Nature writing at its best has the ability to move us, to refresh us, and to remind us how much we owe the world we’re now destroying.

Nature writing is having a moment in the spotlight right now, and novels about the great outdoors are selling like hotcakes.

You simply need to pull out your smartphone to see why: a growing reaction against our fixation with everything that pings are prompting more people to glance up from their displays and out the window for rustling or squawking creatures. Even better, go outside.

Everyone has a naturalist in them. With that in mind, here are 8 of the finest novels on the great outdoors to remind you of how mind-nourishing lovely our planet is.

If you’re looking for more adventure and wildness, start with these books for nature enthusiasts, whether you’re an expert free climber or only hike to your mailbox once in a while.


Best Books for Nature Lovers

1. My Side of the Mountain (Puffin Modern Classics)

About the Book

“My Side of the Mountain” written by Jean Craighead George will appeal to all the rugged human beings who dream of escape to the forest.

Sam Gribley is dissatisfied with life in New York City with his family, so he flees to the Catskill Mountains to live alone in the wilderness.

He wants to survive on his own with just a penknife, a ball of string, forty bucks, and some flint and steel.

During his year in the woods, Sam learns about courage, danger, and independence, a year that would permanently change his life.

Book Review

The book also serves as a teaching tool. The outdoor survival techniques mentioned in the book are genuine, and they might save lives if the zombie apocalypse occurs.

It’s a possibly beneficial book that will make your kids want to run away (leaving you alone), and it’s worth a few dollars for the peace of mind it may provide you.

It’s a fantastic narrative about a man and the environment that’s really easy to read. Please, buy this book for your kids and read it to them. Share a time when education was far more essential and valued than it is today.

Key Takeaways from the Book

A wonderful story that makes you realize how far we’ve come from surviving off the earth.

About the Author

Jean Craighead George (1919–2012) was the author of over 100 acclaimed children’s books, including the Newbery Award-winning Julie of the Wolves, On the Far Side of the Mountain, and Frightful’s Mountain.

Book Details

You can purchase this book in Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook, and Hardcover versions.

  • Author: Jean Craighead George
  • Pages: 208 (Paperback)
  • Category/Genre: Teen & Young Adult Fiction about Runaways, Teen & Young Adult Sports Fiction, English as a Second Language Instruction.

2. The Only Good Indians

About the Book

“The Only Good Indians” written by USA Today bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones is a story about revenge, cultural identity, and the cost of breaking from tradition.

Stephen Graham Jones, a New York Times bestselling novelist, has written a story that is equal parts psychological horror and incisive social satire on identity politics and the reality of American Indians.

This narrative will appeal to fans of Jordan Peele and Tommy Orange, as it follows the lives of four American Indian men and their families, all of whom are plagued by a terrible, tragic incident that occurred in their adolescence.

Years later, they find themselves pursued by a furious spirit, powerless to stop the culture and customs they left behind from catching up with them in a terrible, vindictive manner.

Book Review

This story of friends who are plagued by a mysterious creature they first experienced in their teens should appeal to fans of Stephen King’s It and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story.

Jones skillfully and openly includes both the tough and beautiful aspects of modern Indian life into his narrative, never succumbing to clichés or simple answers while also not avoiding the tragedies of violent cycles.

The Only Good Indian is a vengeance thriller, a monster movie, and a reflection on the past’s inexorable pull. A fascinating and disturbing novel.

Jones has created a work of art. The book is both spontaneous and necessary, as well as brutal. The Only Good Indians is ultimately about optimism and the promise of the future, despite the blood and bleakness.

Key Takeaways from the Book

This book is both a scary chiller and a scathing reflection on indigenous peoples’ existential dilemma as they adjust to a civilization that is hell-bent on destroying their culture.

About the Author

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones is a New York Times bestselling novel.

He has received an NEA fellowship, the Texas Institute of Letters Jesse Jones Award for Best Work of Fiction, a Bram Stoker Award, four This is Horror Awards and has been a Shirley Jackson Award and World Fantasy Award nominee.

Book Details

This book is available in Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle, Audible versions.

  • Author: Stephen Graham Jones
  • Pages: 320 (Hardcover)
  • Category/Genre: Native American Literature, Supernatural Thrillers, Horror Literature & Fiction.

3. Life of Pi

About the Book

“Life of Pi” contributed by Yann Martel is a New York Times bestseller, Los Angeles Times Bestseller, Washington Post bestseller, Chicago Tribune bestseller, and so on.

Pi Patel, the son of a zookeeper, has a vast understanding of animal behavior and a strong desire to tell stories. Pi’s family, together with their zoo animals, emigrates from India to North America on a Japanese cargo ship when he is sixteen years old.

The ship goes down. A hyena, an orangutan, an injured zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger, are Pi’s sole company in a lifeboat.

All save Pi are soon slain by the tiger, who, because of his fear, intelligence, and cunning, can cohabit with Richard Parker for 227 days at sea. Richard Parker runs to the bush as they reach the Mexican shore, never to be seen again.

Book Review

A passionate defense of zoos, a life-threatening trans-Pacific sea voyage à la Kon-Tiki, and a humorous shaggy-dog tale. This bold novel accomplishes all of these feats.

Life of Pi is a thrilling adventure that is at once violent, sensitive, expressive, dramatic, and disarmingly hilarious. When the pages run out, it’s tough to put the book down.

Readers who enjoy Margaret Atwood, Mavis Gallant, Alice Munro, Michael Ondaatje, and Carol Shields should learn to make place for Yann Martel on the map of modern Canadian writing.

Key Takeaways from the Book

Life of Pi is a realistic, thrilling adventure as well as a meta-survival narrative that examines the restorative power of storytelling and the transforming nature of fiction. As one character puts it, “it’s a narrative to make you believe in God.”

About the Author

Yann Martel was born to Canadian parents in Spain in 1963. The novel Life of Pi was awarded the Man Booker Prize in 2002 and has been translated into over forty languages.

It was a #1 New York Times bestseller for 104 weeks and was made into a film by Ang Lee.

Book Details

You can buy this book in Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle, Audible versions.

  • Author: Yann Martel
  • Pages: 326 (Paperback)
  • Category/Genre: Sea Adventures Fiction, Women’s Adventure Fiction, Psychological Fiction.

4. Where the Crawdads Sing

About the Book

“Where the Crawdads Sing” written by Delia Owens is a #1 New York Times bestselling novel, more than 10 million copies are sold worldwide.

Rumors about the “Marsh Girl” have followed Barkley Cove, a small hamlet on the North Carolina coast, for years. When beautiful Chase Andrews is discovered murdered in late 1969, the townspeople instantly suspect Kya Clark, the “Marsh Girl.”

However, Kya is not what they claim. Sensitive and astute, she has spent years alone in the marsh she calls home, making friends with birds and learning lessons from the sand.

Then there comes a point in her life when she longs to be caressed and cherished. Kya opens herself up to a new life when two young guys from town fall in love with her wild beauty until the unexpected happens.

Book Review

Anyone who enjoyed The Great Alone will like Where the Crawdads Sing. This remarkable debut is a lovely and melancholy story with a strong punch. It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve cried while reading a book.

A coming-of-age tale as well as a fascinating narrative of a murder investigation presented through the eyes of a young girl. Owens investigates how isolation influences human behavior and the profound impact rejection may have on our lives via Kya’s tale.

Where the Crawdads Sing is a poignant, beautiful narrative that combines a mystery, a courtroom drama, a romance, and a coming-of-age story. Kya will be remembered for a long time by readers.

It has the feel of an old-time song. From the black mud pulling at footfall to the taste of the ocean and the screech of seagulls, Owens clearly knows this area intimately.

Key Takeaways from the Book

Where the Crawdads Sing is a lovely homage to nature, a tragic coming-of-age narrative, and a shocking tale of probable murder all rolled into one.

Owens reminds us that we are all formed by our past selves as children and that we are all vulnerable to nature’s beautiful and destructive mysteries.

About the Author

Delia Owens is the co-author of Cry of the Kalahari, The Eye of the Elephant, and Secrets of the Savanna, three globally successful nonfiction books about her time as a wildlife biologist in Africa.

Book Details

You can get this book in Paperback, Kindle, Hardcover, Audiobook formats.

  • Author: Delia Owens
  • Pages: 400 (Paperback)
  • Category/Genre: Coming of Age Fiction, Mothers & Children Fiction, Literary Fiction.

5. In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel

About the Book

“In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel” written by Vaddey Ratner is a New York Times bestselling novel that tells the tale of a little girl who comes of age during the Cambodian genocide.

You are about to read an exceptional narrative, a PEN Hemingway Award finalist “loaded with history, mythology, folklore, language, and passion,” according to the author.

It will transport you to the abyss of despair and expose you to unimaginable atrocities. Through a furtive bow, a concealed ankle bracelet, and pieces of recalled poetry, it will show a wonderfully rich civilization trying to live.

It will ensure that the world never forgets the Khmer Rouge regime’s crimes in Cambodia’s killing fields between 1975 and 1979, during which an estimated two million people died.

The family’s carefully guarded world of royal privilege is soon engulfed in the chaos of revolution and forced exile.

Book Review

While this is a novel, it is based on the true story of a young Cambodian girl whose family was displaced in 1975 by the Khmer Rouge.

The tragic story of a small royal Cambodian family caught up in the disastrous social engineering of the Khmer Rouge in the mid-1970s is told in In the Shadow of the Banyan.

This is a terrible and wonderfully worded story of the evil that humans can inflict on one another.

It’s beautifully written and heartbreaking all the way through. It’s much more emotional because it’s loosely based on the author’s personal experience!

Key Takeaways from the Book

The Shadow of the Banyan is a wonderfully constructed narrative of human endurance, displaying the author’s great ability for words.

About the Author

Vaddey Ratner was a survivor of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge dictatorship. In the Shadow of the Banyan, her critically praised debut novel, was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award and has been translated into seventeen languages.

Book Details

You can obtain this book in Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook, Hardcover versions.

  • Author: Vaddey Ratner
  • Pages: 352 (Paperback)
  • Category/Genre: Asian American Literature & Fiction, Biographical Fiction, Cultural Heritage Fiction.

6. Moon of the Crusted Snow: A Novel

About the Book

“Moon of the Crusted Snow: A Novel” written by Waubgeshig Rice is a National Bestseller, Winner of the 2019 OLA Forest of Reading Evergreen Award, Shortlisted for the 2019 John W. Campbell Memorial Award.

A bold post-apocalyptic novel by a rising literary talent-A small northern Anishinaabe village goes dark as winter approaches. People who are cut off become apathetic and confused.

As the food supply runs out, panic sets in. An unexpected guest arrives, fleeing the disintegrating society to the south, as the band council and a small group of community members fights to keep order. Others soon followed suit.

Visitors persuade the exhausted and hungry to seize control of the reserve, causing the community leadership to lose control. Tensions increase and the death toll from illness and despair rises as the month’s pass.

Frustrated by the deterioration of their community, a group of young friends and their families turn to the land and Anishinaabe culture in the hopes of reviving it.

They attempt to restore order while struggling with a critical choice, led by an unusual commander named Evan Whitesky.

Moon of the Crusted Snow defies expectations by combining action with symbolism. Resilience emerges from adversity. As one civilization falls apart, another emerges.

Book Review

Rice’s biggest surprise and power are that he complicates and necessitates a reconsideration of the apocalyptic category itself.

Rice’s prose is measured, and he has a wonderful ear for conversational rhythm, with comedy, fury, and reflection all coming through in the dialogue.

Rice’s narrative educates, but it’s not didactic; it’s unique in that it slows down the hectic pace of a crisis and shows us its components.

Key Takeaways from the Book

Rice skillfully incorporates the Anishinaabe language into the conversation and produces a stunning depiction of nature. This book will appeal to lovers of Cormac McCarthy’s literary science fiction as well as those searching for a new voice in indigenous literature.

About the Author

Waubgeshig Rice is a journalist and author from the Wasauksing First Nation. Midnight Sweatlodge, his debut short story collection, was inspired by his upbringing in an Anishinaabe village and earned an Independent Publishers Book Award in 2012.

Book Details

This book can be obtained in Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook versions.

  • Author: Waubgeshig Rice
  • Pages: 224 (Paperback)
  • Category/Genre: Native American Literature, Dystopian Fiction, Small Town & Rural Fiction.

7. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Novel

About the Book

“The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Novel” contributed by Michele Richardson is a New York Times Bestseller, A USA Today Bestseller, A LOS Angeles Times Bestseller.

Troublesome Creek’s hardscrabble residents must scrounge for everything except books, of course. Troublesome has its own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter, thanks to Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project.

Cussy isn’t only a bookworm; she’s also the last of her kind, with skin that’s a shade of blue that no one else has. Cussy’s family and the Library Project are not well-liked by everyone, and Blue is frequently blamed for any form of mischief.

Cussy will have to face prejudice as old as the Appalachians and mistrust as deep as the holler if she wants to convey the joy of literature to the hill people.

Book Review

Readers will like Cussy and admire Richardson’s superb portrayal of rural Kentucky life in this gem of a historical from Richardson, which offers an intrepid heroine navigating a society entrenched in racial hatred.

This story combines several heated subjects into one tale, based on actual experiences from various eras (the blue-skinned inhabitants of Kentucky and the WPA’s Pack Horse Librarians). It’s ideal for book groups.

The novel is a tribute to the written word’s power, suggesting that words have the ability to transcend borders of class, race, and individual differences.

Key Takeaways from the Book

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a narrative of raw courage, ferocious fortitude, and one woman’s belief that books may transport us anywhere even back home.

Inspired by the real blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the courageous and committed Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s.

About the Author

Kim Michele Richardson, a bestselling author who has published five works of historical fiction and a popular memoir, has been featured in the NEW YORK TIMES, LOS ANGELES TIMES, and USA TODAY.

Book Details

This book can be bought in Paperback, Kindle, Audible, Hardcover, MP3 CD forms.

  • Author: Kim Michele Richardson
  • Pages: 320 (Paperback)
  • Category/Genre: Southern Fiction, Small Town & Rural Fiction, Historical Fiction.

8. Two Old Women, 20th Anniversary Edition: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival

About the Book

“Two Old Women, 20th Anniversary Edition: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage, and Survival” is an inspirational tale of two old women abandoned by their tribe during a brutal winter.

Even though they have a reputation for complaining more than contributing, these women must now either survive on their own or perish trying.

Velma Wallis presents a landscape and manner of life that is both cruel and strikingly beautiful in simple but vivid detail.

She has created two steely-willed heroines in her old women, whose narrative of betrayal, friendship, community, and forgiveness “speaks straight to the heart with clarity, tenderness, and wisdom,” according to the author (Ursula K. Le Guin).

Book Review

This is a lovely and touching novel. Velma Wallis’ writing is as sleek and muscular as the far north, full of unexpected riches, and readers will be thrilled with Two Old Women.

It’s a great narrative of women’s courage when the need to conquer and realize their true selves emerges. It is written simply and plainly so that the reader can follow the trip across Alaskan Bush Country even in the most difficult of circumstances.

The book’s highlight is a narrative of strength and tenacity, as well as an awareness of the necessity for physical and social/mental survival. This was a fantastic read!

Key Takeaways from the Book

In this story of survival and thriving, sadness, anxiety, joy, relief, and a variety of other human emotions are experienced by these two elderly people. Finding such good material to relate to is both uplifting and strengthening!

About the Author

Velma Wallis was born into a family of thirteen children who was all nurtured with traditional Athabascan values in the vast fur-trapping area of Fort Yukon, Alaska. She lives in Fairbanks and is a writer and reader.

Book Details

This book can be purchased in Paperback, Kindle, and Hardback versions.

  • Author: Velma Wallis
  • Pages: 127 (Paperback)
  • Category/Genre: Native American Literature, Mothers & Children Fiction, Women’s Friendship Fiction.

Final Verdict

Many books in this article are written by novelists who are also scientists or scientific writers, and they all accurately portray animals and natural areas.

We hope you enjoy these, and we’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments section provided below.


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