Today in the UK it’s World Book Day, which seems a fine time as any to pass along a few recommendations of some truly worthwhile non-fiction books concerning nature and the environment. I’ve enjoyed reading these books at some point over the past few years, and I suspect many of you might enjoy them too.
Let’s get right to it, shall we? And if you have a recommendation as well, please feel free to leave a comment below!
1 – Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv
American journalist Richard Louv’s bestselling book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, is a must-read for parents, educators, and environment enthusiasts alike. Throughout, Louv convincingly links troubling trends such as the rise of childhood obesity, attention deficit disorders, and depression to our increasing lack of contact and connection with the outdoors. He doesn’t simply present problems, however; the book includes a comprehensive list of actions we can take to drive positive change in our homes, schools, and communities.
2 – Feral, by George Monbiot
Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the Frontiers of Rewilding strives to show us a way to increase the wonder in our modern lives, by poetically advocating for a rewilding of the planet’s damaged ecosystems. It’s a gripping read by British journalist George Monbiot, and another essential piece of literature I’d recommend to anyone with an interest in the intersection between humankind and the rest of the natural world.
3 – The Nature Fix, by Florence Williams
In The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative, Florence Williams walks through forests in Korea and across islands in Finland (among other places) to uncover the scientific research behind nature’s positive impact on our bodies and minds. Her stories of discovery often amuse and delight, and each chapter is chockablock with interesting facts gathered during her time spent outdoors at home in America and abroad.
4 – The Genius of Birds, by Jennifer Ackerman
I learned so much about birds – from the New Caledonian Crow to the Blue Tit to the African Gray Parrot – from reading this book, that it positively blew my mind. What’s more, I learned loads about how humans think from reading this book. I highly recommend this bestseller to anyone interested in birds, animal behavior, or even psychology in general.
5 – My First Summer in the Sierra, by John Muir
Let’s finish off with an oldie but a definite goodie! John Muir’s 1911 classic My First Summer in the Sierra was one of the first bits of nature writing I ever read, and it remains a solid favorite of mine. Muir’s descriptions of the High Sierra landscape are bursting, overflowing with infectious wonder and joy. He looks at the natural landscape as a devoutly religious person might gaze upon a stately cathedral, filled with spiritual awe. It’s a delight to follow along in his journeys through the Californian wilderness.
Thanks for reading!