Literary Elements: Nature / Book Lists

Books for adults categorized for your consideration by library staff!

"Banning DDT: How Citizen Activists in Wisconsin Led the Way" by Bill Berry

'Banning DDT: How Citizen Activists in Wisconsin Led the Way' by Bill Berry

On a December day in 1968, DDT went on trial in Madison, Wisconsin. In Banning DDT: How Citizen Activists in Wisconsin Led the Way, Bill Berry details how the citizens, scientists, reporters, and traditional conservationists drew attention to the harmful effects of “the miracle pesticide” DDT, which was being used to control Dutch elm disease.Berry tells of the hunters and fishers, bird-watchers, and garden-club ladies like L ...

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"The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History" by Elizabeth Kolbert

'The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History' by Elizabeth Kolbert

A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyesOver the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the mos ...

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"The Drunken Botanist" by Amy Stewart

'The Drunken Botanist' by Amy Stewart

Every great drink starts with a plant. Sake began with a grain of rice. Scotch emerged from barley. Gin was born from a conifer shrub when a Dutch physician added oil of juniper to a clear spirit, believing that juniper berries would cure kidney disorders. "The Drunken Botanist" uncovers the enlightening botanical history and the fascinating science and chemistry of over 150 plants, flowers, trees, and fruits (and even one fungus).Some of ...

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"Snapper" by Brian Kimberling

'Snapper' by Brian Kimberling

A great, hilarious new voice in fiction: the poignant, all-too-human recollections of an affable bird researcher in the Indiana backwater as he goes through a disastrous yet heartening love affair with the place and its people.Nathan Lochmueller studies birds, earning just enough money to live on. He drives a glitter-festooned truck, the Gypsy Moth, and he is in love with Lola, a woman so free-spirited and mysterious she can break a man ...

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"The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?" by Jared Diamond

'The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?' by Jared Diamond

The bestselling author of Collapse and Guns, Germs and Steel surveys the history of human societies to answer the question: What can we learn from traditional societies that can make the world a better place for all of us? Most of us take for granted the features of our modern society, from air travel and telecommunications to literacy and obesity. Yet for nearly all of its six million years of existence, hu ...

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"Green Illusions" by Ozzie Zehner

'Green Illusions' by Ozzie Zehner

We don’t have an energy crisis. We have a consumption crisis. And this book, which takes aim at cherished assumptions regarding energy, offers refreshingly straight talk about what’s wrong with the way we think and talk about the problem. Though we generally believe we can solve environmental problems with more energy—more solar cells, wind turbines, and biofuels—alternative technologies come with their own side effects and limitations. H ...

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"Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" by Cheryl Strayed

'Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail' by Cheryl Strayed

★★★★ Still reeling from her mother's death, Cheryl's life is on a downward spiral, which includes leaving her "nice-guy" husband for a life of sex and drugs. Upon hitting rock bottom, she decides to hike herself out by hitting the Pacific Crest Trail with no backpacking experience and no plan but to finish. Facing the wilderness all alone, Cheryl spends a lot of time reflecting on the events that brought her there. These memories are inte ...

Reviewed by Kristen Z. Read more reviews of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" at Goodreads.com. »

"Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them" by Donovan Hohn

'Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them' by Donovan Hohn

A revelatory tale of science, adventure, and modern myth. A New York Times Notable Book of 2011. One of NPR's Best Books of 2011. One of Janet Maslin's Ten Picks for 2011. When the writer Donovan Hohn heard of the mysterious loss of thousands of bath toys at sea, he figured he would interview a few oceanographers, talk to a few beachcombers, and read up on Arctic science and geography. But questions can be like ocean cur ...

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"Unfamiliar Fishes" by Sarah Vowell

'Unfamiliar Fishes' by Sarah Vowell

Many think of 1776 as the defining year of American history, when we became a nation devoted to the pursuit of happiness through self- government. In Unfamiliar Fishes, Sarah Vowell argues that 1898 might be a year just as defining, when, in an orgy of imperialism, the United States annexed Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam, and invaded first Cuba, then the Philippines, becoming an international superpower practically overnight.Among ...

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"Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers, and Millionaires Who Are Saving Our Planet" by Edward Humes

'Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers, and Millionaires Who Are Saving Our Planet' by Edward Humes

From Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Humes comes Eco Barons, the story of the remarkable visionaries who have quietly dedicated their lives and their fortunes to saving the planet from ecological destruction.While many people remain paralyzed by the scope of Earth's environmental woes, eco barons—a new and largely unheralded generation of Rockefellers and Carnegies—are having spectacular success saving forests and wildlands, pul ...

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"Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder" by Richard Louv

'Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder' by Richard Louv

"I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are," reports a fourth-grader. Never before in history have children been so plugged in—and so out of touch with the natural world. In this groundbreaking new work, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today's wired generation—he calls it nature deficit—to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as rises i ...

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"Prodigal Summer" by Barbara Kingsolver

'Prodigal Summer' by Barbara Kingsolver

Prodigal Summer weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives inhabiting the forested mountains and struggling small farms of southern Appalachia.From her outpost in an isolated mountain cabin, Deanna Wolfe, a reclusive wildlife biologist, watches a den of coyotes that have recently migrated into the region. She is caught off-guard by a young hunter who invades her most private spaces and confounds her self ...

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"The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea" by Sebastian Junger

'The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea' by Sebastian Junger

A real-life thriller that leaves us with the taste of salt on our tongues and a terror of the deep.It was the storm of the century - a tempest created by so rare a combination of factors that meteorologists deemed it "the perfect storm."When it struck in October, 1991, there was virtually no warning. "She's comin' on, boys, and she's comin' on strong," radioed Captain Billy Tyne of the Andrea Gail from off the coa ...

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"Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit" by Daniel Quinn

'Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit' by Daniel Quinn

The narrator of this extraordinary tale is a man in search for truth. He answers an ad in a local newspaper from a teacher looking for serious pupils, only to find himself alone in an abandoned office with a full-grown gorilla who is nibbling delicately on a slender branch. "You are the teacher?" he asks incredulously. "I am the teacher," the gorilla replies. Ishmael is a creature of immense wisdom and he has a story to tell, one that no other hu ...

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"The Monkey Wrench Gang" by Edward Abbey

'The Monkey Wrench Gang' by Edward Abbey

★★★★★ While not a new release, this 1975 classic is well worth a revisit and perfect for July's adult SLP theme. Ex-Green Beret George Hayduke returns from war to find that his beloved southwestern desert is being threatened by rampant industrial development. Joined by an unlikely group of allies, Hayduke sets out to save the natural landscape that he loves as he rages against men and their machine-driven destruction. This wildly entertaining re ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "The Monkey Wrench Gang" at Goodreads.com. »

"A Lion Called Christian: The True Story of the Remarkable Bond Between Two Friends and a Lion" by Anthony Bourke

'A Lion Called Christian: The True Story of the Remarkable Bond Between Two Friends and a Lion' by Anthony Bourke

In 2008 an extraordinary two-minute film clip appeared on YouTube and immediately became an international phenomenon. It captures the moving reunion of two young men and their pet lion Christian, after they had left him in Africa with Born Free’s George Adamson to introduce him into his rightful home in the wild.A Lion Called Christian tells the remarkable story of how Anthony “Ace” Bourke and John Rendall, visitor ...

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"Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson

'Silent Spring' by Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was first published in three serialized excerpts in the New Yorker in June of 1962. The book appeared in September of that year and the outcry that followed its publication forced the banning of DDT and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. Carson’s passionate concern for the future of our planet reverberated powerfully throughout the world, and her eloquent book was instru ...

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"Walden" by Henry David Thoreau

'Walden' by Henry David Thoreau

Walden; or Life in the Woods is an American book written by noted transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau. The work is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, satire, and manual for self-reliance. Published in 1854, it details Thoreau's experiences over the course of two years in a cabin he built near Walden Pond, amidst woodland owned by his friend and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, near C ...

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