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Spring into Nature

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
― Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard's Egg

We wholeheartedly agree, and to inspire you to get outside this spring we present you with this selection of our favourite recent books on plants, animals, and all the wonders of the great outdoors.


Birds Art Life

- Hardcover

by Kyo Maclear - $29.95 - Add to Cart

A writer's search for inspiration, beauty and solace leads her to birds in this intimate and exuberant meditation on creativity and life--a field guide to things small and significant.For Vladimir Nabokov, it was butterflies. For John Cage, it was mushrooms. For Sylvia Plath, it was bees. Each of these artists took time away from their work to become observers of natural phenomena. In 2012, Kyo Maclear met a local Toronto musician with an equally captivating side passion--he had recently lost his heart to birds. Curious about what prompted this young urban artist to suddenly embrace nature, Kyo decides to follow him for a year and find out.     A distilled, crystal-like companion to H is for Hawk, this memoir celebrates the particular madness of loving and chasing after birds in a big city. Intimate and philosophical, moving with ease between the granular and the grand view, it celebrates the creative and liberating effects of keeping your eyes and ears wide open, and explores what happens when you apply the core lessons of birding to other aspects of life. In one sense, this is a book about disconnection--how our passions can buckle under the demands and emotions of daily life--and about reconnection: how the act of seeking passion and beauty in small ways can lead us to discover our most satisfying life. On a deeper level, it takes up the questions of how we are shaped and nurtured by our parallel passions, and how we might come to cherish not only the world's pristine natural places but also the blemished urban spaces where most of us live.     Birds Art Life follows two artists on a yearlong adventure that is at once a meditation on the nature of creativity and a quest for a good and meaningful life.

Botanicum

- Children's hardcover

by Katherine Willis - $47.00 - Add to Cart

Discover more than 160 exhibits in this virtual museum, open all hours.The 2017 offering from Big Picture Press's Welcome to the Museum series, Botanicum, is a brilliantly curated guide to plant life. With artwork from Katie Scott of Animalium fame, Botanicum gives readers the experience of a fascinating exhibition from the pages of a beautiful book. From perennials to bulbs to tropical exotica, Botanicum is a wonderful feast of botanical knowledge complete with superb cross sections of how plants work.

Explorers' Botanical Notebook

- Hardcover

by Florence Thinard - $39.95 - Add to Cart

"The greatest pleasure of naturalists (understated by certain utilitarians) is to discover new species, to point to new islands on the map of nature, and to populate continents that seem to be deserts" -- Richard Spruce, 1851 This splendid book traces the journeys of more than 80 pioneering botanists who explored the unknown world and collected thousands of unusual plants. Many were celebrated at home in Europe and England. Others were working in obscurity to fulfill their own desires and obsessions. But every one of these explorers made important finds, collecting and preserving unique and valuable plants and often establishing them in cultivation back in their home lands. Each spread in the book describes the journey and the naturalist, with a map tracing the routes taken, on the left. Facing is the actual plant collected, complete with notes, seeds, pollen, and identifying documents, often in the botanist's own hand. The stories are packed with detail, describing the theories of the day, the difficulty of raising money, and traversing jungles and forests. But each is colored by the excitement of discovering orchids, trees, teas, flowering roses and acanthus, ferns, strange bulbs, and mountain flowers. The design is accompanied by 80 maps, 150 photographs, drawings and engravings. All work to reproduce the spirit of the quest and the discovery of plants.

Garden Flora

- Hardcover

by Noel Kingsbury - $55.00 - Add to Cart

"A beautifully illustrated reference book covers the origins, ecology and history of popular garden plants." --Shelf Awareness The oldest rose fossil was found in Colorado and dates to 35 million years ago. Marigolds, infamous for their ability to self-seed, are named for an Etruscan god who sprang from a ploughed field. And daffodils--an icon of spring--were introduced to Britain by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago. Every garden plant has an origination story, and Garden Flora, by noted garden designer Noel Kingsbury, shares them in a beautifully compelling way. This lushly illustrated survey of 133 of the most commonly grown plants explains where each plant came from and the journey it took into home gardens. Kingsbury tells intriguing tales of the most important plant hunters, breeders, and gardeners throughout history, and explores the unexpected ways plants have been used. Richly illustrated with an eclectic mix of new and historical photos, botanical art, and vintage seed packets and catalogs, Garden Flora is a must-have reference for every gardener and plant lover.

Happiness is a Rare Bird

- Trade paperback

by Gene Walz - $21.00 - Add to Cart

There is nothing better than the sight of a rare bird. Whether sitting in your backyard when an errant traveller stops by, or trekking to an exotic location, every encounter is a gift. Through a lifetime of experiences, Gene Walz shares the joy of the birding life in Happiness is a Rare Bird.With quirky terms such as vagabonds, endemics, fall-out, jinx birds, and lifers, the unique birding community brings together kindred spirits to marvel at the incredible diversity of their avian subjects.From common house sparrows to the spectacular Cock of the Rock (front cover), every bird is a beauty. Through his numerous memorable birding experiences, Walz paints a picture of a life that is as colourful as the birds he has seen. In nearly every continent around the world he's found happiness and it truly is a rare bird.

The Hidden Life of Trees

- Hardcover

by Peter Wohlleben - $29.95 - Add to Cart

“A paradigm-smashing chronicle of joyous entanglement that will make you acknowledge your own entanglement in the ancient and ever-new web of being.” —Charles Foster, author of Being a Beast Are trees social beings? In this international bestseller, forester and author Peter Wohlleben convincingly makes the case that, yes, the forest is a social network. He draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers. Wohlleben also shares his deep love of woods and forests, explaining the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in his woodland. After learning about the complex life of trees, a walk in the woods will never be the same again.

The Invention of Nature

- Trade paperback

by Andrea Wulf - $23.00 - Add to Cart

The acclaimed author of Founding Gardeners reveals the forgotten life of Alexander von Humboldt, the visionary German naturalist whose ideas changed the way we see the natural world--and in the process created modern environmentalism.NATIONAL BEST SELLEROne of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the YearWinner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, The James Wright Award for Nature Writing, the Costa Biography Award, the Royal Geographic Society's Ness Award, the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing AwardFinalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, the Royal Society Science Book Prize, the Kirkus Prize Prize for Nonfiction, the Independent Bookshop Week Book AwardA Best Book of the Year: The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Economist, Nature, Jezebel, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, New Scientist, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Sunday Times, The Evening Standard, The SpectatorAlexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) was the most famous scientist of his age, a visionary German naturalist and polymath whose discoveries forever changed the way we understand the natural world. Among his most revolutionary ideas was a radical conception of nature as a complex and interconnected global force that does not exist for the use of humankind alone. In North America, Humboldt's name still graces towns, counties, parks, bays, lakes, mountains, and a river. And yet the man has been all but forgotten.  In this illuminating biography, Andrea Wulf brings Humboldt's extraordinary life back into focus: his prediction of human-induced climate change; his daring expeditions to the highest peaks of South America and to the anthrax-infected steppes of Siberia; his relationships with iconic figures, including Simón Bolívar and Thomas Jefferson; and the lasting influence of his writings on Darwin, Wordsworth, Goethe, Muir, Thoreau, and many others. Brilliantly researched and stunningly written, The Invention of Nature reveals the myriad ways in which Humboldt's ideas form the foundation of modern environmentalism--and reminds us why they are as prescient and vital as ever.

Landmarks

- Trade paperback

by Robert Macfarlane - $24.00 - Add to Cart

From Robert Macfarlane, the acclaimed author of The Old Ways--a celebration of the language of landscape and the power of words to shape our sense of place   For years now, the British writer Robert Macfarlane has been collecting place-words: terms for aspects of landscape, nature, and weather, drawn from dozens of languages and dialects of the British Isles. In this, his fifth book, Macfarlane brilliantly explores the linguistic and literary terrain of the British archipelago, from the Shetlands to Cornwall and from Cumbria to Suffolk, offering themed glossaries of hundreds of these rare, deeply local, poetical terms, organized by such geographical terrains as flatlands, uplands, waterlands, coastlands, woodlands, and underlands. Interspersed with this archive of place words are biographical essays in which Macfarlane writes of his favorite authors who have paid close attention to the natural world and who embody in their own work the huge richness of place language--from Barry Lopez and John Muir to Nan Shepard, J. A. Baker, and Roger Deakin. Landmarks is a book about the power of language and how it can become a way to know and love landscape, from a writer acclaimed for his own precision of utterance and distinctive, lyrical voice.

The Nature Fix

- Hardcover

by Florence Williams - $35.95 - Add to Cart

For centuries, poets and philosophers extolled the benefits of a walk in the woods: Beethoven drew inspiration from rocks and trees; Wordsworth composed while tromping over the heath; and Nikola Tesla conceived the electric motor while visiting a park. Intrigued by our storied renewal in the natural world, Florence Williams set out to uncover the science behind nature's positive effects on the brain. In this informative and entertaining account, Williams investigates cutting-edge research as she travels to fragrant cypress forests in Korea to meet the rangers who administer "forest healing programs," to the green hills of Scotland and its "ecotherapeutic" approach to caring for the mentally ill, to a river trip in Idaho with Iraqi vets suffering from PTSD, to the West Virginia mountains where she discovers how being outside helps children with ADHD. The Nature Fix demonstrates that our connection to nature is much more important to our cognition than we think and that even small amounts of exposure to the living world can improve our creativity and enhance our mood. In prose that is incisive, witty, and urgent, Williams shows how time in nature is not a luxury but is in fact essential to our humanity. As our modern lives shift dramatically indoors, these ideas--and the answers they yield--are more urgent than ever.

National Geographic The Photo Ark

- Hardcover

by NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC - $45.00 - Add to Cart

This lush book of photography represents National Geographic's Photo Ark, a major cross-platform initiative and lifelong project by photographer Joel Sartore to make portraits of the world's animals--especially those that are endangered. His powerful message, conveyed with humor, compassion, and art: to know these animals is to save them.Sartore intends to photograph every animal in captivity in the world. He is circling the globe, visiting zoos and wildlife rescue centers to create studio portraits of 12,000 species, with an emphasis on those facing extinction. He has photographed more than 6,000 already and now, thanks to a multi-year partnership with National Geographic, he may reach his goal. This book showcases his animal portraits: from tiny to mammoth, from the Florida grasshopper sparrow to the greater one-horned rhinoceros. Paired with the eloquent prose of veteran wildlife writer Douglas Chadwick, this book presents a thought-provoking argument for saving all the species of our planet.

The 2017 Prairie Garden

- Trade paperback

by PRAIRIE GARDEN - $17.95 - Add to Cart

It has been fifteen years since the last herb-themed edition of the Prairie Garden appeared and a whole new generation of gardeners is discovering the diverse joys of growing herbs. These days herb gardens are less often single spaces, but instead intermingle among flowers, vegetables, pots, raised beds and any other gardening concept imaginable. Edible plants are an easy entry point for budding gardeners: everyone can appreciate herbs and they are so well suited to gardens big or small. As one gains experience and grows into a green thumb, herbs continue to offer endless possibilities and rich engagement. The Prairie Garden 2017: Herbs & Spices, with guest editor Dave Hanson, explores the extent to which the opportunities for growing your own herbs, from organics to year-round cultivation, has changed. It also recommends herbs and spices that once seemed unlikely candidates for the local prairie scene.

The Shepherd's Life

- Trade paperback

by James Rebanks - $22.00 - Add to Cart

A major new talent redefines the literature of rural life.      Old world met new when a shepherd in the English Lake District impulsively started a Twitter account. A routine cell phone upgrade left author James Rebanks with a pretty decent camera and a pre-loaded Twitter app--the tools to share his way of life with the world. And what began as a tentative experiment became an international phenomenon.James has worked the land for years, as did his father, and his father before him. His family has lived and farmed in the Lake District of Northern England as long as there have been written records (since 1420) and possibly much longer. And while the land itself has inspired great poets and authors we have rarely heard from the people who tend it. One Twitter account has changed all that, and now James Rebanks has broken free of the 140-character limit and produced "the book I have wanted to write my whole life." The Shepherd's Life is a memoir about growing up amidst a magical, storied landscape, of coming of age in the 1980s and 1990s among hills that seem timeless, and yet suffused with history. Broken into the four seasons, the book chronicles the author's daily experiences at work with his flock and brings alive his family and their ancient way of life, which at times can seem irreconcilable with the modern world.     An astonishing original work, The Shepherd's Life is an intimate look from inside a seemingly ordinary life, one that celebrates the meaning of place, the ties of family to the land around them, and the beauty of the past. It is the untold story of the Lake District, of a people who exist and endure out of sight in the midst of the most iconic literary landscape in the world.From the Hardcover edition.

The Sibley Birder's Life List and Field Diary

- Hardcover

by David Allen Sibley - $25.95 - Add to Cart

From leading ornithologist and bestselling author David Sibley comes this essential write-in field companion for all levels of birders.This indispensable birder's companion includes both ample space for on-site notes and a life list to be filled in by the legions of passionate birders who have bought Sibley's bestselling guides. Included are entries for the 923 species found in the United States and Canada, with space for recording where and when a bird was seen and for notes or memories about the sighting. At the back is a complete checklist of all the birds for building the life list.

The Stranger in the Woods

- Hardcover

by Michael Finkel - $32.95 - Add to Cart

Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality--not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own. A New York Times bestsellerIn 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life--why did he leave? what did he learn?--as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.

Trees

- Children's hardcover

by LEMNISCATES - $21.00 - Add to Cart

A lyrical narrative and lovely, graphic illustrations pay tribute to the beauty and importance of the trees all around us.Trees change through the seasons -- springing to life, bearing fruit, and losing their leaves before a period of sleep. They clean the air we breathe, provide seeds and homes for creatures, and extend their shade to everyone equally. Throughout all these changes, trees are constant, patiently learning to grow and flourish wherever they might be. Trees is a reverent and poetic homage that invites the reader to take a closer look at these magnificent beings.