Book Roundup Wednesday: Creative Nonfiction Nature Books
Bayshore Summer: Finding Eden In a Most Unlikely Place (by Pete Dunne, $24, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June 2010): Equal parts memoir, journalism, and nature writing, this pocket-sized read explores the natural splendor of the often maligned New Jersey shore — its birds, produce, fisherman, insects, and overall history and character. While Dunne's digressions are sometimes questionable, they add up to a charming portrait of a unique natural world.
Without A Paddle: Racing Twelve Hundred Miles Around Florida By Sea Kayak (by Warren Richey, $25, St. Martin's Press, June 2010): In this engaging and honest memoir, Richey interweaves the tale of his 1,200-mile kayak race around Florida with ruminations about the forces in his life — especially his fatherhood and his faltering marriage — which drove him to undertake the challenging endeavor. The language is consistently beautiful, whether Richey is writing about the waters around Key Largo or the complications of romantic relationships.
Ranger Confidential: Living, Working, and Dying in the National Parks (by Andrea Lankford, $17, Globe Pequot Press, Apr. 2010): This collection of often funny, sometimes frightening anecdotes by a seasoned park ranger shows what it's really like to live and work in one of our majestic national treasures. With a knowledgeable, personable voice, the author chronicles her most interesting and exciting experiences during her 12 years as a park ranger, including chasing down criminals, encountering dangerous wildlife, and dealing with perennial visits from "Code W's" — wimpy hikers who need encouragement.
A Year on the Wing: Four Seasons in a Life with Birds (by Tim Dee, $24, Simon & Schuster, Oct. 2009): In poetic, moving prose, Dee recounts a year in his life studying birds in the air, at sea, and on land, reflecting upon his 40 years as a bird watcher. A deep exploration of the human connection to birds, the book is rife with striking imagery and description.
North by Northwestern: A Seafaring Family on Deadly Alaskan Waters (by Sig Hansen and Mark Sundeen, $26, Macmillan, Mar. 2010): Hansen has been a regular feature on Discovery Channel's The Deadliest Catch, and this adventure memoir maintains that TV-drama feel. It offers a more detailed account of the perils of commercial fishing, plus ruminations on a fisherman's attraction to the dangerous sea.