Book Recommendations

The Wind in the Willows is a favourite childhood. I’m particularly fond of Stephen J. Gould’s writings, although they are mainly about Palaeontology. Wonderful Life is an incredible book.


Anything by David Quammen. I also like Edwin Way Teale, especially the American Seasons books.


I read The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben a while ago; it had some really interesting insights on tree communities and other rarely-considered plant facts.


Glad to know I’m not the only one who reads field guides for fun!:joy:


Oh I love Wind in the Willows!


@jbroadhead if you can stand another book on viruses, Quammen’s “Spillover” from 2012 explains a lot about zoonotics and thus puts a lot of context around the current coronavirus. And another vote for Pollan, this time for Second Nature. Loren Eiseley had beautifully written prose in his books, such as the The Unexpected Universe and The Firmament of Time. For N American history, The Year of Decision: 1846 by Devoto was good, as were the narratives from Fremon’ts explorations. For those who like historical books, Gold Rush diaries, journals of Antarctic and Arctic expeditions, and many others, the internet archive digital library includes a number of searchable archives, including American Libraries, Canadian Libraries, and a Live Music Archive as well, all w free downloads (including Kindle format for texts) at


Anything by Bernd Heinrich especially Ravens in Winter and Mind of the Raven.
Salt, A World History by Mark Kurlansky. One of the best books I’ve read.
More later.


I really recommend all of Stan Tekelia’s field guides, they’re great!

One of my favorites also.

I will add: Neptune’s Ark by David Rains Wallace – marine paleontology of the North American Pacific Coast.

I like the works of the naturalists of long ago. Wanderings in the Great Forests of Borneo by Odoardo Beccari is a fascinating read, in part because it includes hints of a “lost” theory of evolution that you don’t really read about anymore, called plastination.

Another book I recommend is Winter is Coming. Though it’s a picture book, the illustrations are beautiful and realistic, the writing is superb, and it is overall a wonderful book about nature.

Your friendly neighborhood nature-geek librarian recommends these fabulous junior titles:

An extraordinary ordinary moth, by Karlin Gray & illustrated by Steliyana Doneva. ISBN 9781585363728. One of the few moth-related titles for children.

Gotta go! Gotta go!, Sam Swope ; pictures by Sue Riddle. ISBN 9780374327576. My favorite picture book about Monarch butterflies.

Two tiny mice: a mouse-eye exploration of nature, by Alan Baker. ISBN 9781629146270. A beautifully-illustrated book about British nature.

Moonbird: a year on the wind with the great survivor B95, by Phillip Hoose. ISBN 9780374304683. Follows a male Red Knot who was banded multiple times over two decades.

My first book of Canadian birds, text by Andrea Miller ; art by Angela Doak. ISBN 9780374304683. Only caveat - this book still uses “Gray Jay” (since renamed “Canada Jay.”)

Is this Panama?: a migration story, by Jan Thornhill ; illustrated by Soyeon Kim. ISBN 9781926973883. Sammy the Wilson’s Warbler knows he needs to migrate south, but where is Panama?

A bear’s life, by Ian McAllister & Nicholas Read. ISBN 9781459812703. One of series on the wildlife of Canada’s Pacific coast.

The girl who drew butterflies: how Maria Merian’s art changed science, by Joyce Sidman. 9780544717138. Maria Merian (1646-1717) was one of the first naturalists to document butterfly metamorphosis. The book is illustrated with Merian’s own art.

And some personal adult non-fiction favorites:

Hope is the thing with feathers: a personal chronicle of vanished birds, by Christopher Cokinos. ISBN 9781585427222.

An enchantment of birds: memories from a birder’s life, by Richard Cannings ; illustrations by Donald Gunn. ISBN 9781553652359.

A feathered river across the sky: the passenger pigeon’s flight to extinction, by Joel Greenberg. ISBN 9781620405345.

Candid creatures: how camera traps reveal the mysteries of nature, by Roland Kays. ISBN 9781421418889.

Wild West: nature living on the edge ; endangered species of Western North America, by Heather Beattie and Barbara Huck. ISBN 9781896150352.

Shameless plug: these titles and thousands more can be requested through your local public library!



Continuing with the classics:

Rachel Carson’s trilogy on marine life: Under the Sea Wind - The Sea Around Us - Edge of the Sea.
And of course her diatribe on persistent pesticides, Silent Spring.

Euell Gibbons’ trilogy on wild food foraging: Stalking the Wild Asparagus - Stalking the Blue-eyed Scallop - Stalking the Healthful Herbs.
That trilogy was truly life-changing for me. He was my childhood hero.

And a couple by Marston Bates: Where Winter Never Comes and The Forest and the Sea.


Ooh yes Rachel Carson is the best!

Even though I’ve said this before, Get Your Boots On is wonderful! It’s like a field guide to life as a nature lover.

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I also recommend a book called The Invisible Rainbow: A History of Electricity and Life by Arthur Firstenberg. It’s not exactly nature related, but it is extremely eye-opening. It’s history, science and speculation all in one, extremely well researched and written, and basically tells you everything you didn’t want to know about electricity. Those of you whose cell phone is your most important possession (I suspect most of you) will probably want to pretend it’s all a bunch of lies. But it’s a great book and you should read it anyway.


Another wonderful picture book is Puma Dreams by Tony Johnson. It is a poignant, beautiful book about Mountain Lions (cougars, pumas) with a slightly hidden message of conservation.

Twilight of the Mammoths is a pretty interesting book that talks about the extinction of the world’s megafauna, but focusing mainly on North America.


Ooh sounds cool!

  • Darwin’s Armada by Iain McCalman weaves together the formative sea voyages of four legendary naturalists (and close compatriots)- Charles Darwin, Joseph Hooker, Thomas Huxley, and Alfred Russel Wallace. Highly recommend.

  • Naturally Curious by Mary Holland is thoroughly delightful- and packed with great information.