Read These Books for Parks & Recreation Month!

Did you know July is National Parks & Recreation Month? To celebrate, we put together this list of books to help you reconnect with the natural world around you. The Ann Arbor area is full of beautiful parks to read in on a sunny afternoon, and you can access any of these books easily electronically while you lounge outside! Not on campus? Since these books are online, you can read any of them from your favorite park wherever you are.

  • Out of the Woods: Seeing Nature in the Everyday - Julia Corbett. “Julia Corbett examines nature in our lives with all of its ironies and contradictions by seamlessly integrating personal narratives with morsels of highly digestible science and research….and encourages us all to consider how we might re-value or reimagine our relationships with nature in our everyday lives.”
  • Urban Jungle: The History and Future of Nature in the City - Ben Wilson. “Urban Jungle offers the pleasures of history—how backyard gardens spread exotic species all over the world, how war produces biodiversity— alongside a fantastic vision of the lush green cities of our future. Climate change, Ben Wilson believes, is only the latest chapter in the dramatic human story of nature and the city.”
  • The Secret World of Weather - Tristan Gooley. “By carefully observing the subtle interplay of wind, cloud, fog, temperature, rain and many other phenomena, we not only form a deeper understanding of weather patterns, but also unlock secrets about our environment….You’ll never see your surroundings the same way again.”
  • Braiding Sweetgrass - Robin Wall Kimmerer. “Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings―asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass―offer us gifts and lessons, even if we've forgotten how to hear their voices.”
  • Better Living Through Birding: Notes from a Black Man in the Natural World - Christian Cooper. “Equal parts memoir, travelogue, and primer on the art of birding, this is Cooper’s story of learning to claim and defend space for himself and others like him….Better Living Through Birding recounts Cooper’s journey through the wonderful world of birds and what they can teach us about life, if only we would look and listen.”
  • The Accidental Ecosystem: People and Wildlife in American Cities - Peter S. Alagona. “The Accidental Ecosystem tells the story of how cities across the United States went from having little wildlife to filling, dramatically and unexpectedly, with wild creatures…. [Algona] calls on readers to reimagine interspecies coexistence in shared habitats, as well as policies that are based on just, humane, and sustainable approaches.”
  • Into Green: Everyday Ways to Find and Lose Yourself in Nature - Caro Langton, Rose Ray. “This inspirational primer is the perfect companion for any nature lover, from urban jungle curators to backyard gardeners. Filled with dreamy illustrations, reflective stories, and enticing interactive prompts, this pocket garden is for plant lovers looking to bring the outside in.”
  • My Backyard Jungle: The Adventures of an Urban Wildlife Lover Who Turned His Yard into Habitat and Learned to Live with It - James Barilla. “For James Barilla and his family, the dream of transforming their Columbia, South Carolina, backyard into a haven for wildlife evoked images of kids catching grasshoppers by day and fireflies at night….Then the animals started to arrive, and Barilla soon discovered the complexities (and possible mayhem) of merging human with animal habitats.”
  • The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature - J. Drew Lanham. “By turns angry, funny, elegiac, and heartbreaking, The Home Place is a remarkable meditation on nature and belonging, at once a deeply moving memoir and riveting exploration of the contradictions of black identity in the rural South—and in America today.”
  • The Illustrated Book of Trees: the Comprehensive Field Guide to More Than 250 Trees of Eastern North America - William Carey Grimm. “William Carey Grimm's classic Illustrated Book of Trees has been the authority on eastern North American tree identification for over 40 years….Written in a straightforward, nonscientific language for beginning botanists of any age.”