I have always been a reader, I enjoy fiction and non-fiction! I read quite a variety of books, but I do love a good nature book (and have quite a collection!). I also have a habit of buying books at a faster rate than I can read them… But here are some of my favourite nature and non-nature books that are too good not to share!
How to be a Bad Birdwatcher – Simon Barnes
I adored this book. But the one thing I wish I could change about it? I wish I read it three years ago. This book is perfect for any newbie birder (although I still consider myself a bit of a newbie) and for anyone who is possibly a little intimidated by the hardcore birders and the masses of birds out there that look and sound the same. The message of this book is clear – watching birds is a joyous thing. It should not be stressful, or a competition. And that being a ‘bad’ birdwatcher is perfectly acceptable, as long as you are enjoying the moment between you and the bird. My favorite quote: “Look out of the window. See a bird. Enjoy it. Congratulations, you are now a bad birdwatcher”. It was also lovely to read someone elses words about how they are so obsessed withwatching birds, it is no longer a concious decision that they make… I could relate to that paragaph very much indeed.
Britian’s Sea Mammals – Jon Dunn, Robert Still and Hugh Harrop
I bought this book a couple of weeks ago at an event that was raising money for British Divers Marine Life Rescue – the main event was a talk by Doug Allen, the Scottish wildlife photographer and filmmaker who spends more time in the frozen deserts than anywhere else. His talk was very inspiring and he had some great stories to tell! I came home and didn’t put this book down for about a week. It has some great info on the species that are encountered around the coasts of the UK and has some great tips and advice on marine mammal spotting! Jon Dunn, the lead author, lives on the Shetland Isles and has a fantastic knowledge of these creatures – I would highly reccomend this book to any wildlife enthusiasts.
The Sea Kingdom of Argyll – The Hebridean and Dolphin Trust
I LOVE this little book – I found it in Waterstones in Oban when I was visiting last summer. The west of Scotland is the most amazing place and this book sums up why! It covers everything marine that goes on in Argyll – it is informative, beautifully illustrated and fun. Perfect for anyone who loves this area and who is interested in a little bit of everything.
Great British Marine Animals – Paul Naylor
I bough this book about a year ago because I wanted to learn more about the marine life around Britian. It is a stunning book – the photographs, the writing, the layout. When I first bought it, I could not put it down! I highlighly reccomend for anyone who wants to learn more about the fascinating life under the surface, or just wants something pretty to look at it! I am by no-means an expert but I know and can recognise significantly more marine species than I could this time last year and this book massively helped with that.
Dead Zone – Philip Lymbery
This book was, well, life-changing. This book was the turning point in me becoming vegetarian. The author explains the damage done by animal agriculture on nature and wildlife in an easy-to-follow, yet shocking manner. Using case-studies of wildlife decline from all around the world, Philip, uses evidence and strong research to back up his points. For me, not eating meat and cutting down on the volume of other animal products in my diet is largely due to it’s impacts on wild habitats and wildlife populations. This book is jam-packed with facts and figures that I think would have the power to make any big meat-eater, consider cutting their meat consumption.
Climate Justice – Mary Robinson
I couldn’t put this book down. It tells the stories of people around the world whos lives are already being impacted, and in some cases quite severly, by climate change. This book is about the people, their lives and their stories. It is very powerful and inspiring – the people featured in this book give climate change a human face – it is not just a case of the dissapearing ice caps (which is a tragedy in itself) but a humanitarian crisis.
An Air That Kills – our invisible air pollution crisis – John Rieuwerts
An Air that Kills discusses the problems of Air Pollution, particularly in the UK. I used this book when completing an assignment on air pollution as part of my masters degree. It is scientific but easy to follow – it gives a great over-view of the problem and raises the question of why are we not talking and doing something about this problem more. A very interesting read and I would reccomend to anyone who is interested in environmental problems and health.
What has Nature Ever Done for Us – How Money Really Does grow on Trees – Tony Juniper
I read this book during my undergraduate degree after being reccomended it by my favourite lecturer – he said that anyone studing a biological degree should read this book. This book explains the importance of healthy ecosystems in terms of economics and how the UK (and the whole world) relies on healthy functioning ecosystems in order to maintain healthy,functioning societies. This book is fact-full and incredibly informative but yet, an easy read. I would say this book is a must read for any environmentalist, but actually, I think it is a must read for anyone – esspecially anyone in any position of power.
Feminism and Activism
On the frontline with the women who fight back – Stacey Dooley
I adore Stacey – she is fearless and fiesty, is never afraid to ask the hard questions, she listens to both sides of the story where possible but always sticks up for what she thinks is right. This book is a collection of stories of her travels around the world, making documentairies and meeting women around the world who are fighting their cause. Some of the stories are utterly heartbreaking, but are a great reminder of why we need to keep standing up for women all around the world and listening to their stories.
Be the Change – Gina Martin
I have followed Gina Martin online for a while now and have come to the conclusion that she is simply, the coolest person alive. From her activism to her fashion sense, Gina is powerful, inspiring and, well, cool. I was so excited when I heard Gina was realising this book and could not wait to get my hands on a copy. If you don’t know, Gina campaigned for the law which criminilised upskirting after being a victim herself and finding it incredibly frustrating when her attacker was not charged. Gina tireless campaigned until she was successful. Using her experiences, Gina has layed out her advice on running a successful campaign and how to take part in activism effectively to achieve the change you want to see in the world – on small and large scales. Gina splits her book into two parts: the first part covers activism, and what it means to be an activist. The second part details how to run a successful campaign. For me, the most memorable part of the book is chapter 4: White privilege and activism. Gina discusses the matter in a thought-provoking and powerful manner. She emphasises the importance of recognising, checking and using our privileges to amplify the voices of those who do not possess those privileges. And to make it even more thought-provoking and powerful – the first part of the chapter is read, unedited. The second part of the chapter is entitled ‘learn from my mistakes’ and is simply, the first part repeated but with the editing notes of Ginas friend and person of colour, Aja Barber. This is a book I will return to, time and time again. Thank you for writing this, Gina!