As we head into Northern hemisphere Spring, it feels like a good time to reflect on the nature that surrounds us – thus our Ultimate Library booklist brings the wonders of the natural world to life – from fascinating insights into The Secret Lives of Elephants, now a major series, to a History of the World in 100 Plants, to the latest edition of David Attenborough’s legendary Trials of Life trilogy about animal behaviour. All of them serve to remind us in one way or another that we are a part of nature, not apart from it.
1. How to Speak Whale: A Voyage into the Future of Animal Communication by Tom Mustill
‘Like a first-class nature film put on paper’ (Forbes) How to Speak Whale is a thrilling investigation into the pioneering world of animal communication, where big data and artificial intelligence is changing our relationship with animals forever. After author and
wildlife filmmaker Tom Mustill was almost killed by a whale, he became obsessed with trying to find out what the whale was thinking. In an age of cutting-edge discovery, what would it mean if we could make contact?
How to Speak Whale: A Voyage into the Future of Animal Communication
2. Wild Green Wonders: A Life in Nature by Patrick Barkham
This book brings you a selection from Patrick Barkham’s twenty years of writings for The Guardian, bearing witness to the many changes we have imposed upon the planet and the challenges lying ahead for the future of nature. From peregrine falcons nesting
by the Thames to protests about new railway projects, Barkham, alongside interviews from scientists and conservationists, paints an ever-changing portrait of contemporary wildlife.
3. The Secret Lives of Elephants: Birth, Death, and Family in the World of Giants by Hannah Mumby
‘The Secret Lives of Elephants is an informative and entertaining memoir’ (BBC Wildlife Magazine) chronicling Hannah Mumby’s several years of ground-breaking field research with African elephants. As unique as people, they can be clever and curious or
headstrong and impulsive, shy, or sociable. In this lyrically written and deeply personal account, Mumby reverently describes her own elephant encounters alongside the most up-to-date discoveries to help close the gap between humans and elephants.
The Secret Lives of Elephants: Birth, Death, and Family in the World of Giants
4. The History of the World in 100 Plants by Simon Barnes
From the author of The History of the World in 100 Animals, comes an inspiring new book that looks at the 100 plants that have had the greatest impact on humanity, complete with stunning illustrations throughout. From giving us oxygen and food to
providing shelter and medicine, plant life has always been and is still integral to human life on our planet. Humans like to see ourselves as a species that has risen above the animal kingdom, doing what we will with the world. But we couldn’t live for a day
5. The Trials of Life: A Natural History of Animal Behaviour by Sir David Attenborough
The third and final updated edition of legendary naturalist Sir David Attenborough’s classic Life trilogy covers ethology, the science of animal behaviour. Called ‘A marvellous book… unputdownable… utterly engaging’ by the Telegraph, this final instalment boasts brilliant new insights into how, and most importantly why, animals
across the world behave the way they do. From finding food to finding a mate, this book looks at all aspects of animals’ lives to complete Attenborough’s trilogy on the story of animal evolution.