Nature Writing (top picks)

I recently read H is for Hawk and found myself falling deeper in love with nature writing. If you’re not familiar with this genre, it essentially describes a body of work that focuses on the natural environment, usually involving wildlife and landscapes, often written in the first person and containing overly lyrical prose.

It is an odd phenomenon that nature writing has seen a renaissance at a time when humans are more disconnected from the natural world than we have ever been. Perhaps it is because naturalists writing about the environment are hobbyists and enthusiasts rather than experts – and, as every good Brexiter knows, we have all had enough of experts. They can make nature more experiential and not weighed down by facts and statistics; more of a transcendence and a philosophical, Romantic narrative.

Here are some books about the natural world that every nature lover should read

  • H is for Hawk – Helen McDonald: a grieving daughter takes on the notoriously difficult task of training a goshawk, with frequent references to a book on the same subject by a fellow trainer lacking all the necessary skills.
  • The Peregrine – J. A. Baker: a man follows a pair of peregrine falcons, noting their behaviour and tallying their kills.
  • The Robin – a Biography – Stephen Moss: the nation’s favourite bird, seen from a new perspective.
  • Raptor – a journey through birds – James McDonald Lockhart: a journey around the country following all the different birds of prey in Britain, from sparrowhawks in Warwickshire to hen harriers in Orkney.
  • The Secret Life of the Owl – John Lewis-Stempel: exploring the myths and legends surrounding owls, and focusing on all the different owls in the UK.
  • Foxes Unearthed – Lucy Jones: dispelling the myths about the mysterious fox; an affectionate and engaging read.
  • Wildwood – Roger Deakin: a succession of anecdotes about the author’s love and knowledge of forests, trees, and flora.
  • ReWild – the art of returning to nature – Nick Baker: the mindfulness manual to nature – how to keep still and quiet and reconnect to wilderness.

Have you read any of these books? I’d love to know your thoughts! Or if you have any recommendations, feel free to share. 

New Nature: a quick mention

Hello! I just wanted to give a quick mention and plug to an excellent magazine that I’ve recently been involved with and thought it would be appropriate to share on my blog.

New Nature is a youth nature magazine written by and for young people. There’s a really dedicated, knowledgeable and engaged team behind it and I’ve been lucky enough to have a few submissions accepted recently in the July and August editions.

The writers are young conservationists, ecologists, natural history fanatics and wildlife photographers and you can find articles on nature conservation, opinion pieces on countryside issues, and in depth focus individual species. I’ve learnt so much already and it’s good to keep reading about nature and animals. I hope you’ll give it a read – it is free to download after all!

:)

July Favourites

This last month has been a good chance to get back into the habit of actually reading books again. I don’t know how long it had been but I had lost my bookmark so that probably indicates it was a fair while.

In Books

Recently I read a very interesting book called The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly and even wrote a long book review all about it, which you can read here. It’s an allegory about motherhood through the eyes of a hen called Sprout, one of the most endearing characters I’ve ever encountered. The book by Sun Mi Hwang is a subtle examination of animal welfare on farms so I’m sure my veggie/vegan readers will enjoy it. :)

In Plants

Next up it’s a new houseplant! I spent my weekend at various garden centres and came home with two new house plants, a pilea and a rosary vine. I’ve seen both of these plants on Instagram – they are very Insta-friendly – and have been on the look out. I don’t think I could ever get tired of looking at the strange chains of heart-shaped leaves that are now cascading over my mantlepiece.

Finally, another garden centre steal was this gorgeous vintage plant pot that has been distressed. It’s quite heavy but small and I don’t yet have a plant to put in it. Any suggestions?

 


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