LO Reads 2020: Rising by Elizabeth Rush

In Rising, Dispatches from the New American Shore, author Elizabeth Rush demonstrates how rising seas are transforming the coastline of the United States in irrevocable ways. She personally guides readers through some of the places where change has been most dramatic, highlighting the impact on plants, animals and humans across seven states, including Oregon. She weaves firsthand testimonials from those facing change with profiles of wildlife biologists, activists and other members of vulnerable communities.

Comments from members of the Lake Oswego Reads Steering Committee about the
14th annual Lake Oswego Reads selection

Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore

“Love of nature and hope for the future shine in Elizabeth Rush’s prose, in balance with her study of climate change science and interviews with the people living along our coastlines who are already being displaced by rising seas.  The LO Reads steering committee selected this book for many reasons:  it is incredibly well-written, climate change is an issue of great interest and discourse, and this book has the power to bring the community together to learn more about a complex topic and the actions we can take to be prepared for an uncertain future.”

Melissa Kelly, Lake Oswego Library Director


“Climate change is the defining issue of our time, and while some may dispute the science involved, there is no denying the impact on the inhabitants of this planet. That’s the beauty of “The Rising.” It puts a human face on the issue, telling the story of rising sea levels through the eyes of people affected by it. It is at once distressing and inspiring – and in the end, hopeful.”  

Gary Stein, Oregon State Bar Bulletin Editor


“I liked Rising because of how Rush set the stage. She could’ve made it a purely scientific, data-backed, idea of what climate change is and its effects, but understood that people don’t listen to numbers, they listen to stories. I love how she was able to humanize the topic and explore ideas beyond the climate, like race, gentrification, white privilege, sexual harassment and more. Rush’s breadth of topics, isn’t meant to depress either, it’s meant to document what’s happening and make way for change. I think LO needs this book, and now is the right time for it.” 

Cameron Iizuka, junior at Lake Oswego High School


“This is Lake Oswego Reads most challenging selection yet! Can you read to the end when the main character is a “rampike”? Is this a book for meditation or will you see it as a call to action? Do we need to talk with each other about these dispatches or stick with the small talk? Will this book be a springboard into the richest variety of events we’ve ever hosted for LO Reads?  You get to decide!”

Paul Graham, Lake Oswego Resident


“Although it is easy to think of RISING as depressing because of its serious and awful implications, it is important to embrace Elizabeth Rush's plea to do all that we can right now to make our beautiful world last as long as possible and to ensure that our fellow beings--humans, plants, and animals--are treated with justice and care.”

Kristy Aalberg, Lake Oswego High School English Teacher


Rising is a beautifully written narrative about the effects of ocean rise on our natural wetlands and marshes.  Elizabeth Rush challenges us to think about our actions and how we can protect and conserve our natural landscapes.” 

Holly Dottarar, Lakeridge Junior High Language Arts Teacher


“With every passing day, and every record-breaking storm, it grows clearer that rising seas are transforming the coastline of the United States in irrevocable ways. In Rising, author Elizabeth Rush weaves firsthand testimonials from those facing the choice of staying or fleeing. This book, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction, deserves to be read and discussed by all.”

Andrew Edwards, Lakewood Center for the Arts Executive Director


“I greatly appreciated Rush’s conviction that if we are to connect with what is transpiring around us, we must have the language to do so.  She gives us words and images that better allow us to wrap our heads and hearts around real life developments and to connect dots that we may not have perceived as related. Her work is, I believe, a masterpiece in part because through her dispatches, Rush brings us along to meet those impacted by rising waters and gives us greater insights into what is at play not only in the coastal waterways and communities she visits, but in the forests of Oregon and the marshes of Silicon Valley.  She has introduced us to a changing world and to a new vocabulary, and in so doing has offered a unique lens through which to think about and address the subject of climate change.”

Joann Geddes, Faculty Emerita, Lewis & Clark College


“The dispatches are a lens for us to view our beloved and ever changing main character, Mother Nature. How the residents react, respond or just keep living as is will have you wanting to know more about how you can understand the current climate trend and how your lifestyle makes an impact. Climate changes. What can I learn or do as an individual? What can we learn or do as a community? Let’s find out!”

Lilly Logan

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