Winner of the 2018 Reading the West Book Award for Nonfiction, this fresh and introspective collection of essays ruminates the practical and existential challenges of living an environmentally aware life with all of its ironies and contradictions. Each story delves into an overlooked aspect of our relationship with everyday nature—insects, garbage, backyards, noise, animals, and language—and how we cover our tracks. By weaving personal narratives with morsels of highly digestible science and research, the book leads to surprising insights into the products, practices, and phrases we take for granted in our everyday encounters with nature and encourages us to consider how we might revalue or reimagine our relationships with nature in our everyday lives.
“Julia Corbett’s exceptional, eclectic book of essays explores the overlapping worlds of bears and beetles, the mysteries of designing malls and bombing the moon, the wilderness that exists between language and the real. Here is the brave future of nature writing.”
Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle and Last Child in the Woods
"...smart, funny, and well-written. With a deceptively light touch, Corbett shows us a myriad of small ways out of our modern conundrum of consumerism and waste. Saving the earth and ourselves, she suggests, might simply be a matter of changing our minds about what it means to live with and in nature—and what it means, finally, to be natural creatures ourselves."
“An engaging, accessible, beautifully written celebration of our frayed relationship with the more-than-human world and the animals who are our kin…Julia Corbett explores the richness of nearby nature, reminding us that nurturing our bond with local landscapes is essential to the survival of the natural world and key to our own health and happiness.”
Michael P. Branch, author of Rants from the Hill and Raising Wild
Julia Corbett is a Professor in the Department of Communication and Environmental Humanities Graduate Program at the University of Utah. Her scholarship investigates human relationships with the natural world. Her books include Out of the Woods: Seeing Nature in the Everyday (2018), Seven Summers: A Naturalist Homesteads in the Modern West (2013), Communicating Nature: How We Create and Understand Environmental Messages (2008), and in progress Communicating the Climate Crisis. Before receiving her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota in 1994, she was a reporter, a park naturalist, and a natural resources information officer.