Reading in the Outdoors

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

"Nature and books belong to the eyes that see them." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

October is National Book Month and a great time to nestle into a new book! Here are some of our favorite books, provided by Parks Staff. Be sure to also tune into our Facebook Live Broadcast “Reading with a Ranger” each Saturday at 10 AM. And check out San Mateo County Libraries for more great online events and to reserve a book today!

  • The Wild Muir

    The Wild Muir by John Muir

    I would recommend reading The Wild Muir: Twenty-two of John Muir's Greatest Adventures. Not only is Muir an exceptional writer, but he goes on these amazing adventures that make you want to pack up your bag and go out into the wilderness. Since it is a collection of short stories it's easy to pick up and read wherever you are.

    Ranger Joel Cervantes
    Huddart Park, Wunderlich Park, Edgewood Park, Flood Park

  • Roughing It by Mark Twain

    Roughing It by Mark Twain

    I would recommend Mark Twain's Roughing It. It includes some memorable scenes set in Nevada and California. One of which describes an accidental fire that quickly engulfs an entire mountainside at Lake Tahoe. The book is full of humor, but that scene drove home the seriousness of how easily and quickly a fire can start and spread.

    Ranger Darren Cummings
    Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, San Pedro Valley Park, Devil’s Slide Trail, Quarry Park

  • Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane

    Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane

    Like a mushroom hunter on the prowl for rare specimens, Robert Macfarlane scours out-of-the-way parts the British Isles collecting endangered words, the near-forgotten place-words of those who lived intimately with the landscape. Along the way he celebrates the lives of past writers who experienced nature through writing it, and reveals the essential relationship between language and our ability to see the natural world. A feast for anyone who loves language and the outdoors.

    Nathan Grover
    Website Specialist

  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

    The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

    I would recommend reading The Alchemist. It is a short, easy read with a great message about life!

    Ranger Dylan Hofflander
    Memorial Park, Pescadero Creek County Park, Sam McDonald Park

  • Nature's Temples by Joan Maloof

    Natures Temples by Joan Maloof

    In Natures Temples: The Complex World of Old-Growth Forests the author translates complex science principles into a digestible form which allow the average reader to better understand how forest ecosystems function. More than vegetation the author touches also touches on the role of the animal realm (from micro-biology to mega fauna), the vital relationship between mycorrhizal fungi and trees, and how nutrient cycling befits the entire ecosystem. I recommend this book for those who are fascinated by the natural world. Although this book focuses on old-growth forests of the Eastern United States the high-level concepts described in the text are applicable to Western forests as well.

    Dan Krug
    County Arborist

  • Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

    Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

    Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer is a beautifully written series of essays on indigenous culture, science, and the interactions of people and nature. The book goes over how humans receive gifts from the land, establish gratitude, and build a relationship of reciprocity with nature. It reinvigorated my love of ecology and gave me a much better perspective on indigenous relationships with the nature world.

    Hannah Ormshaw
    Natural Resource Manager

  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scot O'Dell

    Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

    I would recommend reading Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. There is so much to this story that is based on the experience of a young native woman -- California native history, human resiliency and mental fortitude and a great example of an independent woman.

    Carla Schoof
    Communications Specialist

  • Gloryland by Shelton Johnson

    Gloryland by Shelton Johnson

    This novel tells the story of a young man and his journey to becoming a Buffalo Soldier at Yosemite National Park. It is poetically written by Shelton Johnson, a National Park Ranger at Yosemite and a personal hero of mine!

    Ranger Katherine Wright
    Interpretive Program: Environmental Education and Community Outreach