One of my New Year’s resolutions was to read more this year, especially when the weather is bad, so today here are 5 books I can recommend (especially as we are still in lockdown)
First off is The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to 2021 by Lia Leendertz (Octopus Books). For the third year in a row I have had this book at the start to the year and though we are now in February I still highly recommend you trying to find a copy (try www.hive.co.uk for discounted books, proceeds from which benefit local independent bookshops). The almanac is a brilliant and fascinating collection of folklore, foraging notes, nature observations, moon and tide tables that means it is constantly on my bedside table. I read it throughout the month and it is a handy way to remind myself to make sure I make that elderflower cordial or when the next full moon is coming! Definitely an indispensable annual publication and also beautifully illustrated.
I am not any kind of expert on seaweed but having undertaken lots of beach cleans I often come across so much of it and wish I knew exactly what type it was! Well, this book takes us through the history of seaweed, its cultural uses, it’s biology and it’s an ID guide! It’s full of exquisite illustrations and I know I shall be coming back to it time and time again.
A Wood of One’s Own by Ruth Pavey (Duckworth)
This was one of the books I have meaning to get around to reading for a while. Ruth Pavey writes a captivating account of her purchase of 4 acres of scrubland on the Somerset levels. Bought at auction she takes years to restore it, planting trees and making a pond and it becomes a haven for wildlife. I do however, have some misgivings about her use of non-native species for some of the planting. That aside, it’s worth reading as you can escape into her journey and imagine your own wild space…
The Light in the Dark by Horatio Clare (Elliot and Thompson)
If like me you suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and you find the lack of sunlight really affects you over the winter months, then do take the time to read this book. It’s a warts and all account by Clare of his seasonal depression during the winter of 2018 but set against a backdrop of his encounters with nature. It’s refreshing to read a book so honest (reminds me of Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig) and yet his writing style is so lyrical and engaging that even though he is talking about his depression, it is an uplifting read.
A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough
Last but not least, David Attenborough’s latest memoir explains his personal journey recording nature set against the background of the ecological emergency. Very much focused on the changes that he has been witness to, his book is a rousing call to take action to protect what bio-diversity we have left in the world. I have some doubts about his insistence that high C02 emissions are caused by a high global population (in fact, research shows that a British citizen emits more CO2 in two weeks than some people in Africa do in a year) and though he alludes to it, he does not stress that it is our Western consumerist lifestyle that is most to blame for high C02 emissions. If we are to truly address climate change we have to look hard at the system that is causing actions like the Amazon to be deforested; it’s ultimately for profit for companies and shareholders in the West! Aside from that the book does highlight the scale of the problem we are facing, told from his experience and offers some meaningful solutions to how we might tackle it.
I hope you enjoy reading these books and please do try to source them either from the local library, ethical on-line sellers like ‘The Hive’ or local book sellers. Even better, you might find one second hand!