The best books on Sense of Place, recommended by Patrick Galbraith

Novelists, non-fiction writers and poets all attempt to create immersive and atmospheric settings in their books—what is called a ‘sense of place’ in literary terms. Here, the British journalist Patrick Galbraith selects five books that explore and evoke a sense of place—including works by Joan Didion, Mark Kurlansky and John McPhee.

The best books on Natural History, recommended by David George Haskell

Natural history can offer a “portal into wonder and astonishment,” says David George Haskell, the biologist and award-winning author of nonfiction works including Sounds Wild and Broken and The Forest Unseen. But natural history books, in the past, have also been guilty of reinforcing prejudices. Here he recommends five natural history books that celebrate the diversity of life.

The best books on Islands, recommended by Gavin Francis

Generations of writers, explorers and armchair travellers have found a focal point of fascination in the idea of the remote island. Why so? Gavin Francis, the award-winning writer, explains the everlasting appeal of the lonely isle – and why the fantasy is at least as powerful as the salt-sprayed reality – as he selects five of the best books on islands.

The best books on Summer, recommended by Melissa Harrison

Temperatures ratcheting, tinderbox conditions, a pressure cooker atmosphere… summer is a handy literary shorthand for rising tensions. But in the natural world, summer is a quiet time when the flowers die back and the fruits and seeds are ripening. Here, Melissa Harrison—the novelist, nature writer and podcaster—recommends five of the best summer books, for those who like to read in step with the seasons.

Fresh Voices in Nature Writing, recommended by Jessica J. Lee

Writing about nature and landscape need not be stuffy or traditionalist. Jessica J Lee, editor of The Willowherb Review—a literary journal dedicated to diversity in nature writing—recommends five books that offer a breath of fresh air: encompassing the whole of life, from sex in the woods to birding in the city.

The Best of Nature Writing 2019, recommended by Charles Foster

What do we talk about when we talk about nature? Almost everything, says the academic and bestselling author of Being a Beast, Charles Foster. Here he selects five of the best works of nature writing in 2019; books that seek to connect us more deeply with the non-human world.

The Best Nature Books of 2018, recommended by Charles Foster

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 best books on Predators, recommended by Nick Pyenson

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.

Laura Dassow Walls on Henry David Thoreau

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.

The Best Nature Writing of 2017, recommended by Charles Foster

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.

The best books on Trees, recommended by David George Haskell

‘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.

Amy Liptrot chooses the best of Nature Writing

Amy Liptrot, whose bestselling memoir The Outrun won the 2016 Wainwright Prize for nature writing, talks to Five Books about her favourite writing about landscape—and how her immersion in island life helped her recover from alcoholism.

The best books on Wild Places, recommended by Robert Macfarlane

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 best books on The English Countryside, recommended by Paul Brassley

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.