Weisman mentions several interesting titles including "a lovely and surprising novel, The World to Come, by Dara Horn" (which Horn applied the "Page 99 Test" to earlier this year). Read on -- there's much more of interest in Weisman's entry.
About The World Without Us, from the official website:
In The World Without Us, Alan Weisman offers an utterly original approach to questions of humanity's impact on the planet: he asks us to envision our Earth, without us.Read an excerpt from The World Without Us.
In this far-reaching narrative, Weisman explains how our massive infrastructure would collapse and finally vanish without human presence; what of our everyday stuff may become immortalized as fossils; how copper pipes and wiring would be crushed into mere seams of reddish rock; why some of our earliest buildings might be the last architecture left; and how plastic, bronze sculpture, radio waves, and some man-made molecules may be our most lasting gifts to the universe.
The World Without Us reveals how, just days after humans disappear, floods in New York's subways would start eroding the city's foundations, and how, as the world’s cities crumble, asphalt jungles give way to real ones. It describes the distinct ways that organic and chemically-treated farms would revert to wild, how billions more birds would flourish, and how cockroaches in unheated cities would perish without us. Drawing on the expertise of engineers, atmospheric scientists, art conservators, zoologists, oil refiners, marine biologists, astrophysicists, religious leaders from rabbis to the Dalai Lama, and paleontologists – who describe a pre-human world inhabited by megafauna like giant sloths that stood taller than mammoths – Weisman illustrates what the planet might be like today, if not for us.
From places already devoid of humans (a last fragment of primeval European forest; the Korean DMZ; Chernobyl), Weisman reveals Earth's tremendous capacity for self-healing. As he shows which human devastations are indelible, and which examples of our highest art and culture would endure longest, Weisman's narrative ultimately drives toward a radical but persuasive solution that doesn't depend on our demise. It is narrative nonfiction at its finest, and in posing an irresistible concept with both gravity and a highly-readable touch, it looks deeply at our effects on the planet in a way that no other book has.
Among the praise for the book:
[No] “end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it story…is more audacious or interesting than Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us.”
"I don't think I've read a better non-fiction book this year.”
—Lev Grossman, TIME Book Critic
"This is one of the grandest thought experiments of our time, a tremendous feat of imaginative reporting!"
—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and The Durable Future
“The imaginative power of The World Without Us is compulsive and nearly hypnotic--make sure you have time to be kidnapped into Alan Weisman’s alternative world before you sit down with the book, because you won’t soon return. This is a text that has a chance to change people, and so make a real difference for the planet.”
—Charles Wohlforth, author of L.A. Times Book Prize-winning The Whale and the Supercomputer
Alan Weisman's writing has appeared in Harper's, the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic Monthly, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Orion, Audubon, Mother Jones, Discover, Condé Nast Traveler, Resurgence, and in several anthologies (including The Best American Science Writing 2006). The World Without Us is his fifth book.
Read more about The World Without Us and learn more about Alan Weisman and his work.
Writers Read: Alan Weisman.