Reading lists

The best books for nature lovers

The very best nature writing has the power to move us, to replenish us and to remind us just how much we owe the planet we're now destroying.

Image: Penguin
Image: Penguin

Right now, nature writing is enjoying a day in the sun, and books about the great outdoors are flourishing. You need only whip out your smartphone to understand why: a growing backlash against our obsession with anything that pings is causing more people to look up from their screens and out of the window for things that rustle or squawk (here lies the great irony of Twitter). Better still, to go outside.

Then there's the looming climate disaster, which is forcing us to reevaluate the way we treat Mother Earth by, as the writer Robert Macfarlane has written, “placing community over commodity, modesty over mastery, connection over consumption, the deep over the shallow”.

Nature needs us now more than ever, and great nature writing is where salvation starts. The very best of it not only reminds us of who we really are as a species (animals among other animals, who all grew from the same earth), but also of what we owe the natural world, and why we need her to survive. Plus, it's good for our mental health.

There's a nature lover in all of us. So, with that in mind, here are seven of the best books about the great outdoors to remind you just how mind-nourishingly beautiful our world really is.

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