S. oil industry and its magnates from John D. Rockefeller to David Koch, uncovering its real story of fortunes gained and lost, environmental degradation, war, and the ever-increasing and enormous ecological and social consequences it has exacted.

Steven Pomjie, Director of Publicity

Not in His Image

I first read Not in His Image: Gnostic Vision, Sacred Ecology, and the Future of Belief when it was published in late 2006, before I ever heard of Chelsea Green Publishing. I started working for Chelsea Green in January 2007 . . . or as the Buddhists say, auspicious coincidences. In my opinion, this is the most heretical, radical, and outrageous book we’ve ever published. It should be read by any human being concerned about what’s happening to our world, what’s happening to our species, and definitely by all Pagans yearning to dance in the moonlight. Highly recommended as a manual of disruption and enlivenment.

Darrell Koerner, Special and Corporate Sales Manager

The Small-Scale Poultry Flock

This was my first acquisition at Chelsea Green, and the author (Harvey Ussery) was a joy to work with. At the time I had just moved from New York City and was raising over 150 chickens on my homestead, and editing became a deep learning experience for me 'in the field' as well. This book represents to me the depth and magnitude of a Chelsea Green book, even in the super-focused niche that is poultry.

My chickens thank me every day.

Makenna Goodman, Senior Editor

The Fruit Forager's Companion

As a food magazine connoisseur, Sara Bir is a household name. I’ve been reading her content in Paste for years and always looked forward to her useful nuggets of trivia-night worthy info, so imagine my delight when I learned that she was publishing a book with Chelsea Green.

The Fruit Forager’s Companion is witty, fun, and encapsulates Bir’s voice and wisdom perfectly. I laughed and I learned, and I hope others will, too!

Charlotte Lyman, Digital Marketing Specialist

Tamed and Untamed

Sy Montgomery and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas are both brilliant, compassionate women leading fascinating lives—getting to work with them has definitely been a highlight of my time at Chelsea Green!

This fascinating collection of essays offers insight into the lives of our fellow creatures, from water bears to cats and dogs to great white sharks.

Joni Cushman, Media Communications Coordinator

Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening

Gardening—the word itself implies a challenge. Yet somehow in clear and simple terms enhanced by beautiful color photos Peter Burke turns the challenge into an invitation down the sprouted road to success.

This complete garden novice accepted his invitation and to my amazement was indeed rewarded with nutritious greens in less than 10 days just as promised! Without leaving the house I not only cultivated wonderful greens but a great sense of personal satisfaction at being able to make this healthy contribution to the family diet in such an efficient, practical and low-cost manner.

The book is a home-grown gem.

Elizabeth Babcock, Fulfillment & Distribution Assistant

Oil, Power, and War

Oil interests have an insanely strong grip on our lives. We all know that, right? Countless articles, books, and reports have been written about it. So, when I began reading Oil, Power, and War, I thought I already knew much of the story. Not so.

On page after page, Matthieu Auzanneau delivered fascinating pieces of history, and surprising new takes on commonly accepted narratives—digging deep into the source of power that has shaped our wars, our economy, our politics, our environment, and much more.

Sometimes a book informs our present moment so perfectly that you just can’t stop reading it, or thinking about it.This is one of those books. If you want to understand the United States, and the world, of 2018, read it.

Joni Praded, Senior Editor

Eager

It’s hard not to be inspired by the fact that for all of our technological might, animals can affect ecological outcomes in ways that we can’t, and for the better. Beavers have been anthropomorphized to seem both silly and pesky, but like all creatures they deserve our admiration, and our help.

It’s also hard not to be inspired by such a warm, witty, and deeply considerate writer such as Ben Goldfarb, whose first book is a marvel, and was a pleasure to work on.

Michael Metivier, Editor

What’s Making Our Children Sick?

As a parent of two young children, this book really spoke to me. With so many factors in our society having an adverse effect on our children’s health, it was so encouraging to read a book that offered solutions, and action items we can do as parents, to help keep our family healthy.

Jenna Dimmick Stewart, Author Events Manager

Surviving the Future

Other than the most ruthlessly mindful among us, who doesn’t find our minds wandering off into the future, a future that feels everyday a shade duskier, a little less certain. If you need a companion for those darkening woods, may I suggest the late British visionary David Fleming, whose erudition and wide-ranging imagination complement a conviviality, humor, and commitment to community that I find, somehow, deeply comforting.

Shaun Chamberlin’s extract from Fleming’s Lean Logic begins to flesh out some aspects of a post-capitalist future that most of us glimpse only dimly. It’s one of my favorite books we’ve ever published.

Michael Weaver, Trade Sales Manager