Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Nature on the Cover

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Previous Top Ten Tuesday Topics

Cover themes are lovely topics in the Top Ten Tuesday line up: they bring together books from such a wide and disparate range of genres and authors – some old favourites, some yet to be read and waiting in that TBR pile – that it can bring you to look at them with new eyes.

And I do love a bit of nature. It is in my blood – I grew up only one remove from a dairy farm, run by my grandparents perhaps a ten minute walk from my house – and in my reading soul, drawn as I am to the Romantics and the Gothic. Heathland, mountains, oceans and forests are the playground of my imagination. That sense of wildness and freedom and energy you get from being truly in nature, as opposed to anything curated or managed… a rare opportunity in this world we inhabit.

I have noticed that a number of the books on this list focus on images of two strikingly similar features: the sea and birds are repeated here, alongside trees and the forest.

The Salt Path and The Wild Silence, Raynor Winn

And those two touchstones of my imagination abound here in these wonderfully stylised images of the South Coastal Path along which Raynor Winn and her husband Moth trudged after being made homeless.

I am yet to read the sequel and am looking forward to it.

Inside the Wave, Helen Dunmore

Nature and poetry go hand-in-hand… and the sea on the cover of this collection looks so like the sea that lurks no more than 25 minutes’ drive from my home/

And this last collection of poems before Dunmore’s death in 2017 is heartbreaking. Perhaps just to quote the opening stanza of her final poem gives a taste

Death, hold out your arms for me
Embrace me
Give me your motherly caress,
Through all this suffering
You have not forgotten me.

The House in the Cerulean Sea, T. J. Klune

Again, I love this image: the stylisation, the blockiness of the rock, the impossible projection of the cliff…

And the novel is so wonderfully heart warming – full of those found-family feels!

Seashaken Houses, Tom Nancollas

Oh look, it is the ocean, again, in another stylised cover! And again it is beautiful and somehow captures both the power of the ocean and the resilience of the lighthouse in the midst of it.

I was tempted to include The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex too, but I felt that something else non-fiction fitted.

Pine, Francine Toon

Turning away from the ocean, forests are another great imaginative touchstone for me – and I love deer. I remember seeing my first deer and, having spent a lifetime imagining something fragile like Bambi, I was astounded by the sheer bulk and physicality of them!

I also love the melding of the forest and the deer, and the simplicity of the white cover.

Also, it was a great and eerie book to read!

The Hollow Places, T. Kingfisher

Another strange tree-based cover… and truly I have forgotten why I picked this one up… possibly it was the cover!

But those roots – a network of roots stretching and twisting around each other and into the earth – are a gorgeous metaphor for… something I am sure!

Moonflower Murders, Anthony Horowitz

And with Moonflower Murders – the second in Horowitz Atticus Pund mysteries which are wonderfully twisty detective stories within detective stories – we can usher in some bird life. Firstly, the owl in a wonderfully clean and precise cover.

When Will There Be Good News, Kate Atkinson

And Atkinson’s When Will There Be Good News is a much darker detective novel. Full of wit and humour and exceptionally rounded characters this is the third in the Jackson Brodie series which just gets better and better.

The more naturalistic and hook-beaked bird of prey here does feel more appropriate to this novel that the stylised owl would do!

Grief is the Thing With Feathers, Max Porter

Another bird on this cover – or perhaps just a few black brush strokes – and it is the simplicity of this cover again that I love.

And of course the bird is the central image, grown from Ted Hughes poetry into to potent and heart wrenching symbol of grief and loss. So of course the book needs nothing else on the cover.

The Wych Elm, Tana French

I was toying between this novel and The Searcher by French as well but decided that this one fits the theme better. And suits the stylised nature images, and the simple stark black-on-white palette of other books here.

It is also a reminder to myself to read the book! I adored her Dublin Murder Squad series and enjoyed The Searcher… but the opening chapters of this did not engage me so much. A rather entitled little prig seemed to be the main character and I wasn’t in the right place to give him the chance to become likeable.

The Overstory, Richard Powers

I loved, loved loved this book: although it was not without its flaws it was so rich and powerful in its evocations of nature and the parallels between books and trees, and the damage we as a species are causing to our natural world…

Oh, and the cover is gorgeous with those concentric circles.

Some wonderful books here, and a great topic this week so please do comment and join the conversation!

And I adore the idea of next week’s topic: book titles that are complete sentences… for a grammar nerd and a book lover, this is unreasonably exciting!

Upcoming Top Ten Tuesday Topics

  • May 18: Book Titles That Are Complete Sentences (Submitted by Jessica @ A Cocoon of Books)
  • May 25: Book Quotes that Fit X Theme (Pick any theme you want, i.e., motivational quotes, romantic dialogues, hunger-inducing quotes, quotes that fill you with hope, quotes on defeating adversity, quotes that present strong emotions, healing, etc. and then select quotes from books that fit that theme.)
  • June 1: Freebie (choose any past topic, or come up with you own)
  • June 8: Books I Loved that Made Me Want More Books Like Them (The wording is weird here, so if you have a better way to say this please let me know! What I’m thinking is… you read a book and immediately wanted more just like it, perhaps in the same genre, about the same topic or theme, by the same author, etc. For example, I once read a medical romance and then went to find more because it was so good. The same thing happened to me with pirate historical romances and romantic suspense.)
  • June 15: Books On My Summer 2021 TBR (or winter, if you live in the southern hemisphere)
  • June 22: Bookish Wishes (My birthday is today, so celebrate with me by granting the wishes of your friends! This is a popular thing to do on Twitter, but today we’re blog hopping. List the top 10 books you’d love to own and include a link to a wishlist so that people can grant your wish. Make sure you link your wishlist to your mailing address [here’s how to do it on Amazon] or include the email address associated with your ereader so people know how to get the book to you. After you post, jump around the Linky and grant a wish or two if you’d like. Don’t feel obligated!)
  • June 29: Most Anticipated Books of the Second Half of 2021
  • July 6: Reasons Why I Love Reading

17 comments

  1. ALL OF THESE ARE SO GORGEOUS!! I though the theme of nature would be pretty hard but I love the one of the salt path. And I’ve always wanted to try the house in the cerulean sea – it looks great!! I got a bit sidetracked with this weeks ttt and ended up doing the top ten worst (/best?) young adult tropes. Let me know what you think 😊 https://hundredsandthousandsofbooks.blog/2021/05/12/ttt-11-5-21-you-know-its-a-young-adult-book-when/

    Like

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