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Four must-read books for nature lovers

Four must-read books for nature lovers

by Faye Peterson 5 min. 17.06.2022
Upgrade your book list this summer by embracing the outdoors with a collection of nature inspired works
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Upgrade your book list this summer by embracing the outdoors with a collection of nature inspired works. Designed to make the most of what this season has to offer, this list promises to expand the reader's knowledge and raise the level of awe around the natural world. 

The Hidden Life of Trees - Peter Wohlleben 

Be prepared for an immersive walk in the woods like no other. With Wohlleben as your guide, science and nature writing reaches a new level - one that put this niche book firmly on the international bestseller list. 

Still not certain?  Switch the solitary pursuit of reading into a social one by getting the family involved. Can You Hear The Trees Talking? is the children’s edition of Wohlleben’s bestseller. Turn off devices and tune your children onto the “wood wide web”. Learn about the forest’s real family tree, how trees go to school and learn to survive sickness. With interactive additions, such as hands-on activities and quizzes, this book is fun for children and adults. 

For those with teens, keep an eye out for the graphic novel version of The Secret Life of Trees. The release date is yet to be confirmed. 

Want more? Visit Luxembourg’s first Forest Bathing path in Eislek and lose yourself among the trees.  

The Nightingale - Sam Lee 

Awaken your inner birdwatcher and go on a journey of discovery with English folk singer and conservationist, Sam Lee. Lee has penned a magnum opus to one of nature’s most elusive birds - the nightingale. 

Although not a traditional ornithologist's handbook, Lee’s work is rich with facts about the songbird and brims with a passion for bird preservation through conservation, as interwoven through the author’s journey.  

Highlights include the rediscovery of a number of myths, mysteries and a surprising number of musical scores that feature the bird and his song in an attempt to fathom his enduring allure. Gems, such as the world’s first live broadcast of English cellist Beatrice Harrison and the nightingales playing a duet in her garden, stand out from the collection of stories and anecdotes on offer. 

It’s a book that will leave you with a longing to return to the woods after dark and stand in silence, listening expectantly for the magical sounds of nature’s virtuoso. 

Want more?  Take a trip to the local Schlammwiss Nature Reserve to observe the bird reserve and its conservation work.   

Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers and Mavericks who Shape how we see the Natural World - Kathryn Aalto

Moving away from previous compilations on environmentalism by what Aalto calls the ‘‘the club of white men’’, Writing Wild highlights the works of often overlooked women in the genre known as ‘nature writing’ from the past to the present day.   

Featuring works from 25 women, including Dorothy Wordsworth (William’s equally talented sister), Vita Sackville-West (author and garden designer) and Rachel Carson (credited with advancing the global environmental movement). Aalto uses personal anecdotes and excerpts from the author's texts to narrate their journey. There are also suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter.  

This book delivers as a springboard into the multi-faceted genre of nature-writing through a feminine lens. But be warned - on finishing Writing Wild you may find your reading list doubles in size.  

Want more? - Check out the nature festival at Kockelscheuer

The Lost Words - Robert MacFarlane & Jackie Morris

A coffee table book, reinvented for the picnic rug, The Lost Words continues to win multiple awards, inspire grassroots movements around education and conservation and has even spawned a classical concert called Spell Songs.  

Who would have thought a movement of this magnitude could arise from a chance meeting at a protest in opposition to the removal of familiar nature words from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. Words such as chestnut and clover began disappearing in favour of the apparently more relevant broadband and blog for today’s young readers.  To paraphrase the book’s writer and poet, Robert MacFarlane, it is harder to love and protect what we cannot name. 

Yes, this book is too big to be practical as a portable read and, if we’re being honest, the words inside are not entirely lost from our vocabulary, more misplaced. But, any faults this book may have are made up for by its beauty. Rich in gold leaf, detailed drawings and acrostic poems - reframed here as spells - it’s a work that pays homage to both nature and art.  

With many species today in decline, familiarising yourselves and your family with their names is time well spent.  

Want more? - Check out five of Luxembourg’s own hidden gems.  

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