My name is Sara Grady, and I’m a former engineer with the heart of a poet. As a Road Scholar with the Illinois Humanities Council, I travel the state talking about how stories, myths, and words influence our culture and communities. I love language, breathe books, and teach science writing at Northwestern University. I wish I had a green thumb.
1) The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf (2015)
You’ve probably never heard of Alexander von Humbolt, and neither had I. But his prolific, revolutionary nature writing and scientific explorations inspired a 19th century whos-who, from Charles Darwin and Thomas Jefferson to Ralph Waldo Emerson and John Muir. Wulf’s detailed biography reads like a novel and quickens the senses like the very best nature writing can. Rightfully winning a glut of prizes this year, it is a delightful read — and now I truly appreciate the namesake of one of my favorite Chicago parks.