Archives for non-fiction

#BookReview ‘Wildwood’ by Roger Deakin #trees #nature

Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees is the first nature book by Roger Deakin I’ve read, now I want to read more. I’ve always loved trees, in nature, in art, the timber, wooden objects. As we know, it is beneficial to lose ourselves outside in nature, breathing in the fresh air, absorbing the quiet, acknowledging the trees and flowers, and so I found the experience of reading this book. It will make you want to camp outside in the woods. The first half of this book is a journey through the woods of Suffolk around Deakin’s home, talking to woodlanders and slipping in literature, poetry, woodworking and science. The second half is travel writing… about trees. Deakin travels to Kazakhstan in search of wild apple groves, the founding trees on which all our domesticated apples are based. In complete contrast are the chapters about Australia. Deakin lives and travels with local people in both places, enthusiasts and specialists in their subject, and this comes through in his writing. Both parts of this book are fascinating, just different. In the UK he talks to artists, woodcarvers, naturalists and thatchers in East Anglia, the New Forest, Wye and the Forest of Dean. His memories
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Categories: Book Love.

#BookReview ‘Underland’ by @RobGMacfarlane #nature #science #travel

Robert Macfarlane is a nature writer who gives you so much more – science, geology, landscape, history, folklore, myth, environment, oral history. Tempted by the amazing cover – a detail of ‘Nether’ by Stanley Donwood – I bought Underland and was hooked from the first sentence. ‘The way into the underland is through the riven trunk of an old ash tree’. Macfarlane goes underground – into the catacombs of Paris, remote Arctic sea caves, down moulins in Greenland glaciers, follows underground rivers through the Karst in Slovenia, ending in Finland where a tomb is being constructed to house nuclear waste – discovering stories about our ancestors and the world they lived in. A wide-ranging book, informative as well as interesting, Macfarlane writes with a feeling for language that locks into your emotions. As the chapters progress – each setting is underground, extreme and challenging – Macfarlane consults experts and explores inaccessible places. Juxtaposed with the examination of nature and science, he writes a travel story involving caving, mountaineering, exploration and survival skills. He writes of places the reader is unlikely ever to visit. Such as the calving face of the Knud Rasmussen glacier in Greenland, ‘Birds gather on the silt
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: Seeking John Campbell

This book by John Daffurn is not fiction or a memoir. It is the true story of one man’s hunt for the family of a woman he doesn’t know, which encompasses genealogical research, foot slogging, dead ends and a lot of history. This story starts with the death of this unknown woman, Isabel Grieg, in 1995. She dies intestate. The author found her name on the Bona Vacantia list of estates without heirs. His initial research, prompted by genealogical curiosity, turned into an obsession. This book is the story of that obsession, his fascination with the Campbells and a historical account which ranges from the founding of Argentina, the establishment of a Scots colony in Argentina, through the Great War and World War Two to the present day. At times it is a very fact hungry book and I found myself re-reading some passages. This was not the book I expected, instead of an ‘Heir Hunter’ style detective story, albeit true, it is instead a well-written historical account of three men – each coincidentally called John Campbell – who may be the unknown father of Isabel Greig. In discovering the stories of these three men, the author tells the history
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Categories: Book Love and Family history research.