100 books like Islands of Abandonment

By Cal Flyn,

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

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

Hugh Warwick Author Of Cull of the Wild: Killing in the Name of Conservation

From my list on animals and nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved animals—my adopted parents were not particularly interested, but when I met my biological mother in my mid-30s, I found out where it came from! That innate passion has driven my life. Writers like Jane Goodall were the gatekeepers—showing me the way forward and giving me permission to study and care. We need to learn more about nonhuman animals and the ecosystems that we share to better understand how to redress the damage we have caused. And while facts are important, stories are even more so. Each of these authors manages to weave both together with such great skill.

Hugh's book list on animals and nature

Hugh Warwick Why did Hugh love this book?

I have guru-phobia, so I had avoided this book because so many people I knew were declaring it one of the best books ever and that Robin Wall Kimmerer was wonderful. Stupid, right?! But then I read it and could understand.

More than reading and listening to it, I met the author at a literary festival and was even more impressed by her gentle wisdom. She writes about the importance of reciprocity—about the rest of life being just as important as we are. Her work merges wonderfully with Jane Goodall’s, and I would recommend reading them in tandem. 

By Robin Wall Kimmerer,

Why should I read it?

48 authors picked Braiding Sweetgrass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Called the work of "a mesmerizing storyteller with deep compassion and memorable prose" (Publishers Weekly) and the book that, "anyone interested in natural history, botany, protecting nature, or Native American culture will love," by Library Journal, Braiding Sweetgrass is poised to be a classic of nature writing. As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer asks questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces indigenous teachings that consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take "us on a journey that is…


Book cover of Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm

Joann S. Grohman Author Of Keeping a Family Cow: The Complete Guide for Home-Scale, Holistic Dairy Producers

From my list on self-sufficiency in the oncoming global crisis.

Why am I passionate about this?

Home food production & self-sufficiency was Joann Grohman’s lifelong enthusiasm. With a young, hungry family of eight children, she started milking cows by hand and did so until she was almost 90 years old. She simply could not imagine life without a family cow, a remarkable animal that makes grass into nutritious milk and cream that can feed people, pigs, and chickens, as well as provide manure to grow vegetables. When asked if having a cow means feeling stuck on the farm, she countered that a cow supports a beautiful life that can be found in no other way. 

Joann's book list on self-sufficiency in the oncoming global crisis

Joann S. Grohman Why did Joann love this book?

This book has had a huge impact in the UK, kickstarting a revolution in land management. Ms. Tree's husband inherited a very large estate in southern England, and they tried hard to continue farming in the usual way, raising grain. After a series of failures, economic and otherwise, they finally decided that something radically different would have to be tried and took on the challenge of allowing their land to revert to nature.

The book has been described as 'thrilling, inspiring, and deeply moving,' and it's all of that and a real page-turner.

By Isabella Tree,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A poignant, practical and moving story of how to fix our broken land, this should be conservation's salvation; this should be its future; this is a new hope' - Chris Packham

In Wilding, Isabella Tree tells the story of the 'Knepp experiment', a pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex, using free-roaming grazing animals to create new habitats for wildlife. Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope.

Winner of the Richard Jefferies Society and White Horse Book Shop Literary Prize.

Forced to accept that intensive farming on…


Book cover of Fathoms: The World in the Whale

Christopher J. Preston Author Of Tenacious Beasts: Wildlife Recoveries That Change How We Think about Animals

From my list on opening your eyes to wildlife.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born in England but living now in America’s mountain west, I am sucker for landscapes that dance with unusual plants and animals. I have been a commercial fisherman, a tool librarian, and a back-country park ranger. These days, I’m an award-winning public philosopher and author. I have written books and articles about powerful emerging technologies. However, I realized a few years ago that wild animals are an antidote to the technological and commercial forces that can flatten our world. From art painted on cave walls millennia ago to the toys we still give to our children, animals are an important part of human identity. I celebrate this in my work.  

Christopher's book list on opening your eyes to wildlife

Christopher J. Preston Why did Christopher love this book?

How can you not already love these underwater giants? But I didn’t know much about them before reading Gigg’s love letter to our undersea cousins. They live by breathing air and giving birth like we do, but most of their lives takes place in a hidden, watery world.

The horror our species inflicted on whales during commercial whaling became more repulsive as Giggs uncovered the layers of whales’ complexity and sociality. I learned that arthritis sufferers in the nineteenth century would bathe in holes cut into whale carcasses for their curative powers. I also tried to imagine an animal with blood vessels big enough for a child to crawl through and a heartbeat that can be heard through the water for over a mile. 

By Rebecca Giggs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN NONFICTION
WINNER OF THE NIB LITERARY AWARD
FINALIST FOR THE KIRKUS PRIZE FOR NONFICTION
HIGHLY COMMENDED IN THE WAINWRIGHT PRIZE FOR WRITING ON GLOBAL CONSERVATION

A SUNDAY INDEPENDENT BOOK OF THE YEAR

'There is a kind of hauntedness in wild animals today: a spectre related to environmental change ... Our fear is that the unseen spirits that move in them are ours. Once more, animals are a moral force.'

When Rebecca Giggs encountered a humpback whale stranded on her local beach in Australia, she began to wonder how the lives of…


Book cover of The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans

Sandy Sheehy Author Of Imperiled Reef: The Fascinating, Fragile Life of a Caribbean Wonder

From my list on the amazing world of coral reefs.

Why am I passionate about this?

For more than four decades, Sandy Sheehy has been diving tropical coral reefs from the Caribbean to Australia. Starting when she was around five sitting in her pediatric dentist’s office where she noticed an aquarium stocked with colorful fish, her fascination with the underwater world has grown. Becoming a freelance journalist allowed her to call on experts and activists around the world to help her satisfy her curiosity and share what she learned.   

Sandy's book list on the amazing world of coral reefs

Sandy Sheehy Why did Sandy love this book?

In clear, evocative prose, Barnett describes the world of seashells and humans’ relationship to them. Her book was laced with “Who knew?” moments for me. For example, until recently people considered seashells a kind of rock, giving little thought to the creatures that built and inhabited them. Barnett explains the threat that rising carbon dioxide levels present to the formation and very existence of shells, but she never carps; and although she interjects some of her own experiences—and sense of wonder—she never lapses into making this book about her, rather than her subject.

By Cynthia Barnett,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Sound of the Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Seashells have been the most coveted and collected of nature's creations for thousands of years. They were money before coins, jewellery before gems, art before canvas.

In The Sound of the Sea, Cynthia Barnett blends cultural history and environmental science to trace our long love affair with seashells and the hidden lives of the mollusks that make them. From the mysterious glow of giant clams to the surprising origin of Shell Oil as a family business importing exotic shells, the book is filled with unforgettable stories. As it explores the perfect symmetry of a Chambered Nautilus, the pink-glossed lip of…


Book cover of The Nutmeg's Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis

Liz Conor Author Of Skin Deep: Settler Impressions of Aboriginal Women

From my list on climate change and race.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became a climate activist and later a researcher after my sister and her family lost their home in the Black Saturday fires of 2009 in Victoria. Their bravery and survival is a daily reminder for me, that climate change is upon us, and we are fighting for our lives as well as our children and future generations. Because my research has been focused on colonialism and race their story has opened many questions for me around the history of colonialism and whether it was coal-fired. I’m thinking about what it means for settlers to lose their homes on stolen land, and whether this recognition could prompt us to rethink land ownership, custodianship, and coexistence.

Liz's book list on climate change and race

Liz Conor Why did Liz love this book?

Taking the exploitation of the Nutmeg as a parable for the logic of extraction that precipitated our current planetary crisis, Ghosh’s book draws the direct historical connections that have upended so many worlds and now threatens to do the same to us all.

Climate change becomes the present manifestation of Western colonialism, with its deeply entrenched antipathy to vitalism, animism, and all the living entities that make up this precious home, Earth. Ghosh explains how our very survival depends now on the respect for and inspiration of Indigenous knowledge of ecologies.

His writing is pure with moral clarity and urgency, and the scholarship is wide-ranging and erudite. An exquisite and indispensable book for these frightening times.

By Amitav Ghosh,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Nutmeg's Curse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this ambitious successor to The Great Derangement, acclaimed writer Amitav Ghosh finds the origins of our contemporary climate crisis in Western colonialism's violent exploitation of human life and the natural environment.

A powerful work of history, essay, testimony, and polemic, Amitav Ghosh's new book traces our contemporary planetary crisis back to the discovery of the New World and the sea route to the Indian Ocean. The Nutmeg's Curse argues that the dynamics of climate change today are rooted in a centuries-old geopolitical order constructed by Western colonialism. At the center of Ghosh's narrative is the now-ubiquitous spice nutmeg. The…


Book cover of Atlas of the Invisible: Maps and Graphics That Will Change How You See the World

Eric Magrane Author Of The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide

From my list on looking at field guides and atlases in a new way.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love field guides. I can vividly picture my first copy of Peterson’s Field Guide to Birds, tattered and weather-beaten. I also love poetry and literature, so it seemed natural to me to bring the two together in my work. I’m from New England, but I've lived in the U.S. Southwest for over twenty years. Place is important to me: I think a lot about how we get to know and care for the places we live and call home and how we can work to be good neighbors. I worked for about a decade as a hiking guide and have also taught environmental education. I now teach geography at New Mexico State University. 

Eric's book list on looking at field guides and atlases in a new way

Eric Magrane Why did Eric love this book?

This atlas beautifully demonstrates how geography is crucial to making sense of patterns and relationships in the world. I sat down and read it cover to cover, though it also would work well as a coffee table book. If you dig maps and data, this book is for you. If you’re interested in design, this book is for you. If you want to really visualize how putting interesting data on a map can help you to look at the world in new ways, this book is for you. Heck, if you’re curious about the world, this book is for you. 

By James Cheshire, Oliver Uberti,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Award-winning geographer-designer team James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti transform enormous datasets into rich maps and cutting-edge visualizations. In this triumph of visual storytelling, they uncover truths about our past, reveal who we are today, and highlight what we face in the years ahead. With their joyfully inquisitive approach, Cheshire and Uberti explore happiness levels around the globe, trace the undersea cables and cell towers that connect us, examine hidden scars of geopolitics, and illustrate how a warming planet affects everything from hurricanes to the hajj. Years in the making, Atlas of the Invisible invites readers to marvel at the promise…


Book cover of Riverwise: Meditations on Afon Teifi

Jen Barclay Author Of Wild Abandon: A Journey to the Deserted Places of the Dodecanese

From my list on wild and abandoned island places.

Why am I passionate about this?

A British writer and editor who developed a love of Greece from childhood holidays and Ancient Greek classes at school, and a passion for hidden and little-known places, I felt myself called back and moved ten years ago to the Dodecanese, a remote and rugged group of islands at the southeast edge of Europe. Wandering on foot around islands whose populations emigrated in their thousands over the last hundred years leaving refuges of wild and quiet, I began to be fascinated by things left behind on the landscape and differences from one island to the next. I explored in this way for five years and wrote the stories in my third book set in Greece, Wild Abandon: A Journey to the Deserted Places of the Dodecanese.

Jen's book list on wild and abandoned island places

Jen Barclay Why did Jen love this book?

In this short and exquisitely beautiful book, the author takes us on his wanderings around a river in West Wales not far from his home: journeys in places no longer deemed important in the modern world, reclaimed by nature. They’re intimate, small, meditative walks into hidden and overgrown landscapes: an island of tangled, quiet beauty where he can contemplate his surroundings; a ruined cottage made of stone and wood that will eventually crumble back into the ground, and the objects that he finds abandoned, full of imagined meaning. Its poetic words are joyful without being strained, ‘a hymn to those liminal, fluvial places where one glimpses with astonishment the secret, unfolding moments of an enchanted universe’.

By Jack Smylie Wild,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Riverwise, a volume of slow river prose centred around Afon
Teifi, is a book of wanderings and wonderings, witnessings and
enchantments, rememberings and endings. Weaving memoir,
poetry and keen observation into its meandering course, it shifts
across time and space to reflect the beauty of hidden, fluvial
places, and to meditate on the strangeness of being human.
Above all, though, this book stands as a hymn to those fragments
of riparian wilderness which on our maps appear as ever-
shrinking horns of green amid a white, gridded landscape of
human dominance. Riverwise is a clarion call to learn to love…


Book cover of Sea Room

Jen Barclay Author Of Wild Abandon: A Journey to the Deserted Places of the Dodecanese

From my list on wild and abandoned island places.

Why am I passionate about this?

A British writer and editor who developed a love of Greece from childhood holidays and Ancient Greek classes at school, and a passion for hidden and little-known places, I felt myself called back and moved ten years ago to the Dodecanese, a remote and rugged group of islands at the southeast edge of Europe. Wandering on foot around islands whose populations emigrated in their thousands over the last hundred years leaving refuges of wild and quiet, I began to be fascinated by things left behind on the landscape and differences from one island to the next. I explored in this way for five years and wrote the stories in my third book set in Greece, Wild Abandon: A Journey to the Deserted Places of the Dodecanese.

Jen's book list on wild and abandoned island places

Jen Barclay Why did Jen love this book?

There’s been a proliferation of books in the last decade about wild and abandoned Scottish islands abundant in puffins and seals, but I have an affection for this, originally published twenty years ago, as it was the first I read and nudged me towards exploring the theme at the opposite extreme edge of Europe. Nicolson actually inherited the Shiant islands in the Hebrides who had bought them, so it’s no wonder he had them to himself, but he also was inspired by that connection and made it his serious mission to explore their nature and history, and uncovered in detail the haunting past of these abandoned islands. 

By Adam Nicolson, Adam Nicolson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Adam Nicolson's father had answered a newspaper advertisement in the 1930s: "Uninhabited islands for sale. Outer Hebrides. 600 acres. 500 ft basaltic cliffs. Puffins and seals. Cabin. Apply Col. Kenneth Macdonald, Portree, Skye." These were the Shiants, three of the loneliest of the British Isles, set in a dangerous sea, with no more than a stone-built, rat-ridden bothy as accommodation, five miles or so off the coast of Lewis. They cost #1400 and for that he bought one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Adam Nicolson inherited the islands when he was 21 - an astonishing gift -…


Book cover of The Last Wilderness: A Journey into Silence

Jen Barclay Author Of Wild Abandon: A Journey to the Deserted Places of the Dodecanese

From my list on wild and abandoned island places.

Why am I passionate about this?

A British writer and editor who developed a love of Greece from childhood holidays and Ancient Greek classes at school, and a passion for hidden and little-known places, I felt myself called back and moved ten years ago to the Dodecanese, a remote and rugged group of islands at the southeast edge of Europe. Wandering on foot around islands whose populations emigrated in their thousands over the last hundred years leaving refuges of wild and quiet, I began to be fascinated by things left behind on the landscape and differences from one island to the next. I explored in this way for five years and wrote the stories in my third book set in Greece, Wild Abandon: A Journey to the Deserted Places of the Dodecanese.

Jen's book list on wild and abandoned island places

Jen Barclay Why did Jen love this book?

There’s a deep poignancy to this book about Ansell’s wanderings in the Rough Bounds where the highlands of Scotland meet the Atlantic in a series of rugged peninsulas, a ‘place apart’ thanks to its remoteness and inaccessibility; not only because it originally inspired his love of nature and being solitary in nature, but also because he’s now losing his hearing, and with it his relationship with the joys of birdsong, which became particularly important to him when he lived alone in a cottage in mid-Wales. The Rough Bounds have been called Britain’s last great wilderness, and yet the area has a long history of settlement, and in some of his walking he explores the gradual depopulation of the Western Highlands, inhabited from ancient prehistory through generations and thriving communities until only a couple of hundred years ago. Instead of being a scientific exploration, it’s meditative and meandering; ‘sometimes a little…

By Neil Ansell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Neil Ansell's THE LAST WILDERNESS is a mesmerising book on nature and solitude by a writer who has spent his lifetime taking solitary ventures into the wild. For any readers of the author's previous book, DEEP COUNTRY, Robert Macfarlane's THE OLD WAYS or William Atkins THE MOOR.

'A gem of a book, an extraordinary tale. Ansell's rich prose will transport you to a real life Narnian world that C.S.Lewis would have envied. Find your deepest, most comfortable armchair and get away from it all' Countryfile

The experience of being in nature alone is here set within the context of a…


Book cover of Prodigal Summer

D.J. Green Author Of No More Empty Spaces

From my list on fiction books where science plays a main character.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an avid reader of fiction and kind of a nerd, too, so I love books with science in them. I’m a scientist myself, now retired from a career in environmental and engineering geology. I am fascinated by the Earth and the geologic processes that shape it, from the seemingly mundane (like erosion) to the remarkable (like earthquakes, landslides, and volcanic eruptions). As a writer, I try to translate that wonder for non-scientist readers, all wrapped up in a compelling story. Each book on this list sure does that, weaving science into the fabric of a gripping narrative. I hope you’ll love them as much as I do.

D.J.'s book list on fiction books where science plays a main character

D.J. Green Why did D.J. love this book?

This is my favorite of Kingsolver’s books. I fell in love with so many of the characters, even some of the crustier sort. I also fell in love with the Appalachian mountains and valleys where they worked, studied, and sometimes struggled.

This is a poignant book about families and landscapes, and how we must find our own place in each.

By Barbara Kingsolver,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Prodigal Summer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is summer in the Appalachian mountains and love, desire and attraction are in the air. Nature, too, it seems, is not immune. From her outpost in an isolated mountain cabin, Deanna Wolfe, a reclusive wildlife biologist, watches a den of coyotes that have recently migrated into the region. She is caught off guard by a young hunter who invades her most private spaces and interrupts her self-assured, solitary life. On a farm several miles down the mountain, Lusa Maluf Landowski, a bookish city girl turned farmer's wife, finds herself marooned in a strange place where she must declare or…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in nature, environmental issues, and environmental history?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about nature, environmental issues, and environmental history.

Nature Explore 154 books about nature
Environmental Issues Explore 49 books about environmental issues
Environmental History Explore 22 books about environmental history