Summer is a time for getting outdoors, listening to the birds, taking long walks in the woods or long naps on the beach. And there’s nothing quite like reading a book outside, or after a day spent basking in the splendor of the natural world. With that in mind, here are five titles to accompany your summer adventures, or inspire your next trip outdoors:
In Before They’re Gone, Michael Lanza embarks on a one-year journey to introduce his children to the grandeur of America’s national parks—before they are radically altered by the effects of climate change. Through these poignant and humorous adventures, Lanza shares the beauty of each place and shows how his children connect with nature when given “unscripted” time. Ultimately, he writes, this is more their story than his, for whatever comes of our changing world, they are the ones who will live in it.
Christine Byl’s Dirt Work is a lively and lyrical account of one woman’s unlikely apprenticeship on a national-park trail crew and what she discovers about nature, gender, and the value of hard work. The supposedly simple work of digging holes, dropping trees, and blasting snowdrifts in fact offers her an education of the hands and the head, as well as membership in an utterly unique subculture.
Why Do Bluebirds Hate Me? is a collection of humorous Q&As about everything you’ve always wanted to ask about birds and birding answered by Mike O’Connor, the proprietor of Cape Cod’s iconic Bird Watcher’s General Store, who knows that if you’re even slightly interested in identifying birds or attracting them to your backyard with a feeder, then you’ve also had your share of strange and silly questions about birds and their sometimes inexplicable behavior.
Try to imagine Thoreau married, with a job, three kids, and a minivan. This is the sensibility—serious yet irreverent—that suffuses Cabin Fever, as Tom Montgomery Fate seeks to apply the hermit-philosopher’s insights to a busy modern life. In his search for “a more deliberate life” amid a high-tech, material world, Fate invites readers into an interrogation of their own lives, and into a new kind of vision: the possibility of enough in a culture of more.
Both an elegy and a celebration of a species, Into Great Silence entwines science with matters of the human heart as whale researcher Eva Saulitis chronicles lives of a unique and endangered orca population struggling to survive in Prince William Sound in the wake of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Into Great Silence speaks for all vanishing species in an increasingly vulnerable natural world.