Summer is hiking time, but summer also brings long, lazy days perfect for sitting outside and reading. Here are some books that have intrigued, inspired, educated, astonished, amused or entertained GMC members.
Books about children and nature
Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv – The author passionately describes a growing body of research pointing to the importance of nature for healthy child development.
A Natural Sense of Wonder by Rick Van Noy – A father’s essays about his attempts to get his children outdoors all year long.
Adventure stories that take place far from Vermont
Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston – Alone, unable to call for help, with his arm wedged between two large rocks, Ralston had to choose between survival and a part of his own body.
Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life by Arelene Blum – Not many women have been leaders on mountaineering expeditions on the world’s highest peaks. Blum led the American Women’s Himalayan Expedition up Annapurna, setting aside some of her own goals to support the efforts of her teammates.
Into Thin Air by John Krakauer – Gripping and unforgettable story of disaster on Mt. Everest.
Books that make us think about what we buy and own
Confessions of an Eco Sinner by Fred Pearce – The author researches the sources of the stuff he owns, with fascinating and disturbing results.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan – What environmental, ethical and health consequences can result from choosing food from industrial, large-scale, organic, local or personal food chains?
Books about nearby mountains, hills and valleys
Not Without Peril by Nicholas Howe – 150 years of accidents, bad luck, bad timing and sometimes plain stupidity on the highest peaks of the White Mountains
The Woodswoman series by Anne LaBastille and We Took to the Woods by Louise Rich – LaBastille alone in the Adirondacks, and Rich with her family in the backwoods of Maine, built homes and made lives cut off from many things that modern Americans consider necessary.
Reading the Mountains of Home by John Elder – reflections on a full year’s hikes through forested uplands near Bristol, Vermont
Reading the Forested Landscape by Tom Wessels – After reading this book, you’ll never take a walk again without looking for evidence of Vermont’s geologic and human history.
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson – Bryson’s trek on the Appalachian Trail is sometimes lyrical and often hysterical.
Tracking and the Art of Seeing by Paul Rezendes – science, spirituality and tons of information about animals we might encounter when we’re hiking
Also recommended – books by Bernd Heinrich, who taught at UVM until his recent retirement – including:
One Man’s Owl – touching and funny story about living with a Great Horned Owl
The Geese of Beaver Bog – takes place Hinesburg!
Winter World – How do tiny birds, tree frogs and other animals stay alive through the northern winter?
The Trees in My Forest
A Year in the Maine Woods
And finally, Shelter Adopter Kerstin Lange, who is profiled on the next page, recommends the following books for summer reading:
Dream of the Earth by Thomas Berry, and,
The Beginning Place by Ursula Le Guin