#BroaderBookshelf 2022: Science & Nature Memoirs
- Sarah C.
- Tuesday, June 21, 2022
Check out one of these captivating science & nature memoirs and fulfill the #BroaderBookshelf 2022 Reading Challenge prompt "read a memoir by someone who is not a celebrity".
This list is part of the #BroaderBookshelf 2022 Reading Challenge. Find more lists here.
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating
Published in 2010
Bedridden and suffering from a neurological disorder, the author recounts the profound effect on her life caused by a gift of a snail in a potted plant and shares the lessons learned from her new companion about her the meaning of her life and the life of the small creature.
A Memoir of Finding Joy when the World Goes Dark
Published in 2021
"After surviving a difficult heartbreak and battle with cancer, Julia Baird began to explore how she and others persevere through the most challenging circumstances life throws at us. She asks: when our world goes dark, when we are overwhelmed by illness or heartbreak, loss or pain, tragedy outside our control, how do we survive, stay alive and even bloom? She went in search of "the magic that will sustain us and fuel the light within - our own phosphorescence ". Phosphorescence can be found in nature - in glow worms, fireflies, flashlight fish, bioluminescent oceans; it is a phenomenon that allows creatures to give off light amidst darkness. Baird writes about the things that lit her way through the darkness: a connection to nature, friendships, her faith, experiencing awe, and other habits that changed her life. She also goes in search of how others nurture their inner light, interviewing the founder of the modern forest therapy movement in Tokyo, a jellyfish scientist in Tasmania, and a tattooed priest from Colorado, among others. Weaving together candid memoir with research and reflections on nature, Baird inspires readers to embrace new habits and adopt a phosphorescent outlook on life, to illuminate our days even in the darkest times"-- Provided by publisher.
Published in 2017
A former ocean scientist goes in pursuit of the slippery story of jellyfish, rediscovering her passion for marine science and the sea's imperiled ecosystems. Jellyfish are an enigma. They have no centralized brain, but they see and feel and react to their environment in complex ways. They look simple, yet their propulsion systems are so advanced engineers are just learning how to mimic them. They produce some of the deadliest toxins on the planet and yet are undeniably alluring. Long ignored by science, they may be a key to ecosystem stability. Juli Berwald's journey into the world of jellyfish is a personal one. Over a decade ago she left the sea and her scientific career behind to raise a family in landlocked Austin, Texas. Increasingly dire headlines drew her back to jellies, as unprecedented jellyfish blooms toppled ecosystems and collapsed the world's most productive fisheries. What was unclear was whether these incidents were symptoms of a changing planet or part of a natural cycle. Berwald's desire to understand jellyfish takes her on a scientific odyssey. She travels the globe to meet the scientists who devote their careers to jellies, hitches rides on Japanese fishing boats to see giant jellyfish in the wild, raises jellyfish in her dining room, and throughout it all marvels at the complexity of these alluring and ominous biological wonders. Gracefully blending personal memoir with crystal-clear distillations of science, Spineless reveals that jellyfish are a bellwether for the damage we're inflicting on the climate and the oceans and a call to realize our collective responsibility for the planet we share.
An Education in the Woods
Published in 2013
When she takes a job with the National Park Service as a "trail dog" in Montana's Glacier National Park, the author quickly learns how to thrive as a woman in a "man's job", meeting a colorful cast of characters along of way.
My Family and Other Animals
Published in 2004
When the unconventional Durrell family can no longer endure the damp, gray English climate, they do what any sensible family would do: sell their house and relocate to the sunny Greek isle of Corfu. My Family and Other Animals was intended to embrace the natural history of the island but ended up as a delightful account of Durrell's family's experiences, from the many eccentric hangers-on to the ceaseless procession of puppies, toads, scorpions, geckoes, ladybugs, glowworms, octopuses, bats, and butterflies into their home.
We Are All the Same in the Dark
Published in 2020
"A seasoned cop's interest in a mysterious one-eyed girl takes her back to the worst night of her life in this fast-paced thriller from the internationally bestselling author of Black-Eyed Susans. They call her Angel. Found on the side of a remote highway, half-dead and blowing wishes in a field of dandelions, the young girl refuses to speak. No one knows who she is or where she came from--only that she fell from the sky. It's Wyatt who finds her and takes her home to nurse her back to health, setting into motion the town's rumor mill. A pariah, Wyatt still believes he can still communicate with his long-gone sister, and he might be the only one left who knows the truth about the night of her disappearance. The night that Wyatt's cousin, Odette Tucker, also lost something important: her leg. Now a cop, uninhibited by her prosthetic, Odette must reenter Wyatt's ghost-ridden world. In Angel's case and her beautiful green eye, she sees her once-broken self and all the things she was told she'd never do. As she begins to coax Angel into speaking and slowly pieces together her identity, Odette is ignited to reopen the cold case that has haunted her. Soon she is ensnared in a lethal game of cat and mouse with someone who doesn't want that night revisited. The night that inspired her to become a cop, the night her friend disappeared and they both exploded into a small Texas town's dark, violent mythology"-- Provided by publisher.
Mind of the Raven
Published in 2009
Heinrich involves us in his quest to get inside the mind of the raven. But as animals can only be spied on by getting quite close, Heinrich adopts ravens, thereby becoming a "raven father," as well as observing them in their natural habitat. He studies their daily routines, and in the process, paints a vivid picture of the ravens' world. At the heart of this book are Heinrich's love and respect for these complex and engaging creatures, and through his keen observation and analysis, we become their intimates too. Heinrich's passion for ravens has led him around the world in his research. Mind of the Raven follows an exotic journey--from New England to Germany, and from Montana to Baffin Island in the high Arctic--offering dazzling accounts of how science works in the field, filtered through the eyes of a passionate observer of nature. Each new discovery and insight into raven behavior is thrilling to read, at once lyrical and scientific.
Published in 1998
The life and times of aerospace engineer Home Hickman and his friends in Big Creek, West Virginia.
The Bucolic Plague
How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers
Published in 2010
"Michael Perry meets David Sedaris in this follow-up to Josh Kilmer-Purcell's beloved and bestselling debut memoir, I AM NOT MYSELF THESE DAYS--another riotous, moving, and entirely unique story of his attempt to tackle the next phase of life with his partner on a goat farm in upstate New York"--Provided by publisher.
The Home Place
Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature
Published in 2016
"The Home Place is a remarkable meditation on nature and belonging. This is at once a deeply moving memoir and a riveting exploration of the contradictions of black identity in the rural South -- and in America today."-- Provided by publisher.
Living, Working, and Dying in the National Parks
Published in 2010
Recounts the experiences of the author while she was a national park ranger in locations across the United States.
Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape
Published in 2001
H is for Hawk
Published in 2014
An award-winning best-seller from the UK recounts how the author, an experienced falconer grieving the sudden death of her father, endeavored to train for the first time a dangerous goshawk predator as part of her personal recovery.
In the Eye of the Wild
Published in 2021
"What happened on that day, the 25th of August, 2015 was not: Bear attacks a French anthropologist in the remote Kamchatka Mountains. What happened was: Bear and woman meet violently and the boundary between realms, between the human and the animal, is erased. What happened was a meeting of mythical time and real time, of the past and the instant of encounter, of flesh and of dream. To Believe in the Animal tells the story of the anthropologist Nastassja Martins's nearly fatal run-in with a bear while conducting research in Russia and of the aftermath of the event, of the wounds she took away from it but also of a rebirth in spirit and mind. As an anthropologist, Martin has made a name for the fullness of her engagement with the peoples she studies, the Gwich'in of Alaska and the Evens of far eastern Siberia. She seeks to bridge the distance between the subject, so-called, and herself, between the different experiences and kinds of knowledge that each of them brings into play, the better to frame, and open up, questions about the nature of human beings. In her dangerous encounter with the bear, however, Martin encounters another kind of being altogether, setting off a series of subsequent disasters. She is left severely mutilated and undergoes multiple operations in a provincial Russian hospital, whose ghastly chief surgeon sports a mouthful of gold teeth and presides over a harem of young nurses. Back in France, she goes under the knife again, supposedly to fix the work done in Russia, but the results are even more problematic. She comes to the conclusion that she must return to Kamchatka. She must discover what it means to have become, as the Evens call it, a miedka, a person who is not only human but beast. That is the only way that she can follow through on the anthropological work she had begun"-- Provided by publisher.
The Electricity of Every Living Thing
A Woman's Walk in the Wild to Find Her Way Home.
Published in 2021
World of Wonders
In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments
Published in 2020
"From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction--a collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us"-- Provided by publisher
The Plant Hunter
A Scientist's Quest for Nature's Next Medicines
Published in 2021
"A leading medical ethnobotanist tells us the story of her quest to develop new ways to fight illness and disease through the healing powers of plants in this uplifting and adventure-filled memoir. Plants are the basis for an array of lifesaving and health-improving medicines we all now take for granted. Ever taken an aspirin? Thank a willow tree for that. What about life-saving medicines for malaria? Some of those are derived from cinchona and wormwood. In today's world of synthetic pharmaceuticals, scientists and laypeople alike have lost this connection to the natural world. But by ignoring the potential of medicinal plants, we are losing out on the opportunity to discover new life-saving medicines needed in the fight against the greatest medical challenge of this century: the rise of the post-antibiotic era. Antibiotic-resistant microbes plague us all. Each year, 700,000 people die due to these untreatable infections; by 2050, 10 million annual deaths are expected unless we act now. No one understands this better than Dr. Cassandra Quave, whose groundbreaking research as a leading medical ethnobotanist--someone who identifies and studies plants that may be able to treat antimicrobial resistance and other threatening illnesses--is helping to provide clues for the next generation of advanced medicines. In The Plant Hunter, Dr. Quave weaves together science, botany, and memoir to tell us the extraordinary story of her own journey. Traveling by canoe, ATV, mule, airboat, and on foot, she has conducted field research in the flooded forests of the remote Amazon, the murky swamps of southern Florida, the rolling hills of central Italy, isolated mountaintops in Albania and Kosovo, and volcanic isles arising out of the Mediterranean-all in search of natural compounds, long-known to traditional healers, that could help save us all from the looming crisis of untreatable superbugs. And as a person born with multiple congenital defects of her skeletal system, she's done it all with just one leg. Filled with grit, tragedy, triumph, awe, and scientific discovery, her story illuminates how the path forward for medical discovery may be found in nature's oldest remedies"-- Provided by publisher.
The Nature of Nature
Why We Need the Wild
Published in 2020
In this book, world-renowned marine ecologist Enric Sala illuminates the many reasons why preserving Earth's biodiversity makes logical, emotional, and economic sense. Using key moments from his own scientific awakening, Sala reveals that our survival depends on all species. The natural world, he explains, is a perfect circular economy, where every species, in life and in death, sustains everything else. Sala also builds a cogent argument for the practical value of preserving our planet's wild places, demonstrating the long-lasting economic benefits of establishing wilderness preserves on land and no-catch zones in the ocean. And, in a timely epilogue, Sala shows how saving nature can save us all, by reversing conditions that led to the coronavirus pandemic and preventing other global catastrophes.-- adapted from book jacket
The Annotated and Illustrated Double Helix
The New Annotated and Illustrated Edition
Published in 2012
On the fiftieth anniversary of Watson and Crick receiving the Nobel Prize, a freshly annotated and illustrated edition of The Double Helix provides new insights into the personal relationships among James Watson, Frances Crick, Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin and a scientific revolution. In his 1968 memoir, The Double Helix, James Watson offered a thrilling drama of the race among scientists to identify the structure of DNA. Professors Alexander Gann and Jan Witkowski have built upon this narrative; juxtaposing Watsons' racy account with the commentary of other protagonists offering an enhanced perspective of the now legendary story. They have mined many sources: including a trove of newly discovered correspondence belonging to Francis Crick mislaid some fifty years earlier; excerpts from the papers of Maurice Wilkins, Linus Pauling, and Rosalind Franklin; and a chapter that had been dropped from the original. After half a century, the implications of the double helix keep rippling outward; the tools of molecular biology have forever transformed the life sciences. The New Annotated and Illustrated Edition of The Double Helix adds a richness to the account of the momentous events that led the charge. The Double Helix is the best book I know about a scientific discovery this new edition suffuses the whole with social history, fascinating documentation, photography, and cunning background research. The early fifties, the beginning of the modern age of molecular biology, spring to life. Ian McEwan, author of Atonement --Provided by publisher.
The Nature of Life and Death
Every Body Leaves a Trace
Published in 2019