10 books like The Ends of the Earth

By W.S. Merwin,

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

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Upstream

By Mary Oliver,

Book cover of Upstream: Selected Essays

Mary Oliver, as a poet and an essayist, writes with a lyric sword. Upstream is a collection of essays that reflect her willingness to lose herself in the mysteries and intricacies of the natural world. In this work, Oliver contemplates the joy of her work, her passionate eye for observation, her ability and responsibility to write and think about the flora and fauna, the flowers, the grass, the water, the sky, and how they connect us to the natural world, to each other, and to ourselves.

The sheer power of her writing and command of language has always drawn me in, what pushes me as a person, a farmer, and a writer to give into the “stream” of our consciousness, to stop and observe, but to also keep moving forward with the power of words and my experience of the world around me.

Upstream

By Mary Oliver,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of O, The Oprah Magazine's Ten Best Books of the Year

The New York Times bestselling collection of essays from beloved poet, Mary Oliver.

"There's hardly a page in my copy of Upstream that isn't folded down or underlined and scribbled on, so charged is Oliver's language . . ." -Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air

"Uniting essays from Oliver's previous books and elsewhere, this gem of a collection offers a compelling synthesis of the poet's thoughts on the natural, spiritual and artistic worlds . . ." -The New York Times

"In the beginning I was so young and such…


My Bright Abyss

By Christian Wiman,

Book cover of My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer

Wiman writes about human suffering, pain, poetry, and faith, subjects that do not often and ordinarily coalesce. He is familiar with and eloquent about the mutability of belief, about knowledge, and contingency. “Experience lives in the transitions,” he states. If there is a sense of urgency in his thinking here, there is also a sense of lightness, nuance, conjecture, and intimacy too, all of which are suited to the gravity of his subjects.

My Bright Abyss

By Christian Wiman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Eight years ago, Christian Wiman, a well-known poet and the editor of Poetry magazine, wrote a now-famous essay about having faith in the face of death. My Bright Abyss, composed in the difficult years since and completed in the wake of a bone marrow transplant, is a moving meditation on what a viable contemporary faith―responsive not only to modern thought and science but also to religious tradition―might look like.
Joyful, sorrowful, and beautifully written, My Bright Abyss is destined to become a spiritual classic, useful not only to believers but to anyone whose experience of life and art seems at…


Madness, Rack, and Honey

By Mary Ruefle,

Book cover of Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures

A series of poetry lectures not intended for publication, they combine to form an astounding journey into language and art. You don’t need to be a poet to love the casual way she delivers bomb after bomb, and to wish you’d been her student. I guess this is as close as I’ll get, and it’s taken a long time (I’m still not done) because I can just sit on a phrase or a page for an entire subway ride. Definitely would have failed her class, but having the lectures written out is like getting an extension without needing to grovel for it.

Madness, Rack, and Honey

By Mary Ruefle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is one of the wisest books I've read in years...--New York Times Book Review No writer I know of comes close to even trying to articulate the weird magic of poetry as Ruefle does. She acknowledges and celebrates in the odd mystery and mysticism of the act--the fact that poetry must both guard and reveal, hint at and pull back...Also, and maybe most crucially, Ruefle's work is never once stuffy or overdone: she writes this stuff with a level of seriousness-as-play that's vital and welcome, that doesn't make writing poetry sound anything but wild, strange, life-enlargening fun. -The Kenyon…


The Collected Prose

By Elizabeth Bishop,

Book cover of The Collected Prose

Because of the way she writes about the past and the way she writes about the present. Because she is at once straightforward and lyrical. Because she writes about places and people with the same acuity and insight. Because she writes with certainty about ambiguity.

The Collected Prose

By Elizabeth Bishop,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


Presented in two sections, "Memory: Persons and Places" and "Stories," this book offers the collected prose writings of Elizabeth Bishop (1911-79), one of America's most celebrated and admired poets. The selections are arranged not by date of compostion, but in biographical order, such that reading this volume greatly enriches one's understanding of Bishop's life--and thus her poetry as well. "Bishop's admirers will want to consult her Collected Prose for the light it sheds on her poetry," as David Lehman wrote in Newsweek. "They will discover, however, that it is more than just a handsome companion volume to [her] Complete Poems.…


Blue Latitudes

By Tony Horwitz,

Book cover of Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before

This is one of my favorite books ever. Horwitz’s project was to follow famous travelers, and Blue Latitudes follows Captain Cook on a voyage that Cook himself characterized as having gone “farther than any other man has been before.” (Trekkies take note: Cook/Kirk, “farther than any other man has been  before”/”boldly go where no man has been before.” Who knew?) 

Star Trek aside, Horwitz, accompanied by his hard-drinking sidekick Roger, boldly goes where Cook went, exploring history, culture, and the legacies of European colonialism on their way. In between bouts of laughter, we learn a lot about the South Pacific, then and now, and about Cook and his men themselves—not to speak of Horwitz and Roger. It’s a rollicking voyage through time and space that holds your attention throughout.

Blue Latitudes

By Tony Horwitz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In an exhilarating tale of historic adventure, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Confederates in the Attic retraces the voyages of Captain James Cook, the Yorkshire farm boy who drew the map of the modern world

Captain James Cook's three epic journeys in the 18th century were the last great voyages of discovery. His ships sailed 150,000 miles, from the Artic to the Antarctic, from Tasmania to Oregon, from Easter Island to Siberia. When Cook set off for the Pacific in 1768, a third of the globe remained blank. By the time he died in Hawaii in 1779, the map of…


Ruling Chiefs of Hawaiʻi

By Samuel M. Kamakau,

Book cover of Ruling Chiefs of Hawaiʻi

Samuel Manaiakalani Kamakau (1815–1876) was one of the most important and prolific Hawaiian scholars of the nineteenth century. His history of the ruling chiefs of Hawai‘i begins with the high chief ʻUmi, eight generations before Kamehameha I, who established the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1795, and continues to the death of Kamehameha III in 1854. Ruling Chiefs, published in 1961, was translated from Hawaiian newspaper articles that appeared in the 1860s and 1870s. The stories include Captain James Cook’s arrival in 1776, the coming of Western missionaries, and the changes that followed. All of the writings of Kamakau are highly recommended, including The People of Old, The Works of the People of Old, and The Tales and Traditions of the People of Old.

Ruling Chiefs of Hawaiʻi

By Samuel M. Kamakau,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Eighteenth-century Hawaiian historian Samuel Mānaiakalani Kamakau traces Hawaiʻi’s history from ʻUmi, high chief eight generations before Kamehameha I, to the death of Kamehameha III in 1854. This volume covers the arrival of Captain James Cook, the consolidation of the Hawaiian kingdom by Kamehameha I, the coming of the missionaries, and the changes affecting the kingdom through the reign of Kamehameha III.

This history was originally written by Kamakau in Hawaiian as a series of newspaper articles in the 1860s and 1870s. The English translation was completed by a team of esteemed Hawaiian scholars including Mary Kawena Pukui, Thomas G. Thrum,…


Kindred

By Rebecca Wragg Sykes,

Book cover of Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art

British Paleo-Archaeologist Rebecca Wragg Sykes’s compelling book combines hard science, tantalizingly reasonable postulations, and poetry. It appeals to our “humanity.” Kindred is an almost wistful examination of our closest Hominid relatives - the Neanderthals. For over 300,000 years, Homo Neanderthalensis successfully survived several ice ages and drastic changes in weather, food sources, and landscape. Although they are not manifestly with us now, they exist in our imagination and provoke our curiosity.

We want to know them; Neanderthal genes still survive among our own. Sykes introduces our Neanderthal cousins, fleshing out their bones by bringing their appearance, their everyday tasks, their diets, their various habitats - even their possible way of speaking - into focus for us laymen by presenting the latest scientific evidence. Misconceptions are corrected. The icing on this delicious Paleolithic cake was, for me, Sykes’s poetic passages which open a path into each chapter, transporting me into the…

Kindred

By Rebecca Wragg Sykes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

** WINNER OF THE PEN HESSELL-TILTMAN PRIZE 2021 ** 'Beautiful, evocative, authoritative.' Professor Brian Cox 'Important reading not just for anyone interested in these ancient cousins of ours, but also for anyone interested in humanity.' Yuval Noah Harari Kindred is the definitive guide to the Neanderthals. Since their discovery more than 160 years ago, Neanderthals have metamorphosed from the losers of the human family tree to A-list hominins. Rebecca Wragg Sykes uses her experience at the cutting-edge of Palaeolithic research to share our new understanding of Neanderthals, shoving aside cliches of rag-clad brutes in an icy wasteland. She reveals them…


The World Before Us

By Tom Higham,

Book cover of The World Before Us: The New Science Behind Our Human Origins

We are accustomed to thinking of ourselves as a species mentally superior to all others. This view was challenged in the 19th century with the discovery in Europe of the Neanderthals, an extinct large-brained human-like species. Our superiority seemed to be restored by evidence that Neanderthal extinction followed the arrival in Europe of seemingly dominant Homo sapiens from Africa. Accumulating archaeological and genetic evidence is changing that comfortable picture. Another large-brained but extinct human-like species, the Denisovans, are now also known to have existed in widespread regions of Russia, Asia, and Oceania. Not only were these archaic species technologically and culturally on a par with sapiens, but they also mated occasionally with each other and with our own species. Many people throughout the world carry genetic material from them, and these have contributed to our own regional adaptations. This book challenges our view of ourselves, and implies greater affinity and…

The World Before Us

By Tom Higham,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A fascinating investigation of the origin of humans, based on incredible new discoveries and advanced scientific technology

"Conveys the thrill of archaeological discovery.”—Alexander Larman, The Observer

"Packs in startling discoveries, impressive insights and the occasional debunking of a foolish idea.”—Michael Marshall, New Scientist

Fifty thousand years ago, Homo sapiens was not the only species of humans in the world. There were also Neanderthals in what is now Europe, the Near East, and parts of Eurasia; Hobbits (H. floresiensis) on the island of Flores in Indonesia; Denisovans in Siberia and eastern Eurasia; and H. luzonensis in the Philippines. Tom Higham investigates…


Cafe Neandertal

By Beebe Bahrami,

Book cover of Cafe Neandertal

This is the most entertaining (and informative) book on archaeology, prehistory and the cave art of our early ancestors that I have ever read.

Cafe Neandertal

By Beebe Bahrami,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Award-winning writer Bahrami is a delightful guide in this thoroughly enjoyable look into the research and recovery of a group of Neandertal remains in the French Dordogne region . . . Her wide interests in travel, memoir, food, wine, and more make this exceedingly engaging title more like a French version of Under the Tuscan Sun." ―Booklist (starred review)

Centered in the Dordogne region of southwestern France, one of Europe’s most concentrated regions for Neandertal occupations, Café Neandertal features the work of archaeologists doing some of the most comprehensive and global work to date on the research, exploration, and recovery…


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…


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