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The 13 Best Nature Books to Read

Here’s a list of some of the best nature books out there right now from classics to most recent. On this list, we have it all from trees and forest bathing to animal senses and dancing honey bees. 

Did you know trees support each other by sharing resources? Or that being outside in nature actually improves your mental health and calms you down? How about that dogs can see shades of blue and yellow? These nature books can tell you more about these amazing discoveries.

Every single nature book on this list is downright fascinating, so tuck in by a tree somewhere and read about the natural world with me! 

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The Best Nature Books

the hive best nature books

The Hive, by Bee Wilson


Pub Date: January 1, 2004

The astonishing lives of bees and their miracle honey have confounded humans throughout the ages. Bees have left such an impact on our society that it reverberates through the realms of science, religion, politics, and social history. This cultural history walks us through the profound influence bees have had on humankind and our relationship with them. 

Braiding Sweetgrass best nature books

Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer


Pub Date: October 15, 2013

This is one of my favorite nature books of all time. I loved it so much I had to buy it. As a botanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Kimmerer shares her unique view of the world through science and Indigenous wisdom. I love how her stories are a mixture of Indigenous myth, personal experience, and scientific study. Her reverence and passion for plants and animals is very present in her writing and it makes for such a pleasurable read!

the hidden half of nature best nature books

The Hidden Half of Nature, by David R. Montgomery & Anne Bikle


Pub Date: November 16, 2015

Here we have a riveting look at the world of the microbes with stunning revelations and comparisons involving the human gut microbiome and a successful flourishing garden. 

The authors, Montgomery and Bikle, share an engrossing story involving agriculture, gardening, medicine, and cancer diagnoses; and how these all relate through our tiny friends, microbes.  

the hidden life of trees nature books

The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben


Pub Date: May 25, 2015

Another captivating read here with Wohlleben drawing on groundbreaking new discoveries of the lives of trees! He discusses how they communicate with each other, share nutrients, and live as families. If you didn’t think trees were interesting, you certainly will after reading this book. 

Trees are an ever present magic in our world and this book really illustrates how complex and fascinating they really are. 

lab girl best nature books

Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren


Pub Date: March 1, 2016

Lab Girl is ultimately a memoir, with many stories peppered throughout about plant life and biology: facts about mushrooms, the hardiness of a hackberry tree, the importance of sugar to life. As Jahren narrates her personal struggles and journey, she adapts, just as plant life does in the natural world to survive. 

Her passion for science is read in every word, especially in a male-dominated field where women have to go the extra mile to be seen or heard. This exceptional memoir is a great read that criss-crosses nature with women in science.   

the songs of trees best nature books

The Songs of Trees, by David George Haskell


Pub Date: April 4, 2017

Haskell repeatedly visits a dozen great trees throughout the world. He explores their connections with bacteria, fungi, animals, and other trees around it. The many connections trees have create living networks that can help us understand more about ourselves.

Haskell’s lyrical writing and deep engagement with the natural world will bring you to the conclusion that humans and trees are both living things deserving of the same respect and appreciation, as should be for all living things. 

the nature fix best nature books

The Nature Fix, by Florence Williams


Pub Date: February 7, 2017

In this fascinating read, Williams delves into new research on how the natural world can improve health, promote reflection and innovation, and ultimately strengthen our relationships. She travels around the world to see how the outdoors are started to be used in medical practices, such as forest bathing to help calm the mind and alleviate depression and anxiety. 

Our connection to nature is more important than ever in this new modern internet connected world and this book proves it. Another nature book that is a must read!

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The Top Nature Books

the rise and fall of dinosaurs best nature books

The Rise and Fall of Dinosaurs, by Steve Brusatte


Pub Date: April 24, 2018

In his groundbreaking fieldwork and scientific studies, Brusatte introduces fifteen new species along with deftly telling the new complete story of the dinosaurs. Throughout this epic saga, Brusatte reveals his remarkable findings including carnivores even larger than T.rex, and primitive, human-sized Tyrannosaurs. 

This revelatory chronicle is sure to be an indispensable account for years to come! All dinosaur lovers must read this book. 

forest bathing best nature books

Forest Bathing, by Dr. Qing Li


Pub Date: April 5, 2018

The science of Forest Bathing is mentioned in the Nature Fix by Florence Williams (listed above), but if you want to read about it in detail you should turn to this nature book. It’s unbelievable, but at the same time makes sense that walking through the woods, “forest bathing,” can actually heal you. Mindful, intentional forest walks can reduce your stress levels and blood pressure, strengthen your immune and cardiovascular systems, and boost your energy, mood, creativity, and concentration. That is only the start! 

If you want to read more about the mind-blowing healing effects of forest bathing, I implore you to read this book.

the well gardened mind best nature books

The Well-Gardened Mind, by Sue Stuart-Smith


Pub Date: July 7, 2020

Has someone ever told you that gardening is relaxing? Well scientist and avid gardener, Sue Stuart-Smith proves it in her book. Through new research and powerful examples, Stuart-Smith argues that gardening is much more important to our cognition than we think. 

So if trees aren’t your thing, but gardening is, take a read and see how beneficial your garden really is to your mind, body and soul. 

entangled life best nature books

Entangled Life, by Merlin Sheldrake


Pub Date: May 12, 2020

Nearly forgotten, the surprisingly remarkable world of fungi maintains nearly all living systems. Did you know that certain fungi’s ability to digest rock enabled the first life on land? Or that it thrives amid nuclear radiation? 

Dive into the fascinating realm of fungi, and how they’ve quite literally shaped human history as we know it. Prepare to have your mind blown! As a mushroom enthusiast, this book is on the top of my tbr list.

an immense world best nature books

An Immense World, by Ed Yong


Pub Date: June 21, 2022

Acclaimed science journalist Ed Yong presents a vast, stunning world beyond our wildest dreams through the five senses of the animal kingdom. We explore what it’s like to be a bird seeing ultraviolet light, a fish that can produce its own electricity, an elephant using infrasound to communicate, and so many more! 

As humans, we often anthropomorphize animals with incorrect assumptions, thinking they are similar to us in some ways. This book breaks right through those assumptions and blows your mind with the staggering amount of adaptations other animals possess. Get ready for a immense amount of eye-opening information from An Immense World.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Celine

    My TBR list just grew immensely!

    1. Melissa

      I’m happy you found my nature book picks interesting! :)

  2. Erica

    What a great list! I’m a babysitter and the kids I babysit love nature. I highly recommend Vitamin N by Richard Louv for anyone who is a parent, teacher, or caregiver to kiddos.

    1. Melissa

      Thank you so much for the book rec! I’m going to check it out, I could always use more nature books on my tbr :)

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