I’ve another six books to share with you which I’ve read over the last few weeks, I usually have two on the go, one for bedtime reading and one for reading on the move, usually buses or trains!
I finished Skymeadow by Charlie Hart this morning on the bus. Charlie created a garden from a meadow whilst he was grieving his father and anxious about the impending death of his mother. It’s a story about how he dug and gardened his way out of his grief, making a haven for his growing family. From his rose garden to hedging, chickens, children and pets, and the traumas of his wife trying to pass her driving test. I loved his style of writing, amusing little asides make an easy read of what could have been a heavy subject. His metaphors for grief and responsibility took me a bit to get used to, but I enjoyed the book.
Blackberry & Wild Rose by Sonia Velton appealed to me as it was set in lives of the 18th century Huguenot silk weavers and it had a pretty cover! It is apparently based loosely on true events. However the story was more about love and betrayal, with the usual hypocrasies behind the doors of large, wealthy houses. It was an easy read but somehow lacked depth.
Yorkshire by Richard Morris …as one review says ‘restless, poetic, strange…’ It’s a history of Yorkshire from day dot, how Yorkshire became the place it is and what shaped it’s people. It is a fascinating book, he skips from one subject to another like someone chatting to you, from his own family history, to the geology, to great people in history. His family originated in Skinningrove, which we walked through on the Cleveland Way. His descriptions of battles lost me at times as to who was fighting who and whose side were they on anyway! He includes an interesting map of Yorkshire in literature, everything from the Brontes, James Herriot, to the Full Monty and Calendar Girls. As a Yorkshire girl through and through, it was a book I had to read and I learnt lots of new facts about Yorkshire, I can’t say I remember most of them but it was an interesting read!
Kate Humble’s book Thinking on my Feet is a lovely easy reading book for the summer, it’s a diary of a years worth of walks, she’s a TV presenter so travels abroad a lot and always tries to get to know a place by walking around. She describes all the interesting people she meets along the way. She lives in the beautiful Wye Valley and many walks around there are described. One of the most moving parts is when she went up to Scotland to meet a former soldier who started to walk round the coast of Britain when he was in the depths of despair from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. It’s another book about how just walking can improve your mental health, I enjoyed it.
I was surprised how much I enjoyed One Wild Song by Paul Heiney. It’s about sea sailing, which I know nothing about, but it’s a voyage through life too…‘By the age of 21, my son had sailed aboard a tall ship across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. At the age of 22 he wrote a poem, once heard never forgotton. At the age of 23 he took his own life.’ Paul decided to sail (mostly alone) from England around Cape Horn, the Everest of sea-farers, trying to rediscover his son’s voice. It’s a moving, funny, thought provoking and beautifully written story about his journey coming to terms with the loss of his son.
The Wild Remedy by Emma Mitchel is a very pretty book, filled with Emma’s lovely paintings and drawings of nature. It’s a diary of how walking in nature helped her mental health – she’s fought depression for 25 years. Her descriptions of nature are beautiful and inspiring, especially of the changes she sees over the year in the woods near her home. Her descriptions of what it’s like living with clinical depression are searingly honest. I enjoyed it but for me personally I would have preferred more of her descriptions and less of the neuro-science behind it.
I hadn’t realised until a wrote this post that two thirds of the books were about mental health issues. There’s a lot in the press and on social media at the moment as people are trying to break the stigma of having mental health issues, being around nature is well documented as being helpful for mental health. These books describe some pretty tough situations but they are all positive, uplifting books, on the whole they are more about the journey itself and the outcome, rather than what led up to it.