What The Residents Of Serenbe Are Reading Right Now
Do you have a favorite spot to curl up with a good book? If not, the residents at Serenbe could probably offer a few recommendations. It’s not hard to find trees or fallen logs in the woods that offer a respite (or a well-placed bench, if you’d like your nature with a side of clean clothes). Any of our restaurants or The Wine Shop would also welcome a bibliophile. Curl up on a porch swing or lounge by the pool at The Inn.
Once you have the perfect spot, your next step is a great book. With one of the top independent bookstores, Hills & Hamlets Bookshop, down the street, it’s easy to find a book or two (or 20!). They’ve hand-selected the best fiction and non-fiction titles about art, architecture, and nature, and you’ll even find best-selling books written by Serenbe residents.
Here are some of our current favorite reads:
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When Richard Louv, the author who coined “nature deficit disorder',” wrote Last Child In The Woods, he was able to find 60 research studies that helped support his hypothesis about getting kids back into nature. There was much information about wild animals and their impact on our psyche, though. Our Wild Calling looks at that influence through stories about life-changing encounters and ongoing relationships with animals.
Richard references Martin Buber’s “I and Thou,” an essay that posits we as individuals don’t exist, but rather the relationships between and among us are what exists. Buber spoke about human relationships, but Richard believes we’re experiencing species loneliness and applies the concept to our relationship with animals. He discusses specifically the “place” between a person and an animal when they have an encounter, coined the “Habitat of the Heart,” and writes that if you’re there and intensely aware of it, you won’t feel lonely.
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Other than being words that describe something of nature, “acorn,” “otter,” “dandelion,” “heron,” and “willow” don’t have much in common. One significant and saddening quality they do share is that they’ve all been removed from a widely used children’s dictionary due to disuse (no this is not a joke and we were DISMAYED by this news).
Macfarlane, with the aid of illustrator Jackie Morris, brings these lost words to life through “spells,” named as such rather than “poems” because they’re meant to be spoken out loud in hopes that the words may be summoned back into our children's - and our own - hearts.
Order from Hills & Hamlets Bookshop (Proceeds from the sale of her book support education for at-risk Maasai girls)
The Maasai people were once the dominating Kenyan tribe in the Great Rift Valley, located in the East African foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. In the nearly 100 years before Juliet Cutler traveled there in 1999, their people lost significant acreage to British colonialism and didn’t adapt to modernity as readily as other tribes. One of the consequences of not adapting is that Maasai girls are not educated and must navigate oppression and violence throughout their lives.
Cutler taught at one of the few schools for Maasai girls, and her memoir offers a profoundly rich, introspective look into the journey of both students and teachers, and what matters most to us as people. She emerged transformed not only by the community she found in Tanzania, but also having witnessed the life-changing impact of education on her students.
Among The Maasai was awarded the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award for Best New Voice in Nonfiction and the Independent Publisher Book Award in Multicultural Nonfiction in Spring 2020.
For the time being, you can find Hills & Hamlets Bookshop online through their sister store Underground Books. Their brick-and-mortar location is the street level of the Textile Lofts in Grange. Hours can vary by season.