One of my pleasures is to make a Christmas Book List and then to find a large part of it in my stocking on Christmas morning. Then, after all the hustle and bustle of Christmas I can sit and contemplate a pile of unread books and choose which one to read first. Joy!
Here is a list of the books I received this year:-
Two poetry books to dib into: Carol Ann Duff'y "The World's Wife"
Jackie Kay's "The Adoption Papers."
Sheila Hancock's "Just me" about her journey from being the wife of John Thaw, the actor, through widowhood and into making an independent life for herself. An easy, enjoyable read which actually left me feeling quite uplifted.
Stephen Fry in America. Still to read but I enjoyed the television programme so much that I know I shall enjoy reading the book.
Ewas McGregor and Charley Boorman's "Long Way Down." about their motor-cycle trip from John O'Groats to Capetown. I had already read "Long Way Round" and enjoyed their rather jokey diary style, so I enjoyed this tremendously and was heartened by the reception they received in even the poorest African countries.
Robert Macfarlane "The Wild Places" This book can really be summed up by the John Muir quote at the beginning - "I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in." Lovely book.
And, for me, the piece de resistance - Roger Deakin's "Notes from Walnut Tree Farm". This book really forms a trilogy with "Wildwood" (see an earlier blog entry) and "Waterlog."
Deakin, who died in 2006, was a writer, broadcaster, film-maker and, above all, a real, true eccentric in the best sense of the word. His particular interest were nature and the environment. He lived in a house in Suffolk which he bought in a semi-derelict state. He repaired it himself but left it so that the wildlife and plant life which had inhabited it could also remain in so far as they didn't interfere with his living there. The book - just a series of diary entries - is a joy to read through and an even greater joy to then dib into, as almost every entry is the kind of quote you want to remember. I give you a few here:-
"It is nice to think that my house was an acorn once." (his house was largely made of oak!
"The ants are out on my desk again tonight, my Lilliputians. To them my pencil is a mighty tree and I have to be careful not to sweep them away accidentally."
"Longhand. The advantages of writing in longhand. Like longbow, long term, longboat - all good things - and longing too. The short cut or the long way round. The long view. Long leg."
"Outside my study window there are tits - a family of five, all diligently pecking off the aphids on a rose. The perfect gardeners, so much better than a spray."
"Dentists are kindred spirits with anyone with an interest in conservation."
I hope this has whetted your appetite for more. Do read the book, it is marvellous.
Pub: Hamish Hamilton. ISBN 978-0-241-14420-