Monthly Muse: July

How is it August already?? Is time getting faster or is it just me? Settling into the new job well, hopefully, I will be able to make a difference there. The fantastic weather that we have been having broke this month on the only weekend we had booked to go camping! Such is life, but I did get to go to a few bookshops in Bridport and might have just acquired a few more books. Anyway onto what I read last month. Seemed to be a busy month, so didn’t get as many read as I have been doing in previous months, in the end, I read 15.

Began the month with In Search of Ancient North Africa: A History in Six Lives by the bundle of energy that is Barnaby Rogerson. He is the owner of Eland books, the people who are bringing back many travel classics into print and who are generous to me. This book is a combined travelogue and history books about six people who have had a significant impact on the history of this landscape. Fascinating stuff, I wish it had a little more on his travels in the modern world.


Next up was a small pile of books on how we as people respond to the natural world. First was Sarah Ivens book, Forest Therapy about how we can spend more time in the natural world and the positive benefits that it can bring us. Worth reading, but the next book Into Nature by the people involved with the mindfulness project, Alexandra Frey & Autumn Totton didn’t really do it for me. The aim of the book is the same enabling people to get out into the wild and discover things about themselves and where they are, but it was a little too thin on content for my liking. Next up was How To Survive in the Wild by Sam Martin & Christian Casucci which gives concise plans for those wishing to go off grid and build their own shelters and fires, hunt for their own food and if they feel so inclined, build a log cabin. Best of this little bunch was The Nature Fix by Florence Williams. Taking the same themes as Forest Therapy and Into nature, William has gone all over the world to look at the latest research on the impact of spending time outdoors. Fantastic read and I really hope that there is still some left to venture into.

To say that the natural world is under threat in the UK would be an understatement and in this devastating critique, Mark Cocker lays out the harsh cold facts as he sees them. It does not make for comfortable reading, and he is prepared to show the work that is having an impact and openly talk about those organisations that he feels are failing. It is a book that should be read by many people, especially those that are in positions of power to do something about this mess.

My book of the month, and when you read it in conjunction with the Nature Fix and learn how we need that for our well being then you’ll see why too.



The next theme was all on books. Scribbles in the Margins is a collection of 50 or so things that book lovers (or addicts) do, really enjoyable little book and zipped through this in no time at all. I had really enjoyed Susan Hill’s book, Howard’s End is on the Landing, so was looking forward to Jacob’s Room Is Full Of Books. It didn’t disappoint either as she recounts a whole year of reading a wide variety of books and authors and how she discovers her next read. Next was Alex Johnson’s A Book of Book Lists. A book of lists of books and full of things of wonder. So if you want to know which pop stars liked books then this is the place to start. I am a big lover of libraries and had borrowed Reading Allowed by Chris paling from my local library. They are a precious resource that is under great threat from our present government that we will miss when it does go. We don’t know the town that Paling is a librarian in, but the stories that he has to tell from his day to day life there are compelling and occasionally heartbreaking.

I am old enough to remember the Great Storm of 1987, however, I didn’t hear a thing as I slept through it. The chaos that I woke up to was unreal. In Windblown, Tamsin Treverton Jones tells the stories behind the storm, but there is a personal element too as she finds the person who made her late fathers mural design into a real object made from the wind-felled trees at Kew Gardens. It is a really touching story that I have heard her talk about too.

The next book was also weather themed, and in London Fog, Christine L. Corton tells the literary and artistic stories that were a response to the horrific fogs that London was plagued with until the 1960’s. It is a reasonable read, and the images included within are well worth looking through in particular the photos.

I had read Alastair Humphreys two books about his 46,000-mile cycle around the world and I had been in contact with the publisher about this months Publisher Profile this month and they offered to send me this and two other books. There is not a lot in here as it is a book version of those inspirational posters you see on walls. That said the photos are stunning and this book and the author are capable of inspiring people to push themselves to real the goals that they desire.


I have been neglecting my #WorldFromMyArmchair challenge recently (post to follow later this month on it) but The Timbuktu School for Nomads was due back to the library and I had a proof of The Immeasurable World to read which are both desert themed, so it seems to be a good place to start ( I also read Arabia by Jonathan Raban but that will appear in August). It is a well-written book about Jubbers travels around the north-west part of the African continent and the time he spends meeting the people of those countries. He is prepared to muck in and learn how they make a living as well as spending time with the nomads of the desert. William Atkins new book is really good too, (review to follow soon) is about eight short journeys on the world’s most famous deserts, following in the footsteps of some of the classic travel writers, discovering how places are changing in the modern world and helps out at the Burning Man festival in the states.


That was it. Have any of you read any of these? Any you like the sound of? Or any you’d like to recommend based on what I have read here?

Happy reading all.









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  1. Nickimags

    Looks like a fab bookish month. I love the sound of The Nature Fix as I know how beneficial being out in the natural word is.

    • admin

      It was superb Nicki

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