Authors Susan Gaines and Jean Hegland have coined “Nerd Novel” to describe novels that are deeply steeped in science, like the novel, Accidentals, or scholarship, like Still Time. Nerd novels depend on a formal body of knowledge–in the sciences, humanities, or the arts–and tell a story about relationships between people and knowledge. In the typical nerd novel, not only the characters, but also the theme and plot, and sometimes even the structure, depends on this knowledge. They have an ongoing list of such novels that they have read over the years. Click to view the list of Nature Nerd Novels by Susan Gaines and Jean Hegland.
We have decided to confine the list to some dynamic Nature Novels you might enjoy, please send your suggestions to add to the list:
Migrations (2020) Charlotte McConaghy
Why did a fishing boat follow the Arctic Terns on migration from Greenland to the Antarctic? And who was responsible?
Accidentals (2020) Susan M. Gaines
An immigrant mother returns to farm her extended family’s ranch in her native Uruguay with her son who discovers a rare bird nest leading to confronting his past with a biologist studying the wetlands.
The Signature of All Things (2014) Elizabeth Gilbert
Historical drama: A female botanist in the Enlightened Age makes her way in the world.
Flight Behavior (2013) Barbara Kingsolver
A smart but uneducated, rural Tennessee woman makes a discovery that brings competing factions—religious leaders, climate scientists, environmentalists, politicians—and transforms her life.
All the Light We Cannot See (2017) Anthony Doerr
A young math whiz meets blind girl obsessed by shells in 1940s France.
Where the Crawdads Sing (2018) Delia Owens.
the “Marsh Girl” lives alone in the marshlands off the North Carolina coast and studies and paints what she finds.
Into the Forest (1996) Jean Hegland
Survival in the back country off nature and knowledge.
Washington Black (2019) Esi Edugyan.
A genius slave boy with drawing and observational skills is nurtured to help a visionary.