My reading of Gavin Maxwell‘s account of his early years at Camusfeàrna alternated between delight at his descriptions of the place, the wildlife and his relationships there, and irritation at the sense of entitlement and privileged displayed in London and on his travels; with Wilfred Thesiger to live with the Marsh Arabs of Iraq and to bring back a wild otter, to Sicily to write a book.
No mention of his relationship with Kathleen Raine whose poem provides the title of the book.
I had borrowed the trilogy but stopped at the end of this, the most well known book.
Publisher’s webpage: The Ring of Bright Water Trilogy – Gavin Maxwell
One of those books I just had to keep on reading…. devoured in a weekend, interspersed with a 5 year old’s Star Wars & Superheroes birthday party in Blackheath and ‘babysitting’ B&R while T&J were in Stockholm for the weekend… which included help with revising Of Mice and Men.
But I digress.
wonderful book about Helen Macdonald’s love of falconry and her experiences in the first year of training her goshawk, Mabel (from the Latin amabilis meaning lovable or dear)
… intertwined with …
a biography of T H White (of The Once And Future King fame) and his Gos
a loving, grieving eulogy for Helen Macdonald’s father, Fleet Street photographer, Alisdair Macdonald (you’ll recognise some of his photos).
Make sure you have a hanky / tissues at the ready as you read. It’s a real weepy.
Publisher page: H is for Hawk – Helen Macdonald
Cambridge News – Cambridge author Helen Macdonald on grief, goshawks, and her best-selling book, H is for Hawk, 7 September 2014.
More lovely musings on nature and the wild from Scots poet Kathleen Jamie.
Author’s webpage: Sightlines – Kathleen Jamie
The subtitle says it all: On the Roof of the World: The Guardian Book of Mountains is in practice a collection of articles and leaders published in The Guardian on the topic of climbing…. and to start with, I found the early material covering the emergence of rock climbing in the UK – particularly in the hills around Manchester – heavy going; partly because of the inevitable male focus, but also because of the mismatch between expectations raised by the book’s main title and the reality of reading about events like the Mass Trespass on Kinder Scout and Scrambling on the Roaches. To be fair, there were articles on Alpine ascents and the allure of Everest, but the English material just wasn’t that engrossing for me.
So, a slow read – begun in Huaraz and continued under canvas on the Cordillera Blanca trek, I only managed at most few pages a night in Peru, with the rest of the book polished off in the week since I’ve been back.
Guardian Bookshop link: On the Roof of the World: The Guardian Book of Mountains – Edited by Richard Nelsson
At last, a proper page turner after two less engrossing reads…. I’ve developed a real love of nature/travel writing, and Robert Macfarlane’s meditations on ancient pathways on land and sea bring together landscape and wildlife, modern politics and ghostly sacred sites, ancient hunter gathers of Formby Point and present day gannet hunters of Ness, and much more through the prism of Edward Thomas‘s poems.
Named “best book of the year” by many an author in 2012/2013, it more than lived up to the hype.
Time to look out some of the writer-walkers who’ve inspired him, in particular Nan Shepherd and her book The Living Mountain, Barry Cunliffe‘s Facing the Ocean: The Atlantic and its People, 8000BC-AD1500 and Barry Lopez‘s Home Ground: Language to an American Landscape….
… and to find out how feasible it might be to pay my own pilgrimage to Minya Konka (Mount Gongga; simplified Chinese: 贡嘎山).
Publisher page: The Old Ways: a Journey on Foot – Robert Macfarlane