I’ve another half dozen books to share with you which I’ve read over the last few weeks;
I wandered from walking books to bird books this time…
- Waiting for the Albino Dunnock by Rosamond Richardson; this is a lovely book, beautifully written. Rosamond was going through a difficult time when she almost accidently fell into bird watching, she found the silence and stillness, together with the pleasure and fascination of watching the birds really helped her though this time. ‘This glorious pilgrimage into the soaring world of birds opens our eyes afresh to the beauty which surrounds us’
- On the Marsh by Simon Barnes; by chance I was reading this at the same time as the one above, they are both set in the same area of England, Norfolk. Another great read…Simon bought an area of Marsh behind his house to protect it. The book follows the first year as they start to manage it and discover the wildlife it supports. Simon’s son has Down’s Syndrome and it becomes a place of calm and adventure for him too. It’s a lovely portrayal of their relationship, I loved the way he writes, as if he’s sitting talking to you, with funny asides and stories intermingled with lovely descriptions. His wife came out with a lovely line…’Ooh look, someones opened a tin of bluetits’
- Mrs Moreau’s Warbler by Stephen Moss; This book is all about how birds got their names, it sounds a bit dry but actually it was fascinating, if you’re interested in how language develops and how the ages of words can be determined, you’ll like this book! I learnt lots of things like a sniper is so-called because a snipe is very difficult to shoot! Why do we say cow, pig and deer, but beef, pork and venison, not cow-meat, that goes back to 1066 after which french was the language of the ruling classes, so words to do with the cooking of meat were from the french, whereas the animals were still the domain of the labourers, who still all spoke English!
- There’s Always the Hills by Cameron McNeish; I always find it interesting how some people’s lives came about, Cameron grew up in Glasgow, but most of his working life was set arund the hills of Scotland, initially as a hostel warden, but eventually as editor of outdoor magasines and presenter of TV programmes about the great outdoors. It’s another book which is probably a lot more enjoyable if you know Scotland and it’s hills and have a vague chance of knowing how to pronounce the names and where they are. All the same, I enjoyed it.
- Becoming by Michelle Obama; …and now for something completely different! My daughter bought this but passed it on when she got a bit bored – I think she was wanting juicy bits from the White House period! Now I want to say from the start, I don’t understand the US political system (I don’t understand ours at the moment either!!) but as an observer from afar, I always had a lot of respect for the Obamas, they were always very dignified, held their family together in what must be difficult circumstances. I enjoyed this book, it gave me a little insight into American life and politics, I think I respect her even more having read her book.
- Earth to Earth by Stefan Buczacki; I was a bit disappointed with this book. It’s about the natural history of churchyards, it sounds a bit of a dry topic but actually a lot of churchyards here in the UK are becoming like mini nature reserves. Stefan is a well respected horticulturist, but somehow this was too superficial. I thought there would be examples of this churchyard and that, but it was more that there’s rabbits and voles and sometimes badgers…
I’m getting quite a bookshelf full of this years books, I need to decide which to keep and which to pass onto a charity shop…and I think I need to start using the library!