Gifts for Readers: Environmental Literature

December 8, 2015

Books make great gifts because they A. are rarely expensive, B. educate, C. provide great conversational content to fill the void between you and your slightly introverted bookworm cousins. For today’s Greener Giving post we are featuring some best sellers, some oldies-but-goodies, and the books that can get anyone outdoors. Check out the best in environmental literature, from Henry David Thoreau to Bill Nye.

I recently read¬†The Best American Science and Nature BestNatureWritingCoverWriting and really enjoyed it. The stories span genres and subjects from adventure to drama to¬†medicine, and each is stimulating in a unique way. I learned about solar lighting illuminating rural India, about the deepest spelunking expeditions in human history and more about crows than I thought I’d ever be interested in (crows are actually really cool).

Any aspiring botanist, artist seeking inspiration or coffee table-owner will be able to appreciate the American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers. With 8,000 plants to research or to simply browse through, they will end up with a better understanding of trees, bulbs, cacti and perennials, and hopefully a greater appreciation for the complexity and beauty of the outdoors.

FlowersBookWalden is a classic that everyone should read at some point. It can be slow, maybe a bit dense for casual reading, but the introspection, the anti-modern approach to nature and the artful descriptions make it worth checking out for anyone who wants to rethink their relationship with the urban environment and technology.

For anyone who fears the zombie apocalypse or tends to under-pack for their outdoors adventures, this book is perfect. A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants will help you differentiate poisonous from palatable with photos, drawings and habitat descriptions. This is also great for the backpacker who wants to spice up their diet without adding weight to their pack.

EdiblePlantsCoverBill Nye has seemingly always been there to make physics fun and chemistry comprehensible. In Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation, Nye provides the logical arguments for evolution in simple terms with his familiar charm and obvious fondness for nature. This makes a great gift for a friend or a family member who likes to argue against or for creationism (we are not liable for their reaction, if you choose the latter).

Environmental literature provides a wonderful exit from the computer screen, whether it’s in the philosophy of Thoreau or beautiful pictures of flowers. Provoke thought and encourage passion for nature with a book, and be rewarded with smarter friends and more hiking partners.

-Aidan Kelly

Photo Credit: Flickr/Dana, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Dorling Kindersley

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