This year has been a good one for nature-loving readers. A number of excellent books have come to my attention, among them the following recommended titles, which I present in no particular order. What 2016 books would you add to this list?
- On Trails by Robert Moor: An experienced backpacker ponders the nature of foot travel and the evolution of established trails from animal traces to named byways. This worldwide exploration promises to be fascinating. Opening line: "Once, years ago, I left home looking for a grand adventure and spend five months staring at mud." (Simon & Schuster, July)
- Vitamin N by Richard Louv: Although this book is geared to getting your kids outside, it offeres great advice and encouragement to anyone who wants to reap the many benefits of spending time in nature. Louv provides a range of suggestions for all kinds of would-be adventurers. Opening line: "Is nature time absolutely necessary for a healthy, happy, fulfilling life?" (Algonquin, April)
- And Soon I heard a Roaring Wind by Bill Streever: You can't see it, but you can feel it and sometimes you can see the results of its power. Using his own sailing experiences as a foundation, Streever studies wind through the lenses of history and science. Opening line: "Aboard the sailing yacht Rocinante, the north wind shrieks through the rigging." (Little, Brown, July)
- Sixty Degrees North by Malachy Tallack: This is a gorgeously written series of essays about the author's journey around the world at the 60-degree latitude line, which crosses his Shetland home. Recommended for those of us who love the northern climes, the outdoor life, anthropology, and history. Opening line: "I can remember the day: silver skied and heavy with rain." (Pegasus, July)
- The Wander Society by Keri Smith: A fun guide to enhancing your ability to wander and observe. As useful to urban dwellers as it to wilderness adventurers. Opening line: "About two years ago, I was browsing in a favorite dusty old bookshop, one that I frequent when I am in need of a random book find." (Penguin, March)
- Under the Stars by Dan White: Most kids and many adults love going camping, and this has been the case in the United States throughout its history. Mixing personal experience with a historical and sociocultural perspective, White explores the camping movement from the nineteenth-century Transcendentalists to today's RV'ing. Opening line: "I love camping." (Henry Holt, June)