Simplicity always is in vogue. Four recent books are a winning nod to simple — in concept, in design and in their expectations of readers. Two of the titles are for children, but they’ll resonate with anyone who sees the world through the filter of nature.
By Alexandra Frey and Autumn Totton
The Experiment, 192 pages, $14.95
The authors make clear that this book wasn’t intended for the outdoorsy set. Rather, they want to draw people to nature, to realize its benefits for body and soul. Created by The Mindfulness Project, a meditation center in London, the guide-journal is something like an activity book for adults. There is a collection of exercises that will help users see nature in small ways, mindful to the little things eclipsed by the distractions of modern life. The point is: Slow down, and see nature as an act of self-care. “Start with the nature you know and then keep on exploring,” the authors write. Getting down on your lawn might prove the best place to begin.
By Lucy Davidson
Princeton Architectural Press, 144 pages, $16.95
OK, we’re talking about knots, but still the author makes the case for having the knowledge through practice. This book should be accessed with a piece of rope or cord handy because the examples within are all about repetition. The author traces her knot “obsession” with her early shoe-tying days, and backs it up with knot terms and a discussion of rope quality. Such a book demands helpful illustrations, and this one mostly delivers. The really geeky will enjoy the little side projects such as rope ladders and plant-hangers. Organized by knot type (camping, maritime, climbing and classic), there are old standbys and others sure to keep the guy-lines taut.
By Maria Ana Peixe Dias and
Ines Teixeira Do Rosario
Lincoln Children’s Books, 176 pages, $16.99
Appearances say ‘Book for kids,’ but look deeper. The nut: Nature is mysterious, and here are some answers. What are trees? What are flowers for? How many types of rocks are there? The authors felt convicted to inform because, they write, “the better informed we are, and the more able we will be to appreciate and conserve the beauties and riches of the natural world.” Writers of a collection of “Outside” books, the authors here look, too, to the heavens to investigate stars, or the color of sunlight. Chapter to chapter are an inquisitive, recognizable boy and girl, threads through a simply illustrated world that is somehow sophisticated, too.
By Kate Siber
Wide Eyed Editions, 112 pages, $30
Written by Outside magazine correspondent Kate Siber, this children’s book is a fun, informative romp through some of the national system’s most iconic parks. The illustrations by Chris Turnham dominate every page, and he’s matched color scheme to park region. (For example, southwestern parks like Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde are awash in burnt reds and yellows; colder, northerly climes skew toward cool blues, greens and browns.) Each park has quick-hit fountains of information about fauna, flora and special features. Alas, regarding the Midwest, Isle Royale and its swamp forests and moose get a spread that Voyageurs National Park didn’t. Still, this hardcover travels far and wide.