10 books like The Breathing Burren

By Gordon D'Arcy,

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

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Wilding

By Isabella Tree,

Book cover of Wilding: Returning Nature to Our Farm

This book is an eye-opener. Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie were farming a 3.500-acre farm in West Sussex, England in the nowadays common intensive way. This drove them close to bankruptcy and in a desperate leap of faith they decided to give the entire farm back to nature. This book is their account of this journey, of transforming a vast area of farmland into a haven for nature while still making a living from it. 

“Rewilding” has become a bit of a dirty word and one many are scared of. This book shows that “(Re-)Wilding” doesn’t mean humans have to give up land completely or are threatened by wild predators, it shows that we can successfully live with nature if we let nature take the helm and respect and work with natural processes instead against them.

Wilding

By Isabella Tree,

Why should I read it?

6 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…


The Seabird's Cry

By Adam Nicolson,

Book cover of The Seabird's Cry: The Lives and Loves of the Planet's Great Ocean Voyagers

This book hurled me into a compassionate and respectful understanding of puffins, gannets, fulmars, cormorants, and other seabirds, and their varied and extraordinary relationships with the world ocean and its winds and sea cliffs. It left me aware of huge gaps in my perception of these different worlds, of the otherness and perfection of seabirds, and of my own species' abuse of such wonders. It re-set my standard for beautiful writing, and for appreciating the feeling of standing against a gale above the sea while surrounded by creatures who are truly at home there.

The Seabird's Cry

By Adam Nicolson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Enter ancient lands of wind and waves where the planet’s greatest flyers battle for survival.

As the only creatures at home on land, at sea, and in the air, seabirds have evolved to thrive in the most demanding environment on Earth.

In The Seabird’s Cry, Adam Nicolson travels ocean paths, fusing traditional knowledge with astonishing facts science has recently learned about these creatures: the way their bodies actually work, their dazzling navigational skills, their ability to smell their way to fish or home and to understand the discipline of the winds upon which they depend.

This book is a paean…


An Immense World

By Ed Yong,

Book cover of An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us

I must admit that as I am writing this, I am still reading the book. Nevertheless, for me this is already one of the best and most important natural history books ever written and the research Ed Young must have put into it is “immense”. The book deals with how animals experience their environment, their “Umwelt”, through a variety of senses. Ed Young manages to present the often-complicated subject matter in an entertaining and even humorous way, yet the book is packed with an “immense” amount of information and the latest scientific research. The only critique I have is the “immense” number of footnotes that disrupt the flow of the book a bit, which is unnecessary as these footnotes are all as interesting as the main text.

An Immense World

By Ed Yong,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Wonderful, mind-broadening... a journey to alternative realities as extraordinary as any you'll find in science fiction' The Times, Book of the Week

'Magnificent' Guardian

Enter a new dimension - the world as it is truly perceived by other animals.

The Earth teems with sights and textures, sounds and vibrations, smells and tastes, electric and magnetic fields. But every animal is enclosed within its own unique sensory bubble, perceiving only a tiny sliver of an immense world. This book welcomes us into previously unfathomable dimensions - the world as it is truly perceived by other animals.

We encounter beetles that are…


Serengeti Shall Not Die

By Michael Grzimek, Bernhard Grzimek,

Book cover of Serengeti Shall Not Die

This is the book that kindled my interest in natural history and ecology. It was published in the early 1960s and probably the first widely read book on nature conservation. The work of Bernhard Grizmek and his son Michael (who died during the project in a plane crash) was vital in getting the plains of the Serengeti and their inhabitants the protection status they deserve and even over half a century later the book is a thrilling and interesting read. 

Serengeti Shall Not Die

By Michael Grzimek, Bernhard Grzimek,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Serengeti Shall Not Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Wir müssen fliegen lernen. Diese Worte des 23-jährigen Wildtierenthusiasten Michael Grzimek, Sohn von Bernhard Grzimek, stehen am Anfang eines der ganz großen Abenteuer des internationalen Naturschutzes. Im Jahre 1957 fliegen Vater und Sohn mit ihrer Dornier-27 in Zebrastreifen-Lackierung nach Afrika, um das Wanderverhalten der großen Herden der Serengeti zu studieren, ihre Tierbestände zu erfassen und so die willkürliche Festlegung von Wildparkgrenzen zu verhindern. Eine legendäre Pioniertat. Während ihres Aufenthalts nähern sie sich nicht nur den Wildtieren, sondern suchen das Gespräch mit den Bewohnern der Steppe, und dies, anders als die Kolonialherren, von Gleich zu Gleich. Serengeti darf nicht sterben hat…


Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland

By Steven J Falk,

Book cover of Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland

This ground-breaking book was the first illustrated field guide to cover all of the more than 270 species of bees that occur in Great Britain and Ireland. It provides a detailed account of the natural history of these fascinating insects, plus photographs and taxonomic keys to help you to determine what they are. Be warned, however, as the author acknowledges, many bees are challenging to identify! Nonetheless, Falk and Lewington’s book is invaluable for anyone interested in the natural history of bees.

Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland

By Steven J Falk,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a brand new field guide to Britain's bees that for the first time makes this fascinating and important group of insects accessible to the general naturalist. The guide covers over 270 species, and is fully illustrated with stunning photographs and Richard Lewington's beautiful colour artwork.


More Than Birds

By Val Shushkewich,

Book cover of More Than Birds: Adventurous Lives of North American Naturalists

Here is an excellent introduction to the “birders,” those amateurs, professional collectors, scientists, and artists—men and women—who have investigated ornithology in North America. The author, a Canadian, covers 22 fellow enthusiasts from Wilson and Audubon through Peterson, Bateman, and Sibley. She relates how each of her subjects studied and built upon the work of their predecessors to construct what we know today. 

Her book is well-constructed, easy to follow, and delightful to read. There are a few monochrome illustrations, portraits, and maps. I discovered this fine book during my research for my most recent book, and much admired the writing style and structural plan.

More Than Birds

By Val Shushkewich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Once people encounter the natural world and become aware of its intricacy, fragility, beauty, and significance, they will recognize the need for conservation.

The fascinating development of natural history studies in North America is portrayed through the life stories of 22 naturalists. The 19th century saw early North American naturalists such as Alexander Wilson, the "Father of American Ornithology," John James Audubon, and Thomas Nuttall describing and illustrating the spectacular flora and fauna they found in the New World.

Scientists of the Smithsonian Institution and the Canadian Museum of Nature worked feverishly to describe and catalogue the species that exist…


Possessing Nature

By Paula Findlen,

Book cover of Possessing Nature: Museums, Collecting, and Scientific Culture in Early Modern Italy

This is an excellent and fascinating book on the scientific culture of Renaissance Italy, where intellectuals and the wealthy elite began collecting and cataloging curiosities long before their northern European counterparts. Findlen demonstrates a key way in which Renaissance intellectuals could look back to an idealized ancient past while also creating new knowledge and institutions – namely the museum. This book is beautifully written, full of engaging stories, and shows a side of early modern science often ignored.

Possessing Nature

By Paula Findlen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1500 few Europeans regarded nature as a subject worthy of inquiry. Yet fifty years later the first museums of natural history had appeared in Italy, dedicated to the marvels of nature. Italian patricians, their curiosity fueled by new voyages of exploration and the humanist rediscovery of nature, created vast collections as a means of knowing the world and used this knowledge to their greater glory. Drawing on extensive archives of visitors' books, letters, travel journals, memoirs, and pleas for patronage, Paula Findlen reconstructs the lost social world of Renaissance and Baroque museums. She follows the new study of natural…


Flower Hunters

By Mary Gribbin, John Gribbin,

Book cover of Flower Hunters

This fine book was another discovery of mine as I studied the literature on aspects of the history of natural history for my own book in this genre. Although written by two academics, this book is easy to read by a generally educated public. It covers what is to me, the engrossing topic of the early botanical collectors and illustrators, both men and women. The authors recount the lives of eleven subjects from Linnaeus through Banks, Douglas, Spruce, and Hooker, and how they, together, founded the science of botany by roaming the world in search of new species. There are 32 well-chosen illustrations, in colour and monochrome.

Flower Hunters

By Mary Gribbin, John Gribbin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The flower hunters were intrepid explorers - remarkable, eccentric men and women who scoured the world in search of extraordinary plants from the middle of the seventeenth to the end of the nineteenth century, and helped establish the new science of botany. For these adventurers, the search for new, undiscovered plant specimens was something worth risking - and often losing - their lives for. From the Douglas-fir and the monkey puzzle tree, to exotic orchids and azaleas, many of the plants that are now so familiar to us were found in distant regions of the globe, often in wild and…


The Snow Leopard

By Peter Matthiessen,

Book cover of The Snow Leopard

Matthiessen shows you why extraordinary men and women risk their lives and their sanity to meet nature on its own terms, and what they stand to gain by doing so. The story of his expedition to the western Himalayas in pursuit of the elusive snow leopard is full of color and excitement, but that’s not all – the book has many levels. It’s just as much a meditation on our role as humans in the natural world, and in what makes a spiritual life, as it is an adventure. But it’s a hell of an adventure. Matthiessen is a celebrated novelist, and the quality of his writing shows it. As a writer whose fiction is rooted in the environmental struggles of our time, which is how I conceive what I’m up to, he’s an inspiration. 

The Snow Leopard

By Peter Matthiessen,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Snow Leopard as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A beautiful book, and worthy of the mountains he is among' Paul Theroux

'A delight' i Paper

This is the account of a journey to the dazzling Tibetan plateau of Dolpo in the high Himalayas. In 1973 Matthiessen made the 250-mile trek to Dolpo, as part of an expedition to study wild blue sheep. It was an arduous, sometimes dangerous, physical endeavour: exertion, blisters, blizzards, endless negotiations with sherpas, quaking cold. But it was also a 'journey of the heart' - amongst the beauty and indifference of the mountains Matthiessen was searching for solace. He was also searching for a…


The Wisdom of Birds

By Tim Birkhead,

Book cover of The Wisdom of Birds: An Illustrated History of Ornithology

This book is a fascinating look at ornithology through the ages, from mythology and legend to the evolution of our scientific understanding of birds today. It includes beautiful illustrations from medieval monks to early naturalists through the 20th century. Even the most casual birdwatcher will learn something fascinating from this book; I read it slowly, digesting a section at a time, and it’s one I’m sure I’ll return to again and again.

The Wisdom of Birds

By Tim Birkhead,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For thousands of years people have been fascinated by birds, and today that fascination is still growing. In 2007 bird-watching is one of the most popular pastimes, not just in Britain, but throughout the world, and the range of interest runs from the specialist to the beginner.

In The Wisdom of Birds, Birkhead takes the reader on a journey that not only tells us about the extraordinary lives of birds - from conception and egg, through territory and song, to migration and fully fledged breeder - but also shows how, over centuries, we have overcome superstition and untested 'truths' to…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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