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Saturday, February 13, 2010

The World Without Us Discussion

The World Without Us

by Alan Weisman

genre: factual fiction?

Mr. Weisman takes a grain of wonder and using fact and knowledge of experts in so many fields, he spreads that grain into an entire world. Our world. The grain: what if we weren't here anymore? What if we suddenly disappeared? What would happen to earth? Amazingly detailed information takes us into a possible future where we witness nature reclaiming her own. It gives the reader a great deal to think about our impact on earth. From the buildings we live and work in, the cars we drive to the food we eat and the clothes we wear, not to mention all our fun gadgets. Are these things bad? Not wholly. But we've changed this landscape far beyond its early state and truth be known, there may be no going back. But perhaps that is the nature of things after all.

When I put this book on the list, I had thought it was a sort of fictional story based on fact. What I hadn't realized is that this book a)has no real story, it's more of a written documentary and b) it is full of information about not just a possible future, but the state of our world now and the history of it and us in it. This part fascinated me as much as the peering into the future. I did not know that ages ago, there were giant animals that have gone extinct like camels and sloths. I of course knew about mammoths and saber tooth tigers - I suppose these are the iconic cliches of those now extinct herds of animals.

I didn't enjoy this book the same as others. Other books have that 'can't put it down quality'. This book beckoned me like a playground. Every time I took it up I had so much fun learning. I was constantly surprised by the things I learned and my level of enjoyment. It was like being a kid again, discovering some subject that draws you into obsessive knowledge seeking, minus the petty teasing and rivalry of school. This one gets a high high recommendation from me. So worth the time to read and though it's not a traditional novel, I can see myself reading this book more than once. I think it will be like those movies that you watch and find that you see something new each time. I look forward to that.

Your turn: how did the book affect you? Did you enjoy it or was the style of it not your thing? What parts of the book did you love or hate? Go.

By the way, I feel like such a bad mother, I missed my first deadline this year. I have a good excuse though. My SIL had to go to the hospital last night, so we hosted her children for dinner and worried about her which made me completely forget my pet project here. I am sorry.


de said...

One thing I'm continually learning is that flexibility is a big part of parenting. Living, actually.

Besides, I didn't finish this book, and i have no excuse at all. I've only just begun it, but I think I will enjoy it, although I fear it might make me a bit melancholy.

Had to get a hard copy of the next book, which is waiting for me at the library as I type. (My system only works with mp3 and the book was only available to "borrow" in .mwv format.)

de said...

speaking of movies, didn't I see somewhere that a movie was made of this book?

Gordo said...

I also loved it. The detail on what would happen if we disappeared tomorrow is incredible. I had no idea that the NY subway system will drown in less than a day without power. That's amazing.

I'd never heard of the Białowieża Forest before and his description of the land and atmosphere is amazing.

I also found it comforting to know how quickly the planet will be able to erase all traces of us. :-)