A photo of every book cover in this article scattered over a wood background

Orion Staff Recommends: 10 Books for Fall 2022

Sweater weather is nearly upon us, which means anytime is the right time to curl up with a good new book. Whether you’re into animals or activism, curses or climate change, we’ve got you.

The Cover of "Bitch: On The Female Sepcies". It is a hot pink book with a hyena biting the letter "I" in "Bitch"

Bitch: On the Female of the Species by Lucy Cooke

Menopausal orcas, Mommie Dearest meerkats, two-mom albatross couples, and boss bitch hyenas. Follow Cooke around the globe as she meets the animals and scientists upending stale patriarchal views on animal behavior. Evolutionary biology has never been more entertaining. (Basic Books)

The cover of "The Mermaid of Black Conch". It has a beautifully stylied Black Mermaid over blue water and orange and yelow land

The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey

Part love story, part environmental parable, and part treatise on colonial violence featuring a lonely fisherman, an ancient cursed mermaid, and a Category 5 hurricane? Yes, please. (Knopf)

The cover of "What we Fed to the Manticore". It features a blue tiger over a yellow background surrrounded by pink and green flowers

What We Fed to the Manticore by Talia Lakshmi Kolluri

These short stories about the bustling everyday lives of animals, are told from their own mouths and beaks. Being animals, they naturally find their eyes drawn to the land, and specifically to the strange creatures who claim and corrupt it. A remarkable work whose syntax and timbre embody the peculiarities of the brilliant ways in which animals make sense of the world around them. (Tin House)

The cover for "Endlings". It is a simple lavander cover with white and gray text.

Endlings: Fables for the Anthropocene by Lydia Pyne

There are the famous endlings, last individuals of their kind, that we knew and named—Lonesome George the Pinta Island tortoise, Celia the Pyrenean ibex, Qi Qi the baiji, Benjamin the thylacine—and then there are the many we never knew, never named. In this slim volume, Pyne weaves the idea of species extinction with human storytelling, and examines how attention, or the lack of it, shapes our grief and mourning amid the sixth extinction. (University of Minnesota Press)

The cover for "How to Speak Whale". It shows a stylized blue whale with a very large head over a background that fades from purple to black.

How to Speak Whale: A Voyage Into the Future of Animal Communication by Tom Mustill

After a breaching humpback smashed onto his kayak one September day, Tom Mustill was left with one burning question: What the hell just happened? And so he did what any curious naturalist might do—carved an investigative trail from scientists to entrepreneurs looking to decode animal languages and better understand such memorable human-animal interactions. (Grand Central Publishing)

The cover for "Night of the Living Rez". It is a image of the starry night sky surrounded by black silhouettes of tree tops. The writing is in yellow, orange, red, and purple

Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty

What does it mean to live and persevere as a modern Penobscot on a reservation in rural Maine? Etched with humor, violence, tenderness, and insight, these braided stories burn bright with the inheritance of loss, shared trauma, old curses left in jars, and the tender compassion of bummed cigarettes and wool blankets draped over exhausted bodies. (Tin House)

The cover for "Year of the Tiger". It is a yellow cover with a red tiger and red flowers.

Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life by Alice Wong

Disabled activist, community organizer, and creator Alice Wong gives readers an intimate look at her life. Here, in essays, conversations, photographs, and ephemera like government forms and original art, she documents her world, one brimming with wit, joy, pleasure, frustration, rage, community, and the righteous commitment to dismantling systemic ableism. Hear her roar. (Penguin Random House)

The cover for "Groundglass". It is a beige cover. In the center of it is a pile of six rounded shapes with various rock and glass patterns (swirls of blue, veins of balck, patches of black and white). The shapes overlap

Groundglass by Kathryn Savage

From Superfund sites and brownfields to polluted waters and the local industrial yard of her childhood, Savage delivers her poetic dispatches from injured places. Through memoir, essay, and reportage twined with her grief for a dying father and the challenges of early parenthood, she explores the relationships between toxicity and disease, and the unbreakable connections between people and places. (Coffee House Press)

The cover for "Beyond Climate Breakdown". The cover is split into three sections: the top section shows green trees and strips of sky. The middle section is a white rectangle with the title. The bottom section shows strips of green plants alternating with strips of fire.

Beyond Climate Breakdown: Envisioning New Stories of Radical Hope by Peter Friederici

If stories are how humans make sense of our place in the world when it comes to the climate crisis, we need some better ones. Or so argues Friederici. Through sections on prediction, metaphor, narrative, tragedy, and comedy and complexity, he suggests weaving new adaptive tales and attitudes that hold the collective spotlight on diversity and the persistence of life rather than capitalism, economy as king, and shallow self-interest. (MIT Press)

The cover for "Sweet in Tooth and Claw". It shows two birds sitting on a cactus and drinking from its blooms.

Sweet in Tooth and Claw: Stories of Generosity and Cooperation in the Natural World by Kristin Ohlson

Forget the dog-eat-dog survival of the fittest mentality, for here, cooperation is key. By looking at compelling cases of mutualism in the natural world, Ohlson ponders what might be possible if we thought of nature as more kind than cruel, and embraced models of mutual support and shared thriving. (Patagonia)


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