Forests are ideal settings for books because they can be whatever the author wants them to be. In this list of books set in forests, you’ll see how forests enhance the stories and create an excellent background and sometimes become a character themselves.
There is something magical and mystical about the forests, isn’t there? They are home to many animals and sometimes to people; they have their own way of life and system. In this books set in forests list, you’ll find fiction and non-fiction books about not only forests but jungles, woods, mountains and wherever trees are together. I tried to find books set in forests from various genres so that every reader can find a book to their liking.
Books Set in Forests
Uprooted – Naomi Novik
“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.
The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.
But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose. One of the books set in forests for fantasy lovers.
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles – Patricia C. Wrede
Cimorene is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomboyish, smart – and bored. So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon – and finds the family and excitement she’s been looking for.
Collected together for the first time are Patricia C. Wrede’s hilarious adventure stories about Cimorene, the princess who refuses to be proper. Every one of Cimorene’s adventures is included in its paperback edition–Dealing with Dragons, Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons, and Talking to Dragons–in one handsome package that’s perfect for gift giving.One of the books set in forests for both adults and children!
Our Endless Numbered Days – Claire Fuller
For fiction lovers among books set in forests. Peggy Hillcoat is eight years old when her survivalist father, James, takes her from their home in London to a remote hut in the woods and tells her that the rest of the world has been destroyed. Deep in the wilderness, Peggy and James make a life for themselves. They repair the hut, bathe in water from the river, hunt and gather food in the summers and almost starve in the harsh winters. They mark their days only by the sun and the seasons.
When Peggy finds a pair of boots in the forest and begins a search for their owner, she unwittingly begins to unravel the series of events that brought her to the woods and, in doing so, discovers the strength she needs to go back to the home and mother she thought she’d lost.
After Peggy’s return to civilization, her mother learns the truth of her escape, of what happened to James on the last night out in the woods, and of the secret that Peggy has carried with her ever since. An interesting one among books set in forests.
Wild Life – Molly Gloss
In 1905, a cigar-smoking, feminist writer of popular adventure novels for women encounters Bigfoot in Molly Gloss’s best-loved novel-“never has there been a more authentic, persuasive, or moving evocation of this elusive legend: a masterpiece” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).
Set among lava sinkholes and logging camps at the fringe of the Northwest frontier in the early 1900s, Wild Life is the story–both real and imagined–of the free-thinking, cigar-smoking, trouser-wearing Charlotte Bridger Drummond, who pens dime-store women’s adventure stories. One day, when a little girl gets lost in the woods, Charlotte anxiously joins the search. When she becomes lost in the dark and tangled woods, she finds herself face to face with a mysterious band of mountain giants…or more commonly known as Sasquatch.
With great assurance and skill, Molly Gloss blends “heady cerebral satisfactions, gorgeous prose, and page-turning adventure” (Karen Joy Fowler, bestselling author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves), and puts a new spin on a classic piece of American folklore.An exciting one among books set in forests.
The Emperor Jones – Eugene O’Neill
A play among books set in forests. Widely known as the play that gave the American dramatist Eugene O’Neill international acclaim, “The Emperor Jones” is a one-act play that follows the complete disintegration of Brutus Jones. This protagonist, formerly a Pullman porter in the United States, has escaped his criminal activity there by establishing himself as a ruler in the West Indies. O’Neill, in an experiment with Expressionism, then leads Jones through a series of hallucinations in a forest when he attempts to escape his rebellious subjects.
This highly symbolic nocturnal expedition leads Jones to confront his racially black past, as well as his own personal destruction from a man of self-confidence to a cowering shadow of his previous being. O’Neill’s originality was as readily apparent in 1920 as it is today, for he insisted on the first racially integrated Broadway cast, particularly with an African American actor in the lead role, in the United States; O’Neill’s amazing depiction of change and transformation in “The Emperor Jones” still endures.An interesting one among books set in forests.
In the Woods – Tana French
A psychological mystery among books set in forests. When he was twelve years old, Adam Ryan went playing in the woods with his two best friends. He never saw them again. Their bodies were never found, and Adam himself was discovered with his back pressed against an oak tree and his shoes filled with blood. He had no memory of what had happened.
Twenty years on, Rob Ryan – the child who came back – is a detective in the Dublin police force. He’s changed his name. No one knows about his past. Then a little girl’s body is found at the site of the old tragedy and Rob is drawn back into the mystery. Knowing that he would be thrown off the case if his past were revealed, Rob takes a fateful decision to keep quiet but hope that he might also solve the twenty-year-old mystery of the woods. For the mystery lovers among books set in forests.
Through the Woods – Emily Carroll
‘It came from the woods. Most strange things do.’
Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.
These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.
Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there…For the short-story lovers among books set in forests.
The Hazel Wood – Melissa Albert
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away-by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”
Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.For the fantasy lovers among books set in forests.
Into The Forest – Jean Hegland
An intriguing one among books set in forests. Set in the near-future, Into the Forest is a powerfully imagined novel that focuses on the relationship between two teenage sisters living alone in their Northern California forest home.
Over 30 miles from the nearest town, and several miles away from their nearest neighbor, Nell and Eva struggle to survive as society begins to decay and collapse around them. No single event precedes society’s fall. There is talk of a war overseas and upheaval in Congress, but it still comes as a shock when the electricity runs out and gas is nowhere to be found. The sisters consume the resources left in the house, waiting for the power to return. Their arrival into adulthood, however, forces them to reexamine their place in the world and their relationship to the land and each other.
Reminiscent of Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale, Into the Forest is a mesmerizing and thought-provoking novel of hope and despair set in a frighteningly plausible near-future America.For the science-fiction lovers among books set in forests.
Into the Jungle – Erica Ferencik
An exciting one among books set in forests. Lily Bushwold thought she’d found the antidote to endless foster care and group homes: a teaching job in Bolivia. As soon as she could steal enough cash for the plane, she was on it.
When the gig falls through, world-weary Lily decides to stay in Bolivia when an intense passion finds her in the form she least expected: Omar, a savvy, handsome local man who’d abandoned his life as a hunter in Ayachero—a remote jungle village—to try his hand at city life.
When Omar learns that a jaguar has killed his four-year-old nephew in Ayachero, he gives Lily a choice: Stay alone in the unforgiving city, or travel to the last in a string of ever-more-isolated river towns in the jungles of Bolivia. Thirty-foot anaconda? Puppy-sized spiders? Vengeful shamans with unspeakable powers? Lovestruck Lily is oblivious. She follows Omar to this ruthless new world of lawless poachers, bullheaded missionaries, and desperate indigenous tribes driven to the brink of extinction. To survive, Lily must navigate the jungle—its wonders as well as its terrors—using only her wits and resilience. For the thriller lovers among books set in forests.
State of Wonder – Ann Patchett
A thrilling one among books set in forests. As Dr. Marina Singh embarks upon an uncertain odyssey into the insect-infested Amazon, she will be forced to surrender herself to the lush but forbidding world that awaits within the jungle. Charged with finding her former mentor Dr. Annick Swenson, a researcher who has disappeared while working on a valuable new drug, she will have to confront her own memories of tragedy and sacrifice as she journeys into the unforgiving heart of darkness.For the ones who want to travel to Amazon among books set in forests.
Jungle – Yossi Ghinsberg
A unique one among books set in forests. Four travellers meet in Bolivia and set off into the heart of the Amazon rainforest to find a hidden tribe and explore places tourists only dream of seeing. But what begins as the adventure of a lifetime quickly deteriorates into a dangerous nightmare.
After weeks of wandering in the dense undergrowth the group splits up after disagreements, and Yossi and his friend try to find their own way back without a guide. When a terrible rafting accident separates him from his partner, Yossi is forced to survive for weeks alone against one of the wildest backdrops on the planet. Stranded without a knife, map, or survival training, he must improvise shelter and forage for wild fruit to survive.
As his feet begin to rot during raging storms, as he loses all sense of direction, and as he begins to lose all hope, he wonders whether he will make it out of the jungle alive. For the ones who like true stories among books set in forests.
A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson
A humorous one among books set in forests. The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America—majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find.
He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way—and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in). For the ones who like to have a laugh among books set in forests.
Last American Man – Elizabeth Gilbert
In this rousing examination of contemporary American male identity, acclaimed author and journalist Elizabeth Gilbert explores the fascinating true story of Eustace Conway. In 1977, at the age of seventeen, Conway left his family’s comfortable suburban home to move to the Appalachian Mountains.
For more than two decades he has lived there, making fire with sticks, wearing skins from animals he has trapped, and trying to convince Americans to give up their materialistic lifestyles and return with him back to nature. To Gilbert, Conway’s mythical character challenges all our assumptions about what it is to be a modern man in America; he is a symbol of much we feel how our men should be, but rarely are.For the ones looking for a unique story among books set in forests.
Consolations of the Forest: Alone in a Cabin in the Middle Taiga – Sylvain Tesson
An extraordinary one among books set in forests. In Consolations of the Forest, Sylvain Tesson explains how he found a radical solution to his need for freedom, one as ancient as the experiences of the hermits of old Russia: he decided to lock himself alone in a cabin in the middle taiga, on the shores of Baikal, for six months.
From February to July 2010, he lived in silence, solitude, and cold. His cabin, built by Soviet geologists in the Brezhnev years, is a cube of logs three meters by three meters, heated by a cast-iron skillet, six-day walk from the nearest village and hundreds of miles of track.
To live isolated from the world while retaining one’s sanity requires a routine, Tesson discovered. In the morning, he would read, write, smoke, or draw, and then devoted hours to cutting the wood, shoveling snow, and fishing. Emotionally, these months proved a challenge, and the loneliness was crippling.
Tesson found in paper a valuable confidant, the notebook, a polite companion. Noting carefully, almost daily, his impressions of the silence, his struggles to survive in a hostile nature, his despair, his doubts, but also its moments of ecstasy, inner peace and harmony with nature, Sylvain Tesson shares with us an extraordinary experience.For the ones looking for a good memoir among books set in forests.
At Home in the Woods: Living the Life of Thoreau Today – Bradford & Vena Angier
Vena and Bradford Angier were disillusioned with city life. Brad was a journalist, and Vena, a dance director. One day they packed up all their belongings and set off for a remote spot in the woods of British Columbia. This is the story of their first year “living the life of Thoreau today”–simply, happily and successfully.For the ones fancying a life in woods among books set in forests.
We Took to the Woods – Louise Dickinson Rich
An oldie but goldie among books set in forests. In her early thirties, Louise Dickinson Rich took to the woods of Maine with her husband. They found their livelihood and raised a family in the remote backcountry settlement of Middle Dam, in the Rangeley area. Rich made time after morning chores to write about their lives. We Took to the Woods is an adventure story, written with humor, but it also portrays a cherished dream awakened into full life. First published 1942.
An excellent work of fiction among books set in forests. Andreas lives his whole life in the Austrian Alps, where he arrives as a young boy taken in by a farming family. He is a man of very few words and so, when he falls in love with Marie, he doesn’t ask for her hand in marriage, but instead has some of his friends light her name at dusk across the mountain.
When Marie dies in an avalanche, pregnant with their first child, Andreas’ heart is broken. He leaves his valley just once more, to fight in WWII – where he is taken prisoner in the Caucasus – and returns to find that modernity has reached his remote haven . . .
Like John Williams’ Stoner or Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams, A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler is a tender book about finding dignity and beauty in solitude. An exquisite novel about a simple life, it has already demonstrated its power to move thousands of readers with a message of solace and truth. It looks at the moments, big and small, that make us what we are.For the literary readers among books set in forests.
The Hidden Life of Trees – Peter Wohlleben
In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests and explains the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific processes behind the wonders of which we are blissfully unaware.
Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group.
As a result of such interactions, trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. In contrast, solitary trees, like street kids, have a tough time of it and in most cases die much earlier than those in a group.
Drawing on groundbreaking new discoveries, Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown life of trees and their communication abilities; he describes how these discoveries have informed his own practices in the forest around him.
As he says, a happy forest is a healthy forest, and he believes that eco-friendly practices not only are economically sustainable but also benefit the health of our planet and the mental and physical health of all who live on Earth.For the non-fiction readers among books set in forests.
The Stranger in the Woods – Michael Finkel
In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food.
Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries.
Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life–why did he leave? what did he learn?–as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.For the biography lovers among books set in forests.
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Are there any other books set in forests that should be on this list? Please share your favourite books with us in the comments section below.