My books of 2014

I’ve just been looking back at my reading over this year. Here are the five books I’ve enjoyed most in 2014.

feralFeral, by George Monbiot
My favourite book of the last 12 months by some margin, Feral explores the topic of rewilding – the idea of letting nature take its course with the landscape, and seeing what ensues. It’s beautifully written and compellingly argued, but ultimately it is love that gives the book its power.

simple-living-in-historySimple Living in History, edited by Samuel Alexander and Amanda Mcleod
A tour of simple living pioneers from ancient civilizations to the present day, and a diverse and inspiring read. Importantly, it’s focused on the future, on what we can learn from history to move forward beyond our unsustainable consumer society.

economics users guide changEconomics, the User’s Guide, by Ha-Joon Chang
Ha-Joon Chang desperately wants more people to take an interest in economics. It’s too important to leave it to the professionals, he argues, and he’s written a book that could not do more to make the subject accessible. And yes, interesting. Funny even. If you only read one book on economics, ever, make it this one.

connect with natureHow to Connect with Nature, by Tristan Gooley
Another book with an infectious love for the land, this one lays down some basic principles for orienting ourselves in the natural world. Nature can be confusing and chaotic, and there is so much to learn. Where to start? How about with our own senses, with the ground beneath our feet. Practical, entertaining and eye-opening, whether or not you consider yourself the outdoor type.

learning with natureLearning with Nature, by Marina Robb, Victoria Mew, and Anna Richardson
It’s not the kind of thing I normally review, but Green Books’ ‘how-to’ guide for getting children active outdoors was genuinely inspiring. It’s full of simple and ingenious ideas that beg to be tried, all smartly presented and with a real voice of experience. In a culture that doesn’t value an outdoor childhood, this feels like an important book.

It’s a bit of a surprise, but three out of my top five for this year are on appreciating the natural world, and there’s more I could add there. I also loved Tristan Gooley’s The Walker’s Guide to Outdoor Clues and Signs, but it’s massive and I’ve got a way to go yet. Bill McKibben’s little book The Comforting Whirlwind is on a similar theme, a quite extraordinary theology of the natural world read through the book of Job that I finished reading but haven’t finished thinking about yet.

What did I miss in 2014 that I ought to pick up?


  1. the book was only recently translated in dutch so it took me some time to discover this 2011 book : the wealth of nature by john michael greer.
    his blog is also very interesting.
    many thanks for your website.

    1. Greer’s ‘The Long descent: A user’s guide to the end of the Industrial Age (2008) grapples with how the slow and complex transition to a post-oil age might look.

  2. Reblogged this on Breathe and commented:
    Do you have some Christmas gift vouchers or money to spend? Could you find someone to borrow these books from? Jeremy Williams give us some excellent reading tips to begin the year. Did anyone else read any of these or have any other recommendations?

Leave a Reply to rudy van der haegen Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: