Favorite Books of 2021 and Readers’ Poll

As we move towards the end of the year, I wanted to spend a bit of time reflecting on my favorite books and provide an opportunity to hear about your favorites.

Below are four of my favorite books, and an opportunity for you to help create the 1st Annual Naturalist Weekly Readers’ Book List.

My Favorites for 2021


Rewilding by Micah Mortali

Mortali is a member of the faculty at the Kirpalu Center for Yoga and Health, and the Founder of the Kripalu School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership. In this book, Mortali blends his experience with yoga, mindfulness, and wilderness skills to provide the reader with practices and stories that will explore you inner wisdom and connection to nature.

“Rewilding is a return to our essential nature. It is an attempt to reclaim something of what we were before we used words like ‘civilized’ to define ourselves” – Micah Mortali

Rewilding Cover

Three Simple Lines Cover

Three Simple Lines by Natalie Goldberg

Goldberg is the author of 15 books including Writing Down The Bones. In this book, Goldberg takes the reader on a journey through the history of haiku and the through the Japanese countryside as she tries to learn the essence behind the haiku. She investigates the works of Buson, Basho, Issa, and Shiki. She also questions the lack of information about female haiku writers until she finds the work of Chiyo-ni, a poet and Buddhist nun from the Edo Period.

“What is the Way of haiku? Bare attention, no distractions, pure awareness, noticing only what is in the moment. Being connected to seasons, and unconnected to self-clinging. And then, out of that, composing your experience in three lines that go beyond logic, that make the mind leap.” –Natalie Goldberg.


The Sense of Wonder by Rachel Carson

Carson is perhaps best known for her book Silent Spring where she highlighted the impact of pesticides on the natural world. In this book, she talks about her philosophy on how to cultivate a child’s joy and curiosity in the natural world. Carson uses this short book to encourage adults to engage with their children in activities that foster a sense of awe and joy in the natural world.

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth, find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts”. – Rachel Carson

cover of the sense of wonder

Cover Haiku Enlightenment

Haiku Enlightenment by Gabriel Rosenstock

This book is my favorite book on haiku. Within this book, Rosenstock talks about the craft of writing haiku, along with the practice of haiku as a way of seeing the world. Rosenstock uses a variety of classical and contemporary poetry as a way to talk about topics such as “The Gentle Art of Disappearing” and the “Spirit of Issa”. Rosenstock also reminds us to step away from the page and explore the world around us.

“Haiku that lack magic and mystery are not really haiku at all. They may conform to the structure and appearance of haiku but that is not enough. They must be capable of transforming writer and reader alike.” –Gabriel Rosenstock


Books on desk

Readers’ Poll

Sorry! The poll has closed.

But you can read the 2021 Readers’ Choice Book List here!

The guidelines

  • All books that promote nature connection through poetry or prose will be considered
  • Naturalist Weekly reserves the right to pick the books that will appear on this list
  • Books that do not fit with the Naturalist Weekly’s theme will not make this list
  • Books that make this list will be added to NaturalistWeekly’s Bookshop site.
  • The Reader’s Poll will close on November 13, 2021

Inspired to buy a book written by one of today’s featured poets? Consider using the NaturalistWeekly’s Bookshop.org storefront. We are an affiliate of Bookshop.org and may receive a small commission if you buy a book from Bookshop.org.


26 thoughts on “Favorite Books of 2021 and Readers’ Poll

Add yours

      1. me too and I love that quote on essential haiku!
        btw my fav book 2021 is Tim Harford, How To Make the World Add Up – the connection to nature may be a it tenuous, but it’s there…

      2. Hi Barbara, Is this where we get to say “Great minds think alike”?! I also think we can add that book to the list. Thanks for sharing.

      3. I love Tim Harford – including his speaking voice, always presenting his stuff which just a slight hint of irony, as if not taking himself overly serious, I find 🙂 – gotta dash, legal deadline looming 🙂 thanks Mark

    1. Hi Lesley, It is hard to pick just one! I always a afraid in these types of things that I am forgetting something. For example, right after I wrote this I remembered Tom Hennen’s Darkness Covers Everything. I really like that one too.

      1. I see what you mean, Mark! I looked it up on Amazon uk and, on reading the sample, I knew from the very first poem that this was a gift of words that would enhance anyone’s moments. Thank you for bringing it to my attention! 🙌

  1. Great idea to put together a book list. I just submitted the form. However, I received an error message that the “Favorite Book” field was looking for an email address. Then another error message that the “Blog or social media channel” field was also looking for an email address. To get past those errors, I put my email address for those two fields. Then the form was accepted. So you’ll see my email address on three fields 🙂

    But my real answers to those other fields are “Dune” and https://davewilliamswriter.wordpress.com/. Thanks for asking your readers to submit their favorite books!

    1. Hi Dave, That you for submitting and letting me know about the form issues! I think I got it fixed. Sometimes learning new things can be challenging! Thanks again for adding to the book list.

  2. Just read Counter Culture by David Platt . . . had me squirming with every page turn to get up off my duff and actually do something that will make a lasting difference.

  3. wow, that just grabbed me when you said end of the year Mark. I haven’t thought of it in quite that way yet but wow, it’s coming sooner than later. Nice picks you have here. Thank you!🌷🙏👏

    1. Hi Cindy, the end of the year is rapidly approaching! I was just planning out things at work for January and February, and the stores are shifting over there seasonal items. And daylight savings time is this weekend!

  4. I love this idea, Mark. I went back through my reading log and realize I’ve spent much of the past year reading about the Black Panthers and prison and abolition, and not so much about the natural world. Maybe next year I’ll cycle around to some of the book titles you curate. 🙂

    1. Hi Tracy, Thanks for the comment! Maybe even one of the books on this year’s curated list will be one you read.
      The books you have been reading are super important and deserve their own list.
      Thanks again for adding to the conversation.

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