This is the last post of 2022 for me. It has felt like a hectic year and the pandemic pressure did not really ease up, even with open borders, for one reason and another I did not seem to escape into the bush as often as I would have liked, so if I do anything approaching a new years resolution it is this; get out into the environment as much as possible! I intend to take some leave in 2023 for some much needed bush and beach time.

This is just a short post to share some links really, and welcome new nature readers to the Gaia challenge for 2023. To start with I will share a link to Curly Geek’s review of Under a white Sky: The nature of the future by Elizabeth Kolbert, a timely read for the Gaia challenge 2022, check it out. Would also like to share a link to Margaret’s blog From Pyrenees to Pennines lots of lovely photos with a distinctly nature theme.

One of the books I am looking forward to reading in 2023 for the challenge is Fire A message from the edge of the climate catastrophe by Margi Prideaux and you can check out Margi’s work at Wild Politics. Sally Jane Smith is another author, fellow traveller and Discworld fan whose work is of interest and readers might want to check out, so sharing Sally’s linktree. Laurie at Relevant Obscurity is also new to the challenge. Lots of others too like Jamie at Whatever I think of and some old friends like Karen at Living on the Downs and May at Brizzy Mays Books and Bruschetta. (Please leave a link in the comments if I have forgotten you). Feel free to copy and use the badge.

I will try and share any links you would like to leave as the 2023 challenge progresses. Just leave me a comment, sometimes I might need reminding, so I apologise if I forget or am late updating posts, afraid life sometimes gets in the way of blog updates.

Just in time for 2023 I have made up a short book bingo for the challenge. There is no obligation to do the bingo, in fact I have to confess I have only crossed off three squares on this years challenge 😞oh well 2023 is a new opportunity. I have put a downloadable word version below but basically it looks like this:

Just remember the categories are free to be creatively interpreted, for example a book with buzz might be about insects or it could be a book currently highlighted in the media, get active, could be a title about activism or simple about activities in nature. Wonder of a child could be a children’s title or a work by a young person, Greta Thunberg or Dara McAnulty spring to mind. Feel free to be creative with the bingo and there is no challenge obligation to use it. The only requirement of the Gaia/nature challenge is to read at least one book that features the natural world, that book can be fiction or non fiction and then share your reading experience in some way. It could be just through a comment here at Gumtrees and Galaxies or on your own blog, or facebook, instagram, mastodon social or twitter if anyone is still using it. Goodreads or any other reading tracking program is also great and I am happy for people to leave links to any posts. The purpose of the challenge is to celebrate the natural world, all its wonders and challenges. And lets face it the challenges are many these days.

Last year I tried to include a few titles for younger readers and there is some absolutely wonderful writing out there for younger readers so I think I will be continuing that theme in my reading. This year I also want to focus on diversity as much as possible, where does nature intersect with ethnicity or disability or gender just to mention a few. First nation authors have also become a staple in my nature reading, that will continue into 2023. Cli-fi and eco fiction inevitably feature in my reading, looking forward to new titles in 2023.What are your plans for 2023 reading? Please feel free to leave a comment, to join the challenge and to share a link.

Wishing everyone a fantastic year in 2023!

17 thoughts on “Are we ready for the 2023 Gaia/nature challenge

  1. I think that what I’m hoping for this coming year is to make links with others who, like me, already enjoy a fair bit of nature/environmental writing in my reading. My last book of 2022 fits the bill: the wonderful Otherlands by Thomas Halliday. And the bingo looks fun. Here’s to 2023!

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  2. Haven’t any titles in mind but excited to get started. Particularly excited to implement some more small changes to my own “bubble” to help the environment. Two weeks before Christmas my Little Community Library shared 100 excess books, both adults and children’s, to Little Libraries dotted within the northern rivers of NSW, little townships battered by bushfires and more recently floods. Recycling at its best.

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    1. That is awesome, I think I have some excess, will investigate how I can send them down that way, the Lismore region really took a heavy hit and lost so much.

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  3. So glad I found this in my search for reading challenges in 2023. I think this will work well with my Walking the Wheel of the Year journey. I have a few books in mind and I’m sure many will follow.

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  4. After a frantically busy first week of the year, I settled down this morning to catch up on my emails. What a lovely surprise to see your mention, Sharon, thank you!

    And it’s timely, given what you’ve written about seeking intersections between nature and social commentary in our reading this year. The second link currently on my Linktree is an interview with Aussie author Laura Maya, whose book absolutely blew me away this year. I’ve been planning to put together a comprehensive review, but here is a little snippet I prepared when I proposed Tell Them My Name to the JourneyWoman book club (and it ended up getting our highest book club rating of the year, 11 votes averaging 9.3 out of 10):

    “Tell Them My Name, by Laura Maya

    After years of volunteer work in a remote Nepali village, an idealistic young couple invites their host family to accompany them back to Europe. The unusual foursome travels through France, Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands, showing us an often-familiar world through the eyes of two indigenous Gurung elders. This extraordinary memoir balances love and good humour with a willingness to face up to serious issues. It starts with voluntourism and ends with questioning much of what we’ve always taken for granted.”

    What my little blurb doesn’t say, is that the two elders, Dar Kumari Gurung (Aama) and Nar Bahadur Gurung (Baba), are subsistence farmers, and the book includes their thought-provoking observations of how farming is practiced in Europe, compared to how land is farmed in the foothills of the Himalayas. It also doesn’t give a clue to my concerns, before reading the book, of how an Aussie author might represent indigenous Nepali elders. Laura Maya doesn’t shy away from this issue at all – she addresses the problem up front and is transparent about it throughout the boo – something I haven’t seen done in quite this way before. Dar Kumari Gurung asked her to write the book, but Maya is under no illusions about why this might be problematic. We talked about this in our interview, too, and I was interested to hear how Aama and Baba’s granddaughter became involved in the editing process.

    Oh dear, this is turning into an essay! Suffice it to say, this was my best read of 2022, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

    Best wishes for 2023, Sharon – I’ll continue to look forward to your posts,


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    1. Popping back in to say that I have of course left Goodreads and Amazon reviews for Tell Them My Name, because reviews are extremely valuable for authors. The “comprehensive review” I mentioned not getting around to yet is one I hope to submit to a literary magazine. It will be my first attempt at publishing a review in a print journal, so it’s a bit intimidating!

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