Sure, it’s hot in most parts of the country—certainly down here in Charleston—but as I tell myself constantly, in today’s tumultuous (sometimes poisonous) political and cultural atmosphere, it’s important to get offline, get outside, and find a way to stay connected to nature. If you need motivation, try one of these satisfying celebrations of the natural world.

Land of Lost Borders Lands of Lost Borders by Kate Harris (Aug. 21): “A debut travelogue chronicling a modern explorer's bicycle ride along the ancient Silk Road, a journey that beautifully reveals much about the history and nature of exploration itself….Exemplary travel writing: inspiring, moving, heartfelt, and often breathtaking.”

A Song for the River by Philip Connors (Aug. 28): “A veteran fire lookout in the mountains of southern New Mexico ponders life and death in one of North America’s oldest wilderness areas….A heartfelt, well-written volume of vignettes and reflections of a man who—much like his long lineage of fire lookout forebears—gladly chooses to escape civilization for the natural world.”

The Nature Instinct by Tristan Gooley (Aug. 21): “Naturalist Gooley writes affectingly of how to recapture our ability to live in the real world with senses ‘almost forgotten and steamrollered by our modern lifestyle’….Gooley’s book…is a useful owner’s manual for anyone who likes to get outdoors and be immersed in something beyond the asphalt.”

Travels with Foxfire by Phil Hudgins (Aug. 14): “A welcome rekindling of the Foxfire franchise of books on Southern folkways. Journalist Hudgins and [a] former Foxfire student continue the fine tradition of publishing collections of oral history around Southern Appalachian cultural mores begun by teacher Eliot Wigginton in the early 1970s.”

The Revolutionary Genius of Plants by Stefano Mancuso (Aug. 28): “Although lacking a brain and immobile, plants are smart, flexible, durable, and innovative, writes Mancuso in this lively, enthusiastic, expert, and convincing overview.”

Eric Liebetrau is the nonfiction and managing editor.