In my tiny apartment, old-fashioned bound books take up an inordinate amount of wall space. The rule of thumb; if they don’t get thumbed about once-per-year, off to Friends of the Library, or an even sardine-tighter storage unit. In the name of economy and smaller footprints, my ratio of digital-to-physical acquisition grows higher every year.

But some books will always stay close at hand, dog-eared and scribbled-in. A book worth re-reading becomes part of how we think. Here are some reflections on books that shape Discovery’s mission, our tribal dna, and what our naturalists bring to every class and outing in the land of moss and mistmaiden.

In this section

American road trips

An appreciation of 7 good books My father Edwin died in June, 2016 at age 96, in Rochester, New York.…

2016: Update, July, 2020 | Richard Carstensen | 13 pages

Plants of the Pacific Northwest coast

My most-thumbed book For the past quarter century since its publication in 1994, this has been—hands down—the most often-opened book…

1994 | Pojar & MacKinnon, eds | 528 pages

The Nature of Southeast Alaska

It’s a little unorthodox for authors to review their own books, so I’ll defer on this first one. But it…

2013 | Carstensen, Armstrong & O'Clair | 310 pages

Last child in the woods

Whenever I visit my parents in a suburb of Rochester, New York, I pack my binoculars and slip into a…

2006 | Richard Louv | 418 pages

Our grandparents’ names on the land

Haa L’éelk’w Hás Aani Saax’ú: Our grandparents‚’ names on the land. Sealaska Heritage Institute; University of Washington Press. Cultural atlas…

2012 | Thornton & Martin, eds | 232 pages

Faith of cranes

Faith of cranes: finding hope and family in Alaska. (Mountaineers, Seattle) Review from the Fall 2011 issue of Discoveries  Some…

2011 | Hank Lentfer | 179 pages

Field notes on science and nature

Field notes on science & nature Harvard University Press. Foreword by Edward O. Wilson Why naturalists should keep journals Can…

2011 | Michael Canfield, ed. | 297 pages