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The Best Nature Books of 2019, Part 2

This year has been a nature lover’s dream in terms of books. The first three months brought us some of the most exciting nature writing in recent memory. You can review those books here. Now the year is almost half over, and there are even more great books to add to the list. Here are some of my favorite works of nature writing to come out between April and June 2019.

A Season on the Wind: Inside the World of Spring Migration
By Kenn Kaufman
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Published April 2, 2019

“A close look at one season in one key site that reveals the amazing science and magic of spring bird migration, and the perils of human encroachment.” 

Down from the Mountain: The Life and Death of a Grizzly Bear
By Bryce Andrews
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Published April 16, 2019

“The story of a grizzly bear named Millie: her life, death, and cubs, and what they reveal about the changing character of the American West.”

Wild Sea: A History of the Southern Ocean
By Joy McCann
University of Chicago Press
Published April 25, 2019

“Unlike the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic Oceans with their long maritime histories, little is known about the Southern Ocean. This book takes readers beyond the familiar heroic narratives of polar exploration to explore the nature of this stormy circumpolar ocean and its place in Western and Indigenous histories.”

Eat Like a Fish: My Adventures as a Fisherman Turned Restorative Ocean Farmer
By Bren Smith
Knopf
May 14, 2019

“Through tales that span from his childhood in Newfoundland to his early years on the high seas aboard commercial fishing trawlers, from pioneering new forms of ocean farming to surfing the frontiers of the food movement, Smith introduces the world of sea-based agriculture, and advocates getting ocean vegetables onto American plates (there are thousands of edible varieties in the sea!).”

The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California
By Mark Arax
Knopf
Published May 21, 2019

“A vivid, searching journey into California’s capture of water and soil–the epic story of a people’s defiance of nature and the wonders, and ruin, it has wrought.”

The Lives of Bees: The Untold Story of the Honey Bee in the Wild
By Thomas D. Seeley
Princeton University Press
Published May 28, 2019

“Humans have kept honey bees in hives for millennia, yet only in recent decades have biologists begun to investigate how these industrious insects live in the wild. The Lives of Bees is Thomas Seeley’s captivating story of what scientists are learning about the behavior, social life, and survival strategies of honey bees living outside the beekeeper’s hive—and how wild honey bees may hold the key to reversing the alarming die-off of the planet’s managed honey bee populations.”

Underland: A Deep Time Journey
By Robert Macfarlane
W. W. Norton & Company
Published June 4, 2019

“Hailed as “the great nature writer of this generation” (Wall Street Journal), Robert Macfarlane is the celebrated author of books about the intersections of the human and the natural realms. In Underland, he delivers his masterpiece: an epic exploration of the Earth’s underworlds as they exist in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself.”

Read our review here.

Giants of the Monsoon Forest: Living and Working with Elephants
By Jacob Shell
W. W. Norton & Company
June 11, 2019

“High in the mountainous rainforests of Burma and India grow some of the world’s last stands of mature, wild teak. For more than a thousand years, people here have worked with elephants to log these otherwise impassable forests and move people and goods (often illicitly) under cover of the forest canopy. In Giants of the Monsoon Forest, geographer Jacob Shell takes us deep into this strange elephant country to explore the lives of these extraordinarily intelligent creatures.”

About Amy Brady

Amy Brady is the Editorial Director of the Chicago Review of Books and Deputy Publisher of Guernica Magazine. Her writing has appeared in Oprah, The Village Voice, Pacific Standard, The New Republic, McSweeney's, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter at @ingredient_x.

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