I hold in my hand a copy of Al Gore‘s new book An Inconvenient Truth. Though subtitled “The planetary emergency of global warming and what we can do about it,” this is not the photo-less, textbookish, only-a-few-graphs-and-charts-to-save-you from the sea-of-endless-sentences-and-paragraphs-of-boring-text that you might have (and I definitely) expected. This is a coffee-table book, people! There are pretty, pretty pictures! And fonts large enough for crotchety Aunt Edna to read!

Inconvenient Truth bookSeriously, though, this book is like the paper-incarnation of Gore’s slideshow presentation — which, I realize, does not sound like a rousing endorsement … but if you’ve seen the movie you know it is. Like the slideshow (and movie), this book is extremely well done, with information easy to understand and graphic data impossible to ignore. The book has a high photo-to-text ratio — often featuring two-page photo spreads with a sentence or two of explanatory text. Throughout the 320-some page book are fold-out pages that create wider space for graphs and photos or reveal some “surprising” fact.

Even the cover folds out, revealing Gore (in all his smart-and-dreamyness) standing against a black background and dwarfed by the iconic photo of the earth from space. Just below the earth, this text:

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!

We have everything we need to begin solving this crisis, with the possible exception of the will to act. But in America, our will to take action is itself a renewable resource.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Oh, Al. Such wisdom, such surprisingly good graphic design skillz, and such ballsitude for bringing it all together in this book and in the movie.

Get yourself a copy of this book. Put it on your coffee table. Encourage conversation as guests thumb through it. When holidays and birthdays and just any-old-days come around, buy this book for friends and family and colleagues. This is not just an entertaining read, an educational tool, and a collection of pretty pictures — though it is all these things — this is an important book. A book that is vital reading for anyone — and this is going to sound quite cliché, which normally I would strive to avoid, but I don’t care because this book makes me all aflutter with hope — who cares about our future here on earth. OK, enough sap — go buy it!