August 2020 Review

August has come and gone, all to soo as the advent of September brings forth autumn. Gone are the balmy long evenings and the nights close in all too soon. That said, I like this season as much as the others, but it does feel that this side of the planet is spent and needs time to rest. But you’re here for the books really. Not a bad month, in the end, did get seventeen books read in the end. Much less that I thought I would get through even though we had a lovely weeks holiday in Jersey. It was a good selection as ever with a lot of different books, so here they are:



I have read A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab a long while ago and found this in a charity shop so I thought I’d give it ago. Not normally a fan of superhero stuff, but this was very different and I really enjoyed it. The Crow Garden by Alison Littlewood is a classic Victorian Gothic melodrama. I won this and thought that I would give it a go. I am not being a huge fan of the genre but I thought this was well written even if it didn’t do much for me. Been meaning to read Liminal for a long while. It is a domestic thriller with a dash of folk horror mixed in and pretty good book overall.



Sometimes nature writing is about more than the flora and fauna and these are two books that show what I call landscape writing off to a T. Dick Capel’s The Stream Invites Us To Follow is about the Eden Valley and his contribution to the artworks along its length. Native is very different, in this, Patrick Laurie writes about how hard it is to farm in Galloway, but also how rewarding it is too.


Staying in Scotland, Cauld Blasts and Clishmaclavers is exactly what it says it is, a gold mine Scottish Words, some of which have drifted into the mainstream vernacular and a lot that hasn’t ventured south of the border until now.


I love maps, and whilst this isn’t your classic OS map, it is a brilliant way of comparing lots of similar and disparate information about all manner of subjects.


I have heard of most of these mathematical discoveries in Fibonacci’s Rabbits by Adam Hart-Davis, but it had been a long while since I had thought about them. It is a nicely laid out book and shouldn’t frighten the novice too much.


Family museums are not a thing at the moment, but they could be after this book. In here Rachel Morris takes us through her not so straight forward family tree, whilst comparing the curating that she is doing to the advent of museums as a store for our memories.


One of my favourite trees is the oak, it is my family name after all. James Canton spent a couple of years watching and studying the Honywood Oak near where he lives in Essex. It was a place he could go to during a difficult episode in his life, but it is more than that, in that he uses it as a prism to look at the natural world and how we have used these trees over time.



My two poetry books this month were both from Penned in the Margins. Both very different and enjoyable in their own way.




Bitter Lemons of Cyprus was the first book that I have read by Lawrence Durrell or any Durrell for that matter. He is a really good writer and I enjoyed this a lot. Have now acquired several of his others to read. Kapka Kassabovais another beguiling writer, and in A Street without a Name she reminisces and revisits her home country of Bulgaria, a place she loved and lothed in equal measure.



Walking through a tropical jungle is not many people’s idea of fun. Getting lost in one and separated from the rest of your party isn’t going to be on many people’s wishlist. This is what happened to Yossi Ghinsberg and he survived to tell the tale and this is his book about it. Still, in South America, Ronald Wright tells us about his travels in Peru in Cut Stones and Crossroads. Excellent writing by a man who is fascinated by all he sees around him

My book of the month is another Eland, The Way Of The World: Two Men In A Car From Geneva To The Khyber Pass. This was Nicolas Bouvier’s first books and I would say that it should be an essential read for anyone wanting to discover classic travel writing. I have had a copy of this for a while now and wish I had picked it up earlier.

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  1. Liz Dexter

    Such a good variety this month! I am personally glad the sunrise has crept later as I get to see some lovely ones as I run now …

    • Paul

      It was and I managed to stick to books on my TBR rather than adding in others! The light in the autumn is really special.

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