It’s fairly simple really: I review books about any and all of the topics classifiable under the general category of natural history, as well as a few other items that I think would be of interest to naturalists. I do it because I’m passionate about these things, because I have the experience and skill to do so, and, quite frankly, because in many cases no one else will.
Modern book reviewing revolves around popular topics – mostly fiction and non-fiction of a sufficiently general nature so as to attract a very large audience. Natural history, other than for works related to bird watching, lacks such large groups of interested readers. Scholarly journals, of course, provide brief passages on works – mostly academic – related to their specific field of study; but for the vast majority of natural history titles, there simply are no publications willing to undertake their review on a regular basis nor the reviewers possessing the general naturalist background to do so.
It’s a shame, because each year there are so many wonderful books published on a wide variety of natural history topics that just don’t manage to find their audiences and are too soon relegated to the bargain bins without their existence ever having had the chance to find its way through the information overload that is the modern media. The Well-read Naturalist was founded to overcome this problem and help those interested in natural history subjects find the books they may otherwise never have known were published.
I provide not only full reviews of selected natural history titles but news pertaining to the future and present publication of additional books as well. And from time to time, we also provide helpful information regarding items – binoculars, field bags, mobile applications, etc. – that I find to be of exceptional quality, creativity, or utility and think will be of interest to naturalists.
Publishers wishing to bring their current or forth-coming titles to my attention for possible review and inclusion on The Well-read Naturalist are encouraged to contact me directly. Advance proof copies are accepted but works with significant photography or illustrations as a key part of their overall production must provide the actual published work as a validation of the proof copy.
The Well-read Naturalist is wholly owned by J. Riutta Enterprises LLC.