Novels for Nature Lovers by Leslie Litoff



At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier

A compelling historical novel about the 19th-century American pioneering spirit in which a family from Connecticut struggles to establish an apple orchard in the swamplands of Ohio. A rich evocation with echoes of Johnny Appleseed.

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Barkskins by Annie Proulx

A multigenerational story that follows the simultaneous annihilation of forests and the lives and cultures of Native peoples around the world.  The novel shows how ecological destruction hurts most those who have always lived in knowledgeable symbiosis with the wilderness and its sheltering, sustaining trees. 

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 Greenwood by Michael Christie

Jake Greenwood is a guide in one of the last stands of old-growth forest in the world, a place to which wealthy eco-tourists flock to spend a few days in a tiny patch of green. Christie skillfully builds a page-turner of an eco-apocalyptic saga that still channels hope for our planet.



 Lost Canyon by Nina Revoyr

Four people on a backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada find more adventure than they ever imagined.  Each of them is drawn to the mountains for very unique reasons and each is challenged by the ensuing struggles with nature's glories and perils.  With ravishing descriptions of the magnificent landscape, unrelenting suspense, and deep psychological insight.

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The Overstory by Richard Powers

In his brilliant exploration of how humans are affecting our ravaged planet, Powers has created complex characters intertwined with the lives of individual trees, exploring the love people are capable of for both humans and the natural world.  Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

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Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

Set in Southern Appalachia, Kingsolver weaves together three stories of love and loss in a heartening celebration of nature.  A wildlife biologist living alone, an urban entomologist turned farmer's widow, and a feuding pair of elderly neighbors all find themselves connecting to each other and to the natural world.

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The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert 

A big, old-fashioned tale that spans continents and a century, beginning with a remarkable spinster.  Born in 1800, Alma learns Latin and Greek, understands the natural world, and reads everything in sight.  She finds a late-in-life soul mate in Ambrose Pike, a talented botanical illustrator and spiritualist who helps her to understand not just science but herself.

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Terranauts by T. C. Boyle

As climate change threatens the earth, eight scientists, the “Terranauts”, have been selected to live under glass in a prototype of a possible off-earth colony. Their sealed, three-acre compound comprises five biomes—rainforest, savanna, desert, ocean, and marsh—and enough wildlife, water, and vegetation to sustain them. As they face increased scrutiny and a host of disasters, Boyle, with characteristic wit, probes their motivations while illuminating the fragility and inherent fallibility of human nature.

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To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

In the winter of 1885, a group of men begin an official expedition into the newly acquired territory of Alaska, mapping the interior and gathering information on the region's potentially dangerous native tribes. With a young and newly pregnant wife at home, Lieutenant Forrester is anxious to complete the journey, but there's no telling what awaits them in the Alaskan wilds.

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