Connecting with Life
Finding Nature in an Urban World
by Martin Summer
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 24 Aug 2020 | Archive Date 31 Dec 2020
In his debut book, Martin Summer aims to help readers find nature in an urban world. He discusses how our modern lives differ from the lifestyles of our ancestors. He then proceeds to cover six big problems of urbanization and their destructive impact on our lives. Practical solutions follow each discussed danger.
In the next part of the book, the author reveals what connecting with nature means in today's world and why it's possible to do so even in a big city. Summer provides easy and fun ideas to use all the senses on your natural outings. He discusses the tricky subject of finding a compromise between technology and nature. Through ten elements, he explains how to turn your home into a nature-friendly oasis. Lastly, he emphasizes the importance of nature stewardship and how to espouse it in your everyday life.
If you’re wishing to develop a deeper connection with life around you, Connecting with Life is the blueprint you need.
A Note From the Publisher
"I finished Connecting with Life by Martin Summer and honestly I have NEVER felt so inspired by a book in my entire life." - Veronica Portillo
"This is the perfect book for a city person like me. I do not want to live in the woods or get lost in nature. That is not my idea of fun, but this book does wonders to help one connect with nature in simple ways." - Maggie Dobschuetz
"I loved how accessible this book is. It is anything but dry. The author's humor and passion for nature absolutely shine through on every page." - Michelle Brosius
"Martin Summer presents a fresh and deeper look how mindfully connecting with nature can make a difference in our lives and the world." - Susan Williams
"If you are someone who is on the path of wellness and sustainability of the Earth, you really must read this book. It is a light-hearted easy read that brings a lot of thought to living an urban lifestyle while trying to stay connected to the Earth." - Kelli Pagel
"I loved it! Both urban and natural explorations are covered in a logical informative manner that excited my imagination." - Jan Tangen
"This nicely organized book may provide that little shove or inspiration you need to turn off your televisions and computers and make a little time to get your hands dirty digging in your garden, or to tune in to the songbirds' song or to take a hike in the woods." - Nancy Scott
"This book was written for people like me - who love or even just might like nature a bit but also live in a city." - Erin Childs
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 53 members
Martin Summer’s book, Connecting with Life, explores how nature can shape humans. He states (and I believe correctly) that urban living and our modern comforts of home and office are distractions that interfere with humans’ natural need to connect with nature.This nicely organized book may provide that little shove or inspiration you need to turn off your televisions and computers and make a little time to get your hands dirty digging in your garden, or to tune in to the songbirds’ song or to take a hike in the woods.
This is a great book for people who love nature but don't enough of it due to where they may live and teaches us how to enjoy nature as it is where ever we may be. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to going out and exploring around my home to see what there is to enjoy.
This book was written for people like me - who love or even just might like nature a bit but also live in a city. Author Martin Summer wrote this book to explore "what a city dwelling nature lover can do to stay sane in an urbanizing world." With that description, I knew I would find something interesting here. Without denigrating cities, Summer explores various challenges cities offer to enjoying nature, but, more importantly, offers solutions to those problems. My favorite part of this book, the final section, discusses how to enjoy nature wherever we are, including the densest urban neighborhoods. Best of all, it doesn't take money or excessive time, but perhaps something much more valuable - our attention.
I loved it! Both urban and natural explorations are covered in a logical informative manner that excited my imagination. A few of the things that stand out to me are: wear an N95 mask when bike riding in traffic areas to protect your lungs from exhaust and other city fumes, be more aware of indoor air pollution, noise pollution (including restaurants, light pollution both in and outdoor, protect hearing from noise that others make (cars, neighbor's lawn mowers, etc). Then there are the things that increase our awareness of nature both outdoors as in parks but also in urban settings. Be aware of and inform yourself about edible plants and city foraging (Unseen City: The Majesty of Pigeons, the Discreet Charm of Snails & Other Wonders of the Urban Wilderness). I learned that in Europe and elsewhere there is such a phenomenon as barefoot parks!? So much to learn and enjoy! No specific mention of adapting interest to disability as that is too personal a matter to include in such an already diverse book, but he has a website with even more information. I requested and received a free ebook copy from Summer Press via NetGalley. Thank you!
I really enjoyed this book. It's informative and interesting without being over-bearing or pedantic, the author's writing style is laid back and chatty, which draws the reader in and keeps him/her there. I discovered a few facts I did not know, such as the fact that almost 9 million people a year die due to air pollution, a shocking statistic in a world where plastic is already such a blight. He also speaks in-depth about noise pollution, often overlooked in light of other issues, but when it comes down to it is just as important. The problem is that often we get so used to something, we no longer notice it. As a nature child, I don't need to be told the importance of going outdoors, and spending as much time as possible in the fresh air and sunshine, but it isn't always easy for everyone, especially considering the way many of us live, in suburbs, apartments, complexes and so on, but there is always a way, from eating lunch on a park bench or drinking tea on a balcony, to spending weekend getaways with friends outdoors, picnicking in a field instead of sitting in a bar. The chapters are laid out with a summing-up of the most important points, which I find very sensible and user-friendly, that way you can easily refer back to anything specific that caught your eye. Many thanks to Net Galley, Summer Press and Martin Summer.
I have read several books on connecting with nature, and this is one of the best. It's very easy to read and understand. The author is very down to earth (pun intended) and talks to the reader in a very friendly and conversational manner. He has a lot of simple suggestions, instead of telling us we need to travel, follow special rituals, or seek out "nature gurus" to teach us how to enjoy nature.
If you are someone who is on the path of wellness and sustainability of the Earth, you really must read this book. It is a light-hearted easy read that brings a lot of thought to living an urban lifestyle while trying to stay connected to the Earth. I think that Martin gives wonderful examples and suggestions to help with this task. Some I have never thought of! I have started implementing some of the suggestions that I learned and I really do think it helps to stay grounded and connected when you live in an Urban space. I highly recommend this book!
Martin Summer presents a fresh and deeper look how mindfully connecting with nature can make a difference in our lives and the world. He shares many ways to connect with nature outdoor and indoor by giving honor, respect and using our five senses. This is a Beautiful soulful book I thoroughly enjoyed. Slow down, immerse yourself in Connecting with Life.
Thank you to NeGalley, Summer Press, and the author for making this title available for an advanced review! First of all, this book is launching at the perfect time. Many of us are still relatively stuck indoors and/or limiting our time outside as we shelter in place through this pandemic. I was just needing such a book. I'm fortunate to have a lovely backyard, but was looking for ways to expand my connection with nature during these challenging times. One look at the title and I jumped onboard! Martin Summer gives an extensive look at the many ways we humans interact with natural world and what threatens this deep connection we have to the earth and wildlife. This book is not just an anthology of humans throughout history experiencing nature, nor is strictly a cautionary tale about the environmental and climate crisis, but rather it highlights - in a very easygoing fashion - ways in which we can deepen our connection and escape just a smidgen of urban life as we are, wherever we are. I loved how accessible this book is. It is anything but dry. The author's humor and passion for nature absolutely shine through on every page. As he states early on, "I can't stand dry books!", and he fulfills his promise. Also, the author himself can relate to how difficult it can be to find nature on a daily basis. Many people struggle right now is small spaces and are limited to the outdoors. For two months during this year, my city closed down large parks and hiking through my favorite space was prohibited. So what do we do? The author has first hand knowledge and thoughtful suggestions on even the simplest change (more sunlight is key!) we can make in our immediate environment to bring more of natural world into our homes and daily life. The book is laid out in a strategic fashion, highlighting how our ancestors relied on nature at times for survival and how we evolved and adapted to even the harshest obstacles that nature threw at us. I especially liked the chapter on urban noise and how it affects human beings mental health. I was struck by the fact that finding the least noise polluted place on earth is becoming increasingly impossible day by day; I don't think I realized just how noisy the city truly is until I read this. I especially appreciated Summer's acknowledgment that we live in a technological world and despite best efforts, we can't ever fully escape. His writing is never judge-y, inaccessible, or holier-than-thou. He offers straightforward, practical advice and often it comes from his own personal experience from travel and living in an urban area. My only wish here would be to add even more personal stories of his adventures and how those related to his finding different solutions to decrease the urbanization around him and less of the commentary with "how to"/step-by-step solutions that he summarizes at the end of each chapter. The book veers sometimes towards a "textbook" feel, which I don't think was his original intention. I highly recommend this book. I'm putting into practice a few of his suggestions! As I write, I have my bare feet in the grass and I'm listening more to the wildlife around me. Everyone will get something from this book, guaranteed.
This is the perfect book for a city person like me. I do not want to live in the woods or get lost in nature. That is not my idea of fun, but this book does wonders to help one connect with nature in simple ways. The tone is easy and fun, engaging the reader to find ways to get closer with nature even when living in the city. I thought this was a great book and will be using this a tool to help my toddler engage with the world around him in a fun way and using his five senses. I highly suggest this to those who live in the city but still want to be close to nature in their own ways. Thank you so much to NetGalley and the publisher for sharing a widget to the ARC and allowing me to review this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Thank you to NetGalley for my digital copy! I’m giving this book 4 stars...and here’s why: This book is one I’ll refer back to over time for inspiration and grounding. I like to think of myself as a hippie born in the wrong generation, so this book is right up my alley! To the lovers of Mother Earth, read this!
Martin Summer's book explores modern urban life and its disconnection from nature, while making suggestions how to escape from its busyness and find solace in the natural world, wherever you are situated. The book is aimed fairly and squarely at urban readers - it is not a book for country dwellers who are already connecting with nature on a regular basis, nor would it come under the category of nature writing. It is a self-help book for the town dweller who would like to slow down and find meaning in nature in the midst of the city and its environs, as well as making the most of the experience when they have the chance to escape to the country. The style is very matter of fact, slightly repetitive in parts, and I found the second half more interesting than the first, but there is plenty of information and suggestions about ways to connect with the natural world, even in the most unlikely and unprepossessing locations.
Thank you to the author, Martin Summer, for providing me with arc of his book via netGalley in exchange for my honest review. Summer says he aims to answer the question of whether we can have it all--the convenience and excitement of living in the city but still experience the pleasures and joys of being in nature--and I think he does a good job of doing that with his many ideas and suggestions. I was interested to read this book about connecting with nature in our urban world because of my five-year-old grandson. He and his family live in the city of Chicago in a 3-story condominium building with no backyard to speak of, other than a shared courtyard where there is just a tiny bit of garden space. His parents give him as many opportunities to explore nature as possible but it certainly isn't the childhood his mother had when she and her sister were growing up, spending hours exploring our backyard with its many trees, slow-moving creek and opportunities to observe wild animals. Our grandson is quite resistant to being out in nature when he's taken to farms or other less populated places like a cabin in the woods in upper Michigan. It's too hot! Or he'd rather go back inside to read or play. How sad! Is this the new normal for his generation? Being able to spend time outside this summer has saved my sanity during these months of isolation due to the pandemic. I purchased three hummingbird feeders and have enjoyed watching their antics and hearing their chittering song while quietly reading nearby. Watching the sunrise and set, talking early morning walks, gardening and dining al fresco have helped too. I liked Summer's suggestions for what changes one can make inside the home to bring nature inside as well. I may start looking around my home to see what we might be able to do. I highly recommend this book for those looking for ways to make some real connections with nature whether it be through travel, sports, hiking or just eating your lunch in a park, or treating yourself to a bouquet of flowers. Summer gives us lots of reasons why it's important to do just that. Make a small commitment today! Maybe it would be life-changing. Thanks again to the author for sharing his book with me! I look forward to exploring his website for more inspiration.
When I began this book, I was not sure what to expect. Honestly, I liked the cover. However, by the end of the book, I was pleasantly surprised by all the things I learned, as well as confirming my thoughts concerning topics I think about. The book starts with a little history of when the first humans shared the Earth with animals, plant life, insects, etc. We were “equals” and did not have dominion over the other species. As time went on, man learned new things, like making fire and crafting tools – which took man to the next level. A place where he could better control nature instead of being equal with the other species. The author explains the things that keep us from enjoying nature as we might like – through noise pollution, light pollution (two hot topics for me), fresh air, having space for yourself. He also talks about using all five senses to experience nature – and to experience it wherever you may be – whether it is outside in the great open spaces – or in an urban area with lots of people and buildings, but no open space to speak of. He recommends slowing down – getting outside – mindfulness, and more. One of my friends called me when I was in the middle of reading the book. I don’t think I realized how much I was enjoying until I was excitedly telling her about light pollution and how we can’t see stars the way you could if you were away from city lights. Martin does a nice job of “taking” you around the world as he’s talking about different spots he knows about or has been. Bottom line, it made me want to run outside of my house and enjoy the sunshine – and plan a camping trip as soon as possible! I received this ARC from Net Galley in exchange for my honest opinion. Happy reading!
I think that this book is great for parents and teachers who are looking for ways to share the wonder of nature with children and students. They can read a part of the book, experience awe of nature and ideas for themselves, then pass on some of those ideas and love of nature to the kids. Everyone benefits from thinking about things like the sounds we hear when it is "quiet," urban birdwatching, and what big trees have witnessed. It gave me many ideas about how to incorporate nature more in my family's life (without going camping).
I'm not typically a reader of non-fiction, but I found Martin Summer's Connecting With Life an informative and enjoyable read. His passion for nature and the environment is evident. I liked how the layout of the book, in 4 parts, made it easy to hone in on areas that I thought I might need better understanding and tips of how to rebalance my urban life with nature. I live in Colorado which provides for some of the best incentives for getting back to nature, but we can all use some of the practical tips the author provides.
The title says it all "Connecting with Life: Finding Nature in an Urban World." Such an important topic, and one easily overlooked in today's hectic and over digitized and urbanized world. Without even realizing how out of touch we are with nature, many of us feel disconnected from ourselves without even knowing why. So much research out there now showing the importance for our overall well-being and health — mental, emotional and physical — of being in nature. This is at times a startling book to read ... filled with lots of statistics and evidence of how our health and well-being has been declining, as our natural environment is becoming increasingly polluted, our time outdoors increasingly decreased, and for some, the natural world is barely evident in their day to day lives. The author gives good and simple suggestions on how to reverse this trend and once again find and foster connection with nature, the world around us and ultimately ourselves. Highly recommended.
The amount of research Martin Summer compiled for this book was impressive. My family and I are quite "green," yet Summer presents data that is too often lost under the obvious. It is obvious that we should drink clean water, breathe clean air, and get at least a moderate amount of exercise. But when do we consider what light pollution and blue light do to our ability to function well during the day and sleep well at night? And noise pollution: are we unknowingly stressed by the agitating din of the world around us? I now ask myself, what am I doing to contribute to the noise of the world? Summer's book is full of reminders that each individual makes up the whole, and each is responsible for their own actions, but also responsible to a multitude of humans around us. Be quiet, be clean, be helpful to wildlife. Make good health choices for yourself. Get outside and let nature calm you. Bring nature into your home when possible.
"Connecting with Life" is an interesting book. Much of the information in parts 1 and 2 of the book will be familiar to many readers, although readers will likely learn some new information. I was somewhat surprised to learn that indoor houseplants really are not an effective way to filter the air in a home, as I had heard the opposite and as stores often market indoor plants for their supposed air-filtering properties. The author, Mr. Summer, does note other benefits that houseplants do provide. A fact that I found particularly interesting is that urban living may be causing an increase in myopia. I knew that myopia was on the rise because people tend to spend so much time indoors, often looking at electronic devices or other things relatively close up. However, Mr. Summer notes that in urban areas, especially with all the tall buildings, we often look at distances no longer than perhaps 20 feet away. He references biomechanist and author Katy Bowman, who points out in her book (Movement Matters), that assuming the human eye can focus on an object up to a mile away (and studies suggest the theoretical number is closer to 1.6 miles), "city dwellers limit the use of their eyes to less than a half of a percent of their ocular range of focus." One of the things I liked about the book was that Mr. Summer identifies a problem, such as noise pollution or light pollution, and then he provides suggestions for how to combat it on an individual or small group level. None of us can solve these worldwide problems on our own, but we can all take steps to address the issues on a local and personal level. Mr. Summer's goal with the book is to emphasize the importance of connecting with nature, especially for the increasing percentage of the world population living in urban areas, and to provide advice and resources for doing so. His passion for this subject is evident throughout the book. Mr. Summer has made the book very relatable by identifying a variety of resources that people can utilize, ranging from books on various topics addressed in his book, to websites and apps that he utilizes to help him find green space in urban areas, identify flora and fauna, plan trips, etc., and to organizations one might find in their city/state/country that can provide information, resources, or opportunities to get involved. He provides a variety of tips for how we can connect with nature and how we can infuse our homes and everyday lives with nature. He gives examples of the things he does to connect with nature, but also acknowledges the various trade-offs involved, including limitations imposed by financial constraints, housing situation, and location, and gives tips for what can be done even in a seemingly sub-optimal situation. I would definitely recommend this book. I received a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for a review.
This book is great! I have read some fascinating facts and found them interesting indeed! CONNECTING WITH LIFE, by Martin Summer, is exactly what the title is telling us. It brought a few things to my attention. For instance, in chapter 5, I read about indoor and outdoor air quality and why it is so important we should get outdoors more often. And, further into the book I also found this great site with real time air pollution map that shows air quality and how good or bad it is in my area. I also found other interesting sites. I love the outdoors and I especially love sitting on the front porch in the summertime and just looking out at nature. But in the wintertime it isn't as easy to sit outside. Although I do go outside and take some pictures of the falling snow from time to time. I guess you might say I am connecting with life that way, right? I like the way Mr. Summer started talking in the beginning of this book. He kept my attention as though he were talking directly to me in his description of things. Especially when he talked about how our ancestors had to live. By today's standards though,we have it made. But has it also made us a bit lazy? in comparison to the way they had to live? This also got me to thinking about this one question he asked: "Is fresh air a thing of the past?" Then I read about that part in the book, which gave me a better understanding about that question. This made a good deal of sense to me. So air pollution isn't just an urban issue, it effects everyone, right? There are also some interesting facts about the ways we use our senses, too. And, as I read through those facts, I was propelled back to my childhood and could actually picture looking around me, hearing nature while outside, along with the different smells and touch. I also found out that we have at least five more senses. That is so good to know. This book made me think a lot about things going on around us in this big wide wonderful world. I want to thank the author for taking me back in time to my childhood and letting me relive those times again through my memories; and for writing this book. I realize that in the city people are so busy with their every day lives that it is hard for them to slow down and look at things around them, and there is more noise polution to deal with. That is why I love country life so well. I can enjoy looking at and hearing nature more; and people do move at a slower pace. I throughly enjoyed reading this book and I highly recommend it!
Review Title: Experience Nature Fully Wherever You Live (review of Connecting With Life by Martin Summer) Reviewer: Janice S. Garey ***** 5 Stars Thank you, Martin Summer, for writing this book for nature lovers, no matter where they live, to learn new ways to soak in the benefits of the natural environment. Many people live, work, and play in cityscapes and feel an absence of opportunities to connect with nature in their day to day lives. Martin Summer has a heart for those people and gives good guidance to overcome obstacles in the way of realizing all that is available when the details are known. The author shares his wisdom gained through traveling and living in numerous areas of the earth. His friendly manner works well as he discusses his beloved topic with enthusiasm. Depending on the depth of a reader's previous knowledge and experience regarding the natural world, there may be some parts of the discussion that seem basic, but this makes the book inclusive to all ages and stages. I was able to share parts of the book with my husband, once a thru- hiker of the Appalachian Trail, and he gained new knowledge. Many books I review are authored by Christian writers. This book is not written from a Christian point of view. The author casually mentions living with his girlfriend and views nature from a secular platform. Other than that, the Christian community should find this book contains worthy information about how to be intentional in getting more involved with the natural world (what we consider as God's Creation). The book is inspiring and motivating for a reader endeavoring to view nature through all the senses. The parts about noise pollution and light pollution were fascinating. Barefoot Parks, located in a few areas of the world, are a fairly new offering that some readers will learn about first in this book. I received an Advance Reader's Copy ebook from #Netgalley for review purposes. I am under no obligation to give a favorable review. My honest opinion is that this would be a good book for most readers interested in pursuing greater knowledge of the natural world.
Thank you Martin Summer and NetGalley for a chance to read an ARC of this thought provoking, realist book. I have always loved being around and being in nature. There is just something about the calmness, being away from the noise of the hustle and bustle of every day life. Martin Summer has some truly wonderful ideas for even connecting to nature when you think there is nothing close you as far as nature. From the simplest thing of having some indoor plants, or flowers. They even have plants for those who do not have a green thumb, and trust me, I am one those people. Sometimes even having a bouquet of flowers in your place makes a world of difference. Nature is very vital to us, for our health, for our spirit and for everything else. Thank you Martin Summer for this meaningful, insightful, and wonderful book.
The twists and turns of fate makes for unlikely winners and losers. One of Pandemic Year's unlikely winners is, I feel, nature, as it is something that is, with a few exceptions, best experienced outside, which has flipped places with inside in the competition for Safest Place To Be In Our Benighted Age. Urbanites who might have otherwise taken their children to a museum or an extracurricular sports club are now wandering the city's arboretums and botanical gardens, or stopping on their evening walks to admire the progress a neighbor's COVID-motivated urban garden. If you are behind the curve on the uptick of nature appreciation in the more densely-populated areas, this might be a good book for you. The author has plenty of ideas of what the urban dweller can do to improve your knowledge and enjoyment of nature, but I don't think he expects you to take up all his ideas. If you did, I think, you probably wouldn't have enough time left over do whatever it is keeps the lights on for your and your loved ones. So pick and choose your favorites. Some of the other suggestions might have to be discarded. For example, the ones that involve having or renting a car and taking it out of the city to shop at a farm stand is probably just too expensive for most people trying to make ends meet in the city. I also thought that you would have to tread carefully while implementing some of the suggestions about eliminating noise pollution, as people, business, restaurants, bars, etc., all seem to be remarkably tetchy about turning down the volume. In the metropolitan area where I live, a 2019 complaint by the resident of a newly-built high-rise condominium about the go-go music emanating from a long-resident retail establishment resulted in literally hundreds of people protesting in the streets. Still, there are loads of good suggestions for books, apps, activities and strategies. It might be the sort of book worth keeping on a bookshelf or in the “cloud” section of your ebook library (if space is at a premium in your home), ready for re-download. Forget the names of best online resources for hiking trails? Reach up or down load, and refresh your memory. Thank you to Netgalley and the author for providing me a free electronic copy of this book for review.
I just finished Connecting with Life by Martin Summers. I received an arc copy from NetGalley for an honest review. I thought the book cont net was very well written and found out a lot of information on how to incorporate nature throughout the day. The author was very passionate about the topic of nature and things to do when your in nature as to not contaminate the surroundings. How to use your senses and open yourself up to nature. How to use modern tech to discover new trails for hiking and exploring. I found the topic I testing and it was a quick read for me. I am hoping to incorporate some of the ideas in my own home and yard soon.
The idea that we travel far and wide to get away from civilization to feel more human is a very close thought to my heart. I've always wanted to be able to take a corner and go live in my tree house, but still be right by hospitals and life if I wanted. Our world is beginning to see areas of life that are under-developed and "no lights" as precious and rare and while that evokes a feeling of sadness it is also refreshing that we've taken stock of it before it is too late. The author gives good advice for different areas that we need to better be connected with the world around us. It can be read straight through or flip to a specific question or idea. I think it is very pertinent that he references the slowing down of the world due to the Coronavirus outbreak and actually seeing the world almost immediately have better air quality, better connections to nature because the capitalistic march of progress got paused and I truly believe that more and more humans want this idea and now we have life experience to reference back to.
I became friends with someone who had the quietest house I've ever been in. At the time, I was living in a house that had nearly constant noise--background TV, video games, and music were pretty constant. It was weird to encounter this quiet space, but then it became calming. A lot has changed about my living situation since then, and I rarely have the TV on, although I love to listen to audiobooks while I work around the house or music while I cook. I find much more time for quiet, but it is not silent when appliances and AC are running, traffic can be heard, etc. Polish debut author Martin Summer offers this resource to all of us looking for big or small solutions to the issues removing us from nature, serenity, and silence. While some will be obvious to those of us who strive for our nature time, he offers a lot of interesting information about ways we are disconnected from ourselves and nature. For example, did you know that city dwellers have reduced ocular range because most of us don't have any distance to look out at?) The layout of the book was ingenious, listing the issues in one chapter, followed by a chapter of possible solutions, which he presented like a buffet line--it might not all appeal to you, but take what you can use. There are lots of great resources. I did find it a little jarring every time he directed the reader to his website, but only because there was a code for access that is mentioned each time. I think this could have been footnoted or in an Appendix. There's an extensive list of References at the end; I think the book could use a list of Resources as well. This will be a great resource for many. Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for a review copy..
This is a nonfiction read I received as an ARC from Netgalley. I started into it a few times, but didn’t sit down and finish until this month. (Thanks to a little push from the #laidback readathon on Instagram.) I needed one more book to make it to seven for the week, and I chose to go all in with this. It’s less than 200 pages, so it doesn’t take a super long time to read. However, you just have to be in the right frame of mind to get into certain types of nonfiction. Here’s the premise: The book is very well-researched (there are about 20 reference pages at the end!) It’s broken down into 26 chapters. This includes 6 chapters of problems and their corresponding “solutions” chapter with actionable steps you can take in your own life. He covers everything from outdoor/indoor air quality, green spaces, natural landscapes, urban living, suburban living, city/country life, etc. Much of the book was affirming practices and lifestyle ideas that we already implement, but it was nice to see how beneficial certain types of changes can be. It made me extraordinarily grateful for not only my own home and its natural surroundings, but also my city and state. Huntington is nicknamed the “river city” with an incredible park system in the tri-state area. West Virginia is known as the “Mountain State” and we have gorgeous state parks and nature areas ALL over our state. Here’s a takeaway point from Summer: The goal is to find balance between indoor and outdoor living so we can live a little closer to nature without losing the benefits of indoor living. A few things that surprised me were that it would take 10-100 plants per 10 square feet to drastically improve air quality. In some areas of the house, totally have that covered :). However, he reiterates that there are plenty of other benefits for having plants around. Another crazy factoid that stuck out was how being in urban areas or spending too much time increases myopia (nearsightedness) risk in kids. We’re supposed to be fixing our eyes on faraways places pretty frequently to lower the risk. He does give some great ways to reduce this risk if you’re in an extremely urban area, aka highrises surrounding you. Suggestions included things like looking skyward to spot airplanes, birds, cloud formations. While there is a lot of research involved, the author also gives plenty of fun quotes and anecdotal material to balance things out. Here are a few of my favorites: “As the saying goes, people in fast-paced countries have watches, while people in slow-paced ones have time.” “Recharging is reserved for our devices, not for our minds that crave constant stimulation, no unlike an addict craving another dose of their poison of choice.” He also described bird-watching on a balcony and feeling a sense of “awe”. He says it shouldn’t feel “bizarre”, and you shouldn’t discount those experiences. Appreciate anything in nature that’s at our fingertips. This did make me stop to appreciate just the space around my house. We don’t live in either a huge city or super spacious area, but we do have plenty of green stuff nearby. We have a heavily forested area behind us with tons of trees. Sometimes, I may get annoyed with deer eating vegetation, mice invading spots around our house, or even a snake recently slithering in the garage. I do, however, love just sitting out back and listening to dozens of bird species each day. It’s been fun to identify who visits. I definitely don’t take for granted the peace these surroundings bring each day, and the fun times my kids have running and playing outside. For our family, much of 2020 has been spent exploring everything our surrounding area has to offer. Bike paths, hiking trails, lakes, walking paths, etc. Some of these places I’ve never visited, despite having lived in the area for more than 30 years. It does ground me and really makes me feel a sense of peace being in nature. Even if it’s drinking coffee on the porch or letting the kids dance in the rain, we’ve tried to embrace it all this year. I love living in a spot that has four distinct seasons. It makes me so grateful for all those highs and lows, and especially these perfect fall days full of sun but cool enough to spend all day outdoors if we wanted! Overall, I think this is a great read for anyone looking to find a way to connect with life and nature, wherever you may live. Summer gives intentional, actionable steps to take and gives you plenty of food for thought.
I am an avowed city dweller, but sometimes I wonder if I belong out in the country, as I love fresh air and greenery and you just can't get those in the city the same way you do in the countryside. However, I love the amenities and conveniences of the big city, so what is a girl to do? Enter this book, which points out that you can still feel nature in the city, you just have to be present and pay attention in order to see it. The author points out ways to accomplish this, and better yet he doesn't mock either country or city dwellers in order to do it (as some books I have read have done in the past). A very worthy read!
I loved this book! This book is well researched and well written. I learned so much and made pages and pages of notes. I thought the flow of the book was great. The book starts with historical Information and dives into our fundamental need to be in nature for overall well-being. I enjoy the way that the author gives us wonderful suggestions on how to make our life and space more nature friendly whether you live in a rural area or the middle of the city. I also enjoyed the section where he delves into each of the 5 senses and gives examples how we can use these senses combining the nature around us to enhance our lives.
Connecting With Life by Martin Summer 169 Pages Publisher: Summer Press Release Date: August 22, 2020 Non-Fiction (Adult), Outdoors & Nature, Environmental, Ecology, Health, Mind & Body I was not sure what to expect from this book, but I am so glad I decided to read it. The book is divided into four parts. Each part addresses a specific aspect of dealing with nature. Part 1: A History of Nature and Humans Part 2: What’s So Bad About Urban Living? Part 3: Finding the Balance Between Urban Living and Nature Part 4: Infusing Your Everyday Urban Life with Nature The author does a wonderful job explaining how anyone can connect with nature no matter where they live. He talks about having to travel far just to hear nature with no man-made sounds. He has a very easy to read writing style and discusses how we can use our five senses to connect with nature. As a bonus, he gives additional information on a website and provides the password in the book. I recommend this book to anyone that wants to connect better with nature any way they can.
Martin Summer provides an illuminating, mind-expanding perspective on the role of nature in our lives in CONNECTING WITH LIFE. His observations and personable prose opened my eyes to the world around me--a suburban dweller who now appreciates the birds, the land, the daily presence of life around me in all its many forms. This wonderful guide took me back to my college days in an ag school where nature was simply a part of your day and how you thought about how your choices impact the world around you. Would that this book and its simple, forthright message were a part of curricula everywhere! A worthwhile read!