5 Nature-Related Books To Read This Summer

No matter what you're preferred genre, we've got you covered.

With summer now in full swing, we put together a list of our favorite beach reads and other books for nature lovers– from books that address nature in the abstract, like Big Little Lies, to cult coming of age classics like Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. No matter what your preferred genre, we’ve got you covered.

If you live for drama (at a distance, of course)…

Adapted earlier this year to critical acclaim by HBO, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty traces the lives of three mothers sending their children to Pirriwee Public School, exploring their relationships with each other, their families, and their peers. If you’ve watched the show, the characters and events by and large follow an identical trajectory as the book, though fans of the novel have been quick to highlight the book’s balanced humor and more personal look into the character’s psyches. While the show takes place against the sweeping vistas of Monterey, CA, the book was originally set in an Australian beach town and is similarly infused with the intimate, seaside culture the setting invokes.

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If you love romance…

Another popular television adaption, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon tells the tale of Claire Beauchamp, a World War II nurse sent back to the Scottish Highlands in 1743. At the heart of the series (currently awaiting its nine installment) is the romance between Claire and Jaime, the latter of whom is a dashing Scottish highlander. While Outlander often gets dismissed as a sappy love story (and even if it was– so what? #ThePatriarchy), the books are infused with well-researched historical information and a bounty of accurate herbal remedies.

If you like the idea of the outdoors but don’t want to be in the outdoors…

Last year, Reese Withspoon starred in a film adaptation of Wild (she also took on a leading role in Big Little Lies, while also working behind the scenes as a producer on the series– in short, a big year for Witherspoon). Written by Charyl Strayed, Wild is a memoir that follows Strayed as she walks the Pacific Crest Trail as a way to discover herself. With the release of the film in 2014, Wild reached such critical appeal that it garnered a feature plot point on Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life. While much of the ensuing coverage of the book and film has teased the Eat, Pray, Love-esque vibe, Strayed’s tale is genuinely touching and inspiring one, and sure to leave you ready to on your feet, headed towards better days. (Well…maybe tomorrow.)

If you need a perspective shift…

Written by Citizen Potawatomi Nation member Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass looks to cultivate an “ecological consciousness” through acknowledging and celebrating our connections to the natural world. The book is part philosophical outlook, part scientific learning manual, part memoir; the varied facets of its identity unite to create an informed view that leaves readers with a deeper sense of belonging and responsibility.

If you want to escape to another world…

Like Reese Witherspoon, Margaret Atwood has also been having a great year; her iconic The Handmaid’s Tale was recently adapted by MGM and Hulu, and aired to both popular and critical acclaim. In another stellar example of Atwood’s chilling flare for distopias, Oryx and Crake takes place in an overgrown wildness that has taken over what was once a large city, recently undermined by extreme genetic modification. Like The Handmaid’s TaleOryx and Crake is eerily prescient, a look at world just close enough to our own.


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