April is when Earth Month is celebrated, the culmination of which is Earth Day on the 22nd every year. And though it’s one of our favorite things to celebrate, we acknowledge our relationship and impact on the planet is 24/7. So, it’s our hope that this list of recent books helps you reconnect with nature, live more sustainably and consciously upon our one and only Earth, and live a happier life by bringing nature home — all year long.
From flower-filled recipes and connecting with your spiritual self in the garden to learning about the not-often-spoken issues of animal trafficking, there’s something here for nearly everyone.
The creators behind The CONTENTed Nest visited more than 15 real gardens to gather inspiration and tips for this guide to gardening with an eco-friendly ethos. Whether you’re a Day Dreamer, Home Harvester, Garden Partier, or Great Escaper, there could be something for you in these pages. We love their focus on creating a sense of well-being and sustainability, and using reclaimed materials while gardening — whether you’re in an urban oasis, or a quiet country cottage. There isn’t one photo in this visual stunner we wouldn’t want to jump into.
With a focus on floral design, this beauty is a photographic feast for almost anyone who loves botanicals. Lucy Hunter takes us on a journey through a year in her garden in North Wales, with spreads that make us stop and stare as if we’re gazing at a Dutch still life. But beyond the artfully arranged blooms and elegant photography, it’s full of advice on how to connect to the landscape in each season, how to grow your own flowers for cutting, and fun projects such as making a natural journal and dyeing with natural ingredients. This book has #WeddingInspo all over it.
If DIY natural beauty is something you want more of in your life, then this book may be a great one to start (or add to) your recipe collection. Stephanie Gerber of Hello Glow has packed these pages with more than 150 recipes for face, body, and hair. No fancy equipment required, Gerber teaches how to make fresh skin care recipes with ingredients right from your fridge and pantry. From a high gloss hair mask to raspberry basil body polish to green tea facial toner, these DIYs can be fun and effective.
We spy something green, and we haven’t even started on the garden of our dreams yet. This journal for gardeners (both new and experienced) features a durable cover, a reinforced pocket in the back, plant logs, garden planning pages, and plenty of blank pages for notes and sketches. We also love the “Year in review” pages, so you can take a look back and learn from how it went, while planning for next time. It can take you through the seasons for 5 years and is great for small to medium gardens.
The Natural Cozy Cottage: 100 styling ideas to create a warm and welcoming home by Christiane Bellstedt Myers
If you’ve been loving those #CottageCore posts on social media, then this book may be right for you. It features 100 charming ideas to create a warm, welcoming home using natural or pre-loved objects. You can find tips on lighting, textiles, furniture, and details down to the tiniest, loveliest treasures — some of which might be found right in your backyard (reclaimed milk pails full of fresh flowers FTW) while others might be just an antique shop away. Let this be your portal to magical garden gates, handmade wreaths, and second-hand storage solutions.
Bring this little book outside, find yourself a strip of bark to use as a bookmark (we’re using birch), and you might be seeing green. Really, though, the green ink is pretty. We love how easy and approachable the prompts are in this guide to shinrin-yoku (aka “bathing” in the forest atmosphere).
This process can help you improve mindfulness and well-being, boost your immune system, and become more content. In a world of high stress and go-go-go, the practice of forest bathing may be a real balm, even a lifesaver. There’s no right or wrong way, but expert Ben Page writes on the what, why, and how, including a practice of 10 simple steps.
Designing a garden or heading out on a hike in the forest might be great, but it isn’t always accessible to everyone. Houseplants, however, can always be a good idea. Just about anyone can make a houseplant or 2, or 20, part of their lives, and being a plant parent might even lessen loneliness. This guide, by award-winning horticulturist Fran Bailey, can help you care for your plants so they can take care of you. Topics range from which plants are good for which room to how to choose, keep, and share your plants. We love the clean, modern layout of this book and it has already helped us improve our own plant babies.
For readers who care about animals (yes, us!), this book might be an eye-opening and fascinating read for you. Penned by acclaimed environmental writer Emma Marris, it transports readers into the field and shines a light on important questions like: “When is it right to capture or feed wild animals for the good of their species? Can hunting be ecological? Are any animals truly wild on a planet that humans have so thoroughly changed?”
After reading about how intertwined human and animal lives really are, it’s hard not to turn the last page with a fresh perspective on nature, wildness, and our place in it all.
Unlike the other books on this list, this one’s fiction. But it paints a remarkable likeness to what’s happening in the world with global wildlife trafficking. To write this thriller, the author used his immersive research in seven countries across Africa when writing a movie about animal trafficking (to be produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, and Tobey Maguire).
With blurbs from people such as Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE and Arnold Schwarzenegger, we’re taking note. Though there are some difficult scenes of animal cruelty, it tackles important issues we could all be aware of. Plus, the author will be donating his royalties from the book to anti-poaching organizations!
“A greener way to cook for you and your family,” this book says on the cover. Is that… even possible?, you might wonder. It can be. Anna Jones — widely known as being a major voice in modern vegetarian cooking — shows a way of eating that can help the planet and eliminate some overwhelm we all feel each day. The recipes are grouped by what they’re cooked in, whether that be a pot, pan, tray, etc.
The instructions and ingredients can be simple, save time and money, and reduce cleanup time and stress. You can find joyful recipes like sweet potato, ginger and coconut stew, and corn and cauliflower chowder — plus many ideas on how to reduce food waste.
You might want to add several of these hikes and walks to your bucket list — or heck, you could even make hitting every trail in this book your bucket list! Your guide? Mary Caperton Morton: park ranger, author, and a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. She’ll take you through 500 hikes spread among 336 national parks around the world.
From the Acadian Trail in Nova Scotia to Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes in Alaska to Svartifoss Waterfall in Iceland, these might be the most picturesque walks you’ll take on this Earth. This photo-rich guidebook can help you take the steps toward your next outdoor adventure.
Growing Consciousness: The Gardener’s Guide to Seeding the Soul (Gardening and Mindfulness, Natural Healing, Garden & Therapy) by Leo Carver
This book ventures into the spiritual side of gardening, with Leo Carver as your guide. He’s certified in Ayurveda and teaches meditation, holistic wellness, natural herbalism, and more.
Carver provides tools and insight to open and receive a different perception of self and to explore a connection with nature. In this case, you can increase wellness and well-being through the everyday habits you cultivate in your garden right alongside the food you grow. Sections on soil, water, and sun delve into everything from self-sustainability, safety, and confidence, to using a spiritual approach to garden design.
Full Bloom: Vibrant Plant-Based Recipes for Your Summer Table (Easy Vegan Recipes, Plant-Based Recipes, Summer Recipes) by Virpi Mikkonen
Rarely do we find a cookbook in which we want to try every. single. recipe. But with this one, we really do want to try ‘em all. These Finnish and Scandinavian-inspired plant-based recipes are filled with fresh berries, wild herbs and flowers, oats, fruits, and all the vibrant colors of summer. The overall vibe when flipping through this one? Happy, uplifting, joyful. We’ll raise a glass to that. Plus, in addition to recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dessert, there are a handful of wellness recipes for face masks, oils, and the like.
Naomi Farr is the books editor and a copy editor at Greatist. She loves focusing on all things books, beauty, wellness, and mental health. She’s also a YA fantasy writer and bookstagrammer. You can find her (and her cat) @avioletlife.