Gathering Moss

By Robin Wall Kimmerer,

Book cover of Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses

Book description

Living at the limits of our ordinary perception, mosses are a common but largely unnoticed element of the natural world. Gathering Moss is a beautifully written mix of science and personal reflection that invites readers to explore and learn from the elegantly simple lives of mosses.

In this series of…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked Gathering Moss as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I always believed that all beings have a spirit and personality, but while reading Gathering Moss, I felt I had actually been invited to meet moss communities! In this book and its sequel, Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer shows us how to restore our relationships to land and all that dwells in our ecosystem. A scientist and writer, Dr. Kimmerer shares her personal encounters with "plant people" and their associations with birds, people, insects, and what we can learn from our plant relations. This is not a "field guide" to identifying plants, but a "feel good guide" of gentle essays…

Robin, a co-editor of the Kinship series with me, has become well-known for her book Braiding Sweetgrass, which was a New York Times bestseller. Robin’s popularity is based in part on her unique ability to bridge the worlds of Western science (she has a PhD in botany) and indigenous wisdom (she’s a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation). For those looking to dive deeper into her work, Robin’s first book Gathering Moss is a gleaming green gem of a book, full of stories that will pull you into wondrous microcosms of relation. This is a book about the…

In this book, Robin Wall Kimmerer builds on her scientific training and Indigenous heritage to discuss the enchanting world of moss. In particular, she shows that moss can provide us with a model of how we might live and how it is possible to survive the climate crisis. The horizontality and superficiality of moss, combined with a medley of different varieties sharing symbiotically the same space, becomes both a literal and a figurative reference for human communities that are not stratified and where sharing is key to living together. 

From Michael's list on plants and philosophy.

Robin Wall Kimmerer published Gathering Moss before her now-gone-viral Braiding Sweetgrass. This book is slightly more technical than Braiding Sweetgrass. I told my daughter, who had to take Biology this summer so she could take Engineering III in the fall that she could probably just read Gathering Moss and get an A in the class. 

But the book is no textbook. Kimmerer guides us through the world of how moss interacts with other plants, evolves, and reproduces with such careful attention, lucidity, and detail that the connections she makes to how humans interact and evolve and reproduce are…

From Nicole's list on science as a story.

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