As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’m delighted to share the news that my new book, A Natural History of Empty Lots—”a genre-bending blend of naturalism, memoir, and social manifesto for rewilding the city, the self, and society” forthcoming in October from Timber Press, an imprint of Hachette Book Group—is now available for preorder.

Drawing from the material I have been developing in Field Notes, the urban nature newsletter I’ve been publishing since 2020, A Natural History of Empty Lots is the record of my twenty-year experiment exploring, living in and documenting the edgelands where human cities and wild nature collide.

It’s nature writing, but not by a professional naturalist—I am a dystopian novelist, a lawyer, and a dad whose children helped him rediscover the outdoors without leaving the city.

The book tries to break through conventional ways we experience and think about nature, starting with language and narrative inversion. It seeks out the wild in landscapes marred by human industry, and finds portals to escape the alienated haze of everyday life.

It’s hopeful, but provisionally so—documenting the remarkable resilience of nature and finding paths to a greener future we each can help achieve, while reckoning with the incapacity of human power structures to get us there.

Here’s what some of the early readers had to say:

A loving, deeply pleasurable, and sprawling investigation of place, community, personal history, and larger contexts. A Natural History of Empty Lots  has the shape and liveliness of something organic, as if it has grown out of the neglected, teeming hidden places of the landscape Brown knows so well. An incredible book.”

Kelly Link, Pulitzer finalist, MacArthur Fellow, and award-winning author of The Book of Love

A Natural History of Empty Lotsis the best and most interesting book I’ve ever read about the spaces we often overlook. Christopher Brown comes to these places with a deep curiosity and understanding of both human and nonhuman history. An instant classic.”

Jeff VanderMeer, New York Times bestselling author

Too often, what we call ‘nature writing’ is nostalgic for what never was. Thank goodness for Christopher Brown, who sees the wonder in what is and what might be. A Natural History of Empty Lots is the nature writing we need now.”

Michelle Nijhuis, author of Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction

And today through Friday, the book is one of the 2024 titles featured in Barnes and Noble’s preorder promotion this week—25% discounts for B&N Rewards & 35% for Premium Members (PREORDER25 at checkout). I’m honored to have my book in such great company in the Nature category—a bird book by Amy Tan (!), a collection from the amazing Atlas Obscura, hiking diaries from Annie Dillard, and whole lot of wolves and owls with their own books. And I’m especially excited to be on the page with Camille Dungy, whose talk I’m planning to hear this weekend while we are both passing through Des Moines during the local poetry fest, and whose new book Soil sounds incredible.

A wider array of preorder links is available at my main page for the book.

As a special preorder promotion, I’m going to be sending out a print version of the newsletter with content not available elsewhere—outtakes from the book, both text and photos, entirely new material, and probably a map and some drawings. If you’re interested in getting a copy of that, just email me your preorder confirmation at chris@christopherbrown.com along with your preferred mailing address. The response thus far has been so enthusiastic I think I’ll do the first installment sooner than I had planned, and follow it up with one or two issues before publication day on October 15.

Thanks to all of you for your support with this project and my earlier work. I’ve been hunkered down writing this one for the past couple of years, but plan to be more active here and on social media now that I have emerged from the bunker.