Celebrate Nature With This Fall Reading List

The 23rd of September marks the beginning of fall. The leaves will start turning orange and falling from their branches, the air will soon have a biting chill, and the streets will begin to smell of lit furnaces. While you may have a few books already on your agenda for the next few months, here are a few you may also want to consider. If you are looking for the opportunity to start reading regularly, what better time to start than now!

These two books both celebrate nature, and will make fine companions to the cooling world outside:

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild is the true story of Christopher McCandless, and the restlessness and wanderlust that drove him to abandon his comfortable life and face certain death in the Alaskan wilderness. While it may sound a bit morbid, Jon Krakauer’s journalistic writing allows you to follow McCandless’ journey across America, discovering the outsiders in our society who so often avoid the public eye. It is a chance to see the extents of civilization in physical measurements and in social sects. Krakauer’s book explores the psyche of the young man, interviewing his family, friends, and those he encountered on his travels. It uncovers small mysteries and probes into how our smallest actions can affect a much larger world. The book reminds us of our relationship to nature and the danger it offers, but also examines the indiscernible connection many people feel towards it.

Into the Wild is an excellent analysis of our very technological and commercial society. For some people, the book may be a cautionary tale, displaying the dangers of straying too far from civilization. For others, the book will act as kindling to an already burgeoning desire to explore. It has inspired a bit of a following for McCandless, with many people mimicking his journey for themselves. Either way, Into the Wild is a perfect book to start with on your fall reading list.

Call of the Wild by Jack London

In a similar direction, Call of the Wild portrays its protagonists’ journey from a comfortable life, to one of survival. It is read from the perspective of a dog, but do not let that turn you off. The book is nuanced and psychological, worthy of its common acceptance in the American literary cannon. The book does not attempt to prescribe human feelings onto the creature, nor attempt to give a justification for its actions beyond instinct. Rather, it allows for a uniquely primal story line in which its protagonist cannot afford to understand why their predicament exists, but only that they must continually learn from the new challenges being thrust upon them. At times the book is heartwarming, and at others it is harshly cold. The story is a stark reminder of nature’s ambivalence to those who attempt to live within it, and a celebration of the beauty and purity that stems from that coldness.

It is likely you have encountered this book at some point in your life. It is taught in schools, found in every library, and many movies have been made about it. Nevertheless, it is still worth picking up again as an adult and letting yourself become engrossed in events long past. If you enjoy stories about the gold rush and western expansion, then this book is right up your alley, and if you are intrigued by the psychology of animals, then this book will be especially intriguing to you. It is a book that has not left my mind since I first read it, and continues to color my own personal experiences in nature.

Having a list of books to complete is the perfect way to make the most of this fall and approaching winter. Rather than feeling locked inside, let your mind wander a bit in these literary universes! Not only will it entertain you and challenge your mind, but come spring and summer you won’t have to compete with the outdoors to make yourself read.

If you have any books that you believe celebrate nature, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!