There has been a rash of books about epiphanic incursions into wilderness—but the best nature writing digs too into the complexities of our relationship with the natural world, says Charles Foster, the bestselling author of Being A Beast. Here, he discusses the best nature books of 2018.
The predators that stalked our ancestors have been marginalised to the brink of extinction, but these animals still fill us with awe, says Nick Pyenson. They play a vital role in life on Earth, and we need to understand them if we are to survive.
Again and again we return to the question: how should we live? To Henry David Thoreau, the 19th-century author, philosopher and naturalist, the answer was simplicity itself. Here his biographer Laura Dassow Walls selects five key texts that explore the Thoreauvian way of thinking.
Swimming With Seals
by Victoria Whitworth
Animals Strike Curious Poses
by Elena Passarello
Science and Spiritual Practices: Transformative Experiences and their Effects on our Bodies, Brains and Health
by Rupert Sheldrake
Islander: A Journey Around Our Archipelago
by Patrick Barkham
The Seabirds Cry: The Lives and Loves of Puffins, Gannets and Other Ocean Voyagers
by Adam Nicolson
Sales of nature books have been booming, but only the most exacting of authors get right to the heart of our own interconnectedness with the natural world, says Charles Foster, bestselling author of Being A Beast. Here, he chooses five of the best books of nature writing published in 2017.
Ecology of a Cracker Childhood
by Janisse Ray
Handbook of Nature Study
by Anna Botsford Comstock
The New Sylva: A Discourse of Forest and Orchard Trees for the Twenty-First Century
by Gabriel Hemery & Sarah Simblet
Chuang Tzu: The Inner Chapters
by David Hinton & Zhuangzi
The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World
by Michael Pollan
‘Our modern dependence on trees is mostly hidden from our senses. We don’t hear the rain passing through forest canopies on its way to the reservoir. We don’t smell the wood pellets and coal chunks that power our computers and homes. The wood that frames our houses, holds up our furniture, and gives us paper arrives with signs of its ecological history purged.’ We’re a long way from the campfire where our relationship with trees got going. Here, David George Haskell takes us back, deep into the forest. (You can buy all five of the books he recommends by clicking here)
Robert Macfarlane, author of an acclaimed trilogy of books about landscape and human thought tells us about the intrepid, sometimes misanthropic writers who inspired his own investigation of wilderness. He chooses some of his favourite books of nature-writing.
The English countryside on a sunny summer’s day is one of the most beguiling places in the world to be. But how has it changed since the Black Death? Is there still a meaningful difference between urban and rural society? Rural historian Paul Brassley talks us through the best books to get a fuller understanding of England’s green and pleasant land.