Landmarks – Robert Macfarlane

Landmarks - Robert MacfarlaneSuperb writing on language, landscape and living on the land.

Lots of new words to use (well, to try and remember); lots of new books to read…

Looking forward to fuddling next time at Forty Acres, and to the accuracy of describing my Dolpo Expedition river crossing photos as “Crunching across the frozen mud and skim-ice to wade through the waters of the upper Barbung Khola”.

“Other places” isn’t really the right category/genre for this but it’s the closest I’ve got (other than “Too tricky to categorise” – so I’m going to tick that too….)

Publisher page: Landmarks – Robert Macfarlane

800 Entries in Sparkly Trainers > Reading

Early Warning – Jane Smiley was my 800th blog post on Sparkly Trainers Reading.

Entry No. 1 was Best Rainy Day Book Ever – Richard Scarry back in July 2001 when I added my three favourite books to the now defunct Haddock Review.

Taking a look back over the past 15 and a bit years, my most read authors are:

and my category counts are:

I turned off the ability for people to add Comments in 2011 by which time Reading had accumulated 124 comments. The entry that received most comments was The Riders – Tim Winton (32), closely followed by Cloudstreet – Tim Winton (30). No reflection on the quality of my reviews, simply a side effect of the Australian English Curriculum!

The numbers for the past five years are a bit “same same but different” – still lots of speedy crime reads (mainly in a foreign setting) and historical novels, but with a few new names, and Science fiction / Fantasy making an appearance*:

Here are the Category counts for the past five years:

  • Biography and autobiography (33)
  • Chick lit (9)
  • Crime fiction (86)
  • Espionage / Thriller (2)
  • Historical fiction (83)
  • History (23)
  • Modern fiction (63)
  • Other places (28)
  • Science fiction / Fantasy (15)
  • Too tricky to categorise (7)

And finally, here’s what I’m currently reading ….

… and have on my bookshelf, ready to be read (and in no particular order):

Now I’m wondering if I need a Nature category….

Bookshelves
Bookshelves
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* More accurately a reappearance: I devoured SF&F as a teenager – Isaac Asimov, Anne McCaffrey. Historical novels were a firm favourite then too – Anya Seton, Jean Plaidy (I’d no idea that was a pen name!).

Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow – Maria Coffey

Maria Coffey was Joe Tasker‘s girlfriend of 2 years when he and Pete Boardman died on Everest in 1982.

In a way, a good book to read on the way to Uncle John’s funeral, Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow explores absence and loss, with interviews and autobiography about the impact of mountain climbing on the other people in a high altitude climber’s life – partners, parents and children.

Publisher’s page: Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow: The Dark Side of Extreme Adventure – Maria Coffey

Retromania – Simon Reynolds

Quite a weighty tome – over 400 pages in paperback – looking at music’s love of the past; revering, recycling, repurposing musical styles and genres across the decades. Particularly fascinating when you get to chapters about times and tunes you remember.

Author’s website: Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to its Own Past – Simons Reynolds

Review: Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to its Own Past by Simon Reynolds – review: Does it matter that pop music is stuck in the same old groove?, Sukhdev Sandhu, The Observer’s, 29 May 2011

H is for Hawk – Helen Macdonald

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.

A ….

  • 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 …

… and…

  • 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.

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.