6 Best Books Like Braiding Sweetgrass Update 05/2022

World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments

Aimee Nezhukumatathil (Author)

Nezhukumatathil grew up in a mental institution in Kansas, where her Filipino mother was a doctor; in Arizona, where she hiked with her Indian father; and in the colder climates of western New York and Ohio, where she was raised. There was always a source of strength and humor in our world’s fierce and funny creatures no matter where she ended up being transplanted.

You will run away and run back to your home all your life because of the peacock, she says. The axolotl teaches us to smile even in the face of unkindness; the touch-me-not plant shows us how to shake off unwanted advances; and the narwhal demonstrates how to survive in hostile environments. For Nezhukumatathil, even in the strange and unlovely, beauty and kinship exist. For, as with wonder, we must be curious enough to look past the distractions in order to fully appreciate the world’s gifts.
It is a book of nourishment and joy, lyrical and beautifully illustrated by Fumi Nakamura.

Underland: A Deep Time Journey

Robert MacFarlane (Author)

Robert Macfarlane’s epic exploration of the Earth’s underworlds in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself is presented in Underland by Macfarlane. We are taken on an extraordinary journey into our relationship with darkness and burial as we travel from prehistoric art in Norwegian sea caves to the blue depths of Greenland’s Ice Cap, and finally to a deep-sunk hiding place where nuclear waste will be stored for 100,000 years to come. A book with a broad geographic scope and exquisite lyricism, Underland has a lot to say about where we are right now. An ancient and timely read, this is a book that will alter your perspective on the world.

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures

Merlin Sheldrake (Author)

A WORLDWIDE BESTSELLER – “Merlin Sheldrake’s marvelous tour of these diverse and extraordinary life forms is eye-opening on why humans should consider fungi among the greatest of earth’s marvels. Wondrous,” says the reviewer. —Time

“one of those rare books that can truly change the way you see the world around you” a mind-bending journey into the hidden universe of fungi (Helen Macdonald, author of H Is for Hawk).
It was named one of the best books of the year by Time, BBC Science Focus, The Daily Mail, Geographical, The Times, The Telegraph, The New Statesman, and the London Evening Standard for “Science Friday,” which is a celebration of the best science books of the year.
Mushrooms are probably the first thing that springs to mind when we think of fungi. Mushrooms, on the other hand, are nothing more than fruiting bodies. Most fungi live out of sight, yet make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that supports and sustains nearly all living systems. Fungi provide a key to understanding the planet on which we live, and the ways we think, feel, and behave.
Merlin Sheldrake, a brilliant young biologist, shows us the world from a fungal perspective in Entangled Life, providing an exhilarating change of perspective. Sheldrake’s vivid exploration takes us from yeast to psychedelics, to the fungi that range for miles underground and are the largest organisms on the planet, to those that link plants together in complex networks known as the “Wood Wide Web,” to those that infiltrate and manipulate insect bodies with devastating precision.
When it comes to individuality and even intelligence, fungi challenge our assumptions. They are metabolic lords, earth-shapers, and integral participants in nearly every aspect of life. Their abilities range from mind-altering to body-healing, and they can even aid in the cleanup of environmental disasters. As Sheldrake focuses on fungi on their own terms, he sheds light on how our interactions with them are reshaping our understanding of how life functions.

“In the tradition of [Robert] Macfarlane and [John] Fowles, Entangled Life is a beautiful book of literary nature writing that is rich in insight and erudition. .. nourishment for the spirit.” Eugenia Bone of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal.
“An effervescent and daring journey… To say that reading this book has changed my life is an understatement. I was not only moved, but eager to spread the word about what fungi are capable of, and I haven’t even consumed my copy yet.” —The New York Times’ Jennifer Szalai

Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses

Robin Wall Kimmerer (Author)

Mosses are a common but largely unappreciated part of the natural world, which is why they are often overlooked. When you read Gathering Moss, you’ll get a glimpse into the lives of mosses, which are both beautiful and fascinating.
An identification guide and scientific treatise aren’t the focus of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book. To the contrary, it’s a collection of intertwined personal essays that will enlighten both laypeople and scientists about the way mosses live and how they are intertwined with the lives of numerous other species, from salmon and hummingbirds to redwoods and rednecks. Kimmerer explains the biology of mosses in a clear and beautiful manner, while also reflecting on what these fascinating organisms can teach us.

It is through this combination of scientific knowledge and indigenous understanding that Kimmerer tells the stories of the world’s most delicate and fascinating organisms. In her book, mosses are used as a powerful metaphor for how we should live in the world because of their natural history and cultural connections. From bryologists to environmentalists, Native Americans to those interested in nature and science writing, Gathering Moss will appeal to a wide range of readers.

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present

David Treuer (Author)

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown’s best-selling 1970 book on Native American history, has long held that American Indian history came to an end with the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890. Native civilization was thought to have perished along with the 150 Sioux killed by the U.S. Cavalry.
David Treuer, who grew up Ojibwe on a reservation in Minnesota, studied anthropology, and researched Native life for his nonfiction and novels, has discovered a different narrative. The story of American Indians since the end of the nineteenth century to the present is one of unprecedented resourcefulness and reinvention because of their efforts to preserve their language, their traditions, their families, and their very existence..

Treuer’s book, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, is a blend of history, reportage, and personal narrative. He examines how the depredations of each era spawned new ways of surviving by tracking the tribes’ distinct cultures from the time they first came into contact. The devastation of land seizures led to increasingly sophisticated legal and political maneuvering that disproved the myth that Indians do not understand or care about property. A Native identity was incubated by the forced assimilation of their children at government-run boarding schools. Even as Indians were compelled to join the US military and relocate to urban areas, they were also influencing the development of self-rule and inspiring a new generation of resistance. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is the essential, intimate story of a resilient people in a transformative time.

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