by Jimmy

I haven’t been here in a while, because I was in the throes of finishing my book for Texas A&M University Press called, tentatively, Pedaling the Sacrifice Zone: Teaching, Writing, and Living above the Marcellus Shale. The manuscript was due July 1, and I’m happy to say I met the deadline.

Because my book is largely about how words and images shape perceptions of the Marcellus, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about books (and other texts) that shaped my own views of living in the frack zone. I won’t have room to include these titles in the book itself, so I thought I’d share them with you. I’ve attempted to break them up into categories (nebulous at best), and each of these books (including some films) shaped my thinking in some way over the past four years. (Note: This list does not include the blogs and academic articles I read.)

Nonfiction

  • Rick Bass, Oil Notes (Bass was a geologist searching for oil before he became an environmentalist and activist. After reading this book, I understood the attraction of drilling for fossil fuels. A bonus: the guy can write.)
  • Robert Bryce, Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of “Energy Independence”
  • Walter M. Brasch, Fracking Pennsylvania: Flirting with Disaster (Tons of research in this book.)
  • Alexandra Fuller, The Legend of Colton H. Bryant (Absolutely awesome writing. Read this book.)
  • David Gessner, The Tarball Chronicles: A Journey Beyond the Oiled Pelican and Into the Heart of the Gulf Oil Spill (This book played a tremendous role in my thinking about my book.)
  • Russell Gold, The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World (I’m reading this one. Slowly. Done. Great book.)
  • Daniel Goleman, Ecological Intelligence: The Hidden Impacts of What We Buy
  • Stephanie C. Hamel, Gas Drilling and the Fracking of a Marriage (Raises some interesting tensions about a married couple with differing views on leasing.)
  • Richard Heinberg, Snake Oil: How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future
  • James Howard Kunstler, The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century
  • Lisa Margonelli, Oil on the Brain: Adventures from the Pump to the Pipeline
  • Seamus McGraw, The End of Country
  • Bill McKibben, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
  • Bill McKibben, Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist
  • Bill Powers, Cold, Hungry, and in the Dark (Focuses on past production rates and markets.)
  • Vikram Rao, Shale Gas: The Promise and the Peril
  • Sandra Steingraber, Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis (Includes a chapter on fracking.)
  • Tom Wilbur, Under the Surface: Fracking, Fortunes, and the Fate of the Marcellus Shale (Wilbur has a good website, too.)
  • Gregory Zuckerman, The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters (Interesting read, though I’d be put in jail if I pulled some of the crap these guys did.)

Fiction

  • Lamar Herrin, Fractures (A bit didactic, though it captures nicely the tensions created among people when gas leasing is involved.)
  • Nick Hayes, The Rime of the Modern Mariner (A modern graphic novel version of Coleridge’s famous poem set in an environmental apocalypse, and beautiful to behold.)
  • Melissa Miller, Inadvertent Disclosure (A fun, formulaic read about a female lawyer who uncovers a small-town conspiracy to capitalize on the gas boom.)
  • Upton Sinclair, Oil! (This was the basis of the film, There Will be Blood. As I read it, I often felt Sinclair was writing about Tioga County in the twenty-first century. Plop an energy boom down in any century and the same shit happens, it seems.)
  • Brian Wood, The Massive (A comic book series involving a black ops-soldier-turned-pacifist-leader of an environmental group called Ninth Wave and set in an apocalyptic future. They are aboard the Kapital searching for their sister ship, The Massive. I’m still early to this series, but I’m digging the issues it raises. The colorist, Dave Stewart, has worked on Mike Mignola’s Hellboy.)

Poetry

  • Mathew Henderson, The Lease (Fantastic.)
  • Ogaga Ifowodo, The Oil Lamp
  • Julia Kasdorf’s poetry on the peopile living above the Marcellus shale. (I don’t think she’s published her natural gas poems yet, but they are fantastic for the way they capture the complexities of living above the Marcellus shale. A privilege for me to read.)
  • Lisa Wujnovich, Fieldwork

Films

  • Gasland (documentary)
  • Gasland II (documentary)
  • Promised Land (feature)
  • Split Estate (documentary)
  • Triple Divide (documentary)

Egghead Books

  • Kenneth Burke, A Grammar of Motives
  • Kenneth Burke, A Rhetoric of Motives
  • Kenneth Burke, Language as Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature, and Method
  • Sharon Crowley, Toward a Civil Discourse: Rhetoric and Fundamentalism
  • Kevin Michael DeLuca, Image Politics: The New Rhetoric of Environmental Activism
  • Kim Donehower, Charlotte Hogg, and Eileen E. Schell, Rural Literacies
  • David Ehrenfeld, The Arrogance of Humanism (I read this a long time ago, and this book changed everything for me.)
  • Terry Gifford, Pastoral
  • Don Duggan-Haas, Robert M. Ross, and Warren D. Allmon, The Science Beneath the Surface: A Very Short Guide to the Marcellus Shale (New.)
  • Albert O. Hirschman, The Rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy
  • Norman J. Hyne, Nontechnical Guide to Petroleum Geology, Exploration, Drilling, and Production (2nd edition) (Great reference book.)
  • Jimmie Killingsworth, Appeals in Modern Rhetoric: An Ordinary-Language Approach
  • Jimmie Killingsworth and Jacqueline S. Palmer, Ecospeak: Rhetoric and Environmental Politics in America.
  • Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Another book that changed everything.)
  • Leo Marx, The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Idea in America
  • Robert W. McChesney, The Problem of the Media: U.S. Communication Politics in the 21st Century
  • Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming
  • John D. Ramage, Rhetoric: A User’s Guide
  • Terre Ryan, This Ecstatic Nation: The American Landscape and the Aesthetics of Patriotism (Super.)
  • Michael Warner, Publics and Counterpublics
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