What better way to start the New Year than with a carefully curated list of books designed to deepen your understanding of yourself and the world around you? We’ve got together with the whole Commonland team to bring you their recommended reads for 2024!
Learn about the fungal filaments that shape our existence and our surroundings, explore the art of natural navigation through reading puddles, and find the tools that allow you to better understand your emotions. Whether you prefer diving into a book curled up on the sofa with a cup of tea, or feel an urge to expand your knowledge, our book list will help you broaden your awareness and kickstart your journey into 2024. So, read on to find your first book of the New Year!
1. Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake
Embark on a captivating journey into the hidden realms beneath our feet with “Entangled Life” by Merlin Sheldrake. In this exploration of mycology, Sheldrake unravels the mysteries of fungal networks that intricately weave through the fabric of our world. From the fundamental symbiosis between fungi and plants to the mind-bending ways these organisms communicate, trade with and support one and another, Sheldrake guides you through a world that defies conventional understanding. As he delves into the science and magic of mycelium, the living, breathing foundation of our ecosystems, Sheldrake reveals the profound implications these fungal networks have on our understanding of nature, consciousness, and the interconnectedness of all living things.
2. The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf
Alexander von Humboldt was the most influential scientist of his time. All over the Americas and the English-speaking world, towns and rivers are still named after him, along with mountain ranges, bays, and waterfalls. Charles Darwin called him the “greatest scientific traveller who ever lived.” Yet today, outside Latin America and Humboldt’s native Germany, his name has receded into near oblivion. In “The Invention of Nature”, Andrea Wulf puts Alexander von Humboldt back in the spotlight. The Invention of Nature is a fun and informative book about a scientist who travelled the world, pioneering modern understandings of how ecosystems work.
3. Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown
A well-known phrase explains that “The state of the intervention depends on the state of the intervener.” This is essential in landscape restoration which requires long-term people processes: when working with others, it’s important to also understand yourself.
Atlas of the Heart helps you do exactly that. Brené Brown guides you in better understanding your own emotions, building a better connection with yourself and your feelings, and thus create a stronger connection with others. This is a vital book for anyone wanting to explore their emotions and, especially, for those working on people processes.
4. The Natural Navigator by Tristan Gooley
The wind blows outside and leaves rustle on the path. You throw a coat on to enjoy the winter air – but where do you go? The Natural Navigator by Tristan Gooley reveals the lost art of navigation. By reading this book, you’ll start to understand the signs of nature. How the sun, water, and wind shape a landscape, and what signs a tree or a puddle can tell you more about where you’re going. Whether you’re popping down to shops or heading out on a long hike, this is essential reading to learn more about the world we live in and read the signposts that nature creates.
5. Losing Eden: Why our minds need the wild by Lucy Jones
You won’t need another excuse to go outside after reading “Losing Eden” by Lucy Jones. In a well-researched book that weaves in her own personal story of recovery, Jones demonstrates the intricate relationship between nature and the human psyche. With a compelling blend of environmental philosophy, psychology, and storytelling, “Losing Eden” will inspire you to reconsider your connection to the natural world for the sake of both humanity and the Earth. Jones’ eloquent prose and insightful reflections make this book a powerful call to action, encouraging us to rediscover our place within the intricate web of life.
6. When I sing, the mountains dance by Irene Solá
Irene Solà’s “When I Sing, the Mountains Dance” is a mesmerising novel of interconnected tales set in the Pyrenees, Catalunya. From clouds to ghosts, Solà’s narrative embraces a diverse cast, weaving together the stories of the Domènec family and the enduring echoes of the Spanish Civil War. The landscape itself becomes a character, speaking through mountains and rivers. Solà’s prose, vividly translated from Catalan, delicately explores themes of trauma, resilience, and the intricate bond between humanity and nature. As the world hurtles towards its own reckoning, this book stands as a compelling call to pause, listen, and appreciate the interconnectedness of all living things.