10 best nature books
August 23, 2007, 10:12 am
Filed under: Books, Nature writing, Reviews received

Well Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet was officially published in the UK on Monday (available at a good price through Amazon.co.uk), and by wonderful chance got its first press outing just two days later. The Independent ran a feature on the 10 best nature books, listing

Heat by George Monbiot

Nature Cure by Richard Mabey

Eating the Sun by Oliver Morton

In the Beat of a Heart by John Whitfield

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

The Secret Life of Trees by Colin Tudge

The Creation by E O Wilson

Wildwood by Roger Deakin

The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane

An Ocean of Air by Gabrielle Walker

Which is all in all extremely nice, as well as exalted, company to be in. I have the pleasure of working with two of the others — Gabrielle and John — from time to time as an editor a Nature, and have been a fan and friend of Colin Tudge‘s for a couple of decades (though see him only scandalously rarely). I haven’t yet read the Mabey and Macfarlane books, though I mean to, but I greatly enjoyed the serialisation of Mabey’s Nature Cure on Radio 4 when I was writing Eating the Sun. I’m reading the Deakin now and like it immensely.

I think I’ll have more to say, in time, about the different attitudes to nature in Mabey, Macfarlane and Deakin, and others such, and in my own work. There’s a contrast there which interest me. (Update: some of this has now been said.)

The little accompanying blurb in the Indy (the whole feature seems to have no home online) says

“Morton’s book explains how biologists discovered photosynthesis, and, by doing so, gained a new understanding of Earth’s history. A surprisingly fascinating read.”

Updated after publication to add a few links, and to take the capital off “nature” — for some reason capitalising it now seems second something-or-other to me…

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Photosynthesis is fasinating to me. If people could figure out how to harness the energy of the sun as effectively as plants do we would never have an energy crisis ever again.

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