MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Reading guide for Garbage Land by Elizabeth Royte

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Garbage Land

On the Secret Trail of Trash

by Elizabeth Royte

Garbage Land by Elizabeth Royte X
Garbage Land by Elizabeth Royte
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2005, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2006, 336 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. Elizabeth Royte's trip to the Gowanus Canal was one of the factors that compelled her to embark on her strange journey. What compelled you to pick up Garbage Land and join her on her journey? Did you ever wonder what actually happened to the things you threw away?

  2. Garbage Land is a first-person narrative in which Elizabeth Royte guides readers through the hidden world of garbage. What does this first-person point of view add to the book? Do you think this book would have been as effective if it had been written from an omniscient narrator's point of view?

  3. On page 141, the author notes that trying to be environmentally responsible isn't always easy. Indeed, she writes that her publisher couldn't justify the added cost of printing the book on recycled paper stock. How can we reconcile the moral arguments for recycling with the economic arguments against it?

  4. Garbage Land features a bevy of interesting characters, many of whom suggest innovative ways to reduce our garbage footprint. For example, Christina Datz-Romero is a proponent of desktop worm composter. Are you likely to use one of these innovative methods? If so, which ones?

  5. Elizabeth Royte writes about trailing sanitation workers, visiting waste transfer stations, and exploring landfills. How did getting an inside look at these three parts of the disposal process broaden your understanding of the costs of consumption? What was most surprising about the author's visits?

  6. Less than 27 percent of garbage is recycled and composted. But in some cities—San Francisco, for example—the rate is much higher. What do you think about the measures that the San Francisco government has taken to inch toward the "dream of zero waste"? Do you think they'd be effective in your city or town?

  7. The author discusses recycling and reducing consumption: which approach to minimizing garbage does she think is more effective? Do you agree?

  8. Have you noticed a change in the waste stream in your lifetime? Please explain your answer.

  9. In Garbage Land, a former Sanitation Commissioner controversially claims, "In the end, the garbage will win." Does the author seem to agree with this sentiment? Do you?

  10. How can we, as a society, reduce our garbage footprint? Has this book made you decide to change your behavior?


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Back Bay Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hamnet
    Hamnet
    by Maggie O'Farrell
    William Shakespeare's name is never used in Hamnet — a conspicuous absence around which Maggie...
  • Book Jacket: After the Last Border
    After the Last Border
    by Jessica Goudeau
    According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, the number of displaced people around the world is ...
  • Book Jacket: Crossings
    Crossings
    by Alex Landragin
    Crossings is a beautiful, if slightly messy, time-bending debut. It reads like a vampire novel, sans...
  • Book Jacket: Pew
    Pew
    by Catherine Lacey
    A quote often attributed to Leo Tolstoy states that "All great literature is one of two stories; a ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Hieroglyphics
    by Jill McCorkle

    A mesmerizing novel about piecing together the hieroglyphics of history and memory.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    With or Without You
    by Caroline Leavitt

    A moving novel about twists of fate, the shifting terrain of love, and coming into your own.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Every Bone a Prayer
by Ashley Blooms

The the story of one tough-as-nails girl whose choices are few but whose fight is boundless.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Every Bone a Prayer

Every Bone a Prayer by Ashley Blooms

A beautifully honest exploration of healing and of hope.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T Real M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.