10 books like Becoming Animal

By David Abram,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Becoming Animal. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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A Sand County Almanac

By Aldo Leopold,

Book cover of A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There

Aldo Leopold was a Forest Service ranger stationed in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest when he first began advocating for a new approach to managing national forests. Leopold’s visionary thinking and diligent advocacy resulted in the first-ever Wilderness Area in the U.S.—the Gila Wilderness Area, established in 1922—more than 40 years before the Wilderness Act was passed by Congress in 1964. A Sand County Almanac is Leopold’s best-known work and follows his efforts to restore a patch of cut-over farmland in Wisconsin while also articulating his vision of a land ethic where humans and nature are intertwined and care for people cannot be separated from care for the land. His beautiful writing resonated strongly with me when I first read A Sand County Almanac more than two decades ago, and his vision remains as important now as ever.

A Sand County Almanac

By Aldo Leopold,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked A Sand County Almanac as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac has enthralled generations of nature lovers and conservationists and is indeed revered by everyone seriously interested in protecting the natural world. Hailed for prose that is "full of beauty and vigor and bite" (The New York Times), it is perhaps the finest example of nature writing since Thoreau's Walden.
Now this classic work is available in a completely redesigned and lavishly illustrated gift edition, featuring over one hundred beautiful full-color pictures by Michael Sewell, one of the country's leading nature photographers. Sewell, whose work has graced the pages of Audubon and Sierra magazines, walked…


The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

By Elisabeth Tova Bailey,

Book cover of The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

Bailey’s book is about a friendship (one-sided perhaps) between a woman and a snail. She describes her growing affection for a woodland snail who is trapped inside with her during a long illness. Although Bailey isn’t offering commentary on pet-keeping, her book suggests a compelling alternative to loving animals—especially creatures we bring in from the wild—by making them into our pets. She shows us how to encounter another creature with curiosity, wonder, and respect.

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

By Elisabeth Tova Bailey,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

While an illness keeps her bedridden, Elisabeth Bailey watches a wild snail that has taken up residence in a terrarium alongside her bed. She enters the rhythm of life of this mysterious creature, and comes to a greater understanding of her own confined place in the world. In a work that beautifully demonstrates the rewards of closely observing nature, she shares the inspiring and intimate story of her close encounter with Neohelix albolabris - a common woodland snail.

Intrigued by the snail's world - from its strange anatomy to its mysterious courtship activities - she becomes a fascinated and amused…


In the Shadow of Man

By Jane Goodall,

Book cover of In the Shadow of Man

I must admit, I am in awe of Dr. Jane Goodall, who travelled deep into the jungle of Tanzania at the unfazed age of 26 (accompanied by her mum) to see what she could learn from chimpanzees. Her research undermined scientific thought as she watched chimps using tools and lived through a four-year primate war. I loved the way I learnt to differentiate and empathise with individual animals in this book. I introduced individual sun bears in my own book with the aim to bridge the species divide in the same way. After all, as Jane herself says, "Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, will we help."

In the Shadow of Man

By Jane Goodall,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked In the Shadow of Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'One of history's most impressive field studies; an instant animal classic' TIME

Jane Goodall's classic account of primate research provides an impressively detailed and absorbing account of the early years of her field study of, and adventures with, chimpanzees in Tanzania, Africa. It is a landmark for everyone to enjoy.


Straw Dogs

By John Gray,

Book cover of Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals

A brilliant attack on a collection of human vanities, most importantly the idea of progress. The political left and right are united in the idea that history has a direction. Human societies gradually progress towards a perfect endpoint – an end of history – where no further improvement can be made. Left and right disagree on what this endpoint will look like, but they agree that there is one, and that one can, therefore, be on the right or wrong side of history. Not so fast, argues John Gray. History is a long time, and the idea of progress is an article of faith that does not survive careful examination. Brilliant engagement with the work of the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer among others.

Straw Dogs

By John Gray,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A radical work of philosophy, which sets out to challenge our most cherished assumptions about what it means to be human. From Plato to Christianity, from the Enlightenment to Nietzsche and Marx, the Western tradition has been based on arrogant and erroneous beliefs about human beings and their place in the world. Philosophies such as liberalism and Marxism think of humankind as a species whose destiny is to transcend natural limits and conquer the Earth. Even in the present day, despite Darwin's discoveries, nearly all schools of thought take as their starting point the belief that humans are radically different…


The Grass Library

By David G. Brooks,

Book cover of The Grass Library

Brooks’ collection of essays is a vivid example of how to talk without rancor or judgmentalism about the painful failings of humans in their treatment of other animals. He writes “small,” focusing on everyday interactions with animals on his farm and in his neighborhood, and through his narratives touches on and helps nurture a well of empathy. 

The Grass Library

By David G. Brooks,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Originally published in Australia, The Grass Library is a philosophical and poetic journey by "one of Australia's most skilled, unusual and versatile writers" (Sydney Morning Herald). Both a memoir and an elegy for animal rights, The Grass Library portrays the author's relationship with his dog, four sheep, and myriad other animals in the home he shares with his partner in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.

This collection of essays--with its lyrical language, its honesty and vulnerability, its charm and wit--will delight and inspire all animal lovers, and especially those who rescue animals.


Finding the Mother Tree

By Suzanne Simard,

Book cover of Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest

Esteemed forest ecologist Suzanne Simard has given us the remarkable story of her journey through the working woods, the forest bureaucracy, and the academic jungle to tell us what we need to know about properly caring for our woodlands today. Through her life’s work she illuminates the remarkable ecological connections of trees to fungi and other life all around them, to the interactions among generations of trees, both older and younger, and to the health of organic soil that industrial forest managers have too often regarded simply as a medium for tree trunks that are stuck into the ground. With each walk in the woods, I now appreciate a new sense of complexity and dependency that each life has on the workings of another. 

Finding the Mother Tree

By Suzanne Simard,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Finding the Mother Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • From the world's leading forest ecologist who forever changed how people view trees and their connections to one another and to other living things in the forest—a moving, deeply personal journey of discovery

“Finding the Mother Tree reminds us that the world is a web of stories, connecting us to one another. [The book] carries the stories of trees, fungi, soil and bears--and of a human being listening in on the conversation. The interplay of personal narrative, scientific insights and the amazing revelations about the life of the forest make a compelling story.”—Robin Wall…


The Last Migration

By Charlotte McConaghy,

Book cover of The Last Migration

We are living through what some scientists have termed the ‘sixth mass extinction'. No matter if species belong in tropical rainforests of which I write, or the desolate arctic deserts Charlotte McConaghy describes so well, they are disappearing fast. This dystopic climate change story, which follows one deeply troubled young woman as she tracks a feathered migratory species, has the power to wake us from our slumber before it is too late. What I love the most are the rich and complex characters, who fall outside stereotypical boxes, and incredibly evocative descriptions of wild places. This really is a page-turner that left me wanting to sign petitions and join picket lines.

The Last Migration

By Charlotte McConaghy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"An extraordinary novel... as beautiful and as wrenching as anything I've ever read" Emily St. John Mandel

"An adventure of a wilder sort" Vogue US

A dark past. An impossible journey. The will to survive.

How far you would you go for love? Franny Stone is determined to go to the end of the earth, following the last of the Arctic terns on what may be their final migration to Antarctica.

As animal populations plummet and commercial fishing faces prohibition, Franny talks her way onto one of the few remaining boats heading south. But as she and the eccentric crew…


Nest

By Inga Simpson,

Book cover of Nest

In my living room, I have a shelf of discarded birds’ nests, and my sofa is a beachy aqua colour. It’s no wonder then, that I was initially drawn to this book’s cover. The story itself was a pleasant surprise. I can best describe this novel as a nature meditation because, when I started reading, Inga Simpson’s prose seemed to slow time. I became less interested in achieving my daily tasks and paid minute attention to the birds and trees outside my window. Although a story of loss and heartache is weaved through this Nest, it is less important than the gaps between the plot. I am convinced this delightful novel about an art teacher and her garden added a year or two to my life! 

Nest

By Inga Simpson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'[a] truly rich novel' SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

Once an artist and teacher, Jen now spends her time watching the birds around her house and tending her lush sub-tropical garden near the small town where she grew up. The only person she sees regularly is Henry, who comes after school for drawing lessons.

When a girl in Henry's class goes missing, Jen is pulled back into the depths of her own past. When she was Henry's age she lost her father and her best friend Michael - both within a week. The whole town talked about it then, and now, nearly…


A Most Improbable Journey

By Walter Alvarez,

Book cover of A Most Improbable Journey: A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves

This is a much lesser-known book than the others I’ve picked, and I feel it deserves a load more attention. Walter Alvarez was instrumental to the development of the theory that the dinosaurs were wiped-out by an asteroid impact. Here, he casts his professor-of-geology eye across the whole of Earth’s history to show us the astonishing ways that our world – and the cosmos around us – have nurtured life on the planet and influenced the human story.

A Most Improbable Journey

By Walter Alvarez,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Most Improbable Journey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Big History, the field that integrates traditional historical scholarship with scientific insights to study the full sweep of our universe, has so far been the domain of historians. Famed geologist Walter Alvarez-best known for the "Impact Theory" explaining dinosaur extinction-has instead championed a science-first approach to Big History. Here he wields his unique expertise to give us a new appreciation for the incredible occurrences-from the Big Bang to the formation of supercontinents, the dawn of the Bronze Age, and beyond-that have led to our improbable place in the universe.


Being Salmon, Being Human

By Martin Lee Mueller,

Book cover of Being Salmon, Being Human: Encountering the Wild in Us and Us in the Wild

Hailed as a “new genre of nature writing,” Mueller’s book is species-specific, dwelling upon the lives and deaths of salmon, yet the subject matter could apply to any creature that has become a commodity within late-stage capitalism. Mueller contrasts the Norwegian farmed-salmon industry and the increasing mechanization and reduction of living beings to things with wild salmon populations and Native people’s perspectives from the Pacific Northwest. Critically, he dares to take on the perspective of salmon, sprinkling memorable and moving vignettes throughout the book, helping readers imagine the world from a salmon’s-eye-view. This work of interspecies empathy is a rare and welcome contribution to thinking about personhood through a lens that is other-than-human.

Being Salmon, Being Human

By Martin Lee Mueller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Nautilus Award Silver Medal Winner, Ecology & Environment

In search of a new story for our place on earth

Being Salmon, Being Human examines Western culture's tragic alienation from nature by focusing on the relationship between people and salmon-weaving together key narratives about the Norwegian salmon industry as well as wild salmon in indigenous cultures of the Pacific Northwest.

Mueller uses this lens to articulate a comprehensive critique of human exceptionalism, directly challenging the four-hundred-year-old notion that other animals are nothing but complicated machines without rich inner lives and that Earth is a passive backdrop to human experience. Being fully…


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