On the strength of an article in Saturday’s New York Times, a book on forests and trees soared up the Amazon sales rankings to #22.
The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries From a Secret World, Peter Wohlleben (PGW/Perseus/Greystone Books; ISBN: 9781771642484;09/13/2016) explores the wonders of trees and the ways they communicate with, and care for, each other – through their own version of a social network.
Already a surprise best seller in Germany where it remains atop the German news magazine Spiegel’s nonfiction list sixth months after publication, it has the potential to become a hit here as well, caught not only in the wake of interest in wild spaces in general, but also in books that present personal views of nature such as H Is for Hawk and The Shepherd’s Life and nature/science books such as The Soul of an Octopus.
The NYT’s feature reports how Wohlleben’s book has enchanted and intrigued readers in Germany:
“The matter-of-fact Mr. Wohlleben has delighted readers and talk-show audiences alike with the news — long known to biologists — that trees in the forest are social beings. They can count, learn and remember; nurse sick neighbors; warn each other of danger by sending electrical signals across a fungal network known as the “Wood Wide Web”; and, for reasons unknown, keep the ancient stumps of long-felled companions alive for centuries by feeding them a sugar solution through their roots.”
Canada’s Greystone Books (distributed in the US by Publishers Group West/Perseus) will publish an English version in September. It is listed on wholesaler catalogs.