Saturday, January 7, 2017

Reading Naturally Challenge 2017

The purpose of this challenge is simple: encouraging readers to dip their reading toes into books that will deepen their understanding of nature via excellent writing about a variety of subjects. It's my personal conviction that renewing our connection with the natural world is good for us on many levels, and I'd like to spread that around. And so:


Reading comes naturally, right, so why not read something natural? The categories are intentionally broad and numerous, and both fiction and non-fiction are eligible. All genres are eligible, too, so everything from a camping how-to book to a Harlequin romance can qualify! Reading outdoors is highly recommended, but optional.

Even if you're not outdoorsy, you'll find something to suit you. That's the point, actually: Nature is everywhere, around us and within us. After all, as Wendell Berry says, "The earth is what we all have in common"--but there are many good ways to approach that.


1. Join anytime before December 1, 2017. The challenge ends at midnight EST on December 31, 2017.

2. Choose your reading level:

     Exposed to Nature: Read 1 to 3 books   
     Engaged with Nature: Read 4 to 6 books
     Immersed in Nature: Read 7 or more books 

3. Choose from these categories (one book per category, fiction or non-fiction, any genre):

     *Classic: written by Rachel Carson, Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, Gary                               Snyder, or another giant in the field
     *Outdoors Gear on the Cover: backpack, snowshoes, snorkel and fins, etc.
     *Animal or Bird Related
     *Outdoorsy Heroine
     *Current Issue: climate change, biodiversity loss, etc.
     *Water Related
     *New: published in 2016 or 2017
     *Dystopia Flavored: emphasizing future consequences
     *Extreme Element: sailing around the world, mountain climbing, etc.
     *Season Related
     *Plant Related
     *Set in a Wilderness Locale
     *Spiritual: emphasizing connection
     *Skills Related: how to camp, kayak, survive in the woods, etc.
     *Advocacy Related: speaking up for nature
     *Biography or Memoir of an Environmentalist or Conservationist: Jacques      
               Cousteau, Jane Goodall, Teddy Roosevelt, or another nature advocate
     *Orion Book Award winner or finalist: any year, any subject

4. Books may come from your TBR pile or list, but they don’t have to.

5. Overlaps with other challenges are allowed and encouraged.

6. Change your list at any time.

7. Reviews and reactions are encouraged, but you don’t need a blog to participate.

8. Progress will be tracked at a “headquarters page” in the sidebar.

9. Please pass the word about this challenge! A sign-up post on your blog would be excellent. Feel free to borrow the button for display, too.


When you meet your reading goal, you'll receive a small, fun, nature-related prize personally selected for you!


On January 1, 2018, all the readers who've met their goals in each category will be entered into a drawing for a prize package combining bookish and outdoorsy interests. The prize package will include, among other things, an Orion Book Award winner or finalist of your choice. What could be nicer?
So, are you in? I certainly hope so! Sign up below by leaving a message in the comments with your list or a link.


  1. Okay - any challenge that quotes Wendell Berry in the sign-up post has to be worth entering! I'm in at the Exposed to Nature level.

    1. I'm glad to have piqued your interest, Debbie. Thanks for joining in!

  2. I've got two books I can read for this and one of them is on my "read this year" list!

    I'll be signing up later

    1. Yay! Glad to have you along for this, especially from your TBR list!

  3. H! I could do well with your interpretation of nature-reading and would love to join. I only need to ensure the usual shoe I'm wary of doesn't drop. Seeing a generous possibility of prizes but finding Canadians excluded! For Amazon gift certificates for example, it's only a matter of sending the same amount from the ".CA" website instead of .com (and a little extra postage on anything else). My prizes are offered to all from my four themes and I welcome everyone to them! "Gentle Spectrums" for instance, has offered a colour category for four years and has needed to be discovered by more players! :-) Sincerely, Carolyn.

    1. Hi, Carolyn! Welcome and well met! I think we have lots in common and I'm so glad you found this challenge. Yes, I am happy to include you (and Canada!) in the prizes. Please do join in when you're ready.

      I am sworn off entering any more challenges but will certainly take a look at yours. Rules are made to be broken, I think--or at least bent when necessary!

    2. J.G.: I am glad we talked about not swearing off of my four before February 1, because that is when they have started for four years! I hope you join some or all. In the meantime: I worked on my post today for you. Very glad to meet you, Carolyn.


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