Shell – Kristina Olsson: Examining the construction of Sydney Opera House through a unique artistic, political, economic and cultural lens, Olsson manages to bring the reader into the context of the 1960s agenda of Australia.

Through intense background research, Olsson provides illuminating detail around the tension between the architectural vision and the pragmatic goals of those commissioning it. Contrasted with the ground-level worker’s view of the entire process, this book illustrates how ambition can both attract and repel those around it.

Sustainable Pathways for Our Cities and Regions – Planning within Planetary Boundaries – Barbara Norman: The author uses a case study approach to examine how four cities used principles around active travel, social inclusion, urban greening, renewable energy and climate change resilience.

Dr Norman’s thoroughly researched yet entirely readable style makes this book a remarkable contribution to the literature around sustainable built environment thinking. In order to step out of silos, Dr Norman clearly shows us how to take a systems approach to building our habitat.

Buzz – Thor Hanson:  Not your typical bee-focused book, Thor Hanson introduces the bee as the first animal domesticated by humans. Exploring humanity’s relationship with bees, he goes on to study the fascinating evolutionary paths taken by different bee species.

With an engaging and personable style, Hanson mixes biological science with his own practical experiences as a biologist. As expected, he delivers a powerful message on the importance of bees for our future.

Arcadia – Di Morrissey: A fiction novel to add to the mix, Morrissey has demonstrated an incredible ability to weave complex environmental issues into a traditional guilty-pleasure storyline.

Set in Tasmania, Arcadia focuses on the pressures of development, the threat to flora and fauna, and the back room deals over intellectual property rights for endemic plants. Intertwined with a respect for indigenous Tasmanian heritage, the book contains the perfect recipe for relaxing on a hot summer’s day.