Ursula K. Le Guin and other judges pick the year's best book about nature

The Orion Book Award recognizes a book that addresses "the human relationship with the natural world" in a fresh and thought-provoking manner. This year, the judges included Ursula K. Le Guin and the winner was a book about the apocalypse.

The winning title this year is Apocalyptic Planet: Field Guide to the Everending Earth, by Craig Childs. The judges write:

Craig Childs’s winning book, Apocalyptic Planet: Field Guide to the Everending Earth, puts an entirely new spin on our usual preoccupations with climate change and catastrophe in general. Traveling to some of the harshest and most far-flung corners of the planet—from desert to ice sheet to massive wasteland of genetically modified corn—Childs takes the long view, exploring the ongoing life and death of the earth on a scale most of us rarely think about...

Concerning humans’ place amid the small and large catastrophes explored in Apocalyptic Planet, Childs is neither alarmist nor complacent, as he considers the human effect on the planet in a context many times greater than our day-to-day lives.

Besides Le Guin, the judges included Bookslut founder Jessa Crispin and The Hummingbird's Daughter author Luis Alberto Urrea. Other finalists include Barbara Kingsolver's novel Flight Behavior, Amy Leach's essay collection Things That Are, Joe Wilkins' The Mountain and the Fathers: Growing Up on the Big Dry and Robert Macfarlane's The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot. [Orion Magazine]