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Claire's Wainwright Prize 2016 challenge

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I've been trying to come up with a reading list for the summer, and I came across the long listed books for the Wainwright Prize 2016 - it's a prize for travel and nature non-fiction writing about the UK countryside. Some of the books were already on my wish list, so I'm going to read all twelve as they all interest me. The list is below, and I'll put books in bold after I've read them and give them a rating:

 

Being a Beast by Charles Foster 5/10

Coastlines: The Story of Our Shore by Patrick Barkham 10/10

Common Ground by Rob Cowen 10/10

Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane 10/10

Landskipping by Anna Pavord

Rain by Melissa Harrison 8/10

Raptor: A Journey Through Birds by James MacDonald Lockhart 8/10

The Fish Ladder by Katharine Norbury 7/10

The Moth Snowstorm by Michael McCarthy 9/10

The Outrun by Amy Liptrot 6/10

The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks 9/10

Weatherland: Writers & Artists Under English Skies by Alexandra Harris

 

The shortlist will be announced at the end of June and the winner revealed in August, so I've got a little while to read them all, and I don't think I've ever read all the nominated books for an award before it was announced so I think it'll be a nice little challenge for the summer.

 

I don't normally rate books on here (as I often change my mind over time) but I'm going to rate these just so that I can put them in some sort of order before the winner is revealed, and to compare my short list to the one that the judges come up with! I might also come back and change the rating after I've thought about them for a while, as I often change my mind after a time of reflection which is why I don't normally rate books in my reviews. :D

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(Copied from my book blog)

 

Rain: Four Walks in English Weather by Melissa Harrison

 

Synopsis: (from Amazon.co.uk)

Whenever rain falls, our countryside changes. Fields, farms, hills and hedgerows appear altered, the wildlife behaves differently, and over time the terrain itself is transformed.

 

In Rain, Melissa Harrison explores our relationship with the weather as she follows the course of four rain showers, in four seasons, across Wicken Fen, Shropshire, the Darent Valley and Dartmoor.

 

Blending these expeditions with reading, research, memory and imagination, she reveals how rain is not just an essential element of the world around us, but a key part of our own identity too.

 

Review:

Melissa Harrison's debut novel, Clay, was my favourite book of last year, and I follow her on Twitter, both of which have increased my perception of the natural world around me at all times, even in the city, so I was delighted to see this book of essays in my local bookshop.

 

Let's face it, if you live in England, you're going to have had to walk in the rain at some point. In these essays, Harrison explains how that can be a good thing, and the changes you will find in nature when it's raining. The different sights, sounds, scents ... all these things change the experience of a walk, but also makes you realise how much the inclination of the British weather to get us wet, is a part of our history and our lives. There are diversions into local history of the walks as well as the contemplation of rain in classic literature and poetry, making for a engrossing read and encouragement to put on your wellies and get out there in the rain! Which reminds me ... I need a new waterproof coat. :D

 

Rating: 8/10

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This in an interesting challenge! Do you always (or often) like to have a reading list/challenge for the summer? 

 

The shortlist will be announced at the end of June and the winner revealed in August, so I've got a little while to read them all, and I don't think I've ever read all the nominated books for an award before it was announced so I think it'll be a nice little challenge for the summer.

I don't normally rate books on here (as I often change my mind over time) but I'm going to rate these just so that I can put them in some sort of order before the winner is revealed, and to compare my short list to the one that the judges come up with!  I might also come back and change the rating after I've thought about them for a while, as I often change my mind after a time of reflection which is why I don't normally rate books in my reviews. :D

 

Definitely a great challenge as you have a deadline but yet a doable number of books to read before the deadline. And so far the books you've read you've liked a lot! It's going to be interesting to see how your favorites fair against the favorites of the judges :D 

 

I remember you and someone else reading about a book on the subject and discussing it on here, and then some time after I noticed a table at the library, on which there were books on the very same subject, although they were for all of Europe and not just the UK. There was a title that I thought you might like, but which you might already have on your wishlist or TBR... Going through the list in this thread, I don't think it was any of the books :unsure: I'm now regretting that I didn't write the title down!

 

Have fun with the challenge :smile2: 

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This in an interesting challenge! Do you always (or often) like to have a reading list/challenge for the summer?

No, in fact it's only really the success of my English Counties challenge that has made me think about doing this one. Up until now, I've always given up on challenges, but the EC has been so good, that when I saw this long list and realised I wanted to read them all, and the timescales worked out quite nicely for being able to read them all before the prize winner is announced, so I thought I'd give it a go. :)

 

 

Definitely a great challenge as you have a deadline but yet a doable number of books to read before the deadline. And so far the books you've read you've liked a lot! It's going to be interesting to see how your favorites fair against the favorites of the judges :D

I know - I won't have read them all before the short list is announced, but I know that at least one of the books I've read so far is one I'd definitely want on the short list, so I'm already thinking of favourites! :D

 

I remember you and someone else reading about a book on the subject and discussing it on here, and then some time after I noticed a table at the library, on which there were books on the very same subject, although they were for all of Europe and not just the UK. There was a title that I thought you might like, but which you might already have on your wishlist or TBR... Going through the list in this thread, I don't think it was any of the books :unsure: I'm now regretting that I didn't write the title down!

Oh no! Never mind, I've got enough to be going on with, but if you do come across it again, I'd love to know what it is.

 

Have fun with the challenge :smile2:

Thanks! I'm on my third book now and it's another good one. I've bought another but I'm a bit concerned that it might be a bit too clever for me, but I'll give it a go with an open mind. :D

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I love the subject matter :wub: I'll be keeping a close eye on your list to see which of the books you've enjoyed the most Claire :)

I've currently got my eye on a book called Meadowland: The Private Life of an English Field by John Lewis-Stempel which I think won the prize last year. Have you read it Claire? I'm itching to read it but feel I should wait until next year .. and read the relevant bits in the relevant months (as I'm doing with The Traveller's Year this year) .. but it's tempting me  :blush2: 

 

Edit: Sorry Claire .. I should have said .. good luck with the challenge :) 

Edited by poppyshake

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I love the subject matter :wub: I'll be keeping a close eye on your list to see which of the books you've enjoyed the most Claire :)

Three down so far, and I've loved them all! No idea how I'm going to pick a favourite :D

 

I've currently got my eye on a book called Meadowland: The Private Life of an English Field by John Lewis-Stempel which I think won the prize last year. Have you read it Claire? I'm itching to read it but feel I should wait until next year .. and read the relevant bits in the relevant months (as I'm doing with The Traveller's Year this year) .. but it's tempting me  :blush2: 

I haven't read it, but I've picked it up quite a few times in the bookshop, so I'm anticipating actually buying it at some point. :yes:

 

Edit: Sorry Claire .. I should have said .. good luck with the challenge :) 

Thanks! :D

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No, in fact it's only really the success of my English Counties challenge that has made me think about doing this one. Up until now, I've always given up on challenges, but the EC has been so good, that when I saw this long list and realised I wanted to read them all, and the timescales worked out quite nicely for being able to read them all before the prize winner is announced, so I thought I'd give it a go. :)

Ah yes, the EC challenge :smile2: I'm not doing it myself, but I've lurked in the background every now and then to see how you all are fairing with the books. So far it seems to have been a really successful and well-loved challenge for you guys! 

 

Oh no! Never mind, I've got enough to be going on with, but if you do come across it again, I'd love to know what it is.

 

 

 

 

Oh I wouldn't have expected you to add it to the challenge list or anything, I just thought you might like to check it out :)  I'll definitely let you know if I come across it again :) 

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Common Ground by Rob Cowen

 

Copied from my reading blog.

 

Synopsis: (from Amazon.co.uk)

After moving from London to a new home in Yorkshire, and about to become a father for the first time, Rob Cowen finds himself in unfamiliar territory. Disoriented, hemmed in by winter and yearning for open space, he ventures out to a nearby edge-land: a pylon-slung tangle of wood, hedge, field, meadow and river that lies unclaimed and overlooked on the outskirts of town.

 

Digging deeper into this lost landscape, he begins to uncover its many layers and lives – beast, bird, insect, plant and people – in kaleidoscopic detail. As the seasons change and the birth of his child draws closer, his transformative journey into the blurry space where human and nature meet becomes increasingly profound. In bringing this edge-land to life, Cowen offers both a both a unique portrait of people and place through time and an unforgettable exploration of the common ground we share with the natural world, the past and each other.

 

Review:

Well this was just lovely. A perfect blend of memoir and nature writing, with each section focuses on a particular animal, bird, plant or insect. Cowen rediscovers a small wilderness of forgotten land when he moves back from London to somewhere closer to where he grew up, and through his discoveries of different species over the different seasons, we also get vignettes of other people's encounters with the land and how nature affects both him and them. Alongside that is the story of what's happening in the author's own life, as he and his wife become parents for the first time.

 

My favourite chapter was about swifts. I love watching and listening to birds when I'm out and about, and I'd only recently been watching the swifts coming back to our shores for the summer when I read this. I learnt so much about their migration, including how they sleep on the wing, and the extraordinary distances they fly, but none of this is told in a way that makes it feel like you're being educated, simply related but full of information. Just my sort of thing.

 

I absolutely loved reading this book. It's one of the books on the Wainwright Prize long list that I'm working my way through, and if this is an example of the quality of book I'm going to read, then I'm in for a fantastic summer of reading. One other little mention goes to the linocut prints that begin each chapter, which I've just looked up and were made by Cowen himself - only a small illustration for each, but beautiful nonetheless.

 

I've decided to rate the books on this list to give me a comparison for picking my favourites at the end, and this was easily a 9/10 as soon as I've finished it, but given time and reflection, it's edging its way towards a 10.

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The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks
 
Synopsis:
Some people's lives are entirely their own creations. James Rebanks' isn't. The first son of a shepherd, who was the first son of a shepherd himself, he and his family have lived and worked in and around the Lake District for generations. Their way of life is ordered by the seasons and the work they demand, and has been for hundreds of years. A Viking would understand the work they do: sending the sheep to the fells in the summer and making the hay; the autumn fairs where the flocks are replenished; the gruelling toil of winter when the sheep must be kept alive, and the light-headedness that comes with spring, as the lambs are born and the sheep get ready to return to the fells.
 
These modern dispatches from an ancient landscape tell the story of a deep-rooted attachment to place, describing a way of life that is little noticed and yet has profoundly shaped this landscape. In evocative and lucid prose, James Rebanks takes us through a shepherd's year, offering a unique account of rural life and a fundamental connection with the land that most of us have lost. It is a story of working lives, the people around him, his childhood, his parents and grandparents, a people who exist and endure even as the world changes around them. Many stories are of people working desperately hard to leave a place. This is the story of someone trying desperately hard to stay.
 
Review:
After reading Common Ground, I wasn’t sure if any of the other books on the longlist would match up to it, but The Shepherd’s Life does just that.  I don’t know where it comes from, but I have a love for reading about farmers and farming (in fact, my favourite ever essay I wrote was on the history of farming in the UK in the twentieth century!), and this book was a perfect fit for me.  There are so many different types of farming, and even multiple style of sheep farming, so reading about working the fells and the particular breeds of sheet suited to the land was right up my street. 
 
I devoured this book, and fell headlong into Rebanks life story, which not only talks about the sheep, but how his family started farming, what it’s like to grow up on a farm, the nature of tenancy farming, and what it’s like to farm in the modern agricultural climate.  It’s also a personal story of his struggle through school before realising his academic potential and being accepted to university and the difficulties that brought, but the lure of the farm that brings him back home.
 
On the slightly negative side, the opening chapters of his time at school I wasn’t sure about initially, but I knew it wasn’t going to be long so a little perseverance and I was soon completely engrossed.  It’s a very minor negative and it was quickly forgotten as a slow starter!  I read it about a month ago, and I’d almost forgotten my feeling at the beginning as it is absolutely fantastic writing, and a brilliant read. 
 
I’m rating it a 9/10 at the moment, and it’s vying for top place as my favourite with Common Ground of the books I’ve read at this point.

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The Outrun by Amy Liptrot
 
Synopsis:
When Amy Liptrot returns to Orkney after more than a decade away, she is drawn back to the Outrun on the sheep farm where she grew up. Approaching the land that was once home, memories of her childhood merge with the recent events that have set her on this journey.
 
Amy was shaped by the cycle of the seasons, birth and death on the farm, and her father's mental illness, which were as much a part of her childhood as the wild, carefree existence on Orkney. But as she grew up, she longed to leave this remote life. She moved to London and found herself in a hedonistic cycle. Unable to control her drinking, alcohol gradually took over. Now thirty, she finds herself washed up back home on Orkney, standing unstable at the cliff edge, trying to come to terms with what happened to her in London.
 
Spending early mornings swimming in the bracingly cold sea, the days tracking Orkney's wildlife - puffins nesting on sea stacks, arctic terns swooping close enough to feel their wings - and nights searching the sky for the Merry Dancers, Amy slowly makes the journey towards recovery from addiction.
 
The Outrun is a beautiful, inspiring book about living on the edge, about the pull between island and city, and about the ability of the sea, the land, the wind and the moon to restore life and renew hope.
 
Review:
This is definitely a book of two halves.  On the one hand is the memoir of the author and her family life growing up on Orkney on a small farm, with a father who suffered from mental illness and the impact on her development to adulthood, her move to London where her drinking gradually takes over her life leading to a downward spiral into addiction.  On the other hand, after she realises that she needs to take her life back and give up the alcohol, and after a twelve week programme in London, goes back to Orkney.
 
It’s the move to Orkney where I started to love the book.  The description of nature on the island, both on the farm itself and in the job she takes to count corncrakes (a type of bird) and help with their conservation, I absolutely loved.  The isolation of island communities and although in a small land, there is a diversity in the natural world, from the impact of man on land that is farmed, to the wild communities of birds and even the strength of the weather are written evocatively, and all work their way into her life, aiding her recovery on the very long road away from addiction.
 
I appreciate why she has written the book in this way, and how there is the overarching story of the healing capacity of nature on our lives, but I only really enjoyed the second half.  If, however, Liptrot writes a book solely on nature, I’ll be right up there in the front of the queue to read it, but it does mean my rating for this book on the Wainwright longlist is only going to be 6/10.

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Coastlines: The Story of Our Shore by Patrick Markham

Synopsis:
Told through a series of walks beside the sea, this is a story of the most beautiful 742 miles of coastline in England, Wales and Northern Ireland: their rocks, plants and animals, their views, walks and history, and the people who have made their lives within sight of the waves. As he travels along coastal paths, visits beaches and explores coves, Barkham reflects on the long campaign to protect our shoreline from tidal erosion and human damage and weaves together fascinating tales about every aspect of the coast - from ancient conquests and smuggler's routes, to exotic migratory birds and bucket-and-spade holidays - to tell a more profound story about our island nation and the way we are shaped by our shores.

Review:
What the synopsis doesn't tell you, is that this is about National Trust coastline. For me, that made it even more of an appealing read, as I love that so much of our shoreline is NT owned and accessible to the public. I can't imagine living somewhere with private beaches and restricted access, it just doesn't feel right.

The book follows the author on various trips to beaches and coastal areas around the UK, to find out how our coastline is being protected, but collects his stories into collections based on how he (and we) relates to the places, so that might be childhood which were trips based on his memories of visiting the seaside when he was younger, and how he and his wife are developing their children' relationship with the sea and coast. Another chapter was about art, and looked at how artists have been drawn to the coast and how it has influenced their work, and also how they are influencing and producing public art at the coast today.

I loved this book. Any book on the sea, sailing or coast areas, whether it be fiction or factual, will always grab my attention. I've read quite a few books about the sea over recent years, and this would be up there with my absolute favourites. Barkham's style is on the whole, quite informal making it an easy, flowing book to read, but there is plenty of detail in there too when it comes to facts. At then end of each chapter, he gives you the details of the walks he's taken, with OS map references, travel information, plus further reading on the areas he's discussed.

This book didn't make the shortlist, but of the longlist, it's probably my favourite. I initially rated it 9/10, but after a period of reflection, I'm upping it to a 10/10. :smile2:

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Raptor: A Journey Through Birds by James MacDonald Lockhart
 
Synopsis:
Of all the birds of the British Isles, the raptor reigns supreme, sparking the imagination like no other. In this magnificent hymn to these beautiful animals, James Macdonald Lockhart explores all fifteen breeding birds of prey on these shores – from the hen harrier swimming over the land in the dregs of a May gale on Orkney, to the ghostly sparrowhawk displaying in the fields around his home in Warwickshire. This is a book that will change how we think of our own skies.
 
Review:
This book follows the author in his journeys around the UK to observe each species of native raptor, but alongside this, he also looks at the life and work of renowned naturalist William MacGillivray who in the early nineteenth century also travelled the length of the nation recording bird species, and worked with the expert ornithologist John James Audubon.  He contributed to Audubon's book Ornithological Biographies and went on to write his own work including A History of British Birds, indigenous and migratory.
 
Lockhart recounts MacGillivray's own journey alongside his own experiences, and along the way we get a fascinating look at the birds and their habitats, and how they've changed over the last two centuries.  The mix of historical and contemporary settings gives a wonderful variety within the chapters, but for me, it was the story of the birds and how they survive today that captivated me.  I read a hardback edition from the library, and I loved the little line drawings of that chapters raptor under the heading, which were actually reproduced from MacGillivray's book, bringing together the modern and original works.
 
A very good book, and fascinating to look at how mans impact has changed the lives and habitats of the birds over time.  It's not a book I'd read again, but I did enjoy it a lot and rated it 8/10.

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Being a Beast by Charles Foster
 
Synopsis:
Charles Foster wanted to know what it was like to be a beast: a badger, an otter, a deer, a fox, a swift. What it was really like. And through knowing what it was like he wanted to get down and grapple with the beast in us all.
 
So he tried it out; he lived life as a badger for six weeks, sleeping in a dirt hole and eating earthworms, he came face to face with shrimps as he lived like an otter and he spent hours curled up in a back garden in East London and rooting in bins like an urban fox.
 
A passionate naturalist, Foster realises that every creature creates a different world in its brain and lives in that world. As humans, we share sensory outputs, lights, smells and sound, but trying to explore what it is actually like to live in another of these worlds, belonging to another species, is a fascinating and unique neuro-scientific challenge. For Foster it is also a literary challenge. Looking at what science can tell us about what happens in a fox's or badger's brain when it picks up a scent, he then uses this to imagine their world for us, to write it through their eyes or rather through the eyes of Charles the beast.
 
An intimate look at the life of animals, neuroscience, psychology, nature writing, memoir and more, it is a journey of extraordinary thrills and surprises, containing wonderful moments of humour and joy, but also providing important lessons for all of us who share life on this precious planet.
 
Review:
I really liked the premise of this book when I read the synopsis, but I have to say, when I actually came to read it, I found it quite difficult to read.  Not because it was poorly written, or the content was dry, but because I found it incredibly hard to connect with the authors voice.  From what I read, I think I live in a completely different world to Foster, despite living in the same country.  It wasn't only the way he chose to do his experiments but also his way of recounting it, which just left me cold.  I read the whole book, but if it hadn't been for the challenge, I would have put it down.  I'm trying not to make personal comments about the author, as I obviously don't know him personally but there's such an intimacy in the writing of his experiences that it's hard to disentangle my personal feelings for the persona he's put on display in the book, so I'll just say that this book was not for me.  
 
I'd originally given it a 5/10 but as I'm really only rating these books based on my enjoyment, I need to lower this to a 4/10 - so again, I'm not rating the quality of the writing, which if I view it objectively from the writing only, it's a very well written, it's purely on my own enjoyment.  I didn't hate it, but I didn't enjoy it either, so I don't think I can rate it any higher that a 4/10.

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The Fish Ladder by Katherine Norbury

 

Synopsis: (from Amazon.co.uk)

Katharine Norbury was abandoned as a baby in a Liverpool convent. Raised by loving adoptive parents, she grew into a wanderer, drawn by the beauty of the British countryside. One summer, following the miscarriage of a much-longed-for child, Katharine and her nine-year-old daughter Evie decide to follow a river from the sea to its source. But a chance circumstance forces Katharine to the door of the woman who gave her up all those years ago.

 

Combining travelogue, memoir, exquisite nature writing, fragments of poetry and tales from Celtic mythology, The Fish Ladder is a captivating and life-affirming story about motherhood, marriage, family, and self-discovery, illuminated by the extraordinary majesty of the natural world.

 

Review:

A bit like The Outrun, this is a book of two halves for me. There's the story of a woman's life which includes her marriage and her recent miscarriage, as well as the search for the truth about her birth parents, and then there's the nature walks she takes which run in parallel to her emotional journey. However, unlike my experience of The Outrun, I found The Fish Ladder much more relatable. I could definitely both empathise and sympathise with her personal story, while the nature writing did take a back seat at times.

 

I should say, I read this a couple of months ago, and to be honest, it hasn't stuck with me much. I remember much more about the personal story then the walks and trips into the natural world which took a back seat. I know I got a bit bogged down at one point and gave up for a few days and came back to it, but I did get back into it again, and it rolled along nicely after that. I rated it a 7/10 for enjoyment at the time, and it hasn't grown on me to increase that, nor has it screamed out to be lowered either, so I'll stick with that.

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The Moth Snowstorm by Michael McCarthy

 

Synopsis: (from Amazon.co.uk)

Nature has many gifts for us, but perhaps the greatest of them all is joy; the intense delight we can take in the natural world, in its beauty, in the wonder it can offer us, in the peace it can provide - feelings stemming ultimately from our own unbreakable links to nature, which mean that we cannot be fully human if we are separate from it.

 

In The Moth Snowstorm Michael McCarthy, one of Britain's leading writers on the environment, proposes this joy as a defence of a natural world which is ever more threatened, and which, he argues, is inadequately served by the two defences put forward hitherto: sustainable development and the recognition of ecosystem services.

 

Drawing on a wealth of memorable experiences from a lifetime of watching and thinking about wildlife and natural landscapes, The Moth Snowstorm not only presents a new way of looking at the world around us, but effortlessly blends with it a remarkable and moving memoir of childhood trauma from which love of the natural world emerged. It is a powerful, timely, and wholly original book which comes at a time when nature has never needed it more.

 

Review:

Although I had a slow start with this book, putting it down after the first chapter for a couple of weeks and coming back to it later, I eventually got engrossed in it, and found the memoir and how it was linked to natural world was very well done and very relevant, and then the more essay style chapters looking at the current situation with ecology and the environment were excellent. There are some sections that are more light hearted than other (there's a lovely section on sparrows chattering to each other), but always surrounded by the deeper impact on nature and species decline. At times, it's devastating to read what impact man has on the natural world, and this makes it tough to read, but it's always engaging, always informative and for me, was an important read.

 

On a smaller, but no less important scale, the impact that nature can have on children, particularly those going through difficult times, is wonderfully written. As a young child, McCarthy went through a traumatic time at home, but found simple pleasure in butterflies and was able to find an escape from reality in these creatures, leading him to a life and career indelibly linked with the natural world.

 

I initially gave the book a 7/10, but the more I think back on it, the more I'm moved and affected by it, and I was going to increase it to an 8, but I'm actually going to go for a 9/10 as my final rating. I actually think I might go back and read it again.

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Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane

 

Synopsis: (from Amazon.co.uk)

Words are grained into our landscapes, and landscapes are grained into our words. Landmarks is about

the power of language to shape our sense of place. It is a field guide to the literature of nature, and a glossary containing thousands of remarkable words used in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales to describe land, nature and weather. Travelling from Cumbria to the Cairngorms, and exploring the landscapes of Roger Deakin, J. A. Baker, Nan Shepherd and others, Robert Macfarlane shows that language, well used, is a keen way of knowing landscape, and a vital means of coming to love it.

 

Review:

Based on the thoughts of friends on Macfarlane's writing, I thought I'd be in for a treat with this book, in fact, he's an author I've been meaning to read for a long time. When I first looked at this book though, I was daunted as I scanned through to find pages of word lists and thought I'd end up skipping large chunks. Oh how wrong I was. The writing it wonderful, and I fell for it immediately. It's a book not just about a love for nature but also for the love of words and our wonderfully rich language that creates words for the minutiae of everything, from the weather, to the landscape, to the flora and fauna, to our relationship to all these. Macfarlane has travelled and researched the length and breadth of the country to collect as many local words and phrases we use to describe our land, and wrapped it all up with stories of writers of old and new, who have helped shape our language of nature.

 

An absolutely wonderful book, fascinating and interesting, at times sad (Macfarlane was a good friend to the late Roger Deakin) but ultimately uplifting, just by the pure joy of revelling in our wonderfully diverse language. A gem of a book, and I've upped my initial rating from a 9/10 to a 10/10. I will definitely be going back to read more of Macfarlane's books, and also this book will remain on the shelf to dip in and out of, perhaps on a rainy day when I want to look at what the Cumbrians might call the type of rain falling outside the window. Lovely.

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What breathtaking synopsis and reviews! I've never read such books (although I have read books relating to the California coast), but what a beautiful challenge!

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Thanks Anna.  I have read books like this in the past, but never such a concentrated collection, but when I saw the long list of the prize for this year, it looked like a perfect challenge.  I've still got two books left to read, one is a hardback and I'm hoping to read it next week, and then the final one I need to download for my Kindle, as the paperback has very tiny writing and it looks very dense and long, so I'm thinking I might read it in instalments, but still need the ebook version so that I can increase the size of the font! :D

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Coastlines: The Story of Our Shore by Patrick Markham

This one sounds wonderful, Claire. :)

 

I'm enjoying your reviews of this great challenge.

 

Edit: I've just chosen our next book for Book Club, but I might suggest this next time it's my turn. :)

Edited by Janet

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Thanks Janet. :)

 

You've planted the idea in my head now, and I might see if our libraries have enough copies to recommend a couple of the books for our library reading group too!  It would make a nice change as we often get stuck in a female novelists rut, so one of these might be a good diversion. :D

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