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Nick Pyenson's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Nick Pyenson recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Nick Pyenson's favorite book recommendations of all time.

With one of the planet's most alluring birds as his guide, America's foremost chronicler of marine life captures the embattled ocean world.

On a wingspan of up to eleven feet, the albatross can travel as far as five thousand miles without stopping. But until recently, little was known about the albatross's far-flung flights. Now, award-winning author Carl Safina takes us to the higher latitudes to explain what marine animals like the albatross can tell us about the health of our oceans.

Eye of the Albatross takes us soaring to locales where whales, sea turtles,...
Recommended by Nick Pyenson, and 1 others.

Nick PyensonSafina is both a storyteller and a scientist, but his work really pulls at the heart of conservation: what do we know about what we want to protect? And why should we do so? (Source)

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In the tradition of Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, Robert Sapolsky, a foremost science writer and recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant, tells the mesmerizing story of his twenty-one years in remote Kenya with a troop of Savannah baboons.

“I had never planned to become a savanna baboon when I grew up; instead, I had always assumed I would become a mountain gorilla,” writes Robert Sapolsky in this witty and riveting chronicle of a scientist’s coming-of-age in remote Africa.

An exhilarating account of Sapolsky’s twenty-one-year study of a troop of rambunctious baboons in...
Recommended by Nick Pyenson, and 1 others.

Nick PyensonSapolsky’s book is my favourite in the modern scientist-author canon.He places you in his shoes, and shows you how his ensemble cast of baboons (generations of them, actually) have personality, agency, and succumb to the same foibles that we do. (Source)

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The Snow Leopard

When Matthiessen went to Nepal to study the Himalayan blue sheep and, possibly, to glimpse the rare and beautiful snow leopard, he undertook his five-week trek as winter snows were sweeping into the high passes. This is a radiant and deeply moving account of a "true pilgrimage, a journey of the heart." less
Recommended by Nick Pyenson, and 1 others.

Nick PyensonThe book stands apart and it remains fresh because of the ways that Matthiessen weaves his exploration of the outer world with his own inner one. (Source)

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The Year of the Whale

A rare and timeless book that takes the reader beneath the ocean's surface to travel with a young sperm whale. With a new foreword by the author. "A writer of unusual grace and feeling ... This is a fine book". -- The New Yorker less
Recommended by Nick Pyenson, and 1 others.

Nick PyensonIt was an innovative narrative conceit: a fictional account of the year-long journey of a single sperm whale calf, but blended strongly with facts that Scheffer knew about sperm whales as a scientist, and how they navigate their world (Source)

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H Is for Hawk

Winner of the 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize, New York Times Bestseller, Named the Amazon Best Book of the Month for March 2015, #1 Bestseller in the UK, H IS FOR HAWK by Helen Macdonald. Magnificent, splendid memoirs woven with nature and a healing process of grief from the bereavement of her beloved father. In Korean. Annotation copyright Tsai Fong Books, Inc. Distributed by Tsai Fong Books, Inc. less

Barack ObamaJust like us, the president enjoys a good beach read while relaxing in the sun. In 2016, he released his list of summer vacation books: Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, William Finnegan H Is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins Seveneves, Neal Stephenson The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead (Source)

Nick PyensonH is for Hawk feels like the definitive statement on hawks for the modern times, and I think its success has a lot to do with how well Macdonald tied her inquiry into the life of a hawk with her own personal experience and journey. (Source)

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