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Summer reading for those who love the outdoors

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Shel Zolkewich / Winnipeg Free Press
Writers and readers offered some suggestions for books on the great outdoors you can enjoy this summer.

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Shel Zolkewich / Winnipeg Free Press Writers and readers offered some suggestions for books on the great outdoors you can enjoy this summer.

I love books about the great outdoors. However, the good one are sometimes hard to find. That's why I turned to a few great writers (and readers) for their recommendations. Stock up on some great reading for the summer with these suggestions.

Al Cambronne, author of Deerland: America's Hunt for Ecological Balance and the Essence of Wildness, says Stephen Bodio's A Sportsman's Library: 100 Essential, Engaging, Offbeat, and Occasionally Odd Fishing and Hunting Books for the Adventurous Reader is his top pick.

"Essential, engaging, offbeat and occasionally odd might be a good description of the author himself -- and I mean that as a compliment," Cambronne said.

"This is great summer reading to help you plan next winter's reading. It's totally fascinating, and it could lead avid readers into many temptations. I'm fortunate to own an autographed copy in which Bodio wrote 'Al -- I hope this book doesn't make you go broke buying books. But it might.' "

Among his favourites, Cambronne also counts Into the Great Solitude by Robert Perkins, and also his books Against Straight Lines and Talking With Angels.

"All three are about paddling -- but much more," Cambronne said.

His final pick is a 1967 Herter's catalogue, a hunting-and-fishing retailer that's been gone for three decades.

"It's time travel for the outdoorsperson," Cambronne said.

Tovar Cerulli, author of The Mindful Carnivore, picks a book about our relationship with a plentiful species for the top of his list. It's called Heart and Blood: Living with Deer in America by Richard Nelson.

"This is one of my favourite books on human relationships with nature, not only because it is thoroughly researched and elegantly written, but because Nelson treats everyone -- from animal-rights activists to trophy hunters -- with respect," Cerulli said.

Cerulli also likes The Dream of the Earth by Thomas Berry. It's a book that asks us to think carefully about our understanding of science, technology, politics, religion, ecology and education. His list also includes Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv.

Lily Raff McCaulou, author of Call of the Mild: Learning to Hunt My Own Dinner, loves the imagery in Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey.

"One of the best novels ever, this book transcends the category of outdoor reads but still qualifies because, at its heart, it's about the Stampers' struggle to survive amid harsh, wild surroundings. The Pacific Northwest setting is so richly written that you'll swear your clothes are starting to mildew," she said.

Her list also includes the (sadly out of print) Don Coyote: The Good Times and the Bad Times of a Much Maligned American Original by Dayton O. Hyde, as well as Indian Creek Chronicles: A Winter in the Wilderness by Pete Fromm.


Shel Zolkewich writes about the outdoors, travel and food when she's not playing outside, traveling or eating. You can reach her with your comments at shel@shelzolkewich.com.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 7, 2014 C16

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