What We're Reading

cover of braiding sweetgrass

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants
Robin Wall Kimmerer, PhD

Topic: Botany plants; indigenous wisdom; ecology
Description: The secondary title sums up this beautiful book. It is about indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teaching of plants through the lens of an indigenous environmental scientist and professor at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
NCBG staff: Joanna Lelekacs, Director of Education

cover of forest bathing

Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health & Happiness
Dr. Qing Li

Topic: Environment; wellness
Description: Explore the Japanese art & science of shinrin-yoku, forest bathing, and the benefits we experience physically, mentally, and spiritually when we spend time in the presence of trees.
NCBG staff: Janna Starr, Facilities & Events Manager, Sustainability Officer

cover of wise trees

Wise Trees
Diane Cook and Len Jenshel

Topic: Natural history, connection with nature
Description: Travel the world to see iconic trees on 5 continents and learn about the interconnectedness of plants and people.
NCBG staff: Michael Kunz, Conservation Ecologist

cover of sourdough

Robin Sloan

Topic: Novel
Description: Magical Realism with sourdough starter as a main character; it’s a book that kept me going to the internet to look up what is real and what is the author’s imagination.
NCBG staff: Carol Ann McCormick, Curator of the UNC Herbarium

cover of a good neighborhood

A Good Neighborhood
Therese Anne Fowler

Topic: Fiction
Description: Follow the story of professor of ecology and forestry, Valerie Alston-Holt and her son who live in a tight-knit neighborhood in North Carolina. Their life is going smoothly until a neighboring family decides to bulldoze their property and destroy their land, bringing up the interesting topic of what it means to be a good neighborhood when families don’t see eye-to-eye.
NCBG staff: Aislinn Spain, Assistant to the Director and Board Liaison

cover of blue latitudes

Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before
Tony Horwitz

Topic: Biography
Description: Part biography of Captain James Cook, part travelogue of Tony Horwitz re-tracing Cook’s voyages in the South Pacific, part commentary on how tourism changes isolated communities — funny, informative, sad, and thoroughly enjoyable.
NCBG staff: Carol Ann McCormick, Curator of the UNC Herbarium

cover of born naked

Born Naked
Farley Mowat

Topic: Environmental awareness
Description: Memoir that traces back to Mowat’s youth and adventures exploring nature and the creatures of the natural world.
NCBG staff: Johnny Randall, Director of Conservation

cover of hidden life of trees

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World
Peter Wohlleben

Topic: Forest Ecology
Description: This book tells the story of the life cycles of trees and the forest communities they make up, using relatively new research to make the mind-bending case that trees have a form of consciousness and social organization. The author’s style is a fun blend of florid storytelling and scientific precision.
NCBG staff: Sam Wilson, Carolina Community Garden Assistant

cover of flight behavior

Flight Behavior
Barbara Kingsolver

Topic: Fiction
Description: Migrating butterflies make an unexpected stop in a rural Tennessee town, which causes moral dilemmas around environmental protection, rural economy, and media exploitation.
NCBG staff: Elaine McManus, Volunteer Manager

cover of reed warbler book

Call of the Reed Warbler: A New Agriculture, a New Earth
Charles Massy

Topic: Environment; farming; sustainability
Description: Massy explores the future of farming, food supply, and our health, while he delves into innovative strategies to upgrade our agricultural goals from “sustainable” to “regenerative.”
NCBG staff: Stephen Keith, Director of Development

cover of the home place

The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature
J. Drew Lanham

Topic: Environment; nature; race
Description: From the fertile soils of love, land, identity, family, and race emerges The Home Place, a big-hearted, unforgettable memoir by ornithologist J. Drew Lanham.
NCBG staff: Jennifer Peterson, Assoc. Director of Communications