Recommended Books about Relationships with Animals/Nature

Here is a list of books, for adults, about human relationships with animals and/or nature that I have read and enjoyed. The books are in no particular order. There is a mix of scholarly stuff and popular stuff. I will add to the list as I continue to read. Feel free to suggest books in the comments. Happy reading, fellow primates and bookworms!



Waiting for Wolves in Japan: An Anthropological Study of People-Wildlife Relations by John Knight

Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail by Jennifer Pharr Davis

The Man-Eating Tigers of Sundarbans by Sy Montgomery

Sacred Ground & Holy Water: One Man’s Adventures in the Wild by Lyn Fuchs

That Bear Ate My Pants! by Tony James Slater

That Quail, Robert by Margaret A. Stanger

Reflections of Eden: My Years with the Orangutans of Borneo by Biruté M.F. Galdikas

Snow Leopard: Stories from the Roof of the World edited by Don Hunter

Shadow Mountain: A Memoir of Wolves, a Woman, and the Wild by Renee Askins   *This was the book that started it all. I read it in high school, loved it more than any book I’d ever read up until that point in my life, and realized, ‘My passion is wildlife conservation.’

Removing Mountains: Extracting Nature and Identity in the Appalachian Coalfields by Rebecca R. Scott

Myth and Reality in the Rain Forest: How Conservation Strategies Are Failing in West Africa by John F. Oates

Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence by Marc Bekoff

The One-Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka

The Soul of the Rhino: A Nepali Adventure with Kings and Elephant Drivers, Billionaires and Bureaucrats, Shamans and Scientists and the Indian Rhinoceros by Hemanta Mishra, edited by Jim Ottaway

The Dragon Behind the Glass: A True Story of Power, Obsession, and the World’s Most Coveted Fish by Emily Voigt

Almost Human: A Journey into the World of Baboons by Shirley C. Strum

Beyond the Last Village: A Journey Of Discovery In Asia’s Forbidden Wilderness by Alan Rabinowitz

The Other Side of the River: Stories of Women, Water and the World by Eila Kundrie Carrico

Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird by Katie Fallon

The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure by Shoba Narayan

The Intimate Ape: Orangutans and the Secret Life of a Vanishing Species by Shawn Thompson

Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake-Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia by Dennis Covington   *This book gave me a panic attack and I had to put it down for weeks…doesn’t that entice you to read it?!

The Beast in the Garden: The True Story of a Predator’s Deadly Return to Suburban America by David Baron

Primates Face to Face: The Conservation Implications of Human-nonhuman Primate Interconnections edited by Agustín Fuentes

Flyaway: How A Wild Bird Rehabber Sought Adventure and Found Her Wings by Suzie Gilbert

A Primate’s Memoir: A Neuroscientist’s Unconventional Life Among the Baboons by Robert M. Sapolsky

The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen

Gifts of Unknown Things: A True Story of Nature, Healing, and Initiation from Indonesia’s Dancing Island by Lyall Watson

Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process by Irene M. Pepperberg




(Ok, so I don’t read much fiction…I would love some recommendations!)

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Folded Earth by Anuradha Roy

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver


Read a similar list for children here!


  1. Thank you for list- I am challenging myself to read a few of these. Currently, I am enthralled by Jennifer Ackerman’s ‘The Genius of Birds’, in which she describes the types of intelligences and the social learning that takes place in many avian species. She mentions their rank in inteligence in some areas in comparison to bonobos, which I think you might find interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If you’re looking for fiction about human relationships with animals try out ‘We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves’ by Karen Joy Fowler. I thought it was fantastic! It’s less about the animal involved and more about the lasting impact it has on the main character. (I don’t want to include too much information as it’s great to read blind!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jordan. Thanks for your comment! I did read Alex and Me years ago and agree that I should add it to this list. I haven’t read The Elephant Whisperer yet, so thanks for the recommendation!


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