100 books like Oil Notes

By Rick Bass,

Here are 100 books that Oil Notes fans have personally recommended if you like Oil Notes. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ 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 One Day the Ice Will Reveal All Its Dead

David B. Williams Author Of Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology

From my list on geology that aren’t really about rocks.

Why am I passionate about this?

For the past two decades, I have written about the intersection of people and place, particularly as viewed through the lens of geology and how it influences our lives. My nine books include Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography, Cairns: Messengers in Stone, and Homewaters: A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound. All of them have a goal of helping people develop a better connection with the natural world around them.

David's book list on geology that aren’t really about rocks

David B. Williams Why did David love this book?

In this brilliant, evocative, and imaginative novel, Claire Dudman has written a fictionalized autobiography of Alfred Wegener. Best known for his 1912 proposal about continental drift, Wegener was a first-rate meteorologist, polar researcher, and balloonist (he held the record for longest continuous flight). Dudman’s insights into Wegener’s personality, the challenges he faced with his proposal, and his love of science shine through and create a unique and memorable portrait of a brilliant and fascinating life.

By Claire Dudman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Day the Ice Will Reveal All Its Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fictional biography of German meteorologist Alfred Wegener follows the groundbreaking scientist from his 1880 birth to his final Arctic exploration in 1930, discussing the offbeat scientific adventures and exploits that marked his life--from a record-breaking long-distance balloon flight in 1906, to his horrific experiences during World War I, to his struggle to defend his controversial theories. A first novel. Reprint.


Book cover of Home Ground: A Guide to the American Landscape

David B. Williams Author Of Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology

From my list on geology that aren’t really about rocks.

Why am I passionate about this?

For the past two decades, I have written about the intersection of people and place, particularly as viewed through the lens of geology and how it influences our lives. My nine books include Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography, Cairns: Messengers in Stone, and Homewaters: A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound. All of them have a goal of helping people develop a better connection with the natural world around them.

David's book list on geology that aren’t really about rocks

David B. Williams Why did David love this book?

Barry Lopez and his 40 plus contributors dive deep into the language of the land, providing colorful, literary, and sometimes opinionated definitions for more than 850 landscape terms, many of which owe their existence to geology, such as ‘a’a, erg, slickrock, and yardang. The book is an essential and timely contribution to the myriad ways that geology affects not only place but language as well. This is a book for anyone who wants to learn more about America, the nature of its landscape, and its history, and to develop a better connection to place. Or for anyone who wants to use correctly such fine terms as chickenhead, nubble, boondocks, and thank-you ma’am.

By Barry Lopez (editor), Debra Gwartney (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hailed by book reviewers as a "masterpiece," "gorgeous and fascinating," and "sheer pleasure," Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape was published in fall 2006 in hardcover. It was met with outstanding reviews and strong sales, going into three printings. A language-lover's dream, this visionary reference revitalized a descriptive language for the American landscape by combining geography, literature, and folklore in one volume. This is a totally redesigned, near-pocket-sized field guide edition of the best-selling hardcover. Home Ground brings together 45 poets and writers to create more than 850 original definitions for words that describe our lands and waters. The…


Book cover of In Limestone Country

David B. Williams Author Of Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology

From my list on geology that aren’t really about rocks.

Why am I passionate about this?

For the past two decades, I have written about the intersection of people and place, particularly as viewed through the lens of geology and how it influences our lives. My nine books include Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography, Cairns: Messengers in Stone, and Homewaters: A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound. All of them have a goal of helping people develop a better connection with the natural world around them.

David's book list on geology that aren’t really about rocks

David B. Williams Why did David love this book?

Not only does geology shape the land, it can also shape the lives of those who quarry the stone. Rarely is this relationship between human and rock better portrayed than in Scott Russell Sanders’ thoughtful essays about the limestone country around Bedford, Indiana. With graceful and respectful prose, he tells the stories of a “piece of earth where the accidents of geology have yielded a special kind of stone, and where landscapes, towns, and the people themselves bear the mark of that stone.” And, if you seek to see this story on film, I can also recommend one of my favorite movies, Breaking Away, a humorous and passionate portrayal of life and biking in limestone country.

By Scott Russell Sanders,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From a patch of land in southern Indiana has come the stone for many of the country's most famous buildings, including the Washington Cathedral, the Pentagon, the Empire State Building, and Chicago's Tribune Tower. If you live anywhere within the lower forty-eight states you probably live within walking distance of library, bank, monument, church, house or skyscraper built with Indiana limestone. In Limestone Country is the story of the stone, from its geologic origins through its mining history to the present. Sanders records the folklore, the craft, the distinct culture that has grown up around Indiana limestone. Above all we…


Book cover of Hard Road West: History & Geology Along the Gold Rush Trail

David B. Williams Author Of Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology

From my list on geology that aren’t really about rocks.

Why am I passionate about this?

For the past two decades, I have written about the intersection of people and place, particularly as viewed through the lens of geology and how it influences our lives. My nine books include Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography, Cairns: Messengers in Stone, and Homewaters: A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound. All of them have a goal of helping people develop a better connection with the natural world around them.

David's book list on geology that aren’t really about rocks

David B. Williams Why did David love this book?

A simple, yet profound idea forms the basis for geologist Keith Meldah’s first book: how did geology influence the gold rush pioneers. Weaving pioneer accounts, modern science, and field exploration, he paints a unique and compelling picture of western migration and how the vagaries of the dramatic landscape played out in both small and large ways. Although gold was what drove many of the argonauts, they soon learned that the rocky world would affect them far before they reached their hoped-for destination.

By Keith Heyer Meldahl,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1849, news of the discovery of gold in California triggered an enormous wave of emigration toward the Pacific. Lured by the promise of riches, thousands of settlers left behind the forests, rain, and fertile soil of the eastern United States in favor of the rough-hewn lands of the American West. The dramatic terrain they struggled to cross is so familiar to us now that it is hard to imagine how frightening - even godforsaken - its sheer rock faces and barren deserts seemed to our forebears."Hard Road West" brings their perspective vividly to life, weaving together the epic overland…


Book cover of The Street Beneath My Feet

Suzanne Preston Blier Author Of The Streets of Newtowne: A Story of Cambridge, MA

From my list on the idea of streets, history, and places.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an art and architectural historian whose field also includes the histories of cities. My area of specialty is Africa. I am also a professor at Harvard who has lived in Cambridge, Ma. for over 30 years where I have become a civic leader, co-founding the Harvard Square Neighborhood Association to help bring improvements to the city and preserve historic buildings here. I teach a class on Harvard Square (and the city of Cambridge) and following January 6, I felt it was important to rethink the way we teach young people – encouraging them to understand the diversity of all our communities. 

Suzanne's book list on the idea of streets, history, and places

Suzanne Preston Blier Why did Suzanne love this book?

This book, which takes one on a journey below ground in a city as well as a rural area, providing a glimpse of both the man-made infrastructure (tunnels and pipes) as well as the burrowing trails of animals and many layered rock formations.

The book encourages its readers to think more about the paths and streets on which we and others have long traveled.

By Charlotte Guillain, Yuval Zommer (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Street Beneath My Feet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This award-winning, double-sided foldout book takes you on a fascinating journey down through the layers of the Earth, all the way to the planet’s core and out the other side.

When you’re out walking around, whether on the city streets or a country trail, there’s always so much to see and hear. But do you ever stop and look down? Have you ever wondered what’s going on deep in the ground under your feet?

There are so many amazing sights to see! One side of the foldout shows the ground beneath the city, while the reverse side shows the ground…


Book cover of The Mediterranean was a Desert: A Voyage of the Glomar Challenger

Graham Shields Author Of Born of Ice and Fire: How Glaciers and Volcanoes (with a Pinch of Salt) Drove Animal Evolution

From my list on science in action written by scientists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a scientist who has worked at the coal face of the debate around the origin of animals and ‘Snowball Earth’ his entire career, using a combination of experimental and descriptive science. Over three decades, I have witnessed first-hand how careful attention to detail in study after study has removed doubt from once provocative, even crazy, ideas that are now widely accepted. I love reading popular science from the perspective of the hands-on scientist who has witnessed the debate first-hand and contributed to received knowledge by conceiving new experiments, amassing data, and, more than often, in entirely unexpected ways through sheer curiosity.

Graham's book list on science in action written by scientists

Graham Shields Why did Graham love this book?

This book inspired my love of science.

I think that more than any other book I have read on geology, this one expresses best the excitement one feels when a group of scientists work together on one puzzle only to discover something entirely unexpected and even more astounding.

It is a racy account, littered with personal anecdotes of the major players, but it also describes the heady days when plate tectonics was developing from outrageous hypothesis to acknowledged fact. 

By Kenneth Jinghwa Hsu,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mediterranean was a Desert as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The famous geological research ship Glomar Challenger was a radically new instrument that revolutionized earth science in the same sense that the cyclotron revolutionized nuclear physics, and its deep-sea drilling voyages, conducted from 1968 through 1983, were some of the great scientific adventures of our time. Beginning with the vessel's first cruises, which lent support to the idea of continental drift, the Challenger played a key part in the widely publicized plate-tectonics revolution and its challenge to more conventional theories. Here the leading oceanographer and earth scientist Kenneth Hs offers an intensely personal account of the experiences of the ship's…


Book cover of Rocks and Minerals - A Guide to Minerals, Gems, and Rocks

Robert R. Coenraads Author Of Rocks and Fossils: A Visual Guide

From my list on our planet’s geological wonders.

Why am I passionate about this?

I‘m a Sydney-based exploration geologist and science writer, travelling the world in search of gold, exotic metals, gemstones, and the stories they have to tell — writing is my tool to bring alive ideas and concepts important to me, and my popular books include Rocks, Fossils and Dinosaurs; Natural Disasters; and Geologica. Working in the world's poorest regions has also sparked a strong humanitarian interest. I'm the founding president of FreeSchools World Literacy – Australia, a charity dedicated to education of underprivileged children, and towards which earnings from my writing go. It is my belief that education for all, not just a privileged few, is key to solving the world's problems. 

Robert's book list on our planet’s geological wonders

Robert R. Coenraads Why did Robert love this book?

I can’t go past recommending this tiny book! Way back when I was a kid, my geologist cousin, Rene Schellekens, gave me a cardboard box full of carefully wrapped crystal specimens he’d collected on his travels plus a copy of Zim’s Guide to Minerals, Gems, and Rocks, and that fabulous little guidebook became my bible. I knew, by heart, every word and beautiful hand-drawn and coloured image adorning its pages—each mineral’s crystal system, colour, hardness, and other physical and chemical properties. I have to say, that gift of Zim’s Guidebook led me into a lifelong career of geological exploration into the world’s distant corners, and even into the authoring of my own books on the natural sciences.

By Herbert S. Zim, Paul R. Shaffer, Raymond Perlman (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rocks and Minerals - A Guide to Minerals, Gems, and Rocks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This 160 page book is an identification guide to only the most common kinds of rocks and minerals. This guide describes and illustrates their physical and chemical properties, their origin and the geological structures associated with them, their geologic and economic significance, and where and how to collect them. A handy pocket guide with accurate full-color illustrations.


Book cover of Rocks and Minerals - Reader's Digest Pathfinders

Robert R. Coenraads Author Of Rocks and Fossils: A Visual Guide

From my list on our planet’s geological wonders.

Why am I passionate about this?

I‘m a Sydney-based exploration geologist and science writer, travelling the world in search of gold, exotic metals, gemstones, and the stories they have to tell — writing is my tool to bring alive ideas and concepts important to me, and my popular books include Rocks, Fossils and Dinosaurs; Natural Disasters; and Geologica. Working in the world's poorest regions has also sparked a strong humanitarian interest. I'm the founding president of FreeSchools World Literacy – Australia, a charity dedicated to education of underprivileged children, and towards which earnings from my writing go. It is my belief that education for all, not just a privileged few, is key to solving the world's problems. 

Robert's book list on our planet’s geological wonders

Robert R. Coenraads Why did Robert love this book?

I just love the type of book that gets kids started in the sciences—bold, showy, and full of inspiring colour pictures, maps, and diagrams, and that’s just how the Rocks and Minerals Pathfinder has been designed—even the photos shot specifically by Weldon Owen for this book feature kids—kids collecting rocks, kids holding massive gold nuggets and kids sitting next to gemstone crystals as big as themselves. I’ve inspired my own kids by taking them around the world with me on geology field trips but these big, bright pathfinders books are the next best thing.

By Tracy Staeder,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rocks and Minerals - Reader's Digest Pathfinders 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?

Examines the nature, formation, and different kinds of rocks and minerals and explains how to collect them


Book cover of Geology Underfoot in Yosemite National Park

Elizabeth Wenk Author Of John Muir Trail: The Essential Guide to Hiking America's Most Famous Trail

From my list on the High Sierra.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hiking in the Sierra has been equal parts recreation and profession since I’ve been an adult. I’ve worked for the concessionaire in Yosemite Valley, surveyed lakes for rare amphibians, completed a PhD on alpine plants, and, over the past 15 years, written nine books on the Sierra Nevada. I continue to spend every summer obsessively exploring its trails, peaks, and remote lake basins, always excited to see a new view, find a rare flower, or simply see a favorite place in a new light. The rest of the year is spent writing—and reading what others have written, broadening my knowledge about my favorite place on Earth before I set out on the next summer’s adventures.

Elizabeth's book list on the High Sierra

Elizabeth Wenk Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Every step in the Sierra leads you across landscapes shaped by a succession of geologic eventsoverwhelming to comprehend at times. I’ve read and reread this book because it describes not just what you see, but explains, in approachable language, the processes that led to the rocks you see. The book is comprised of as series of vignettes, each focused on a different rock outcrop, formed through a unique process at a particular moment in the Sierra’s geologic history. 

By Allen F. Glazner, Greg M. Stock,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Geology Underfoot in Yosemite National Park as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Few places in the nation rival Yosemite National Park for vertigo-inducing cliffs, plunging waterfalls, and stunning panoramic views of granite peaks. Many of the features that visitors find most tantalizing about Yosemite have unique and compelling geologic stories�tales that continue to unfold today in vivid, often destructive ways. While visiting more than twenty-seven amazing sites, you�ll discover why many of Yosemite�s domes shed rock shells like onion layers, what happens when a volcano erupts under a glacial lake, and why rocks seem to be almost continually tumbling from the region�s cliffs. With a multitude of colorful photos and illustrations, and…


Book cover of The Mountains That Remade America: How Sierra Nevada Geology Impacts Modern Life

Allen F. Glazner Author Of Geology Underfoot in Yosemite National Park

From my list on wandering through California’s geology.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a boy in southern California, I knew that the mountains were to the north, that they were big, and that they were somehow related to earthquakes. I loved chemistry and the outdoors and decided on the first day of college that geology offered a great way to be an outdoor chemist. I learned the craft of writing in high school as a sports reporter for the local paper. After I started as a geology professor at the University of North Carolina in 1981, Bob Sharp of Caltech and I founded the Geology Underfoot series to get people into the outdoors to discover geology on their own.  

Allen's book list on wandering through California’s geology

Allen F. Glazner Why did Allen love this book?

Jones gives a modern account of the roles that the Sierra Nevada range has played in the history of California: barrier to transportation, source of gold, source of water, desert maker, provider of unique ecosystems, inspiration of water law and mining law, target of vacationers, hikers, and climbers, and inspirer of the national park system. This engaging book weaves the history of exploration and development of the state into the larger story of why the range exists, what it is made of, and why it is so odd that the Sierra Nevada, unlike most tall mountain ranges, lacks a low-density root to hold it up. Jones excels at explaining things that I never even thought to wonder about.

By Craig H. Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mountains That Remade America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From ski towns to national parks, fresh fruit to environmental lawsuits, the Sierra Nevada has changed the way Americans live. Whether and where there was gold to be mined redefined land, mineral, and water laws. Where rain falls (and where it doesn't) determines whose fruit grows on trees and whose appears on slot machines. All this emerges from the geology of the range and how it changed history, and in so doing, changed the country.

The Mountains That Remade America combines geology with history to show how the particular forces and conditions that created the Sierra Nevada have effected broad…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in geology, the South, and presidential biography?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about geology, the South, and presidential biography.

Geology Explore 51 books about geology
The South Explore 183 books about the South
Presidential Biography Explore 19 books about presidential biography