Book Recommendations

My family and other animals

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I highly recommend Around the World in 80 Plants. It’s about edible plants, both grown and foraged, and really interesting. The author was a British guy who left graduate school as an expert on wave energy and took a job in Norway. He is a vegetarian and most people in Norway at that time had never met a vegetarian. He started his own garden to provide food for his table and, evidently, grows 3,000 different plants in it. He describes 80 of them in this book and throws in the random story and/or recipe as he goes. I loved it.


Half Earth by EO Wilson should be followed up by Nature’s Best Hope by Douglas Tallamy and EO Wilson’s very interesting biography. (Sorry, can’t remember the name right now.)


I did read these a few decades ago, but today I would recommend Samual Thayer’s trilogy: The Forager’s Harvest; Nature’s Garden; and Incredible Wild Edibles. He includes recipes and ways to collect and process the edibles (which was never addressed by Gibbons) and they are also full of stories and full color photos.

I loved that book when I was young. It makes me wonder if I can find a used copy and read it again.

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Given the ‘not appropriate’ caveat given by the OP, I suspect you are on the wrong track.

Possibly so! I was thinking along the lines of the wiki entry:

The story follows an abandoned yet defiant girl, Kya, who raises herself to adulthood in a North Carolina marshland, becoming a naturalistin the process.

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Sorry, but it has been so long since I’ve been a teen/young adult that I am completely out of touch with that niche. What did you mean by “most are inappropriate”?

Love Douglas Tallamy. I have read all three books and like Nature’s Best Hope the most. There is now a web site - Homegrown National Park!


A lot of books in the teenage/young adult sections of the library have a lot like sexual descriptions etc. also most use a lot of foul language, which doesn’t bother me as much recently but it is kinda tiresome. I miss reading the good books that didn’t have anything like that, they had a good plot, I loveddd heist books, and like the treasure hunting books that showed u the maps and codes and stuff like that.


It’s not completely nature related, but you could try the Edge Chronicles.

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Thank you!!

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You’re welcome!

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Not fiction, but I highly recommend “The Edwardian Lady: The Story of Edith Holden”. It’s a biography of British nature illustrator Edith Holden, known for her “Country Diary of—” and “Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady”. Both use material form her observation diary kept while she was teaching at the Solihull School for Girls. “Nature Notes for 1906” was a model for her students’ work.


You know, I just had another thought, if you’re into mysteries. Give Ellis Peters (pen name of Edith Mary Pargeter) a try. Specifically, the Brother Cadfael series; they’re set in medieval Shrewsbury against the historical backdrop of the succession crisis of 1138 to 1153 (King Stephen and Empress Maude).

The title character is a former Crusader who traded the cross for the cowl and became a Benedictine monk late in life. In his duties for the Abbey, he uses the herbal medicine that he learned while in Antioch. The books have wonderfully detailed descriptions of the countryside, and Cadfael often uses his knowledge of plants in to assist his friend, the deputy Sheriff (later Sheriff) Hugh Beringar.

You might also like Mary Stewart’s Thornyhold. It’s a fantasy-romance-mystery hybrid, with well-done depictions of aunt and niece naturalists and herbalists.


What a treasure trove, a veritable lifelong reading list :green_heart: :heart:

Wanted to add the following

Non Fiction

  1. The Diversity of Life E.O Wilson
    A racy paperback introduction ot nature, island ecology evolution and what not

  2. J. Terborgh 1992. Diversity and the tropical rain forest.
    *Starts with an adrenaline pumping introduction to rain forests and then so beautifully takes one through the diversity of rain forests - the why’s the hows etc

  3. Pranay Lal : Indica: A Deep Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent
    Poetically written, scientifically rich , and with great graphics. A great and indepth introduction to the Natural History of India

  4. David Attenborough - The Private Life of Plants
    Yet another insightful book to accompany a TV series that started to bring attention to the natural world for kids newly exposed to television

  5. Peter Matthiessen : The Snow Leopard
    For me a personal introduction to the wild himalaya / Tibetan Plateau, the dangers, the hardship, the excitement and the elusiveness of nature

  6. Madhav Gadgil, and Ramachandra Guha : This Fissured Land: An Ecological History of India
    Not natural history but an ecological introduction to India

Not Sure how to categorize somewhat non fiction

  1. Gerald Durrell - so many books but The Corfu Trilogy is a must read
    Nature and relationships through the eyes of a young person written with humour and also genuinely heavy of nature

  2. James Herriot - Many books.
    An English vets very humourous take on being a vet, along with his in-depth exploration of animal and human characters, with typical self deprecating British Humour.


  1. Richard Adams : Plague Dogs
    Moving, though provoking

  2. Richard Adam : Watership Down
    Complex, and unput-down-able


There’s a novella I read recently that was pretty good called What Moves the Dead, by T. Kingfisher.

Its a gothic horror story, so a quite different from a lot of the suggestions here. Basically its a reimagining of The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe but (without spoiling it) fungi are quite plot relevant.

Another fungus-related horror option is The Girl with all the Gifts by M. R. Carey. There was actually a movie adaptation a few years back of this one, its post apocalyptic horror with fungus zombies - and no, it has nothing to do with The Last of Us

Finally, a non-fiction option I haven’t seen mentioned is The Sting of the Wild by Justin O. Schmidt. This entomologist created the Schmidt pain scale for insect stings by… going around and getting stung by all of them. Truly a service to humanity, and this book goes in to it more.


Mrs Moreau’s Warbler by Stephen Moss. The sub-title How Bird’s Got Their Names, explains what that’s about.

Anything by Simon Barnes.


I’m loving that we have a fiction and now a nonfiction recommendation thread

I’m currently working through The Bone Sharp which is a biography of Edward Drinker Cope. It’s been entertaining to read the letters of a young paleontologist begging his dad for ice cream money

The Tyrannosaur Chronicles is a good overview of recent T. rex research. Dinosaurs Rediscovered is the same but more broad.

All we can save is essays on climate change highlighting feminist and indigenous voices

Last chance to see is entertaining and depressing and reassuring

Seconding Eager: Why beavers matter

Your Inner Fish talks about Tiktaalik and it’s importance to our understanding of tetrapod evolution. This is one of the few places where I can also flex and say I got Dr. Daeschler to autograph my copy


For a period of time this book was used in the management circles to promote the idea of an ecosystems approach to management.

I don’t know what happened to that agenda but I do know that very few who read Consilience went on to read other E.O Wilson books, which is a pity really because maybe just maybe some of the trashy management decisions we are seeing now may have been less trashy

(I am using management as a loose word to broadly include corporate mal-interests towards nature and conservation)