20 Best Books About Nature Update 05/2022

Setting is an important part of any great book. Fantasy authors put all of their heart into making the worlds they write about real, and it shows. Historical fiction writers do a lot of research to make a different place and time come to life. In contrast to the carefully made things that make up city life, there is the raw tenderness of the natural world. Poets have been writing about ponds, seas, winds, and trees for a long time now. From Homer’s “wine-dark sea” to Jan Karon’s “high, green hills,” artists will always be able to find new ways to connect with the earth beneath their feet. You don’t have to be an expert free climber to start reading these books. If you want more adventure and wilderness in your life, start with these books.

Fiction Books for Nature Lovers

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

It was nearly 30 years before Gary Paulson came into the world with Hatchet. Jean Craighead George wrote the ultimate runaway fantasy for kids all over the world. He goes to the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York, where he hides from the world for a while. As he grows up with the help of his animal friends, he finds out how to support himself. People of all ages can admire Sam’s strength and ingenuity, even though the book was written for young people. George has a unique and deep love for animals that is very clear in this book.

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

As time goes on, four friends find themselves on the wrong end of an elk hunt that was supposed to be fun. Their lives depend on it. They’re stuck between the mythology of the past and their need to stay alive in the present. This upcoming horror novel is set in the huge, empty space of the northern great plains. It’s for people who like gritty western novels like The Revenant.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

A child. There is a tiger. It is a boat. The sea. In this strange journey, a young man named Pi fights for his life on the Pacific Ocean. When the ocean liner he’s on with his family sinks, he and a tiger he names Richard Parker are the only ones who manage to get out. Even though they are in a desperate situation, Martel makes a magical story. Pi sees the amazing variety of the ocean for the first time. Overcoming biological barriers, Pi and Richard Parker come to a transcendental understanding together.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Having to raise herself, Kya Clark makes her own heaven in North Carolina. However, when she is accused of murder, the “Marsh Girl” has to leave her home and move to a town that doesn’t want her. Owens is a wildlife biologist who has a lot of love for the way the world works. This book is a breathtaking read. Seeing the beauty and cruelty of the marsh draws back the thin veil of society, allowing us to see the primitive instincts that drive us to act the way we do.

The Shipping News by Annie Proulx

He moves with his two young daughters to his ancestral homestead in Killick-Claw, Newfoundland, after he was betrayed by the love of his life. Quoyle is a “third-rate newspaperman.” Quoyle has been shunned and ignored all his life, but he finds surprising connections with the eccentric and isolated people who live there. Ways of life and traditions are shaped by the wind and the waves. They are set against the stormy coast. Proulx tells a gripping story about how to find out where you belong in a story that’s very interesting.

In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner

People in Cambodia lived in fear of the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979. In the Shadow of the Banyan is told through the eyes of a young girl named Raami. It is about an aristocratic family that is put through horrible things by the communist regime. Trauma makes Raami lose her voice, but she also has a new sense of wonder about the beauty that is all around her now. Masterful landscape descriptions by Ratner tell a story about the importance of beauty in order to be able to live in the world.

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

This book is set in a collapsing Anishinaabe community and looks at what happens when everyone in the community gets cabin fever. In order to keep their tenuous grip on society, people in the community go back to their old ways of interacting with the land. With The Only Good Indians, there is a lot of space. Moon of the Crusted Snow talks about how nature can make us too close to each other.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Western Kentucky’s most unique things come together in this tough, resilient book. Cussy Carter has blue hair. She’s had to fight her way through a community that doesn’t like her to become a pack horse librarian: a person who delivers books, magazines, and newspapers to people who live in the country. Richardson talks about racial tensions, the fight to stay alive, and the powerful relief of education in the thick, remote Appalachian wilderness.

Two Old Women by Velma Wallis

Superstition and reality are mixed together in this powerful story of survival. During a time when there was a lot of food, two old women were left behind by their tribe. With each other, they come up with ideas they didn’t know they had. For the first time, Wallis explains why nature is such a big deal in a very clear way. Their biggest enemy, the harsh landscape, must be their best friend.

Nonfiction Books for Nature Lovers

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

1939 was a bad year for the Warsaw Zoo because it was at odds with eugenics and wildlife biology. A group of officers who were sycophantic around the zoo during the German occupation in World War II looked at some of the great living things in Western Europe. The zookeepers, Jan and Antonia Zabinski, risked their lives to help the Polish resistance. They took advantage of the Nazis’ love of science and power. This book is a mix of history and naturalism. It will show you a different side of Warsaw.

Born Free by Joy Adamson

How thick is the line between people and nature? If you read Adamson’s account of how she met her lioness cub, this is a common question. In 1960, the book was made into a movie that won an Oscar. It’s worth it to read Adamson’s story in her own words. The questions in this book keep coming up as we try to keep other people’s boundaries in mind as we live on this planet together.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

It was on the Appalachian Trail that Bill Bryson set out in search of new things to do. He does a great job of setting up a history and ecology foundation. Yet, Bryson somehow doesn’t make you feel like you’re the subject of a class. As with all of Bryson’s books, this one reads like a slightly drunk story from your favorite uncle. Run-ins with locals and bears are sprinkled all over this colorful and entertaining account of the first obstacle that the settlers had to deal with when they set out on their journey.

Guidebook to Relative Strangers by Camille T. Dugy

Having to cross the country for work is another. When you do it as a Black woman, it’s different. When you do it with a child in tow, it’s a whole new level! Dugy has been to all kinds of places, from kooky urban jungles to remote hamlets. Her work is a mix of a travel diary, a memoir about her mother, and a look inside herself. It’s fun to read Dugy’s poetry because it moves quickly across the page and looks at everyday motherhood and surroundings through a lens that isn’t just one.

Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey

A story like Dian Fossey’s would be epic if it weren’t for her unwavering love for animals, her strong morals, and her brutal death at the hands of a poacher. Her account of living in mountain gorilla habitats for 13 years brought these gentle and intelligent animals to the forefront of the world’s attention. Fossey’s work isn’t just important because of how it changed the way people think about the environment. It’s also because of the tender compassion Fossey has for these strong, sensitive animals.

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

Before cloning, surgical centers, and even penicillin, there were hard-working country veterinarians who did a lot of work. James Herriot was a vet who worked for this kind of company. Almost 100 years after he started practicing in Yorkshire, this story is still a good example of how our lives depend on the health of our animals. Sanity is important, too, but it’s not the only thing you need Once you read All Creatures Great and Small, you’ll want to read all of Herriot’s other books right away. They are both charming and direct.

True North by Gavin Francis

In this detailed account of a Nordic pilgrimage, the past and the present come together in a way that’s hard to believe. History and mythology are all around him as Francis moves north from Great Britain to the Arctic Circle. This book is more than that, though. It’s an experiment in following a thread, in grabbing hold of a thought with both hands and following it to an unimaginable adventure.

My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir

This is what John Muir looked like when he was a green shepherd at the foot of the Sierra Nevada in 1869: When Muir came to the U.S. from Scotland, he left behind a tyrannical indoor upbringing to see the best that the western U.S. could offer. Over 40 years later, Muir used his diaries from this time to write one of the most important works in American natural history. Muir’s heartfelt love for the wide-open landscape is so strong that it literally jumps off the page. All of John Muir’s books are about how to be excited about nature, but My First Summer in the Sierra is a true American love story.

Driving Over Lemons by Chris Stewart

When you achieve a pipe dream, what happens next? Chris Stewart, the lead singer of Genesis, moved his pregnant wife to a crumbling Andalusian farmhouse that was only accessible by a footbridge that washed away a lot. That’s just the start. Stewart, despite having a lot of weird neighbors and weird architectural problems, paints a picture of a fertile, sultry place. It smells and tastes good to you as you read. Almost, it’s enough to think about your own old farmhouse crumbling down in your mind.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

This is for everyone who is afraid of hiking. Strayed got divorced, tried heroin, and lost her mother all at the same time, which led to a quarter-life crisis before there were any buzzwords for it. She made a small amount of money as a waitress and sold most of her possessions so that she could go on a solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. Strayed does a great job of putting her cringeworthy mistakes next to the grandeur of the high Sierras. When you talk to her, it feels like you’re having a conversation with a close friend. It might not make you want to hike 2,000 miles by yourself, but it will make you want to start.

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

“It is the earth’s eye, which the beholder looks into to measure the depth of his own nature.” These are the words Thoreau used to describe the center of his world during his break from society: Walden Pond. In the United States, Thoreau’s thoughts on modern society have made him a permanent part of the literary canon there. The most important thing about this book is that it’s in the middle. A small pond in the woods of Massachusetts looked ordinary until it was looked at with care. It became a model of beauty and virtue when it was seen this way. The main point of Walden is that slow time in a beautiful place is the best way to cure any kind of sickness in both people and the world.

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