Nature Study Reading Society
at the Lora Robins Library

The Nature Study Reading Society (formerly the Botanical Book Group) is devoted to reading and discussing an array of nature study books. Discussions are held on the second Friday every other month in the Robins Library Reading Room, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

For more information, contact [email protected], or call 804-262-9887 x240.

The 2019 books for discussion are:

Book cover for "Life List: A Woman's Quest for the World's Most Amazing Birds" showing a large white egg in a small nest on a blue backgroundJANUARY 11, 2019
Life List: A Woman’s Quest for the Most Amazing Birds
by Olivia Gentile

A frustrated housewife sets out to see more bird species than anyone in history—and ends up risking her life again and again in the wildest places on earth.


Book cover for "Rain: A Natural and Cultural History" showing an umbrella shading the title text from stylistic rainMARCH 8, 2019
Rain: A Natural and Cultural History
by Cynthia Barnett

It is the subject of countless poems and paintings; the top of the weather report; the source of the world’s water. Yet this is the first book to tell the story of rain.


Book cover for "The Source: How Rivers Made America and America Remade Its Rivers" showing an illustration detail of a roaring river and a photograph of a river deltaMAY 10, 2019
The Source: How Rivers Made America and America Remade Its Rivers
by Martin Doyle

Martin Doyle tells the epic story of America and its rivers, from the U.S. Constitution’s roots in interstate river navigation, the origins of the Army Corps of Engineers, the discovery of gold in 1848, and the construction of the Hoover Dam and the TVA during the New Deal, to the failure of the levees in Hurricane Katrina and the water wars in the west.


Book cover for "Braiding Sweetgrass" showing a braid of green sweetgrass on an off-white backgroundJULY 12, 2019
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants
by Robin Wall Kimmerer

As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise” (Elizabeth Gilbert).


Book cover for "Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island" showing a fishing boat on blue oceanSEPTEMBER 13, 2019
Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island
by Earl Swift

Chesapeake Requiem is an intimate look at the island’s past, present and tenuous future, by an acclaimed journalist who spent much of the past two years living among Tangier’s people, crabbing and oystering with its watermen, and observing its long traditions and odd ways.


Book cover for "A Naturalist at Large: The Best Essays of Bernd Heinrich" showing a number of butterflies, eggs, leaves, and a yellow and black birdNOVEMBER 8, 2019
A Naturalist at Large: The Best Essays of Bernd Heinrich
by Bernd Heinrich

From one of the finest scientist/writers of our time comes an engaging record of a life spent in close observation of the natural world, one that has yielded “marvelous, mind-altering” (Los Angeles Times) insight and discoveries.


Book cover for "Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter"; the title text is red and black, and a black outline of a beaver rests on an off-white backgroundJANUARY 10, 2020
Eager: the Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter
by Ben Goldfarb

In Eager, environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb reveals that our modern idea of what a healthy landscape looks like and how it functions is wrong, distorted by the fur trade that once trapped out millions of beavers from North America’s lakes and rivers.