Ten Nature TBRs

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

It’s a Freebie this week, so I’ve chosen to list ten books on various aspects of nature that I haven’t read yet. I got this idea a few weeks ago from Hopewell’s Public Library of Life’s blog when she listed some of her nature TBRs.

The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Wallace Johnson – this combines many genres – biography, true crime, ornithology, history, travel and memoir – to tell the story of an audacious heist of rare bird skins from the Natural History Museum at Tring in 2009. Chris Packham recommended this book on his lockdown programme the Self-Isolating Bird Club and I thought it sounded fascinating.

The Hidden Life of Trees Peter Wohlleben – I love trees but I never thought that trees had a ‘hidden life’ as described in this book. So, I was intrigued by the title – is it possible that trees are like human families as Wohlleben describes. I admit that I am sceptical, but as I haven’t read it yet I’m trying to keep an open mind. This book is described as drawing on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers.

I have often wondered what animals are thinking and feeling – especially when I saw the reaction of Ben, our dog when Zoe, our other dog died. He was clearly devastated and howled. So, I want to read The Inner Life of Animals: Surprising Observations of a Hidden World  by Peter Wohlleben – stories about the emotions, feelings, and intelligence of animals around us. Animals are different from us in ways that amaze us – and they are also much closer to us than we ever would have thought. 

Rain: Four Walks in English Weather by Melissa Harrison – a ‘meditation on the English landscape in wet weather.’ She describes four walks in the rain over four seasons, across Wicken Fen, Shropshire, the Darent Valley and Dartmoor. I have to admit that I’m not keen on walking in the rain, so I’m hoping to find encouragement in this book.

 The Therapeutic Garden by Donald Norfolk is a book I’ve had for years. I’ve not read all of it – just dipped into a few chapters. It’s about the healing power of nature through gardening. I am not a keen gardener, I don’t know enough about it. This is not a practical ‘how-to’ gardening book, but uses gardening as an enjoyable means to bring wholeness, health and healing.

Another book about the value of gardening to relieve stress and help us look after our mental health is The Well Gardened Mind: Rediscovering Nature in the Modern World by Sue Stuart-Smith. It combines contemporary neuroscience, psychoanalysis and brilliant storytelling, to investigate the magic that many gardeners have known for years – working with nature can radically transform our health, wellbeing and confidence.

The Wild Remedy: How Nature Mends Us – A Diary by Emma Mitchell. This is another book Chris Packham recommended and Emma appeared several times on his Self Isolating Bird Club. The book is beautifully illustrated and is Emma’s diary of her walks along the paths and trails around her cottage and further afield, sharing her nature finds and tracking the lives of local flora and fauna over the course of a year. 

The Overstory by Richard Powers, a novel about nine strangers brought together by an unfolding natural catastropheA friend recommended this book, telling me how wonderful it is. It’s about trees and about protecting trees – and I love trees!

Islands of Abandonment: Life in the Post-Human Landscape by Cal Flyn, a book about what happens when humans leave and nature is allowed to reclaim its place. It looks at Chernobyl, uninhabited Scottish islands, volcanic regions of the Caribbean and the lush forests of Tanzanian mountains.

We have lots of books about birds, most of which are reference books to dip into to identify the birds we don’t recognise, but Garden Bird Songs and Calls by Geoff Sample is a bit different. It’s a short book – an audio guide, designed to help identify birds by their song with a CD of the sounds of 40 of the most common and vocal garden birds. There are also written descriptions of the songs. So far I’ve only tried to identify the robin’s song.

14 thoughts on “Ten Nature TBRs

  1. I think I’d like to read pretty much every book you’ve listed, Margaret! But I especially fancy The Feather Thief, The Wild Remedy and the trees book which I’ll go and look up in a minute. I’m planning to read a bird book this month, Waiting for the Albino Duck by Rosamond Richardson. I also have Into the Tangled Bank by Lev Parikian that I want to read soon. So much good nature writing around at the moment.

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    1. Thanks Cath for the info about Waiting for the Albino Dunnock and Into the Tangled Bank – both books look like ones I’d like!


  2. You’ve got some really interesting reads there, Margaret! I’d like to read The Inner Lives of Animals, too. I’ve often wondered what our dogs have thought through the years, and it’s fascinating to watch other animals, too, and wonder what they might be thinking. And there definitely is something about nature that heals us; books that helps us understand it better are interesting!

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  3. That is such an interesting collection of books. The only one I have read is The Hidden Life of Trees which I read back in 2017 – it’s a great read and I still think about it now.


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