I hope you enjoyed, The Bear by Andrew Krivak, the first selection for our new Facebook Book Club. If you did, hopefully you’ll also like something from this list of books that, like The Bear, explore themes of nature, grief, and facing tragedy with decency and goodness. Head over to the group to find out what January’s book will be and join in on our community conversations.
The Lightest Object in the Universe by Kimi Eisele
Carson is on the East Coast when the electrical grid goes down. Desperate to find Beatrix, a woman on the West Coast who holds his heart, he sets off along a cross-country railroad line, where he encounters lost souls, clever opportunists, and those seeking salvation. Meanwhile, Beatrix and her neighbors begin to construct a cooperative community, working to turn the end of the world into the possibility of a bright beginning.
Without modern means of communication, will Beatrix and Carson be able to find their way to each other? The answer may lie with one fifteen-year-old girl, whose actions could ultimately decide the fate of the lovers.
Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl
Growing up in Alabama, Renkl was a devoted reader, an explorer of riverbeds and red-dirt roads, and a fiercely loved daughter. Here, in brief essays, she traces a tender and honest portrait of her complicated parents—her exuberant, creative mother; her steady, supportive father—and of the bittersweet moments that accompany a child’s transition to caregiver.
And here, braided into the overall narrative, Renkl offers observations on the world surrounding her suburban Nashville home. Ringing with rapture and heartache, these essays convey the dignity of bluebirds and rat snakes, monarch butterflies and native bees. As these two threads haunt and harmonize with each other, Renkl suggests that there is astonishment to be found in common things: in what seems ordinary, in what we all share. For in both worlds—the natural one and our own—”the shadow side of love is always loss, and grief is only love’s own twin.”
Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin
Rice Moore is just beginning to think his troubles are behind him. He’s found a job protecting a remote forest preserve in Virginian Appalachia where his main responsibilities include tracking wildlife and refurbishing cabins. It’s hard work, and totally solitary—perfect to hide away from the Mexican drug cartels he betrayed back in Arizona. But when Rice finds the carcass of a bear killed on the grounds, the quiet solitude he’s so desperately sought is suddenly at risk.
More bears are killed on the preserve and Rice’s obsession with catching the poachers escalates, leading to hostile altercations with the locals and attention from both the law and Rice’s employers. Partnering with his predecessor, a scientist who hopes to continue her research on the preserve, Rice puts into motion a plan that could expose the poachers but risks revealing his own whereabouts to the dangerous people he was running from in the first place.
The Secret Wisdom of Nature by Peter Wohlleben
Nature is full of surprises-deciduous trees affect the rotation of the Earth, cranes sabotage the production of Iberian ham, and coniferous forests can make it rain-but what are the processes that drive these incredible phenomena? And why do they matter?
In The Secret Wisdom of Nature, master storyteller and international sensation Peter Wohlleben takes listeners on a thought-provoking exploration of the vast natural systems that make life on Earth possible. In this tour of an almost unfathomable world, Wohlleben describes the fascinating interplay between animals and plants and answers such questions as, How do they influence each other? Do lifeforms communicate across species boundaries? and What happens when this finely tuned system gets out of sync? By introducing us to the latest scientific discoveries and recounting his own insights from decades of observing nature, one of the world’s most famous foresters shows us how to recapture our sense of awe so we can see the world around us with completely new eyes.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Alaska, 1974. Ernt Allbright came home from the Vietnam War a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes the impulsive decision to move his wife and daughter north where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.
Cora will do anything for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown. Thirteen-year-old Leni, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, has little choice but to go along, daring to hope this new land promises her family a better future.
In a wild, remote corner of Alaska, the Allbrights find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the newcomers’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.
But as winter approaches and darkness descends, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own.