cover image Shaped by Snow: Defending the Future of Winter

Shaped by Snow: Defending the Future of Winter

Ayja Bounous. Torrey House, $18.95 trade paper (226p) ISBN 978-1-948814-10-2

In this affecting environmental meditation, debut author and activist Bounous muses on the threat climate change poses to the winter season, placing an issue with planet-wide ramifications into a personal context. In addition to sharing her passion for skiing in the mountains of northern Utah, Bounous considers her position as scion of a family long involved in developing the area’s ski industry—a means of enjoying nature that also contributes to fossil fuel use. Open about how her private life intersects with her political beliefs, Bounous shares her ambivalence about bringing a child into a world adversely affected by voracious human consumption. These introspective sections are interwoven with ones describing her family’s history—the Bounouses’ arrival from northern Italy in the early 20th century; the storied career of her grandfather, who retired from the ski school he founded at age 90—and their coming to grips with how climate change might affect their lives and livelihoods. Without sugarcoating the severity of scientists’ predictions, Bounous still holds out hope that the worst can be averted. Not everything works here—for example, a section about catching and killing insects for a school project as a child lacks a clear point. Nonetheless, readers interested in an intimate take on climate change will find a thoughtful book that effectively makes the global personal. (Nov.)