The best books about trees

recommended by Joy Simpson

Trees stand witness to our treatment of the environment; they have been and are integral to our lives and well-being. We need to revere them more. Nothing beats getting out amongst them, but sometimes books can remind us of their importance.

  • 1


    The Language of Trees
    by Katie Holten

    A perfect reminder of the power of trees in our lives. Written by experts, authors, poets and anyone who has something to say about trees, it can be read in one go or a snippet a day. The tree font is wonderful as are the line drawings throughout.

  • 2


    North Woods: A Novel
    by Daniel Mason

    The story of a forest told through time from the past into the future in photos, newspaper articles, letters, psychiatric case notes, footnotes and much else. The people who have lived on the land weave in and out of the story and we see the migration not just of them but also the animals and diseases. My number 1 book this year.

  • 3


    Secrets of a Devon Wood: My Nature Journal
    by Jo Brown

    A beautiful journal of birds, insects, plants and funghi spotted in a local wood across a year. Brief notes about each item included.

  • 4


    The Overstory
    by Richard Powers

    A 2019 Pulitzer winner weaving together the stories of nine people who come together to save trees. It explores our relationship with trees, why we are so slow to react to climate change and the meaning of hope.

  • 5


    How to Read a Tree
    by Tristan Gooley

    You'll never look at a tree in the same way again. What can missing branches tell us, the lumps and bumps of the bark, the wind footprint and how we can tell we are getting nearer the sea. Leaf changes, north and south, a stress map - there is so much in this book. I read it a chapter at a time and studied trees in my area looking for evidence before moving on to the next chapter.

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