The Hidden Life of Trees

Posted November 22, 2017 by Denzil in Reviews / 3 Comments

I found plenty in this book to make me wonder and to see trees in a new light. The connections which “make fungi something like the forest Internet”. The various ways trees exchange vital nutrients with each other. The use of scent as communication. The innovative ways that trees defend their leaves from predation. The […]

Where Poppies Blow

Posted November 21, 2017 by Denzil in Reviews / 0 Comments

This was a book that started good and then just got better and better. Basically it deals with the various ways in which soldiers in the First World War connected with nature. Its strength is that it is based around actual quotes (hundreds!) from the soldiers, either in letters, poems, booklets, newspaper articles, even illustrations. […]

Christian Animism

Posted November 21, 2017 by Denzil in Reviews / 0 Comments

This is a short (one hour) and easy read that conveys the concepts of Christian Animism clearly. The author starts by defining animism, looks briefly at why mainline Christianity generally derides both the term and the concept (now more than in the past), and then moves on to define Christian Animism. He also gives a […]

The Running Hare

Posted November 21, 2017 by Denzil in Reviews / 2 Comments

A book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading, but which left me feeling a strange mix of both hope and despair. Hope, because it shows just how the countryside can be rejuvenated through careful, nature-friendly farming. In this case Lewis-Stempel simply plants a wheat field with wild flower seeds in the mix, and creates a border […]

The Soul of an Octopus

Posted November 21, 2017 by Denzil in Reviews / 0 Comments

This book left me with mixed and contrasting feelings. On the positive side, the octopuses are the superstars of the book. They are incredible with their three hearts, large brain, 1600 suckers per arm, ability to multi-task, skill at squeezing through minute holes, and their overall intelligence. I learned so much about these wonderful creatures. […]

The Secret Life of Owls

Posted November 21, 2017 by Denzil in Reviews / 0 Comments

After his superb Meadowland, The Running Hare and Where Poppies Blow, I was looking forward immensely to John Lewis-Stempel’s latest book – The Secret Life of Owls. Unfortunately I found it rather an anticlimax. It’s a very short book. It runs to only 90 pages (and therefore it’s a tad expensive). It could be easily […]

The Marriage Lie

Posted November 21, 2017 by Denzil in Reviews / 6 Comments

How well do you that person on the other side of the bed, office or street? After reading this book, you may be asking yourself exactly that question. Will and Iris are the perfect couple. In Love. Forever. They have perfect jobs, live in a perfect house, and are trying for the perfect child. Will […]

The Peregrine

Posted November 21, 2017 by Denzil in Reviews / 0 Comments

Despite this being hailed as one of the all-time great nature books, I have problems with The Peregrine by J. A. Baker. It describes the daily comings and goings of a pair of peregrine falcons across the flat fen lands of Essex, England. The author followed the birds obsessively, observing them in the air and […]

The Butterfly Isles

Posted November 20, 2017 by Denzil in Reviews / 0 Comments

This is a really lovely story from start to finish of one man’s quest to see all 59 British butterflies in one summer. Thankfully Barkham chose a good summer to pursue his quest; I doubt if he would be successful in other summers. To be honest, I was actually expecting it to be rather tedious: […]

The Nature Principle

Posted November 20, 2017 by Denzil in Reviews / 0 Comments

In The Nature Principle, Richard Louv’s underlying belief is that connecting with the natural world is fundamental to human health, well-being, spirit and survival. To support this bold claim, he uncovers what is an extremely persuasive body of evidence – theoretical, anecdotal and empirical – that nature really does have a significant power to restore, […]

Blood River

Posted November 19, 2017 by Denzil in Reviews / 0 Comments

A gripping, harrowing, fascinating and informative account of one man’s solo trek through one of the most dangerous routes in the world at the moment. Tim Butcher writes extremely well: clearly, concisely, logically, yet very personally. He’s not afraid to reveal his own shortcomings and frailties, even his downright fear. And why shouldn’t he? You […]

Chasing the Devil

Posted November 13, 2017 by Denzil in Reviews / 0 Comments

I came to this book after reading the life of Charles Taylor, Liberia’s infamous ex-President, gun-runner, warlord and diamond smuggler. Coming away with the impression that Liberia was surely on most people’s places to avoid, I then read that Tim Butcher was planning to walk through the country! In addition, he calmly tells us, almost […]

At the Water’s Edge

Posted November 6, 2017 by Denzil in Reviews / 0 Comments

British naturalist John Lister-Kaye is one my favorite nature writers and At the Water’s Edge is full of magical and insightful observations that characterized his earlier books: Nature’s Child and Song of the Rolling Earth. And what observations! A kestrel seizing a slow worm only to end up with a tail in its talons as […]

Say Goodbye to the Cuckoo

Posted November 6, 2017 by Denzil in Reviews / 0 Comments

There’s an important message in this book. But for me, the author’s rather flowery style rather diluted it. Say Goodbye to the Cuckoo” is Michael McCarthy’s attempt to bring to our attention the worrying and drastic decline in numbers of Spring migrants to Europe. It’s a noble and important message. But for me, the way he […]

A Year in the Woods

Posted November 5, 2017 by Denzil in Reviews / 2 Comments

A well-written book that describes the many skills and crafts of a forest ranger. It won’t be too many people’s liking: culling deer seems to be his main job. He does explain why this is necessary, although personally I would have liked to read fewer encounters with deer and more encounters with other wildlife. However, […]

Pride and Perjury

Posted November 4, 2017 by Denzil in Reviews / 0 Comments

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I had expected it to be well written; after all, Mr. Aitken was a journalist before he became a politician. But what I didn’t expect was his humility. He clearly accepts the faults he made, apologizes for the hurt it caused his family, and writes very movingly about […]

Nature’s Child

Posted November 3, 2017 by Denzil in Reviews / 0 Comments

I came to this book shortly after reading the author’s “Song of the Rolling Earth”, doubting if the author could maintain such superbly high standards. I was not disappointed. Wonderful, exhilarating, charming, humorous, profound, challenging … and that just describes the first chapter! Lister-Kaye has a unique way of observing and describing nature; it’s as […]

Song of the Rolling Earth

Posted November 2, 2017 by Denzil in Reviews / 0 Comments

I’ve never been to the Aigas Field Centre (unfortunately), which the author established in 1977 and which is the focus of this book. But thanks to Mr. Lister-Kaye’s excellent book, I feel I know it and the surrounding area as well as I do my own garden and local patch of countryside. His powers of […]