Our Favorite Nature-Inspired Reads

Summer normally brings long walks through the mossy woods or afternoons in a hammock nudged by a salty breeze. Since we can’t all find these natural escapes IRL, we gathered some of our team’s favorite books that illuminate the natural world in all its gorgeous glory.


THE OVERSTORY,
Richard Powers

I can’t stop recommending The Overstory to everyone I know—it’s such a beautifully written, magical book about the importance of trees not only to this planet, but to humanity. The interconnectivity of the trees is so elegantly shown through the parable of how humans are inextricably woven together. I wish I were still reading it! It’s really quite moving and stays with you for months as you reflect on it. —Alex Chantecaille, Director of Sales & Marketing

THE RURAL LIFE,
Verlyn Klinkenborg

Even though I’m a city girl through and through, I have a deep yearning to leave it all behind for a bucolic life with a barn and rolling hills scattered with hay bales and sheep. I've been re-reading Verlyn Klinkenborg's The Rural Life this summer—it's the antidote to the very hemmed-in feeling of our low-travel pandemic summer. His writing is so lyrical, it makes the most mundane farm life goings-on seem incredibly romantic. —Biba Milioto, Staff Writer

NORWEGIAN WOOD,
Haruki Murakami

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami is my absolute favorite book — it’s a coming-of-age tale set in the late sixties in Tokyo that follows Toru, a college student who is juggling different hardships in his life. It’s full of odes to forests and woods and shows how the quiet mountain forest can help heal the soul. —Faye Estiler, Social Media Manager

BECOMING WILD,
Carl Safina

Carl is a scientist and with this book he’s at the top of his game. Not only does he give you incredibly accurate science on the cultures of wild animals like the macaw and chimpanzee, but his writing is so expressive—funny, wild and wonderful. One of his realizations is that the evolution of the species is dictated by beauty. That the female, by choosing the mate who sings or looks the best, has always had the main say, determining the flow of evolution based on who they fancy. How fabulous is that?! —Sylvie Chantecaille, President & CEO

ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS, Scott O’Dell

This book is as moving to me today in my thirties as it was when I first read it at thirteen! The depictions of nature and how the protagonist Karana learns to live in harmony with the wilderness are incredibly beautiful and striking. She utilizes nature without destroying the environment, depicting an earth-centered awareness that reminds us that humans need nature, and nature needs humans, too. —Madeline Noal, PR Manager

WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING, Delia Owens

This cant-put-down book covers all the bases: a coming-of-age story coupled with a murder trial set in a swampy marsh in North Carolina. Centered around Kya—who, abandoned at age 6, had to learn to fend for herself and navigate about the marsh in order to survive—this book emphasizes just how strongly nature impacts us and highlights the benefit of becoming familiar with it. —Genesis Gomez, Associate Manager, PR

OUT OF THE DUST,
Karen Hesse

“Out of the Dust” is a beautiful book of narrative poetry from the perspective of a young girl, Billie Jo, growing up in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl. She runs from and toward the dust that is everywhere, all-consuming, just like the pain of her Ma being gone. The bleak landscape haunts our narrator and rain is a much sought after commodity as we experience Billie Jo’s first kiss and wade through memories of “Ma.” There is pain and beauty in the dust. —Faye Rice, Senior Designer

BRAIDING SWEETGRASS, Robin Wall Kimmerer

In this gorgeous meditation on nature and our place in it, botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer shows how scientific knowledge is enriched by indigenous wisdom, especially that of her Potawatomi ancestors. Through lush writing about motherhood (of children and of communities), the language of plants and animals within ecosystems, and the journey that food takes to reach our tables, she makes you feel the urgency of finding a new (old) relationship to the earth based on gratitude and reciprocity rather than on exploitation. —Alex Postman, Editorial Content Director

A FAMILY OF POEMS, Caroline Kennedy

My two daughters recited these poems before they even learned to read. Nature and animals are themes throughout. Christina Rossetti's "Who Has Seen The Wind?" became a go-to on a breezy day. e.e. cummings’ poem “maggie and milly and molly and may” makes me think of my childhood by the ocean with my sister and cousins. Langston Hughes’ “April Rain Song” weaves nature into a city-scape, and it was important for me to introduce African-American writers to my daughters. And the way William Carlos Williams's “Flowers by the Sea” blends flowers and the ocean together is my ideal day! —Molly Dalton-Jones, Director of Training Development

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