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The snail with the right heart : a true story book cover

The snail with the right heart : a true story

Maria Popova

jE Popova
Science, Nature

This is the real-life story of Jeremy, a rare garden snail found in 2015 by a retired London scientist. Jeremy's shell spiraled to the left, indicating reversed internal anatomy--including a heart positioned on the right. As a result, a similarly rare mate was needed in order to procreate.

Victoria's picture

I've been waiting for the prolific blogger of Brain Pickings, Maria Popova to finally write a book and it's as delightful, observant, dry and fascinating as she is. This is a children's book but should be enjoyed by all ages. If you like this, check out You are Stardust by Elin Kelsey (a book Popova once recommended on her blog!). -Victoria

A walk in the woods : rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail book cover

A walk in the woods : rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

Bill Bryson

917.4 /Bryson
Nonfiction, Nature

The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America—majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way—and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in)

Beth's picture

Added by Beth

This is your mind on plants book cover

This is your mind on plants

Michael Pollan

581.6 /Pollan
Nature, Science

Of all the things humans rely on plants for-- sustenance, beauty, fragrance, flavor, fiber-- surely the most curious is our use of them is to change consciousness: to stimulate or calm, fiddle with or completely alter, the qualities of our mental experience. Pollan dives deep into three plant drugs-- opium, caffeine, and mescaline-- and explores the cultures that have grown up around these drugs. He examines the powerful human attraction to psychoactive plants, and the equally powerful taboos with which we surround them. The result is a unique blend of history, science, memoir-- and participatory journalism. -- adapted from jacket

Victoria's picture

Absolutely fascinating read on the relationships and complications of how humans have defined, legitimized, legalized or criminalized our interactions with plants. For centuries we have relied on plants for, among other things their sustenance and nourishment. We've used them ceremoniously and of course for their mind-altering properties. In this book Pollan highlights the narrow lens and dogma of "The War on Drugs," and instead presents a more open discussion of the layered properties of plants (opium, caffeine, and mescaline) and their potential. -Victoria

How to be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals book cover

How to be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals

Sy Montgomery

Memoir, Animals, Nature

A naturalist and adventurer discusses the personalities and quirks of thirteen animals who have profoundly affected her, exploring themes of learning to become empathetic, creating families, coping with loss, and the otherness and sameness of people and animals.

Victoria's picture

A delightful book for anyone who admires the sentient intellect and all the life lessons animals outside of own species can share with us-if we're paying attention. -Victoria

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder book cover

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

Richard Louv

Nature, Science

As children’s connections to nature diminish and the social, psychological, and spiritual implications become apparent, new research shows that nature can offer powerful therapy for such maladies as depression, obesity, and attention deficit disorder. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade-point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that childhood experiences in nature stimulate creativity. In Last Child in the Woods, Louv talks with parents, children, teachers, scientists, religious leaders, child-development researchers, and environmentalists who recognize the threat and offer solutions. Louv shows us an alternative future, one in which parents help their kids experience the natural world more deeply—and find the joy of family connectedness in the process.

Mari's picture

This book presents an interesting examination of why children no longer play outside, the health benefits of interacting with nature and ways to encourage kids and communities to reconnect with and the outdoor world. All of this resonated deeply with me, and I felt grateful for the parts of my childhood spent running around in the woods, in the creek, through the farmlands, on bikes, all unsupervised with the neighborhood kids. Now when I go back to visit my dad at my childhood home, the forest is gone and the rural countryside is developed with new houses, streets, businesses, schools, and even hotels and a sports plex. think it's hard to dispute the author's message of how formative these experiences are to the development of children in becoming productive members of society and personally made me want to be engaged more in nature as adult. It also left me feeling a little sad knowing that most children today and in the future, as quoted by a child in the book, "like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are." -Mari

Braiding sweetgrass book cover

Braiding sweetgrass

Robin Wall Kimmerer

508 /Kimmerer
Nature, Science

"As a leading researcher in the field of biology, Robin Wall Kimmerer understands the delicate state of our world. But as an active member of the Potawatomi nation, she senses and relates to the world through a way of knowing far older than any science. In Braiding Sweetgrass, she intertwines these two modes of awareness--the analytic and the emotional, the scientific and the cultural--to ultimately reveal a path toward healing the rift that grows between people and nature. The woven essays that construct this book bring people back into conversation with all that is green and growing; a universe that never stopped speaking to us, even when we forgot how to listen"--

Becky's picture

Blending personal, aesthetic and scientific perspectives on nature, “Braiding Sweetgrass” will have you thinking more about gratitude, restoration, and the relationship between humans and the environment. Kimmerer writes in a poetic style, sharing her own experiences as a mother, a professor, and a Potawatomi woman. A great read! -Becky

The Tea Dragon Society book cover

The Tea Dragon Society

Katie (Cartoonist) O'Neill

Graphic Novels, Fantasy, Nature

After discovering a lost Tea Dragon in the marketplace, apprentice blacksmith Greta learns about the dying art form of Tea Dragon caretaking from the kind tea shop owners.

Casey's picture

I'm very late on reading the sequel to this one, and want to make sure I'm caught up before heading to The Tea Dragon Festival. I love Katie O'Neill's style--Aquicorn Cove is equally adorable. -Casey

The young adventurer's guide to (almost) everything : build a fort, camp like a champ, poop in the woods--45 action-packed outdoor activities book cover

The young adventurer's guide to (almost) everything : build a fort, camp like a champ, poop in the woods--45 action-packed outdoor activities

Ben Hewitt

j796.083 Hewitt

"Once upon a time, kids learned the most amazing and unusual things. They learned how to shelter and clothe themselves, how to use a knife and hatchet, how build a fire, tie knots, and read a compass. They learned how to spend a comfortable night in the forest without a nylon tent from REI. The Young Adventurer's Guide will teach kids everything from how to walk like a fox and see like an owl to use the stars as their own personal GPS and even how to build the world's coolest fort out of foraged sticks. This handbook for curious kids will empower them to explore the natural world and even the comfort of their own backyard through a whole new set of skills. Featuring 65 different skills in sections that include: Secrets of the Woods, The Best Camping Trip, Make Cool Stuff That's Actually Useful and Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary"--

Anne W's picture

Added by Anne W

Ranger Rick kids' guide to hiking : all you need to know about having fun while hiking book cover

Ranger Rick kids' guide to hiking : all you need to know about having fun while hiking

Helen Olsson

j796.51 Olsson

A guide to hiking discusses where to do it, what time of day and year to go, what to wear, what gear to bring, proper trail etiquette, how to stay safe, and how to have fun.

Anne W's picture

Added by Anne W

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek book cover

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Annie Dillard

508.755 /Dillard

A collection of essays on the natural world during a year spent in the Blue Ridge Mountains reflects the author's interactions with her wilderness surroundings.

Mari's picture

This book has been on my to-read list for a long time. Dillard's essays on her observations of the natural world in the Blue Ridge mountains are so beautiful and almost otherworldly. There was way too much information about plants and creatures to possibly retain it all but I enjoyed every page. -Mari