books, Nature & Wellbeing

Nature books to read during lockdown

In a late celebration of World Book Day and now we’re all spending a lot more time stuck indoors, I thought I’d share my recent nature book windfall!

My friend Chantal (check out her blog!) had a book clear out and kindly gave me all the books she thought I’d enjoy. Friends who give you books are the best kind of friends.

That’s my self-isolation plans sorted

Wonderland: A Year of Britain’s Wildlife, Day by Day by Brett Westwood & Stephen Moss

Vibrant, fascinating, poetic – a year in living things: all the things we love, all the things we wish we could, all the little things we step over and never know – the best of British wildlife from two superb naturalists and writers‘ CHRIS PACKHAM

From blackbirds, beavers and beetles to tawny owls, natterjack toads and lemon slugs. Every day of the year, winter or summer, in every corner of the British Isles, there’s plenty to see if you know where – and how – to look.

I’d never heard of this book but it sounds like my perfect book! I can’t wait to read about the authors’ everyday encounters with British wildlife. I treasure the small moments I share with wildlife in every day.

Tiger by Polly Clark

Frieda is a primatologist, sensitively attuned to her research. When a terrible attack shatters her world, she becomes familiar with violence and competition. It is in her new role as a zookeeper that these brutal attributes will be sharpened. And here that she confronts her new ward: an untamed Siberian tiger.

I recently added this book to my ‘Books To Read’ list so what a lovely surprise to have gifted to me. I thought it sounded intriguing and original. There aren’t many fiction books that tie in with conservation and ecology.

Black Fox Running by Brian Carter

This is the story of Wulfgar, the dark-furred fox of Dartmoor, and of his nemesis, Scoble the trapper, in the seasons leading up to the pitiless winter of 1947. As breathtaking in its descriptions of the natural world as it is perceptive its portrayal of damaged humanity, it is both a portrait of place and a gripping story of survival.

Uniquely straddling the worlds of animals and men, Brian Carter’s A Black Fox Running is a masterpiece: lyrical, unforgiving and unforgettable.

I’ve been keen to read this novel ever since author Melissa Harrison tweeted about this being her favourite book. It seems like a classic all wildlife lovers should read. Also the new edition is so beautiful!

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

Octopuses have varied personalities and intelligence they show in myriad ways: endless trickery to escape enclosures and get food; jetting water playfully to bounce objects like balls; and evading caretakers by using a scoop net as a trampoline and running around the floor on eight arms.

Montgomery chronicles the growing appreciation of the octopus, but also tells a love story. By turns funny, entertaining, touching and profound, The Soul of an Octopus reveals what octopuses can teach us about consciousness and the meeting of two very different minds.

I am currently reading this and loving it. Entering the watery magical world of the octopus is the perfect escape from the scary real world. It’s both enchanting and fascinating learning about these intelligent alien creatures and the way they connect with people.

Foxes Unearthed by Lucy Jones

In Foxes Unearthed Lucy Jones investigates the truth about foxes in a media landscape that often carries complex agendas. Delving into fact, fiction, folklore and her own family history, Lucy travels the length of Britain to find out first-hand why these animals incite such passionate emotions, revealing our rich and complex relationship with one of our most loved – and most vilified – wild animals. This compelling narrative adds much-needed depth to the debate on foxes, asking what our attitudes towards the red fox say about us – and, ultimately, about our relationship with the natural world. 

I am very excited to read this! I was obsessed with foxes as a child. I had a cuddly fox called Foxy Loxy and I adored Farthing Wood and the Fox and the Hound. But I also grew up surrounded by a traditional farming community who are pro fox-hunting. I’ve seen both sides of the controversy. So I’m looking forward to indulging my childhood obsession and learning more about these beautiful and intriguing animals.

Reef Life by Callum Roberts

Reef Life is filled with astonishing stories of adventure and the natural world, which are by turns lyrical and laced with a wonderful wry humor. Callum illuminates the science of our oceans and reefs and his book, combined with the stunning photographs from Alex Mustard, will also commit readers to support Callum’s goal to preserve 10 percent of the world’s oceans.

I loved studying marine conservation during my MSc (I did a marine conservation focused dissertation in the end). Now I’m working for a marine focused environmental consultancy. So I’m keen to dive into the marine world and discover more about our oceans and how we can protect them (if indeed we can).

Meadowland by John Leweis-Stempel

Meadowland gives an unique and intimate account of an English meadow’s life from January to December, together with its biography. In exquisite prose, John Lewis-Stempel records the passage of the seasons from cowslips in spring to the hay-cutting of summer and grazing in autumn, and includes the biographies of the animals that inhabit the grass and the soil beneath: the badger clan, the fox family, the rabbit warren,the skylark brood and the curlew pair, among others. Their births, lives, and deaths are stories that thread through the book from first page to last.

I’ve been desperate to read this book for what feels like forever! Ever since Chantal recommended it to me actually. Growing up surrounded by English fields and their wildlife, instilled in me my passion for nature. So I’m thrilled to finally have my own copy to read.

The Last Wilderness by Neil Ansell

The experience of being in nature alone is here set within the context of a series of walks that Neil Ansell takes into the most remote parts of Britain, the rough bounds in the Scottish Highlands. He illustrates the impact of being alone as part of nature, rather than outside it.

As a counterpoint, Neil Ansell also writes of the changes in the landscape, and how his hearing loss affects his relationship with nature as the calls of the birds he knows so well become silent to him.

Another book on my ‘Want to read’ list because Chantal recommended it. The wilds of the Scottish Highlands are an enticing mystery to me as I have yet to visit them. I’m looking forward to experiencing them through the pages of this book. An introduction and a chance to learn more about them before I visit myself.

What are you planning to read whilst staying at home?

10 thoughts on “Nature books to read during lockdown”

  1. What a great haul! Black fox running is one I have not read yet but am very interested in, so look forward to your thoughts on that one. I loved Meadowland, Foxes Unearthed and The Last Wilderness. If nothing else this is a good time for reading, although I have to confess I have been distracted by the news and I seem to spend way too much time online just mindlessly scrolling through the news, really, really must stop that and get back to reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I’ll report back! Good to hear that you loved those 3! I know it’s so easy to get sucked into the news and social media at the moment. Taken me longer to read the octopus book than I thought it would as I’ve definitely been distracted! But yeah prioritising reading now.

      Like

  2. What a beautiful and inspiring collection of Nature Reads, thank you for sharing them! I have Kathleen Jamie’s latest collection of essays to read ‘Surfacing’ and a couple of Rachel Carson’s books on from her Sea Trilogy.

    I just shared a few Nature Inspired books I’ve read and loved today as well, yours look really great, what a wonderful friend you have!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those sound like really interesting books! I haven’t heard of Rachel Carson’s other books besides Silent Spring. That’s great, it’s a good feeling passing on books for others to enjoy.

      Liked by 1 person

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