Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit (Canongate paperback, £8.99)

This is not a new book but it is incredibly relevant to today’s climate. Solnit originally put together this collection of essays when George W. Bush was in office and liberal America was in despair. It has been re-issued in the wake of Trump’s victory with a new forward by Solnit herself. The essays are all about change, and how it doesn’t necessarily happen fast. Activism is portrayed as a positive thing and we should not give up, give in or turn off. We need to take hope from the essays she presents and realise that ordinary people do make a difference throughout history. As she points out “A phenomenon like the civil rights movement creates a vocabulary and a toolkit for social change used around the globe, so its effects far outstrip its goals and specific achievements.”

Attitudes do change, progress happens over time, and new challenges do come along, but if we think less in terms of each cause having a conclusion and more about them being a work in progress, then positive outcomes can be appreciated. Nowhere is this more relevant than in the climate change issues we face. We need to realise that we can never “save the whale” as such, but that stopping its extinction is an ongoing labour. We need to keep fighting to protect wildlife and our environment, while also taking pleasure in the small local victories. We do not know the future: it is dark. Therefore we must believe that we have some influence to change outcomes and hope that we can make a difference.

Reviewed by Philippa Morris, Little Apple bookshop