A Nature Read
The weather has been a little crazy this last week, at both Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani. This would be due to being in the midst of a cyclone - so a 'little' is a bit of an understatement. (I admit, I did kind of love the weather. I love a heavy rainstorm and walking through rivers in bare feet!)
We have a wonderful nature section in the bookstore and I realised it doesn't get enough attention. So, we're getting a Recommends on a few of our lovely collection.
In Underland, Robert Macfarlane delivers an epic exploration of the Earth’s underworlds as they exist in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself. Traveling through the dizzying expanse of geologic time—from prehistoric art in Norwegian sea caves, to the blue depths of the Greenland ice cap, to a deep-sunk "hiding place" where nuclear waste will be stored for 100,000 years to come—Underland takes us on an extraordinary journey into our relationship with darkness, burial, and what lies beneath the surface of both place and mind.
Global in its geography and written with great lyricism, Underland speaks powerfully to our present moment. At once ancient and urgent, this is a book that will change the way you see the world.
In 1990, a group of Cambridge scientists arrived at the Plains of Nechisar in Ethiopia. On that expedition, they collected more than two dozen specimens, saw more than three hundred species of birds, and a plethora of rare butterflies, dragonflies, reptiles, mammals, and plants. As they were gathering up their findings, a wing of an unidentified bird was packed into a brown paper bag. It was to become the most famous wing in the world.
This wing would set the world of science aflutter. Experts were mystified. The wing was entirely unique. It was like nothing they had ever seem before. Could a new species be named based on just one wing? After much discussion, a new species was announced: Nechisar Nightjar, or Camprimulgus Solala, which means "only wing." And so birdwatchers like Vernon began to dream.
Twenty-two years later, he joins an expedition of four to find this rarest bird in the world. In this gem of nature writing, Vernon captivates and enchants as he recounts the searches by spotlight through the Ethiopian plains, and allows the reader to mediate on nature, exploration, our need for wild places, and the human compulsion to name things. Rarest Bird is a celebration of a certain way of seeing the world, and will bring out the explorer in in everyone who reads it.
Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, their home and livelihood is taken away. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.
They have almost no money for food or shelter and must carry only the essentials for survival on their backs as they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter, and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable journey.
The Salt Path is an honest and life-affirming true story of coming to terms with grief and the healing power of the natural world. Ultimately, it is a portrayal of home, and how it can be lost, rebuilt, and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways.
Mercury, a lifeless victim of the Sun’s expanding power. Venus, once thought to be lush and
fertile, now known to be trapped within a toxic and boiling atmosphere. Mars, the red planet, doomed by the loss of its atmosphere. Jupiter, twice the size of all the other planets combined, but insubstantial. Saturn, a stunning celestial beauty, the jewel of our Solar System. Uranus, the sideways planet and the first ice giant. Neptune, dark, cold and whipped by supersonic winds. Pluto, the dwarf planet, a frozen rock.
Andrew Cohen and Professor Brian Cox take readers on a voyage of discovery, from the fiery heart of our Solar System, to its mysterious outer reaches. They touch on the latest discoveries that have expanded our knowledge of the planets, their moons and how they come to be.
See the world. Then make it better.
I am 94. I've had an extraordinary life. It's only now that I appreciate how extraordinary.
As a young man, I felt I was out there in the wild, experiencing the untouched natural world - but it was an illusion. The tragedy of our time has been happening all around us, barely noticeable from day to day - the loss of our planet's wild places, its biodiversity.
I have been witness to this decline. A Life on Our Planet is my witness statement, and my vision for the future. It is the story of how we came to make this, our greatest mistake - and how, if we act now, we can yet put it right.
We have one final chance to create the perfect home for ourselves and restore the wonderful world we inherited.
All we need is the will to do so.
Our sun drives the weather, forms the landscape, feeds and fuels - but sometimes destroys
- the creatures that live upon it, controls their patterns of activity, makes chemicals in the skin that cheer up those who bask in its rays, and for the ancients was the seat of divine authority.
In Here Comes the Sun, Steve Jones shows how life on Earth is ruled by our nearest star. It is filled with unexpected connections; between the need to stay cool and man's ability to stand upright, between the power of memory and the onset of darkness, between the flow of solar energy through the plants and animals and of wealth through society, and between Joseph Goebbel's 1938 scheme to make Edinburgh the summer capital of a defeated Britain and the widening gap in the life expectancy of Scottish men compared to that of other European men brought on by thnat nation's cloudy climate.
Its author charts some of his own research in places hot and cold across the globe on the genetic and evolutionary effects of sunlight on snails, fruit-flies and people and shows how what was once no more an eccentric specialism has grown to become a subject of wide scientific, social and political significance. Stunningly evocative, beautifully written and packed full of insight, Here Comes the Sun is Steve Jones's most personal book to date.
An immersive, unforgettable, and eye-opening perspective on swimming—and on human behavior itself.
We swim in freezing Arctic waters and piranha-infested rivers to test our limits. We swim for pleasure, for exercise, for healing. But humans, unlike other animals that are drawn to water, are not natural-born swimmers. We must be taught. Our evolutionary ancestors learned for survival; now, in the twenty-first century, swimming is one of the most popular activities in the world.
Why We Swim is propelled by stories of Olympic champions, a Baghdad swim club that meets in Saddam Hussein’s palace pool, modern-day Japanese samurai swimmers, and even an Icelandic fisherman who improbably survives a wintry six-hour swim after a shipwreck. New York Times contributor Bonnie Tsui, a swimmer herself, dives into the deep, from the San Francisco Bay to the South China Sea, investigating what about water—despite its dangers—seduces us and why we come back to it again and again.
From one of the world's pre-eminent marine biologists comes a dazzling account of the wonders that lie beneath the ocean's surface, and an empowering vision of how we can protect them
Fewer people have been to the deepest part of the ocean than have been to the moon. Even now, the vast majority of this wilderness - which covers over 70% of the planet and forms its largest ecosystem - has never been seen by human eyes, let alone explored or investigated by scientists. Yet our oceans contain perhaps 90% of all life, and the physical and biological processes within it are critical to supporting our existence on Earth.
Professor Alex Rogers has spent the past 30 years studying life in the deep ocean. In this book, he takes us on an epic and utterly unforgettable voyage to an alien world, and brings us right to the edge of what is known about our oceans today. Introducing us to glittering coral gardens, submarine mountains and a range of bizarre and breathtaking sea creatures, many of which he discovered first-hand, Rogers not only illustrates the ocean's enormous and untold impact on our lives, but also shows how we are damaging it catastrophically through pollution, overfishing, and the insidious and global effects of climate change.
Imbued with the author's infectious sense of wonder, and replete with stunning photography of underwater life, The Deep is a magisterial study of a world we are only just beginning to understand - and a profoundly hopeful call to arms for us to reshape our relationship with it, before it is too late.