From South Africa; Eugene Marais, e.g. The Soul of the White Ant; The Soul of the Ape.
Not really nature books per se but when I was wee I gobbled up the books of Thornton W Burgess. Old Mother West Wind, Peter Rabbit, Buster Bear, Chatterer the Red Squirrel and Old Mr. Toad were bedtime reading for years. I graduated to Farley Mowat and others mentioned on this topic. I was fortunate in having a grandfather with whom I had an otherwise difficult relationship who nurtured my interest in all things nature by signing me up to the provincial Young Naturalist program every Christmas, with a subscription to their kid’s magazine, and a great uncle who bought me awesome field guides, encyclopedias of nature, microscopes and stuff (he also taught me to swear, smoke and drink, so he was pretty awesome, even if I still do only one of them).
I read Rachel Carson in high school and it changed my life. I read and got to hang out for a bit with Murray Bookchin while in University, who wasn’t so much a nature writer as a force of nature and with whom I disagreed on some stuff, but he got me thinking in different ways about the human place in nature.
Oh, I loved Thornton W. Burgess books! Unfortunately, I only have one left, but used to have a great number of them. Jimmy the skunk. One of the problems for me was the Babbling Brook and the Smiling Pool. Growing up in the flatlands, rivers were slow an muddy, and there were not a lot of pools around. I moved out to Ontario in 1987, and finally saw a babbling brook! I was sort of annoyed when my young children didn’t immediately gravitate to the treasures that had been denied to me as a kid!
Sorry to hear about your Grandfather, but I guess any difficult relationship can have a good aspect involved with it.
I used to have one on Insects. These are the ones from St. Martin’s Press, right?
It seems like they are now published by St. Martin’s Press. My first one, sitting beside me right now, is from 1966 and is published by Western Publishing Company. Learn something new every day!
Bernd Heinrich is the author of numerous award-winning books, including the bestselling Winter World, Mind of the Raven, and Why We Run, and has received countless honors for his scientific work. He also writes for Scientific American, Outside, American Scientist, and Audubon; and he has written book reviews and op-eds for The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. He studied at the University of Maine and UCLA, and is professor emeritus of biology at the University of Vermont. Heinrich divides his time between Vermont and the forests of western Maine.
I do not know if my idols are nature writers, but the first one I idolized was Theodor von Heldreich.
He was German, but so fascinated with Greek nature. He moved to Greece, became director of the Botanical Gardens in Athens and discovered so many plants and animals in his expeditions.
Also many species are named after him, e.g. Anemone hortensis heldreichii, Crataegus heldreichii or Ameles heldreichi.
He still is one of my favorite nature writers. Another amazing (ancient) nature writers are Dioskurides and Theophrastos, both described plants and their medicinal use
You’re thinking of Jim Kjelgaard, @caththalitroides. I read every book he wrote, and there were many!
I saved and saved to buy those Golden Field Guides. Favorites were Birds, Flowers, and Seashores. I still have them – the Birds one was copyright 1949 and I think it cost a dollar in paperback.
That’s why I wanted an Irish Setter when I was a youngster! Thanks!
Once, as a research assistant studying Florida Scrub-jays, I did a small projected that demonstrated footedness (most individuals consistently use the same foot for the task) in the jays. I had recently read “The Mind of the Raven” and felt very brave to email Heinrich, explain my finding, and ask if he had ever noticed or looked for footedness in ravens. About three weeks later, I got an email back. It said, “No” and nothing else. Just No.
that sounds like something he would do
Bernd Heinrich. Have all his books and learned a lot from each one. I corresponded with him for over a year regarding unusual goose behaviour I documented which interested him. His knowledge is astounding. He can be a little focused on that knowledge, and not being personable, but I didn’t mind since I am like that myself. At least, I am told I am.
Lewis Thomas, the Lives of a Cell.
And, come to think of it, what am I doing sitting here looking at this computer???
Zimm’s books were my go-to guides as a kid! Thanks for the memories.
Yes! I loved reading Life of a Spider, Life of a Fly, etc.
I second this. Such a great writer and naturalist.
Barry Lopez. He has such a way of bringing the far north to life in Arctic Dreams. And obviously Edward Abbey is amazing. Desert Solitaire is perfection and I still have yet to visit Utah (but he made it so that I definitely will someday)
She’s mostly local to Ohio which is where I live - but I love Lucy Braun. I learned about her at the same time I first started getting interested in botany so she’s kinda been a guiding figure for me, whenever we first went to a nature preserve we could read about what kind of research Lucy Braun did at that very place. We even found one of the plants named after here (Viola × brauniae).
Yep, as with the desert southwest in Desert Notes.