100 books like Aloft

By Stephen Bodio,

Here are 100 books that Aloft fans have personally recommended if you like Aloft. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Why Peacocks?: An Unlikely Search for Meaning in the World's Most Magnificent Bird

Elizabeth Gehrman Author Of Rare Birds: The Extraordinary Tale of the Bermuda Petrel and the Man Who Brought It Back from Extinction

From my list on birds and life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I never had a particular interest in birds until I heard about David Wingate and the cahow; I’m just a reporter who was smitten by a compelling story. I often write about science and the environment, as well as travel and other topics, for publications including the Boston Globe, Archaeology, and Harvard Medicine, and while working on Rare Birds I got hooked on these extraordinary creatures and the iconoclastic obsessives who have become their stewards in the Anthropocene era. You don’t have to care about birds to love their stories — but in the end, you will.

Elizabeth's book list on birds and life

Elizabeth Gehrman Why did Elizabeth love this book?

GQ writer Flynn and his wife and two kids are minding their own business on their surburban Durham “faux farm” when a friend calls to ask if they want to add a peacock to the two chickens that wander their yard. They end up with three of the kaleidoscopic birds, and Flynn’s chronicle of the family’s first year with Carl, Ethel, and Mr. Pickle takes readers on an implausibly relatable journey from the bird’s place in history, culture, and myth through its evolutionary biology and breeding habits to its endangered status in the wild, offering sardonically hilarious and harrowingly poignant life lessons along the way.

By Sean Flynn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Why Peacocks? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An acclaimed journalist seeks to understand the mysterious allure of peacocks-and in the process discovers unexpected and valuable life lessons.

When Sean Flynn's neighbor in North Carolina texted "Any chance you guys want a peacock? No kidding!" he stared bewilderedly at his phone. He had never considered whether he wanted a peacock. But as an award-winning magazine writer, this kind of mystery intrigued him. So he, his wife, and their two young sons became the owners of not one but three charming yet fickle birds: Carl, Ethel, and Mr. Pickle.

In Why Peacocks?, Flynn chronicles his hilarious and heartwarming first…


Book cover of The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession

Elizabeth Gehrman Author Of Rare Birds: The Extraordinary Tale of the Bermuda Petrel and the Man Who Brought It Back from Extinction

From my list on birds and life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I never had a particular interest in birds until I heard about David Wingate and the cahow; I’m just a reporter who was smitten by a compelling story. I often write about science and the environment, as well as travel and other topics, for publications including the Boston Globe, Archaeology, and Harvard Medicine, and while working on Rare Birds I got hooked on these extraordinary creatures and the iconoclastic obsessives who have become their stewards in the Anthropocene era. You don’t have to care about birds to love their stories — but in the end, you will.

Elizabeth's book list on birds and life

Elizabeth Gehrman Why did Elizabeth love this book?

If you saw the disappointing-at-best 2011 film based very loosely on this book, don’t let it color your opinion; if you haven’t seen it, buy the book instead. It follows three birders as they traverse North America during 1998’s “big year,” an informal, self-reported 365-day competition in which bird-spotting junkies chase down as many species as they can. It’s an engrossing peek into a fascinating, quirky subculture that will sweep you along on an irresistible armchair roadtrip-with-a-purpose.

By Mark Obmascik,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Big Year as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Each year, hundreds of people set out across North America determined to set a new record in a spectacularly competitive event. Is it tennis? Golf? Racing? Poker perhaps? No, it's bird-watching, and a contest known as the Big Year - a grand, gruelling, expensive (and occasionally vicious) 365-day marathon to identify the most species.
THE BIG YEAR is the rollicking chronicle of the 275,000-mile odyssey of three unlikely adventurers who take their bird-watching so seriously it nearly kills them. From Texas in pursuit of the Rufus-capped Warbler to British Columbia in search of Xantus' Hummingbird, these obsessive enthusiasts brave roasting…


Book cover of The Thing with Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal about Being Human

Elizabeth Gehrman Author Of Rare Birds: The Extraordinary Tale of the Bermuda Petrel and the Man Who Brought It Back from Extinction

From my list on birds and life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I never had a particular interest in birds until I heard about David Wingate and the cahow; I’m just a reporter who was smitten by a compelling story. I often write about science and the environment, as well as travel and other topics, for publications including the Boston Globe, Archaeology, and Harvard Medicine, and while working on Rare Birds I got hooked on these extraordinary creatures and the iconoclastic obsessives who have become their stewards in the Anthropocene era. You don’t have to care about birds to love their stories — but in the end, you will.

Elizabeth's book list on birds and life

Elizabeth Gehrman Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Packing a huge amount of research onto every page, Strycker, who in his 2015 big year logged a record-setting 6,042 bird species, engagingly analyzes the biology and behavior of penguins, magpies, hummingbirds, albatrosses, and more to explore how the lives of birds are simultaneously incredibly alien to and indelibly intertwined with those of humans in activities and emotions as diverse as altruism, dancing, seduction, and fear. His insights, delivered with a light touch, may well change the worldview of those who think that humans are somehow more worthy than any other animal on the planet.

By Noah Strycker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Thing with Feathers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"[Strycker] thinks like a biologist but writes like a poet." -- Wall Street Journal

An entertaining and profound look at the lives of birds, illuminating their surprising world—and deep connection with humanity.
 
Birds are highly intelligent animals, yet their intelligence is dramatically different from our own and has been little understood. As we learn more about the secrets of bird life, we are unlocking fascinating insights into memory, relationships, game theory, and the nature of intelligence itself.

The Thing with Feathers explores the astonishing homing abilities of pigeons, the good deeds of fairy-wrens, the influential flocking abilities of starlings, the…


Book cover of That Quail, Robert

Elizabeth Gehrman Author Of Rare Birds: The Extraordinary Tale of the Bermuda Petrel and the Man Who Brought It Back from Extinction

From my list on birds and life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I never had a particular interest in birds until I heard about David Wingate and the cahow; I’m just a reporter who was smitten by a compelling story. I often write about science and the environment, as well as travel and other topics, for publications including the Boston Globe, Archaeology, and Harvard Medicine, and while working on Rare Birds I got hooked on these extraordinary creatures and the iconoclastic obsessives who have become their stewards in the Anthropocene era. You don’t have to care about birds to love their stories — but in the end, you will.

Elizabeth's book list on birds and life

Elizabeth Gehrman Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Originally published in 1966, this charming illustrated tale continues to sell briskly. Written by the neighbor of a Cape Cod doctor who finds a quail egg abandoned in his yard and warms it with a table lamp until it hatches, it tells of how Robert, as the bird (later discovered to be female) is dubbed, imprints on “his” adopted family, who quickly realize that “far from having a bird in captivity, we were helplessly and hopelessly ensnared and enamored.” What follows is an interspecies love story between the “highly sociable,” housetrained, telephone-answering, sauerkraut-devouring fluffball and the humans she never ceases to beguile.

By Margaret Stanger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked That Quail, Robert as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The acclaimed story of the little bird that won the nation’s heart

He’ll never live, the neighbors all said. But Robert, the abandoned quail chick would prove them wrong. Born on a kitchen counter in a house on Cape Cod, raised in a box surrounded by a lamb’s wool duster and a small lamp, Robert’s life began auspiciously.


Book cover of Weaveworld

Ryan Leslie Author Of The Between

From my list on portal fantasy that will take you to hidden worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up addicted to portal stories, where fantastical lands full of magic and adventure are accessible from our mundane world if you just know where to look. Stories like The Neverending Story, Labyrinth, Alice in Wonderland, and The Chronicles of Narnia. My first novel, The Between, is a portal story like those but written more for adults–at least, for adults who are still young at heart. If you, too, like to daydream about slipping from your work cubicle into someplace strange and weird–and perhaps a little dangerous–here are books I think you might love.

Ryan's book list on portal fantasy that will take you to hidden worlds

Ryan Leslie Why did Ryan love this book?

That antique rug on the floor over there. What if a secret world is hidden within its countless knots and dyed threads? What if a fraying corner lets lose a creature trapped within? What if you step on it just so… and slip into a hidden world?

I read Weaveworld back in high school, shortly after it came out. It was my first Clive Barker novel and first adult, Alice in Wonderland-style, hidden world novel. I picked it up on a whim, and that whim changed the course of my life in many ways. I began writing in my spare time, inspired by Barker’s brilliant twists of words and by his surreal and haunting worlds.

By Clive Barker,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Weaveworld as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1988. Set in contemporary England, two friends discover a secret magical world and are drawn into a battle between good and evil. From the author of EVERVILLE.


Book cover of Fledgling

Tessa Boase Author Of Etta Lemon: The Woman Who Saved the Birds

From my list on women, birds, and nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an investigative journalist and social historian who’s obsessed with ‘invisible’ women of the 19th and early 20th century, bringing their stories to life in highly readable narrative non-fiction. I love the detective work involved in resurrecting ordinary women’s lives: shop girls, milliners, campaigning housewives, servants. . . The stories I’ve uncovered are gripping, often shocking and frequently poignant – but also celebrate women’s determination, solidarity and capacity for reinvention. Each of my two books took me on a long research journey deep into the archives: The Housekeeper’s Tale – the Women Who Really Ran the English Country House, and Etta Lemon – The Woman Who Saved the Birds.

Tessa's book list on women, birds, and nature

Tessa Boase Why did Tessa love this book?

Here’s how an intense, almost obsessive focus on wildlife can bring solace from chaos and alienation. Young bird-lover Hannah Bourne-Taylor moves to Ghana as a ‘trailing spouse,’ and it’s the fauna that keeps her going as she struggles to rebuild her identity. Two stray dogs leap into her life; a pangolin needs saving from someone’s dinner table. But it’s the act of saving a swift and a mannikin finch, nurturing and releasing the birds back into the wild, that provides the key to this closely observed, touching story. At first, the finch doesn’t want to re-wild – and Hannah realizes with a shock that she’s humanized it. Explores interesting dilemmas about intervening on nature’s behalf, and whether one act of compassion can really make a difference. A book full of hope.

By Hannah Bourne-Taylor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fledgling as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Read the powerful account of one woman's fight to reshape her identity through connection with nature when all normality has fallen away.

When lifelong bird-lover Hannah Bourne-Taylor moved with her husband to Ghana seven years ago she couldn't have anticipated how her life would be forever changed by her unexpected encounters with nature and the subsequent bonds she formed.

Plucked from the comfort and predictability of her life before, Hannah struggled to establish herself in her new environment, striving to belong in the rural grasslands far away from home.

In this challenging situation, she was forced to turn inwards and…


Book cover of Living as a Bird

Gísli Pálsson Author Of The Last of Its Kind: The Search for the Great Auk and the Discovery of Extinction

From my list on books that capture life on the edge.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by “nature” since childhood, growing up on an island south of Iceland and spending summers on a farm. As a teenager, I would explore my island in the company of friends, often with a binocular and a camera at hand. There was much to explore: a towering volcano above the local community, ancient lava flows, stormy seas – and an amazing variety of seabirds. I witnessed an island being born nearby during a stunning volcanic eruption. My life and career have been heavily informed by this experience, as an anthropologist and a writer I have always somehow engaged with connections between people and their environments.

Gísli's book list on books that capture life on the edge

Gísli Pálsson Why did Gísli love this book?

This is a wonderful book. The iconic song of the blackbird takes the author into a series of exciting reflections that complicate a whole range of concepts often applied to birds, such as dance, space, and territory. I was repeatedly struck by her insights into the lives of birds.

I am amazed by the way she brings bird biographies into focus. At a time when birds (and other animals) are still often seen either as empty categories or simply good to think with, such a perspective feels like a fresh wind. As Despret observes, bird songs are in the process of vanishing. I am inclined to think of her powerful book, with its metaphoric uses of the song of the blackbird, as echoes from Rachel Carson’s warnings in Silent Spring.

By Vinciane Despret, Helen Morrison (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Living as a Bird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the first days of spring, birds undergo a spectacular metamorphosis. After a long winter of migration and peaceful coexistence, they suddenly begin to sing with all their might, varying each series of notes as if it were an audiophonic novel. They cannot bear the presence of other birds and begin to threaten and attack them if they cross a border, which might be invisible to human eyes but seems perfectly tangible to birds. Is this display of bird aggression just a pretence, a game that all birds play? Or do birds suddenly become territorial - and, if so, why?…


Book cover of Superlative Birds

Susan Ewing Author Of Alaska Is for the Birds! Fourteen Favorite Feathered Friends

From my list on fun facts about birds and animals.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nature has been my grounding force from the time I could climb the elm tree in my Kentucky backyard. Snuggling down in the branches, listening to the leaves and birds was my happy place. Eventually, nature became a defining element in my work. It started with an Information & Education job at the Washington State Wildlife department and expanded from there to influence my career as a writer. I take great joy in writing about the natural world, my most patient teacher and oldest friend.

Susan's book list on fun facts about birds and animals

Susan Ewing Why did Susan love this book?

Learn about the biggest, brightest, smelliest, loudest, featheriest birds on a tour with a chatty chickadee. Each page features a short poem about a superlative bird and includes additional background on the bird’s natural history. There’s also a short glossary and a guide to resources on bird watching and conservation notes. The author even explains the rhyming patterns and structure of each poem. Fun and informative!

By Leslie Bulion, Robert Meganck (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Superlative Birds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Get to know all about the best and brightest—and smelliest!—birds in Leslie Bulion's award-winning collection of avian science poetry. You won't even need binoculars!

Ever wonder which bird has the loudest voice? Which one builds the biggest nest or has the most feathers? Get to know all about the best and brightest―and smelliest!―denizens of the bird world with this collection of nonfiction science verses.

Award-winning science poetry author Leslie Bulion dedicates a variety of verse to these impressive birds and includes a science glossary, notes on poetic forms, and resources for more information in the back of the book.

Witty…


Book cover of A Secret Of Birds & Bone

Jennifer Frances Adam Author Of The Last Windwitch

From my list on middle grade fantasy featuring birds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been passionate about horses – in fact, I’ve adopted five wild mustangs over the years and ride often – so it’s no surprise that they often find their way into my stories. But birds and feathers tend to be important elements of my books, too. I live on a working family farm surrounded by hawks, bald eagles, blue herons, swans, owls, and countless others… but I suspect the true reason there are birds in my books has to do with the little sparrows who like to perch on my windowsill as I write!

Jennifer's book list on middle grade fantasy featuring birds

Jennifer Frances Adam Why did Jennifer love this book?

Sofia lives a quiet life with her mother, brother, and a pet crow. But her mother is a bone-binder, famous for magic keys and keepsakes made of bone, and when a silver-veiled stranger suddenly appears with a request one day a chain of events is set in motion that will challenge everything Sofia thought she knew. Taken to the city orphanage after her mother’s arrest, Sofia discovers a sinister mystery and meets a thief hiding secrets of his own. With nothing but a bone locket made by her mother, she must find the courage to escape through the catacombs and save everyone she loves. This is a dark, spooky book perfect for young readers wanting a scary thrill. It’s beautifully written and richly textured with imagery of birds and bones, shadows and secret places. 

By Kiran Millwood Hargrave,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Secret Of Birds & Bone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

A spellbinding story from the Sunday Times-bestselling
author of The Girl of Ink & Stars, winner of the Waterstones
Children's Book Prize.
'A story bursting with imagination, sparkle and tender heart
... I adored it!' JASBINDER BILAN

'Both souful poetry and thrilling adventure; powerful and
delicate, chilling and comforting' SOPHIE ANDERSON

'Ripping propulsive plot, gorgeous imagery, floating fairytale
prose ... absolutely loved it' ROSS MONTGOMERY

In an Italian city ravaged by plague, Sofia's mother carves beautiful
mementoes from the bones of loved ones. But one day, she
doesn't return home. Did her work lead her into danger?

Sofia and her…


Book cover of Wordy Birdy

Jennifer Carson Author Of Dragons Don't Dance Ballet

From my list on teaching great life lessons without being preachy.

Why am I passionate about this?

We tell stories for many reasons, but one of the best reasons is to teach our kids (or remind ourselves!) how to navigate in the world. We’ve all read Aesop’s Fables and at the end, the moral lesson is spelled out. This ruins the conversations you can have with someone else about what the story was about. Instead of feeling entertained, we feel like we were being told what to think and how to feel. As a writer, I love to include multiple themes in a book so that, depending on the age of the reader, or how many times the story is read, new ideas jump out of the book and into your brain.

Jennifer's book list on teaching great life lessons without being preachy

Jennifer Carson Why did Jennifer love this book?

I like to chat, and like most other people, whether it’s because I’m thinking about something else, or busy, or just simply not paying attention, sometimes I “listen,” but I don’t “hear.” Wordy Birdy is a fun read with a great reminder about why it is so important to listen to others and pay attention to our surroundings. 

By Tammi Sauer, Dave Mottram (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wordy Birdy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Meet Wordy Birdy, a very chatty bird who talks WAY more than she listens! A hilarious new story from Tammi Sauer, beloved author of Nugget & Fang, Chicken Dance, and My Alien.

Wordy Birdy LOVES to talk. “Hello, sunrise. Hello, pink sky. Hello, orange sky!” But does she love to listen? NOPE. One day, while she’s walking through the forest, her gift of the gab gets her into hot water: “That’s a pretty tree and that’s a pretty tree and that’s a pretty danger sign and that’s a pretty tree. . . .” Will this inattentive bird walk right into…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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