Summer Adventures in Nature: Books for Adults

Celebrate summer with these books about all things nature!

Brown, Kelly Williams

From the New York Times bestselling author of Adulting comes a story about how to make something when you're capable of nothing.

Dalton, Julie Carrick

Julie Carrick Dalton's The Last Beekeeper is a celebration of found family, an exploration of truth versus power, and the triumph of hope in the face of despair. It's been more than a decade since the world has come undone, and Sasha Severn has returned to her childhood home with one goal in mind-find the mythic research her father, the infamous Last Beekeeper, hid before he was incarcerated. There, Sasha is confronted with a group of squatters who have claimed the quiet, idyllic farm as a way to escape the horrific conditions of state housing. While she feels threatened by their presence at first, the friends soon become her newfound family, offering what she hasn't felt since her father was imprisoned: security and hope. Maybe it's time to forget the family secrets buried on the farm and focus on her future. But just as she settles into her new life, Sasha witnesses the impossible. She sees a honeybee, presumed extinct. People who claim to see bees are ridiculed and silenced for reasons Sasha doesn't understand, but she can't shake the feeling that this impossible bee is connected to her father's missing research. Fighting to uncover the truth could shatter Sasha's fragile security and threaten the lives of her new-found family-or it could save them all.

Dunn, Claire

Once upon a time, a burned-out Claire Dunn spent a year living off the grid in a wilderness survival program. Yet love and the possibilities of human connection drew her back to the city, where she soon found herself as overscheduled, addicted to her phone, and lost in IKEA as the rest of us. Given all the city offers--comfort, convenience, community, and opportunity--she wants to stay. But to do so, she'll have to learn how to rewild her own urban soul. Claire swims in city rivers, forages in the suburbs, and explores many other practices to connect to the world around her. Rewilding the Urban Soul is a field guide to being at one with nature, wherever you are.

Englert, Chris

A full-color guide to 165 of the parks to be found in Denver and in Denver's Mountain Parks system. Include icons, notes, histories, amenities and other details about the parks and neighborhoods.

Finney, Carolyn

Why are African Americans so underrepresented when it comes to interest in nature, outdoor recreation, and environmentalism? In this thought-provoking study, Carolyn Finney looks beyond the discourse of the environmental justice movement to examine how the natural environment has been understood, commodified, and represented by both white and black Americans. Bridging the fields of environmental history, cultural studies, critical race studies, and geography, Finney argues that the legacies of slavery, Jim Crow, and racial violence have shaped cultural understandings of the "great outdoors" and determined who should and can have access to natural spaces. Drawing on a variety of sources from film, literature, and popular culture, and analyzing different historical moments, including the establishment of the Wilderness Act in 1964 and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Finney reveals the perceived and real ways in which nature and the environment are racialized in America. Looking toward the future, she also highlights the work of African Americans who are opening doors to greater participation in environmental and conservation concerns.

García Freire, Natalia

Lucas was just a child when his father sold him to another farmer as a laborer. Years later, Lucas returns, full of resentment and burning for revenge. After years away, Lucas returns uninvited to the home he was expelled from as a child. The garden has been conquered by weeds, which blanket his mother's beloved flowerbeds and his father's grave alike. A lot has changed since Eloy and Felisberto were invited into the family home to work for Lucas's father, long ago. The two hulking strangers have brought the land and everyone on it under their control--and removed nuisances like Lucas. Now everything rots. Lucas, a hardened young man, turns to a world that thrives in dirt and darkness: the world of insects. In raw, lyrical prose, Garc̕a Freire portrays a world brought low by human greed, while hinting at glimmers of hope in the unlikeliest places.

Heller, Peter

A novel about two college friends on a summer wilderness canoe trip.

Irvine, Richard

From starting a fire to foraging for food, basket making to making a bird feeder, tree hugging and cloud scrying, this beautifully designed forest almanac is a treasure for anyone who loves the outdoors. Forest schools for kids originated in Scandinavia as outdoor play-based learning groups, and in 2016 The Forest School Foundation was established in the USA. But why should kids have all the fun? Connecting with green spaces, trees, and plants can lift our spirits, lower our stress levels, and relax our brains - in short, playing outside is good for adults, too. Forest School for Grown-Ups is here to help. A gorgeous and comprehensive guide to all things outdoors for anyone who loves being in and interacting with nature, readers will learn how to make a rope sing, go forest bathing, read flowers, build a campfire, and make a forest potion. From practical tips and how-tos to forest folklore, there's something for everyone.

Kafka, Franz

A seemingly ordinary man, Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning only to discover that he has been transformed into a gigantic insect and must deal with the depression over his new physical alteration, as well as the rejection of his family, in a new translation honoring the 125th anniversary of the author's birth.

Lanham, J. Drew

Dating back to slavery, Edgefield County, South Carolina—a place ”easy to pass by on the way somewhere else"—has been home to generations of Lanhams. In The Home Place, readers meet these extraordinary people, including Drew himself, who over the course of the 1970s falls in love with the natural world around him. As his passion takes flight, however, he begins to ask what it means to be “the rare bird, the oddity”—to find joy and freedom in the same land his ancestors were tied to by forced labor, and then to be a black man in a profoundly white field. This book is a remarkable meditation on nature and belonging, at once a deeply moving memoir and riveting exploration of the contradictions of black identity in the rural South—and in America today.

Lonely Planet

Lace up your hiking boots for the next in Lonely Planet's highly successful Epic Hikes series, this time exploring 50 of the Americas' most rewarding treks and trails. From Canada's longest hut-to-hut hike, the Sunshine Coast Trail, to a descent through Havasu Canyon in the USA, and the Santa Cruz Trail of northern Peru, we cover a huge variety of themes and experiences across routes that range from one-day walks to multi-day treks. Each of the featured hikes includes: First-person accounts from writers who have completed the hike; Challenge level grading: easy / harder / epic; Inspirational photography, maps and practical information to follow in the writer's footsteps; Orientation toolkit: when is the best time of year to hike, how to get there, special equipment required; Expert travel advice: where to stay, recommended tours, the best places to eat; Suggestions for similar hikes.

Lunde, Maja

In the spirit of Station Eleven and Never Let Me Go, this dazzling and ambitious literary debut follows three generations of beekeepers from the past, present, and future, weaving a spellbinding story of their relationship to the bees--and to their children and one another--against the backdrop of an urgent, global crisis. England, 1852. William is a biologist and seed merchant, who sets out to build a new type of beehive--one that will give both him and his children honor and fame. United States, 2007. George is a beekeeper fighting an uphill battle against modern farming, but hopes that his son can be their salvation. China, 2098. Tao hand paints pollen onto the fruit trees now that the bees have long since disappeared. When Tao's young son is taken away by the authorities after a tragic accident, she sets out on a grueling journey to find out what happened to him. 

MacNeal, David

Insects have been shaping our ecological world and plant life for over 400 million years. In fact, our world is essentially run by bugs--there are 1.4 billion for every human on the planet. In Bugged, journalist David MacNeal takes us on an off-beat scientific journey that weaves together history, travel, and culture in order to define our relationship with these mini-monsters.

Mapp, Rue

Nature Swagger presents thirty life-changing stories of self-discovery, courage, and healing in the natural world. Told through first-person narratives, essays, and poems, this uplifting collection celebrates the many ways that outdoor spaces offer Black people opportunities for personal empowerment, connection, and rejuvenation. Readers will immerse themselves in stories told from mountains, redwood forests, city parks, and far-off beaches: joining a woman on her courageous journey up Kilimanjaro, meeting a couple teaching the art of beekeeping in urban Detroit, and following a long-distance swim alongside a pod of dolphins-plus so much more. Interspersed are essays by author and celebrated outdoor leader, Rue Mapp, honoring the rich history and traditions surrounding Black people's relationship to the outdoors. Full of breathtaking photography and powerful storytelling, this boundary-breaking collection offers moments of profound beauty and insight, inviting every reader to forge their own meaningful and joyful relationship with the natural world.

Martin, Laura C.

A charmingly illustrated keepsake and guide to native, wild plants of North America. In this exquisitely detailed naturalist's handbook, Laura Martin provides profiles of 85 wild plants and flowers found across North America, each accompanied by lovingly illustrated and charming watercolor paintings. With dozens of notes, arrows, and details, each chapter encourages the reader to look at the plants as a naturalist would-opening up a whole new way of seeing nature. Martin gives details on where the plants can be found, how they grow, how to identify them, and what natural properties they each have. The handbook features plants from across North America, including the Purple Coneflower, found along the East Coast from Quebec to Florida, and the Opuntia (prickly pear) cacti found in Mexico and America's Southwest. In addition to the wildflower profiles, readers will find information on growing native plants, instructions for plant crafts, tips for conservation, and ideas for activities with children. They'll also discover recipes for teas, herb mixes, tinctures, and salves using the plants described. Crafts and activities include making dyes, simple baskets, wreaths, and crowns. 

Nezhukumatathil, Aimee

From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction -- a collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us.

Norbury, Katharine (editor)

Perspective on women's writing about the natural world. There has, in recent years, been an explosion of writing about place, landscape and the natural world. But within this blossoming of interest, women's voices have remained very much in the minority. In Women on Nature, Katharine Norbury has sifted through the pages of women's fiction, poetry, household planners, gardening diaries and recipe books to show the multitude of ways in which they have observed and recorded the natural world about them, from the fourteenth-century writing of the anchorite Julian of Norwich to the seventeenth-century travel journal of Celia Fiennes; from the keen observations of Emily Brontë to the brilliant new voices throughout our archipelago writing today.

Offerman, Nick

With wit, heartwarming stories, and a keen insight into new and exciting ways to see both the past and the future of the country, the actor, writer, and woodworker takes a literary journey to America's frontier to celebrate the people and landscape that have made it great.

Page, Libby

Kate is a twenty-six-year-old riddled with anxiety and panic attacks who works for a local paper in Brixton, London, covering forgettably small stories. When she's assigned to write about the closing of the local lido (an outdoor pool and recreation center), she meets Rosemary, an eighty-six-year-old widow who has swum at the lido daily since it opened its doors when she was a child ... When a local developer attempts to buy the lido for a posh new apartment complex, Rosemary's fond memories and sense of community are under threat. As Kate dives deeper into the lido's history--with the help of a charming photographer--she pieces together a portrait of the pool, and a portrait of a singular woman.

Powers, Richard

A novel of activism and natural-world power presents interlocking fables about nine remarkable strangers who are summoned in different ways by trees for an ultimate, brutal stand to save the continent's few remaining acres of virgin forest.

Repino, Robert

The 'war with no name' has begun, with human extinction as its goal. The instigator of this war is the Colony, a race of intelligent ants who, for thousands of years, [has] been silently building an army that would forever eradicate the destructive, oppressive humans. Under the Colony's watchful eye, this utopia will be free of the humans' penchant for violence, exploitation, and religious superstition. The final step in the Colony's war effort is transforming the surface animals into high-functioning two-legged beings who rise up to kill their masters.

Skrein, Richard

This stylish guide to all things to do in the outdoors will bring day hikers and campers of all ages closer to nature in delightful and unexpected ways. Readers learn traditional bushcraft skills, like making a bow and arrow, weaving a fishing net, and building a Swedish fire log, along with fun and accessible projects including making natural candles, creating a mudslide, and taking a night walk in the woods. Maria Nilsson's playful and informative illustrations bring each skill to life, making this the perfect gift for outdoors enthusiasts of all skill levels, from first-time hikers to experienced trekkers. The perfect size to toss in your day pack, 50 Things to Do in the Wild will become an essential companion on all your outdoor adventures.

Straub, Gale

Shares the stories of women on unforgettable journeys -- women who live out of vans, trucks, and vintage trailers, exploring wild landscapes, cooking meals over campfires, and sleeping under the stars...A celebration of female courage, self-reliance, and self-discovery.

Sverdrup-Thygeson, Anne

An enthusiastic, witty, and fascinating introduction to the world of insects and why we--and the planet we inhabit--could not survive without them. Insects comprise roughly half of the animal kingdom. They live everywhere--deep inside caves, high in the Himalayas, inside computers, in Yellowstone's hot springs, and in the ears and nostrils of much larger creatures. There are insects that have ears on their knees, eyes on their penises, and tongues under their feet. Most of us think life would be better without bugs. In fact, life would be impossible without them. Most of us know that we would not have honey without honeybees, but without the pinhead-sized chocolate midge, cocoa flowers would not be pollinated. No cocoa, no chocolate. The ink that was used to write the Declaration of Independence was derived from galls on oak trees, which are induced by a small wasp. The fruit fly was essential to medical and biological research experiments that resulted in six Nobel prizes. Blowfly larvae can clean difficult wounds; mealworms can digest plastic; ants have been essential to the development of antibiotics. Insects turn dead plants and animals into soil.

Tchaikovsky, Adrian

The city states of the Lowlands have lived in peace and prosperity for decades, hailed as bastions of civilization and sophistication. That peace is about to end. Far from the Lowlands, an ancient empire has been conquering city after city with its highly trained armies and sophisticated combat techniques. Now it's set its sights on a new prize. Only the ageing Stenwold Maker ? spymaster, artificer and statesman ? can see the threat. So it falls upon his shoulders to open the eyes of his people. For war will sweep across their lands, burning away everything in its path. Yet first, he must stop himself from becoming the empire's latest victim.

Summaries provided by DPL's catalog unless otherwise noted. Click on each title to view more information.