Nature Book Lovers Meme
I was tagged for a meme by ARJ at Science on Tap some time ago, and didn't even realize it until recently. The meme is simple:
Increasingly our daily lives are bound by a man-made technological world, yet most believe it important to maintain a connection to the natural world. Cite a half-dozen-or-so books you would recommend every young person read by the end of their school years to help them maintain a sense of connection to, and value in, the natural world.
I'll try for books that would be appropriate for folks at different stages of their educations.
1. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
This story of wilderness, survival and growing up was the first book I ever read that would qualify as nature writing. I wanted to be Sam and to understand the natural world as closely as he did.
2. Wild Animals I have Known by Ernest Thompson Seton
I wondered if people still read this when I looked it up on Amazon. I'm delighted to see that they do. My favorite entry was SIlverspot, The Story of a Crow.
3. A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold.
We all need the fierce green fire.
4. My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir.
How did I get through the first 49 years of my life without reading this? I wish I had been exposed to the lyrical beauty of Muir's writing when I was still in school. Guilty admission: Thoreau has never really done it for me. Muir is awesome.
5. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection by Charles Darwin.
Because it changed everything.
6. My last entry is not a particular book at all. I would recommend getting, reading, and re-reading a field guide to some branch of the natural world. It doesn't matter which one. Don't just use it to look up new or interesting species that you have found. Read it. Look at the pictures. Get to know even those species that aren't from your part of the country. Think about which species you would like to encounter some day. If you have not previously done this sort of thing, I can guarantee that you will see the world a bit differently after the exercise than you did before.