In a recent episode of the podcast Books Uncovered, we had the pleasure of interviewing Hatie Parmeter, founder of WHOA Mag and Editor of the Outbound Collective. We had a fantastic conversation about creating inclusive outdoor spaces and increasing access to nature. She also shared some of her favorite books. However, we couldn't cover all of her book recommendations during the episode due to time constraints. Therefore, we wanted to share them now. We're grateful to Hatie Parameter for sharing her recommendations with us and hope that you all will find them valuable as well.
The Nature Fix - Florence Williams
An intrepid investigation into nature’s restorative benefits by a prize-winning author.
For centuries, poets and philosophers extolled the benefits of a walk in the woods: Beethoven drew inspiration from rocks and trees; Wordsworth composed while tromping over the heath; and Nikola Tesla conceived the electric motor while visiting a park. Intrigued by our storied renewal in the natural world, Florence Williams set out to uncover the science behind nature’s positive effects on the brain.
In this informative and entertaining account, Williams investigates cutting-edge research as she travels to fragrant cypress forests in Korea to meet the rangers who administer “forest healing programs,” to the green hills of Scotland and its “ecotherapeutic” approach to caring for the mentally ill, to a river trip in Idaho with Iraqi vets suffering from PTSD, to the West Virginia mountains where she discovers how being outside helps children with ADHD. The Nature Fix demonstrates that our connection to nature is much more important to our cognition than we think and that even small amounts of exposure to the living world can improve our creativity and enhance our mood. In prose that is incisive, witty, and urgent, Williams shows how time in nature is not a luxury but is in fact essential to our humanity. As our modern lives shift dramatically indoors, these ideas―and the answers they yield―are more urgent than ever.
Fuzz - Mary Roach
What’s to be done about a jaywalking moose? A bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? Three hundred years ago, animals that broke the law would be assigned legal representation and put on trial. These days, as New York Times best-selling author Mary Roach discovers, the answers are best found not in jurisprudence but in science: the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology.
Roach tags along with animal-attack forensics investigators, human-elephant conflict specialists, bear managers, and "danger tree" faller blasters. Intrepid as ever, she travels from leopard-terrorized hamlets in the Indian Himalaya to St. Peter’s Square in the early hours before the pope arrives for Easter Mass, when vandal gulls swoop in to destroy the elaborate floral display. She taste-tests rat bait, learns how to install a vulture effigy, and gets mugged by a macaque.
Combining little-known forensic science and conservation genetics with a motley cast of laser scarecrows, langur impersonators, and trespassing squirrels, Roach reveals as much about humanity as about nature’s lawbreakers. When it comes to "problem" wildlife, she finds, humans are more often the problem―and the solution. Fascinating, witty, and humane, Fuzz offers hope for compassionate coexistence in our ever-expanding human habitat.
Deep Creek - Pam Houston
On her 120-acre homestead high in the Colorado Rockies, beloved writer Pam Houston learns what it means to care for a piece of land and the creatures on it. Elk calves and bluebirds mark the changing seasons, winter temperatures drop to 35 below, and lightning sparks a 110,000-acre wildfire, threatening her century-old barn and all its inhabitants. Through her travels from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska, she explores what ties her to the earth, the ranch most of all. Alongside her devoted Irish wolfhounds and a spirited troupe of horses, donkeys, and Icelandic sheep, the ranch becomes Houston’s sanctuary, a place where she discovers how the natural world has mothered and healed her after a childhood of horrific parental abuse and neglect.
In essays as lucid and invigorating as mountain air, Deep Creek delivers Houston’s most profound meditations yet on how “to live simultaneously inside the wonder and the grief… to love the damaged world and do what I can to help it thrive.”
Dead Reckoning: Learning from Accidents in the Outdoors - Emma Walker
It's easier to stay alive if you know what's out there. That's the philosophy behind Dead Reckoning, an honest, unflinching, sometimes-thrilling collection of close calls and catastrophes in the Great Outdoors. Emma Walker's narrative nonfiction covers outdoor activities ranging from hiking to sea kayaking to backcountry skiing, all in accessible, easy-to-understand terms. At the end of each chapter, she distills lessons learned for staying safe in the outdoors––all with a relatable (and occasionally vulnerable) twist.
Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear - Eva Holland
Since childhood, Eva Holland has been gripped by two debilitating phobias: fear of losing her mother and fear of heights. When the worst comes to pass with her mother’s sudden death in 2015, followed by an ice-climbing expedition that ends with Holland panicky and in tears, a new resolve kicks in: Fear may define her past, but it won’t decide her future.
Through poignant storytelling, eye-opening science journalism, and courageous, boots-off-the-ground investigation, Holland peels back the layers of paralyzing trauma and anxiety to ask: Is fear necessary? Is it rooted in the body or the mind? And further: Is there a better way to feel afraid? By grappling with—even embracing—the things she most deeply dreads, Holland aspires to give us all the nerve to face down the phobias that limit our lives.
Small Game - Blair Braverman
Four strangers and six weeks: this is all that separates Mara from one life-changing payday. She was surprised when reality TV producers came knocking at Primal Instinct—the survival school where she teaches rich clients not to die during a night outdoors—and even more shocked to be cast in their new show, Civilization. Now she just has to live off the land with her fellow survivors for long enough to get the prize money.
Whisked by helicopter to an undisclosed location, Mara meets her teammates: The grizzled outdoorsman. The Eagle Scout. The white-collar professional. And Ashley, the beautiful but inexperienced one who just wants to be famous. Mara’s unusual, rugged childhood has prepared her for the discomforts and hard work ahead. But trusting her fellow survivors? Not part of Mara’s skill set.
When the cast wakes one morning to find something has gone horribly wrong, fear ripples through the group. Are the producers giving them an extra challenge? Or are they wrapped up in something more dangerous? Soon Mara and the others face terrifying decisions as “survival” becomes more than a game.
A provocative exploration of the comforts, rituals, and connections we depend upon, Small Game is a gripping page-turner and a poignant story about finding the courage to build a new life from the ground up.
Stolen - Ann Helén Laestadius
On a winter day north of the Arctic Circle, nine-year-old Elsa—daughter of Sámi reindeer herders—sees a man brutally kill her beloved reindeer calf and threaten her into silence. When her father takes her to report the crime, local police tell them that there is nothing they can do about these “stolen” animals. Killings like these are classified as theft in the reports that continue to pile up, uninvestigated. But reindeer are not just the Sámi’s livelihood, they also hold spiritual significance; attacking a reindeer is an attack on the culture itself.
Ten years later, hatred and threats against the Sámi keep escalating, and more reindeer are tortured and killed in Elsa’s community. Finally, she’s had enough and decides to push back on the apathetic police force. The hunter comes after her this time, leading to a catastrophic final confrontation.
Based on real events, Ann-Helén Laestadius’s award-winning novel Stolen is part coming-of-age story, part love song to a disappearing natural world, and part electrifying countdown to a dramatic resolution—a searing depiction of a forgotten part of Sweden.
Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times - Katherine May
Sometimes you slip through the cracks: unforeseen circumstances like an abrupt illness, the death of a loved one, a break-up, or a job loss can derail a life. These periods of dislocation can be lonely and unexpected. For May, her husband fell ill, her son stopped attending school, and her own medical issues led her to leave a demanding job. Wintering explores how she not only endured this painful time, but embraced the singular opportunities it offered.
A moving personal narrative shot through with lessons from literature, mythology, and the natural world, May's story offers instruction on the transformative power of rest and retreat. Illumination emerges from many sources: solstice celebrations and dormice hibernation, C.S. Lewis and Sylvia Plath, swimming in icy waters and sailing arctic seas.
Ultimately Wintering invites us to change how we relate to our own fallow times. May models an active acceptance of sadness and finds nourishment in deep retreat, joy in the hushed beauty of winter, and encouragement in understanding life as cyclical, not linear. A secular mystic, May forms a guiding philosophy for transforming the hardships that arise before the ushering in of a new season.
Firekeeper's Daughter - Angeline Boulley
Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team.
Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.
Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars. At the same time, she grows concerned with an investigation that seems more focused on punishing the offenders than protecting the victims.
Now, as the deceptions―and deaths―keep growing, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go for her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.
Upcoming books Hatie is looking forward to reading:
Wolfish - Erica Berry (Pub date: 2/21/2023)
“This is one of those stories that begins with a female body. Hers was crumpled, roadside, in the ash-colored slush between asphalt and snowbank.”
So begins Erica Berry’s kaleidoscopic exploration of wolves, both real and symbolic. At the center of this lyrical inquiry is the legendary OR-7, who roams away from his familial pack in northeastern Oregon. While charting OR-7’s record-breaking journey out of the Wallowa Mountains, Erica simultaneously details her own coming-of-age as she moves away from home and wrestles with inherited beliefs about fear, danger, femininity, and the body.
As Erica chronicles her own migration―from crying wolf as a child on her grandfather’s sheep farm to accidentally eating mandrake in Sicily―she searches for new expressions for how to be a brave woman, human, and animal in our warming world. What do stories so long told about wolves tell us about our relationship to fear? How can our society peel back the layers of what scares us? By strategically unspooling the strands of our cultural constructions of predator and prey, and what it means to navigate a world in which we can be both, Erica bridges the gap between human fear and grief through the lens of a wrongfully misunderstood species.
Wolfish is for anybody trying to navigate a world that is often scary. A powerful, timeless, and necessary book for our current and future generations.
Eight Bears - Gloria Dickie (Pub date: 7/11/23)
Bears have always held a central place in our collective memory, from Indigenous folklore and Greek mythology to nineteenth-century fairytales and the modern toy shop. But as humans and bears come into ever-closer contact, our relationship nears a tipping point. Today, most of the eight remaining bear species are threatened with extinction. Some, such as the panda bear and the polar bear, are icons of the natural world; others, such as the spectacled bear and the sloth bear, are far less known.
In Eight Bears, journalist Gloria Dickie embarks on a globe-trotting journey to explore each bear’s story, whisking readers from the cloud forests of the Andes to the ice floes of the Arctic; from the jungles of India to the backwoods of the Rocky Mountain West. She meets with key figures on the frontlines of modern conservation efforts―the head of a rescue center for sun and moon bears freed from bile farms, a biologist known as Papa Panda, who has led China’s panda-breeding efforts for almost four decades, a conservationist retraining a military radar system to detect and track polar bears near towns―to reveal the unparalleled challenges bears face as they contend with a rapidly changing climate and encroaching human populations.
Weaving together ecology, history, mythology, and a captivating account of her travels and observations, Dickie offers a closer look at our volatile relationship with these magnificent mammals. Engrossing and deeply reported, Eight Bears delivers a clear warning for what we risk losing if we don’t learn to live alongside the animals that have shaped our cultures, geographies, and stories.
Planting an Idea - Jerry Apps and Natasha Kassulke (Pub date: 4/18/23)
A first-of-its-kind handbook, allowing the reader to combine the processes of critical and creative thinking with a detailed discussion of the environmental challenges facing our planet .
Planting an Idea is part guidebook for better critical and creative thinking and part overview of the environmental challenges that face our planet today. It is designed
to help readers young and old examine and develop opinions on a variety of environmental issues based on substance, creativity, and fact.
Apps and Kassulke take the reader through an examination of critical and creative thinking, providing a foundation for these skills—a foundation that can be used in all matter of public discourse. They then provide a brief history of the environmental movement, followed by a deep exploration of various environmental issues, ranging from climate change to land use to clean air and water. In each section, Apps and Kassulke show how the processes of critical and creative thinking can be used to evaluate the issues and define potential actions and solutions.
Inside, a wide variety of topics are covered, including:
And lots more
This book allows readers to better understand their positions, developing the tools they need to provide evidence that is accurate and reliable and to consider other perspectives along the way. An essential read for anyone interested in protecting the environment, Planting an Idea will enable readers to unlock ways to navigate some of today’s most pressing and important challenges.
On Digital Advocacy: Saving the Planet While Preserving Our Humanity - Katie Boué (Pub date: 7/18/23)
The book you didn’t know you needed about advocacy in the digital age.
On Digital Advocacy is an exploration of the intersection of advocacy, stewardship, social media, and our humanity. We all share a responsibility to protect our planet––especially those of us in the outdoor industry––and in the digital age, access to advocacy is abundant. Social media hands us the tools to get educated, gather resources, organize, and empower ourselves on whatever slice of the “save the planet” pie tickles your appetite to do good. The opportunity and potential for digital advocacy is dizzying––but what happens when we begin to tangle our personal identities with our pursuit of saving a dying earth? As users of public lands, we have an ethical responsibility to the planet. As inhabitants of our identities, we have an ethical responsibility to ourselves, too. Can we use the digital space to protect the outdoors while still protecting our human spirit?