#BookReview LANDFILL by TIM DEE @LittleToller #NonFictionNovember

ABOUT THE BOOK

A ground breaking new book from the author of The Running Sky and Four Fields, Landfill confronts our waste-making species through the extraordinary and fascinating life of gulls, and the people who watch them. Original, compelling and unflinching, it is the nature book for our times.


We think of gulls as pests. They steal our chips and make newspaper headlines, these animals, often derided as “bin chickens” are complex neighbours, making the most of our throw away species. In the Anthropocene, they are a surprising success story. They’ve become intertwined with us, precisely because we are so good at making rubbish. Landfill is a book that avoids nostalgia and eulogy for nature and instead kicks beneath the littered surface to find stranger and more inspiring truths.
Landfill is the compelling story of how we have worked the rest of the living world, learned about it, named and catalogued it, colonised and planted it, and filled it with our rubbis
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PUBLISHED BY Little Toller

PURCHASE LINKS

Publisher Website

Amazon UK

whsmith

MY REVIEW

If you don’t become a ‘gull’ fan after reading this book then I think there’s something wrong with you! They’re a bird I’ve taken for granted, especially living so close to the estuary and the large landfill site in Pitsea where a lot of this book is set (and I never knew such gull action even went on there!), but in this stunning little book, the author really gets behind the ‘trashy’ image we all get of gulls – that they’re aggressive and ugly and serve no real purpose other than nicking your food if you’re at the seaside, or attacking small animals in gardens, thanks to silly season reports in newspapers! The more that he studies these birds in various sites, the more he begins to appreciate them and realise just how much human behaviour has impacted on their habits. Hence the link with rubbish and why so many can be spotted at landfill sites across the county.


The author is a birdwatcher, and his enthusiasm and passion for the subject is infectious as he follows the birds and talks to the people who follow these birds and are known as ‘gullers’. They’ve become fascinated by the species and their behaviour and will travel long distances for glimpses of rare breeds but also to note changes in their numbers. And due to the changes in the way we dispose of food waste especially now, the numbers aren’t seen at landfill sites anymore so they’re having to change where they get their food, and heading away from the seaside and into towns.


I really enjoyed the mix of the way the author told the story of the gull – he used his own knowledge alongside where they’re mentioned in poetry, literature and films, and it made for an absorbing read and I never thought I’d find the subjects of gulls and rubbish so fascinating! The information and anecdotes were really well balanced and made for an enthralling read.


I’m really glad to have been educated about these birds that I think we all take for granted and largely ignore, so will definitely be paying more attention to the local gull population!


★★★★


My thanks to the publisher, Little Toller, for a copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review.

#BookReview Woods: A Celebration by Robert Penn #NonFictionNovember

ABOUT THE BOOK

A tribute to the natural history of some of our most iconic British woods. The National Trust manages hundreds of woods, covering more than 60,000 acres of England and Wales. They include many of the oldest woodlands in the land and some of the oldest living things of any kind—trees that are thousands of years old. From Dean to Epping, from Hatfield to Sherwood, this book covers the natural history of Britain’s forests and how they have changed the face of a landscape. Covering the different species of trees that give these woods their unique characters, the plants and animals that inhabit them, and the way their appearance changes throughout the seasons, Woods is a fascinating and beautifully illustrated celebration of Britain’s trees and the ancient stories that surround them.

Published by National Trust

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK  £20

whsmith  £14

MY REVIEW

A beautiful coffee table book that helps to shine a little light on just how important woods are and how the National Trust are doing all they can to help preserve and conserve these areas for many generations to come.

This book takes you through the seasons in a variety of NT owned woods and how the flora and fauna change through the year and how each wood is used nowadays – how can it stay relevant in these more modern times when large patches of woodland are disappearing fast.

It talks about the problems facing these areas and the diseases that are wreaking havoc amongst the native species. As well as personal commentary from the author, it also features poetry, history and literature that features woodland areas.

The photos are beautiful and especially Autumn for me with all the different colours showing, just shows how stunning these areas are and hopefully will continue to be with the help of the National Trust and other organisations.

★★★★

The Light in the Dark: A Winter Journal by Horatio Clare #BookReview #Repost @eandtbooks

 

THE LIGHT IN THE DARK: A WINTER JOURNAL

Published by  – Elliot & Thompson

Paperback release – 3rd October 2019

About the book

A moving winter diary that reveals the healing power of the natural world

• An evocative exploration of the season, beautifully designed.

• Horatio Clare is a multiple award-winning memoirist, nature and travel writer.

• Combines scintillating nature writing with a moving personal narrative, touching on issues of winter depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder.

• For readers of The Outrun by Amy Liptrot and the Seasons series by Melissa Harrison.

As November stubs out the glow of autumn and the days tighten into shorter hours, winter’s occupation begins. Preparing for winter has its own rhythms, as old as our exchanges with the land. Of all the seasons, it draws us together. But winter can be tough.

It is a time of introspection, of looking inwards. Seasonal sadness; winter blues; depression – such feelings are widespread in the darker months. But by looking outwards, by being in and observing nature, we can appreciate its rhythms. Mountains make sense in any weather. The voices of a wood always speak consolation. A brush of frost; subtle colours; days as bright as a magpie’s cackle. We can learn to see and celebrate winter in all its shadows and lights.

In this moving and lyrical evocation of a British winter and the feelings it inspires, Horatio Clare raises a torch against the darkness, illuminating the blackest corners of the season, and delving into memory and myth to explore the powerful hold that winter has on us. By learning to see, we can find the magic, the light that burns bright at the heart of winter: spring will come again.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

hive.co.uk

About the author

Horatio Clare is a critically acclaimed author and journalist. His first book, Running for the Hills: A Family Story, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His second book, Truant is ‘a stunningly-written memoir’, according to the Irish Times. A Single Swallow: Following an Epic Journey from South Africa to South Wales, was shortlisted for the Dolman Travel Book of the Year; Down to the Sea in Ships: Of Ageless Oceans and Modern Men won the Stanford-Dolman Travel Book of the Year 2015. Horatio’s first book for children, Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot, won the Branford Boase Award 2016 for best debut children’s book. He lives in West Yorkshire. 

Twitter @HoratioClare

MY REVIEW

It’s that time of year again! The time when we all want to hibernate thanks to the longer, darker evenings and freezing cold mornings, and this book lets you know that you’re not alone in feeling that way! The author has used this book to share his thoughts on how this time of year makes him feel, along with exploring the power that nature has of keeping you looking forward, despite those days when all seems bleak and hopeless.  

It’s a simple concept but the style of writing and honesty that the author shares allows you to see the world through his eyes over the autumn and winter months that he has come to dread so much, and how his attitude to winter has changed over the years.  This is his journal of all that he sees mixed alongside the trivialities of real life and that what makes this a book that you can connect with.  

It’s a beautifully written book that struck a chord with me on many occasions.  The process of seeing the landscape and wildlife change from month to month and seeing how that affects his mood, and how just a simple task of writing a shopping list often became too much when his mind becomes too dark for him to be able to function on a daily basis.

Alongside the sights and sounds of nature, there are also many fascinating facts about S.A.D (seasonal affective disorder) and he also explores the strength that his family give him when he’s suffering alongside useful tips that he’s found in ways of distracting his mind, and realising that he can’t do it all by himself and it’s ok to ask for help.  With the topic of mental health so prevalent in society today, this is a book that can help a reader engage with their own feelings and find help if needed – be that by talking to somebody or just taking time to notice the small things in life.  

I found this to be such an insightful and thought provoking book and it is definitely one of those reads that gives you lots to think about and helps to lighten up the darkness of Winter.  

 

#BookReview The Bumblebee Flies Anyway; A year of gardening and wildlife by KATE BRADBURY @chiffchat

ABOUT THE BOOK

Finding herself in a new home in Brighton, Kate Bradbury sets about transforming her decked, barren backyard into a beautiful wildlife garden. She documents the unbuttoning of the earth and the rebirth of the garden, the rewilding of a tiny urban space. On her own she unscrews, saws, and hammers the decking away, she clears the builders’ rubble and rubbish beneath it, and she digs and enriches the soil, gradually planting it up with plants she knows will attract wildlife. She erects bird boxes and bee hotels, hangs feeders and grows nectar- and pollen-rich plants, and slowly brings life back to the garden.

But while she’s doing this her neighbors continue to pave and deck their gardens. The wildlife she tries to save is further threatened, and she feels she’s fighting an uphill battle. Is there any point in gardening for wildlife when everyone else is drowning the land in poison and cement?

Throughout her story, Kate draws on an eclectic and eccentric cast of friends and colleagues, who donate plants and a greenhouse, tolerate her gawping at butterflies at Gay Pride, and accompany her on trips to visit rare bumblebees and nightingales.

Published by Bloomsbury Wildlife

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK
 hive.co.uk

whsmith

MY REVIEW

What a wonderful little book! As a keen gardener and wildlife lover, I’m probably the target audience I’m sure for a book written by someone who looks on their garden as more than an ‘outdoor living room’ or as a space to be ignored or paved over as is the trend nowadays, but this gem of a book perfectly explains just how important a little green space is to the owner and to the wildlife of the local area. From a tiny bee moving into a bee hotel, to the flock of sparrows enjoying the safety of a buddleia bush, this book left me itching to get even more involved with my garden and to do more to attract more wildlife.

Her memories of gardens she has spent time in over the years, especially with her family, are wonderfully told and had me remembering special times I have spent with grandparents and my parents who thankfully have always been fans of green spaces.

As a passionate amateur garden I totally ‘got’ this book – it understands just how you feel about your little patch of the world and the despair you feel when you see trees and shrubs being destroyed in the neighbourhood and surrounding areas. Through gardening it allows you to look back fondly at times spent out there, but also has you looking forward in ways you can help to attract more bees, birds and bugs to your garden. I recently saw this author present a piece on Gardeners World and her enthusiasm for bees especially had me wanting to rush out and buy a bee hotel or two, and that enthusiasm is clear for all to see in this book.

She looks back on tough times too, especially with her mother becoming unwell, and shows the importance of a garden on helping them both cope during that time. It’s a great distraction to sit out there with a cup of tea and toast and just to watch and see what is going on and let your mind wander!

It’s also fascinating to read the impact of humans are having on the ways of wildlife – habitats being destroyed and species disappearing and has just made me more determined to do my little bit, and hopefully it will encourage new gardeners to do the same and make people realise that whether they have a windowbox or a garden, there are things that can be done to help native wildlife.

I adored this book and highly recommend it as a memoir and as a book full of ideas and inspiration to help us all do our bit!

★★★★★

#BookReview #20BooksOfSummer The Glorious Life of the Oak by John Lewis-Stempel

Book 7 of my 20 BOOKS OF SUMMER challenge has been a nice easy one from my list! At just 87 pages long (or should that be short?!) it was nice to be able to learn so much in such a short space of time!

ABOUT THE BOOK

‘The oak is the wooden tie between heaven and earth. It is the lynch pin of the British landscape.’ 

The oak is our most beloved and most common tree. It has roots that stretch back to all the old European cultures but Britain has more ancient oaks than all the other European countries put together. More than half the ancient oaks in the world are in Britain.

Many of our ancestors – the Angles, the Saxons, the Norse – came to the British Isles in longships made of oak. For centuries the oak touched every part of a Briton’s life – from cradle to coffin It was oak that made the ‘wooden walls’ of Nelson’s navy, and the navy that allowed Britain to rule the world. Even in the digital Apple age, the real oak has resonance – the word speaks of fortitude, antiquity, pastoralism.

The Glorious Life of the Oak explores our long relationship with this iconic tree; it considers the life-cycle of the oak, the flora and fauna that depend on the oak, the oak as medicine, food and drink, where Britain’s mightiest oaks can be found, and it tells of oak stories from folklore, myth and legend.

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK  £6.53

hive.co.uk  £6.89

whsmith  £6.47

MY REVIEW

A glorious little book – only 87 pages long! – about the glorious Oak and it captures the essence of what makes this tree so special, especially to the people of Britain, a country that has more Ancient Oaks than all of Europe put together!

The author has done a wonderful job in cramming so much information into such a quick read, and says it was only seeing an Oak nearby at night that made him realise what a special tree it actually was. 

In this ‘ode to oaks’ he manages to sum up the wide impact that this tree has had on so much of our lives – uses in history in buildings and boats, the links to royalty and politics, and even down to the humble world of pub names! – I learnt so much from each page and it was nicely set out alongside some poetry as well with links to the oak.

It also touches on the lifecycle of the tree and the threats it faces due to disease, how it plays such a vital role in wildlife, the changes of each season and even mentions of folklore and medicine. There’s even recipes for Acorn Coffee and Oak Leaf Wine if you fancy giving those a go! I also enjoyed the list of places toward the back where you can go and see some might Oaks and I just found this potted history of the Oak to be a lovely and informative read.

★★★★★

#BlogTour If Trees Could Talk by Holly Worton @Bookollective #BookReview

Delighted to be  part of this wonderful Blog Tour – my thanks to the author and Bookollective for letting me be part of it all  and sharing my thoughts!

ABOUT THE BOOK

All trees have a story.

Holly Worton has spent the last few years talking to trees – the birches, the oaks, the beeches and the sycamores.

You’re probably wondering:  How is it that trees can talk?  Is this for real?

Trees are living, breathing organisms which humans are able to connect and talk to on a deeper level through silent, telepathic communication.

Trees have a much broader perspective on life compared to humans.  Trees can live hundreds and even thousands of years.

This means Trees have thousands of years of wisdom that we’re able to tap into.  Talking to the trees can bring us back to our true selves and can reflect back to us the things we need to see in ourselves.  It can also be a space for deep healing.

Living in the technology age, however, we spend our lives connected to computers, mobile phones, and video games. Consequently, we’ve become increasingly disconnected from ourselves and from Nature.

This book is meant to gently encourage you to get back to Nature and turn to the magic and the wisdom of the trees. By reconnecting to Nature, you can improve your relationship with yourself, which will help you make better, more aligned choices in your life.

This book is for you if:

You love Nature and the outdoors. You feel like there’s something more to life, but you don’t know what that is. You’re feeling disconnected from yourself, like your life has somehow gotten off track. You feel like you don’t really know who you are anymore… or maybe you’ve never truly known yourself at all. Life is going just fine, but you have the notion things could be much better.

Throughout this book, you’ll follow the author, Holly Worton on a journey of connecting on a deeper level with the wisdom of the trees. You’ll hear their stories, and you’ll be given a series of experiments to carry out, should you choose to do so. These will help you to connect with yourself through connecting with Nature, and they’ll open you up to the deep wisdom and healing that the trees can offer.

The trees will help you to get out of your head and into your body, so you can feel more deeply and truly experience all the JOY that life has to offer. They’ll add a new level of richness to your life that you have never thought possible.

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK

GoodReads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Holly Worton is a podcaster and author of nine books who helps people get to know themselves better through connecting with Nature, so they can feel happier and more fulfilled. Holly enjoys spending time outdoors, walking long-distance trails and exploring Britain’s sacred sites. She’s originally from California and now lives in the Surrey Hills, but has also lived in Spain, Costa Rica, Mexico, Chile, and Argentina. Holly is a member of the Druid order OBOD.

Holly ran her first business for ten years, building it up to become a multi-million-dollar enterprise. When she went into the coaching world she was confident that she had the business and marketing skills she needed to set up a new company. And she did – but she struggled to grow her new venture quickly because she encountered fears, blocks, and limiting beliefs that she didn’t even know she had. 

She discovered that pushing forward and taking action just wasn’t enough. She needed to transform her mindset and release her blocks, as this was the only way to take the right actions to move her new business forward. Thus began her journey of intense personal development through deep mindset work, which transformed her existing coaching business into a focus on helping people with their business mindset. 

Eventually, she realized that she wanted to devote her time to helping people through her writing, and she let go of her mindset business to focus on her books. Now, Holly continues to write about mindset, long-distance walking, and connecting to Nature. 

AUTHOR WEBSITE

MY REVIEW

We are supposed to talk to plants to help make them grow better, but what if the plants could talk back and tell us things?! Well, that’s the message behind this book as the author has a special gift that means that she can  hear the stories that trees are trying to share with us, and I found this to be such a fascinating and illuminating book that really makes you take time to think about yourself and the world we live in, especially relevant in these times when many parts of the world seem set on destroying as much of the natural landscape as possible.  The trees have been around for a lot longer than us!! They notice things!

I’ve always loved trees and have driven my family mad with my ‘hippy’ outlook and feeling so sad whenever I hear or see a chainsaw destroying a magnificent old tree.  In this book, Holly shares the time that she spends out walking and the fact that certain trees stand out to you – I’ve noticed this too when I’m out and about that you often feel drawn to a certain tree – and Holly has similar feelings wherever she is out exploring and the more time she spends outdoors, the more she hears.

This book is split into  3 parts and is set out in a way that you can dip in and out of it, as and when you need to! It’s such a peaceful, calming book that I think it’s one of those that is a pleasure to escape into.  It gives you prompts of how you can use the information she shares which is a great way of interacting with the book and ideas that it throws up.

There are 28 trees and their stories featured and it’s a wealth of information about the tree, the area they are in and folklore surrounding them and I found some of the stories that the trees shared with her to be very poignant and telling.  Many of their messages to humans are similar and it’s very wise advice in a world where we’re rushing around and not noticing the little things that can bring such joy on a daily basis.

It is such a fascinating subject and I found it brilliantly told and explained and it’s made me quite eager to spend more time amongst trees and also found the questions that Holly poses at the end of each story to be extremely helpful and thought provoking that it really struck a chord with me and I’ll definitely be out hugging more trees in future!

★★★★★

#BlogTour The Wild Remedy by Emma Mitchell #BookReview @OMaraBooks #TheWildRemedy

A huge delight to be the latest stop on the wonderful Blog Tour for THE WILD REMEDY by EMMA MITCHELL.  My thanks to the author and Alara at Michael O’Mara Books for letting me be part of it all.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Emma Mitchell has suffered with depression – or as she calls it, ‘the grey slug’ – for twenty-five years. In 2003, she moved from the city to the edge of the Cambridgeshire Fens and began to take walks in the countryside around her new home, photographing, collecting and drawing as she went. Each walk lifted her mood, proving to be as medicinal as any talking therapy or pharmaceutical.
In Emma’s hand-illustrated diary, she takes us with her as she follows the paths and trails around her cottage and further afield, sharing her nature finds and tracking the lives of local flora and fauna over the course of a year. Reflecting on how these encounters impact her mood, Emma’s moving and candid account of her own struggles is a powerful testament to how reconnecting with nature may offer some answers to today’s mental health epidemic. While charting her own seasonal highs and lows, she also explains the science behind such changes, calling on new research into such areas as forest bathing and the ways in which our bodies and minds respond to plants and wildlife when we venture outdoors.
Written with Emma’s characteristic wit and frankness, and filled with her beautiful drawings, paintings and photography, this is a truly unique book for anyone who has ever felt drawn to nature and wondered about its influence over us.

Published by Michael O’Mara Books

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

hive.co.uk

Author Website

MY REVIEW

This is one of those books that not only looks good – it’s packed full of beautiful drawings and photos – but it’s also a wonderful reminder of what is around us all if we just take the time to look.  You don’t need to travel far to see something, or even just to hear the sound of bird song in your back garden, it all works in a way to help detract our minds from the negative aspects of life and can set us back on  a more positive outlook on life no matter what we are going through in our personal lives.

I really connected with this book through the positive aspect that I’ve discovered of gardening and nature while I’ve suffer with the illness M.E.  It is a very isolating and lonely illness at times, and there are many days when, like the author with her depression, leaving the house is impossible or a major struggle and just by spending a few minutes out in the garden looking at new things growing, or hearing the birds sing can make such a big impact on your frame of mind for the rest of the day and make those darker days seem just a little bit brighter.  Having something different to focus on instead of concentrating on what your brain is telling you is so powerful and often better than any medicine you can take, and I’m truly grateful for all things green everyday now, especially when the world we live in is seemingly becoming more grey and full of concrete.

In this book, the author takes us through her diary month by month to share her honest and frank experiences of how the depression affects her way of life and the way she thinks, and how each month she notices different things around her in nature which she draws, collects, takes photos of – it’s the little things in life that give you hope and clarity and she shows  how much the importance of noticing the smallest things can give the biggest amount of joy.  I loved the touches of humour too that she puts in – and the importance of Annie, her canine companion, in getting her out of the house when it all feels too much.

I’ve always taken photos of things around me that I see, but this book has inspired me to notice more and also start collecting leaves and flowers to press to keep an even more satisfying record of the world around us to help lift my spirits on the darker days when I’m unable to get out and about and this book is a beautiful reminder of how something as simple as birdsong, or the first signs of Spring can be so rewarding and a real benefit to your mental well-being and I highly recommend it as a must have on any bookshelf

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Things to look out for……