Book Review: Wild Geese by Nan Shepherd

Sitting on a bookshelf in my study, is a framed £5 note. The specific note holds no special value to me, but who is on it does. Nan Shepherd may not be a household name, but she has finally been recognized enough, at least in Scotland, to be featured on the Bank of Scotland’s £5 note. I first read her most well known book, The Living Mountain, during a trip to the Scottish Highlands a few years ago, where I found her book in a local bookshop in the very Cairngorms she loved.

Sometimes we read a book at exactly the right time and had we read it at another period in our lives, we may have enjoyed or appreciated it, but missed the significance of the words. There’s…

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Book Review: Extraordinary Insects by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson

If you know me, follow me on Twitter or read my writing, you probably have a pretty good idea that I’m a huge bug dork and partial to anything without a backbone. When Norwegian entomologist Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson’s new book Extraordinary Insects: Weird. Wonderful. Indespensible. The ones who run the world. showed up in my Twitter timeline, I naturally tracked it down and ordered it immediately. It has just been translated into English and published in the UK, the US release comes in July. In Norway, where it was originally published, it has become a best-seller.

The very day the book arrived I began reading it and finished in just a couple of…

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2017 Review of Books

Somehow I managed to read 74 books during the year, so far, not counting picture books. They range from natural history to poetry, graphic novels and much in between. Below is a selection of some of the most notable books I read this year. You can see the complete list on my 2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge page

Natural History

Sightlines: A Conversation with the Natural World – Kathleen Jamie

This was one of the first books I read this year and it instantly became a favorite. Jamie’s collection of essays range in length, but most of them are set in her native Scotland. She investigates a wide variety of subjects but perhaps my favorite was the essay in which she visits a natural history museum in Norway and watches as workers clean the bones of an old whale. Later in the…

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Nature Picture Books: Lila, Fox and Barnacle

We recently brought home a stack of books from the library and three in particular really stood out. They all had a nature focus but were very different in tone. 

Lila and the Crow

Written and illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard, this book was first brought to my attention by Georgia of Local Ecologist who frequently shares books her family is reading on Twitter. I was intrigued by the crow and put it on hold at our library. Lila and the Crow is perhaps one of the most beautifully illustrated children’s books I’ve ever seen. The landscapes and scenes are full of a sense of place and Lila’s emotions are easy to feel through the illustrations. 

The story is ultimately about overcoming being bullied for being different. Lila is called a crow because of her appearance and each day finds…

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Book: Fauna & Family

In 2016 I read 39 books, not counting picture books which would surely triple that number and then some. Although I posted about a few of them during my 365 Nature Project, there were many I didn’t mention on my website. This year I’m aiming to read at least 40 books and try to post notes about all of them on here. Yesterday I finished my third book of the year (I’ll post about the first two later), Fauna and Family by Gerald Durrell. It’s the third and final book in his Corfu trilogy and I’ve had a great time reading the first two books. The first, My Family and Other Animals would find itself on any of my top books lists and it had me laughing so hard in places I cried. The second, Birds, Beasts, and Relatives was also…

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Book Review:: Lapwings, Loons & Lousy Jacks

9781784270926The exact moment I became interested in bird names was the day I was walking through a Finnish nature reserve listening to an unfamiliar bird call and searching the trees trying to find it. As I stood looking and listening, an old man walked by, mumbled something in Finnish to my companion and wandered off. I learned from my Finnish speaking companion that the old man had told him the bird singing was a Tikli, which of course meant nothing to me at the time. Fortunately, I had purchased a bird guide in Finnish and was later able to crawl through the pages to discover what a Tikli was. I was thrilled to discover it was a European Goldfinch, a bird I would have loved to see. After that I doubled my birding efforts and finally did find a flock of goldfinches later…

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