There are so many great new releases to read this summer that I had to share a list. These are perfect for reading around the campfire. Enjoy and happy summer!
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
I so loved visiting Hope Jahren’s world for just a little while. She is a renowned scientist who grew up exploring her father’s science lab while he was a professor. She found her comfortable space, a place where she felt welcome and safe. So naturally she set out to become a scientist and have a lab of her own. But years of budget cuts and writing grant proposals wore on her and breakdowns were frequent. She enlists an eccentric friend to take on her dream with her and they travel the country in search of a home base. Hope’s memoir is one that seeps into your bones and never leaves you. I highly recommend listening to the audio book, read by the author herself, for a more intimate experience. I adored every minute of it.
Barkskins by Annie Proulx
A 700 page saga spanning the globe and multiple centuries about deforestation? Yes, please! Maybe it’s just me but I could not resist this book. This is my first Proulx novel and I now know this- man, she can construct an exquisite sentence. I’m only about 100 pages into it and I’m sold. The book begins in the late 17th century following a group of French wood-cutters, or barkskins, in “New France” or what we now know as Quebec, Canada. There is violence, intrigue and revenge. More than anything, Proulx really sets the scene and makes you feel like you are really there. When I’m not reading the book I’m thinking about it, and I have a feeling I’ll be thinking about it all summer as I savor it in small chunks.
The Hour of Land by Terry Tempest Williams
Terry Tempest Williams’ essays about her experiences in our National Parks, need I say more? She shares deeply personal stories of her time with her father in the Grand Tetons, thoughts of her brother in the arctic of Alaska and ponders the state of racism in our country while she visits Gettysburg. Her brilliant and humble voice breathes life into these places and reminds us why they are so important. At a time when our Parks are under-funded and over-visited, this book gives us much needed wisdom and perspective. Terry Tempest Williams is one of the most important writers and activists of our time, and we are so lucky she gave us this book.
The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church
This novel begins in 1941 with a young budding ornithologist named Meridian. She has great ambition in her field but her trajectory is thrown off when she falls in love with a professor. They marry and move west to Los Alamos so he can work on an important secret project, which of course is later revealed as the atomic bomb. Meanwhile, Meridian studies the local crow population and dreams of grad school and a career. Years later in the 1960’s, when she meets a young man on her daily walk through the nearby canyons, her life is changed forever. This is a book about love, but also about staying true to yourself and that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.
Under the Stars by Dan White
What is better to read while sitting around a campfire than a history of sitting around the campfire? Dan White takes on the grand story of one of America’s favorite pastimes. He sets out to camp all over the country while searching for the answers to camper’s burning questions, like when did the night forest turn from terrifying land of demons to cozy camping spot? He highlights famous campers like Thoreau, Roosevelt, and Muir and discovers the origins of Leave No Trace. This is a must read for any and all curious campers.
A Woman’s Guide to the Wild by Ruby McConnell
Are you new to hiking? Is this your first summer on the trails? Or are you considering taking your skills a little further? Maybe you want to try backpacking or solo hiking? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions then I highly recommend this guide book. I must admit that I was skeptical of a handbook for women in the wild, but Ruby does it flawlessly. She breaks down what you really need to know and what to not waste your time on. With the exception of one chapter on how to pee in the woods, this book could really be for anyone, but it’s knowing that the advice is coming from a woman with expansive knowledge and experience that lets you know that you are in good hands. If you are looking for a great resource for all things outdoors, including how to pitch a tent, build a fire, and cook food on a campfire this is the book for you.