Late-summer rituals of hanging out at the beach or on the stoop tend to spark our inner naturalists. For those who want to roam more broadly, these editors’ picks explore some of the wild things and places around the U.S. and beyond.
In Animals of the World, Richard and Amy Lynn, a husband-and-wife photographic and writing team, showcase more than 200 animals photographed over the course of several decades of global travels. The coffee-table book includes captioned, full-page shots of cheetahs licking each other; an electric green, blue, and yellow tree frog; a Bengal tiger; a couple of proboscis monkeys. Our reviewer has this takeaway: “Certain commonalities emerge from the profusion of fascinating particularities, one being the profound ennui that pervades the life of an animal. Cheetahs, lions, pumas, jaguars, great white sharks, Tasmanian devils, alligators, and hippopotamuses are forever lounging about, gazing listlessly at the camera or yawning wide in a sign of either persistent boredom or a (justified) pride in their fangs.”
Some of the best nature writing is fiction (see Moby-Dick and, more recently, Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine, Annie Proulx’s Barkskins, etc.). Atwood Cutting’s novel Where The Moose Slept, set in 1970s Alaska, is a work of “fact-based fiction” that follows the author’s family’s experiences. Cutting, says the reviewer, “writes with an eye for specificity that evokes the Alaskan bush in all its daunting beauty.”
Joseph Belli grew up in a small group of mountains called the Diablos, located southeast of San Francisco. Belli has a degree in conservation biology and worked for the National Forest Service. He uses his training and familiarity with the landscape in The Diablo Diary, a collection of essays about the mountains. Our review notes that “most [of the] essays focus on animals, but several look at plants, waterways, and native peoples, showing how they’re all connected.” Karen Schechner is the vice president of Kirkus Indie.