10 Must-Read Books Inspired by Nature

Are you in the mood to get outside and experience the wonderful world around you? But you’re stuck inside from cold weather, or covid, or living in a city? Then here’s a list of books for you!

Here is my list of 10 Must-Read Books Inspired by Nature. You’ll find obvious novels set in the woods and mountains, books to teach you about animal reproduction, books to make you appreciate plants, and a few that are a bit off the wall, yet still, they spark that natural wonder.

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

by Bill Bryson

This book is hilarious.

I read this in a book club several years ago and it was a winner. Two friends decide to tackle the Appalachian trial. They’re getting older and are terribly out of shape, but the journey is worth more than the destination.

There are some truly funny characters and a few insightful moments. Not to mention the whole thing is set along the beautiful Appalachian Trail. There’s so much nature you will be swallowed up by it.


Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

by Cheryl Strayed

I almost never recommend books I haven’t personally read. I’ll make an exception for this one because I’ve heard so many good things about it.

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is a journey most people would never fathom undertaking. But Strayed conquers more than just nature, she tackles life’s struggles and builds herself back up with the help of a little nature.

I’ll be sure to put this on the TBR pile!


The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

by Michael Finkel

I read this one based on a co-worker’s recommendation and I was pleasantly surprised. Michael Finkel digs up the true story of the last hermit.

A man disappeared into the woods of Maine and didn’t return for 27 years.

Christopher Knight sought solace and simplicity in nature and chose to remain alone among the trees.

Finkel became a bit invasive in order to get Knight’s story, which I don’t really appreciate, but I’m glad I got to hear it in the end. It’s truly magical how one man can become so at peace in the woods.


The Bees

by Laline Paull

I’m currently listening to this one on audiobook. It’s a really interesting take anthropomorphizing bees to create the unique story of Flora 717.

Flora 717 is born into the lowest class in her hive, but soon shows traits that allow her to move up. Fear of being discovered limits her potential because mutations and variations in the hive are handled swiftly and certainly with death.

Really cool book that I’m excited to finish.


Sex in the Sea: Our Intimate Connection with Sex-Changing Fish, Romantic Lobsters, Kinky Squid, and Other Salty Erotica of the Deep

by Marah J. Hardt

This one will make you laugh. Ever wondered how lobsters have sex? (Hint: There’s a lot of peeing involved…). I didn’t either until I read Hardt’s book.

Sex in the Sea is entirely scientifically accurate as Hardt is an oceanologist. She describes the reproductive habits of many sea creatures while also adding human connections.


The Call of the Wild

by Jack London

Jack London’s Call of the Wild is a classic for a reason. It’s an amazing book that I highly recommend.

It’ll take you into the wilderness and bring out your animal spirit. I actually remember reading this one way back in high school for a book report. Great read after all this time.

London actually spent about a year in Yukon, Canada and that provided much of the inspiration for Call of the Wild. I’m glad he got to share his experience with so many readers over 100 years later.


Where the Crawdads Sing

by Delia Owens

I love this book, and I really can’t believe I haven’t recommended it before.

Murder mystery meets the marshlands of North Carolina. You’ll love nature as described by the main character Kya. She has such a divine passion for the world around her that you grow to love her backyard as much as she does.

It’s beautiful.


The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean

by Susan Casey

The Wave is inspired by people who are inspired by nature. It’s a unique look into the world of big wave surfing. Including how these freaks of the ocean are formed in the first place.

There’s still some unknown science behind these rogue waves and sometimes the mystery is more thrilling than the answer.

Ocean lovers will fall in love with the scenic descriptions of gorgeous beaches and thrill-seekers will want to jump right in with the surfers.


The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World

by Michael Pollan

Michal Pollan is a really innovative writer. He captures a wide range of topics in his works and makes each one unique.

The Botany of Desire focuses on the relationship between people and nature. How did we domesticate plants for our benefit? How do plants benefit from human intervention?

Highly educational, as all Pollan books are. Yet there is a story being told so the book doesn’t feel like a lecture on botany.


Annihilation

by Jeff Vandermeer

Annihilation is a strange book. I’ll say that first to warn you.

I truly enjoyed reading this novel, but it might come as a surprise to others. It embraces the wonders of the natural world (even though this world is fictional).

I’ll say this is inspired by nature, but it doesn’t focus on it like some of the others on this list. However, there’s plenty of animals and plants to satisfy amidst the suspense and mystery.


Honorable Mentions

There’s a few honorable mentions for this list of Must-Read Books Inspired by Nature. I didn’t want to make the list too long, plus there are a few that I’ve recommended before.

Can’t get enough nature-inspired books? Check out a few more below:

  • Fox and I by Catherine Raven
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  • Educated by Tara Westover
  • Barkskins by Annie Proulx
  • Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

What are your favorite books inspired by nature? Let me know in the comments below!

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