My memories of summer are of long hot days spent on the beach with frequent dips into the sparkling sea to cool off, lying reading on the grass warmed by the sun and swatting wasps away from picnics. This is the UK though, and sometimes it rains… Summer is the time of intensity, the acid green freshness of spring fades as the long warm days bring the flowers and insects out in the race to reproduce. As the season pivots on the solstice, the days begin to shorten even though the sun is still building in intensity for some of the hottest days in the year.
Harrison has once again brought together a varied collection of essays, poetry and articles about summer. She has drawn from a number of classic texts of literature like Cider with Rosie and The Natural History of Selbourne by Gilbert White and Hardy that manage to evoke a summer of a past age. On top of these classic authors there are a number of essays from well-known writers such as Paul Evans and Mark Cocker, but where Harrison excels is finding exciting new writers, like Jo Cartmell and Emma Oldham, who are adding greatly to the breadth of nature writing that we now have in this country. As with all Elliot and Thompson books, the cover is stunning and it has delightful little sketches scattered throughout the book. Essential reading for any nature lover and a book to be dipped into each time summer rolls around again.