Planta Sapiens: Unmasking Plant Intelligence
Paco Calvo with Natalie Lawrence
The Bridge Street Press, Little Brown
While plants may not have brains or move around as we do, cutting-edge science is revealing that they have astonishing inner worlds of an alternate kind to ours. They can plan ahead, recognise relatives, assess risks and make decisions. They can even be put to sleep. If you can look in the right way, a world full of drama unfurls.
Planta Sapiens offers an imaginative leap into a world that is so close and yet so alien - one that will expand our understanding of our own minds - and our place in the world.
"We are unimaginable without plants, yet surprisingly blind to their powers and behaviours. Planta Sapiens weaves science and history into an absorbing exploration of the many ways that plants rise to the challenge of living."
- Merlin Sheldrake, author of Entangled Life
“Fascinating" - Michael Pollan, author of This is Your Mind on Plants via Twitter
"Planta Sapiens presents ‘fertile possibilities’ to the public and in doing so it has put science on notice... We should be delighted with Professor Calvo’s seeding of scientific curiosity for the hope that it offers.” —Diana Beresford-Kroeger, author of To Speak for the Trees
"A bold and brave paean to our planet’s ligneous, leafy kingdom" - Jackie Higgins, author of Sentient, in The Telegraph
"a genuinely mind-expanding book" - P.D. Smith, author of City: A Guidebook for the Modern Age, in The Guardian
"an impressive exploration and dazzling insight into the lives of plants" - Reaction Book Digest
The Nature of the Beast: 10,000 years of monstrous creatures
W&N, Orion Books, 2023
The Nature of the Beast explores the history of our relationship with monstrous creatures, to tell a story which will resonate with anyone who wants to know more about what makes us human. Though it seems that we live in a disenchanted world, where there is little space for magic or the miraculous, monsters are still with us. We need them far too much, so we keep creating them.
Though cultures change, our minds have remained essentially the same over millennia. We are still animals that fear our animal natures, and our animal limitations. We have always shaped our anxieties into sublime, frightening things. Monstrous creatures are part of how we form our identities as individuals and societies, so understanding the beast’s nature is to understand our own.
In an Anthropocene world, where destruction feels very close, understanding our relationship with monstrous creatures, how we have used (and abused) other species, is more important than ever.
Feathers and Eggshells, The Bird Journal of a Young London Girl,
Brambleby Books, 2005
Natalie had always had a passion for wild birds as a teenager. Here she takes us on an extended tour of her favourite bird watching area - Hampstead Heath in London, a haven for wildlife.
From the mating dance of the Great Crested Grebe to the delicacy of the Treecreeper's beak, she reveals the beauty and diversity of the local bird life using drawings and photographs, prose and poetry. This is a jewel of a book, the kind of small volume that all bird lovers will surely wish to own, indeed treasure. It reveals a wealth of beautiful things, and as such, is an inspiration for young and old alike.
'I absolutely loved everything about this book and only wish that it had been around to inspire me as a young teenager.'
--Jenny Steel, Ecologist and writer
'This book sees Natalie's skills blossoming. It reveals a strong artistic streak that enables her to depict in illustrations, photographs and poetry what she sees with imagination and clarity. Most of all, it is a love affair with the place and the wildlife that have enchanted her since she was a child. I hope you too will be inspired by the heartfelt passion of Feathers and Eggshells.'
--Derek Niemann, RSPB