Outdoor books for adults

photo credit to Terri Schlichenmeyer

All last year, your soul heard a call.

It was the outdoors, and while you got out as much as you could last year, it was never enough. You have a lot of catching up to do in your quest for outdoor activities, and here are five great new books to get you started…

First of all, understand what you’re up against by reading “The Secret World of Weather” by Tristan Gooley (The Experiment, $21.95). This easy-to-grasp book teaches you what you need to know about clouds, wind, inclement weather, and how the plants and animals in any given area offer hints of the climate to come. For hikers and desk jockeys alike, this is a valuable book to have for your day-to-day, and it might even save your life.

Animal lovers are in for a treat this year. First, “Wild Souls” by Emma Marris (Bloomsbury, $28.00) will help you become more mindful, when it comes to non-domestic animals. Marris asks readers to consider what rights animals have to stay wild, even when their species is threatened or the herd is too large to sustain healthy existence. This thoughtful, considerate book is perfect for anyone who wants to understand animals’ places in the world.

“How to Love Animals in a Human-Shaped World” by Henry Mance (Viking, $27.00, out July 13) is another makes-you-think book but this one also takes domestic animals into the mix, including the ones we eat. How do we reconcile that? Read this book.

Are you one with nature? In “Four Fifths a Grizzly” (Patagonia, $27.95), author Douglas Chadwick argues that we are, quite literally. In this book of essays and wonderful full-color photographs and peeks through the microscope, he shows how humans are not at the pinnacle of Earth’s creatures, but a part of the whole in a larger circle of life. We aren’t the Top Dogs we think we are; in fact, in a way, we’re equal to dogs and to elephants and to animals with which we share a surprising amount of DNA. This is one of those WOW! books that’s a lot of fun to read, and you’ll love it.

And finally… what if you never went out into the world again? What if none of us did? That’s the basic question inside “Islands of Abandonment” by Cal Flyn (Viking, $27.00). Here, Flyn takes a look at places in the world from which humans have disappeared – places as divergent as inner-city Detroit and Chernobyl – and what the landscape looks like when it’s not inhabited. Readers may be surprised at what happens and what kinds of creatures reclaim the land; you’ll also be surprised at how quickly it started to happen during the pandemic. 

If these great new books don’t quite fit what you need for your next foray outdoors, or if you’re looking for something more specific, your local library and your nearby bookstore are full of books that are just right. Ask your librarian or bookseller for help. They’ll know exactly what will satisfy when the outdoors calls.

Outdoor Books for Grown-Ups

c.2021, various publishers $21.95 – $27.95 various page counts