Literature Inspired by Nature – Jamwich Book Club Winter Reading List Suggestions 2020

Disclaimer: I (Elise Olmstead – owner of The Jamwich) may receive a small commission from any purchases made from the links in this article. Commissions help support me in bringing you more fun articles like this one, while costing you nothing extra. It’s a win/win!

Written by Jennifer Stewart

With fall in the rear view and colder weather moving in, there is no better time than now to dive into a good book. Whether you are an avid reader who likes to tackle multiple stories at once or someone who is just looking for a good book to curl up with in the winter months, this list is a great starting point for your winter reading list. This list includes an array of personal narratives, poems, and fantasies, each of which explore the dynamic elements the natural world and how they affect our lives.

  • A Year in the Maine Woods – Bernd Heinrich

This novel is written like a journal, following the author as he inhabits his rustic cabin for one year in the Maine woods near his childhood home. The entries thoroughly document life without running water or electricity and a life fully encompassed by the environment around him. The book touches on his relationships with the birds and other animals of the forest, as well as those who come to visit him and experience his way of life. The connection between nature and self and the changing world all come together to bring to light a life of simplicity and awareness of an ever-changing natural world.  Purchase from Amazon.

  • A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson

Author Bill Bryson chronicles his attempt to hike The Appalachian Trail, one of the longest trails in the United States. This book follows his experiences with nature, the history of the trail, and stories of the people he met along the way. Purchase from Amazon.

  • The Lost Continent – Bill Bryson

Another peice of travel literature from Bryson, depicting his journey across the lower United States, searching for a mythical town from his youth, “Amalgam”. Purchase from Amazon.

  • Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer

This story following the short, unfiltered experience of Chis McCandless as he set off on a solo trip through the wilderness of Alaska. After abandoning his possessions and changing his name, he documented his time surviving on his own in Alaska in 1992. Purchase from Amazon.

  • Silent Spring – Rachel Carson

Silent Spring is a call to action for individuals and the government alike to make changes to how we interact with our environment and how laws are affecting the natural world around us. Purchase from Amazon.

  • The Jukebox in the Garden – David Ingram

This book is a study, examining how music has explored American relationships between nature and our environment. Ingram and his studies dig into the relationships we have with music and how that can play a role in our relationships with nature. Purchase from Amazon.

  • The Ash Family – Molly Dektar

This work of fiction focuses on a young woman who, through a search for new adventure, finds herself living on a commune known as “The Ash Family Farm”.  Purchase from Amazon.

  • Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place – Bell Hooks

A collection of poems inspired by the author’s childhood growing up in the hills of Appalachia. This book focuses on the environmental degradation of the Kentucky area she grew up in as well as offering a reflection of how her identity has been shaped by her experience in the Appalachian mountains. Purchase from Amazon. 

  • Walden – Henry David Thoreau

Considered to be his greatest work, Walden is a series of essays written by Thoreau as he experienced living with nature in his cabin on Walden Pond in Massachusetts in the mid 1800s. Many of today’s authors looks to Walden as the beginning point of the nature literature movement. Purchase from Amazon.

  • A Mind of Winter: Poems for a Snowy Season – Selected by Robert Atwan

A short collection of poems from diverse classic and contemporary poets, touching on the various experiences of winter. A perfect read heading into the winter season. Purchase from Amazon.