Book Gift Guide for Nature Lovers

National parks, meditations on wood, bunnies and birds are just a couple of the subjects covered in these books. I can imagine any nature enthusiast cuddling up this winter with a good book and thoughts of getting outside soon.

National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways by National Geographic Society

For those who enjoy time in the car and taking the long way, there are 275 drives to tackle in this book. We've enjoyed making notes in the margins and sticking in menus, receipts and leaves we find along the way. Each time we open this book it is filled with memories of beautiful sites and fun journeys. A GPS is recommend!

Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees by Roger Deakin

Ideally you want to be sitting under your favorite tree when you read this book but a nice window will also do.  This book is for the person who loves trees and nature writing. It will inspire and deepen your appreciation for the outdoors.

Watership Down by Richard Adams

In this classic, the reader peaks into the lives of rabbits, where we can read their words and experience their hardships.  This book is full of excitement and imagination. After reading this book, you just might look at the rabbits in the yard a bit differently. You may even say hi.

Flights of Imagination: Extraordinary Writing About Birds edited by Richard Cannings

Most bird lovers have a great story about a pursuit of a rare bird or their first memory of finding appreciation for our winged friends. This collection of short stories will relate with anyone who has a passion for birds.

Two Books to Inspire

First, I just finished "Life List: A Woman's Quest for the World's Most Amazing Birds", which I wrote about in an earlier post. I picked this book up because I wanted to read about birding but instead found myself much more interested in the life of Phoebe Snetsinger and her never ending energy, power and zest for life. Upon finishing, I was reminded of Lynne Cox and her book "Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long Distance Swimmer". This is another almost unbelievable tale in which Lynne Cox archives what seems impossible. Both risked their life and much more for the passion of doing what they love and doing it well.

We can think of Lynne and Phoebe almost as superhuman but we all have a piece of them in us some where. Lynne and Phoebe both had goals that no one had ever achieved but they didn't archive them overnight. They reached their huge goals by taking small steps. 

Life List

I am reading Life List: A Woman's Quest for the World's Most Amazing Birds by Olivia Gentile and that's what got me started on the subject of lists. I've been interested in birds for awhile but this book has brought me into the whole world of birding and list keeping and now I am making a life list of birds I have seen.

I am including with each bird, the situation, day, thoughts, etc. Whatever it takes to remember that moment. It's not easy to catch a photograph of a bird and often while trying you while miss seeing the action all together. I've decided to stop trying to catch photos of anything in action and take in the moment the best I can by paying attention and as soon as I can writing it down. Most of our memories are made through telling a story.

So what is the purpose of the list? It's not so much about the end result, but rather to remind myself to keep looking. It's about all the things I will notice that I may have missed; things that might not even be on the list.

If you want to start a list, I recommend starting with a good notebook. My first bird list is in The Paper Apartment's Feathers Notebook. Then find a list for your area to follow. In Chicago visit the Chicago Ornithological Society and download their Chicago Area Birds Checklist on the homepage.  

Happy Birding!