July 2021 Review

So Johnson has waved his magic wand and Covid has magically disappeared… Not. Anyway you’re here for the books I hope and I read quite a lot of them in July, 18 in the end, but never as many as I hoped. And here they all are:

First is The Way To The Sea by Caroline Crampton. In this book, she takes us very briefly from the source of the Thames to Tower Bridge where the pace slows and she spends a lot of time taking us around the estuary and some of her upbringing in the area. Well worth reading


Those that watched in horror as the American Capitol building was overrun by the rioters who were there supposedly to stop the steal; may have wondered where these people came from. This book goes some way to explain the very worrying rise of QAnon and their particular, hateful conspiracy theories. Grim but worthwhile reading.


I was sent a review copy of Book five a long while ago and have finally got to read books three and four in the series. I like them, they are entertaining and Cogman writes a good story, but they are a touch predictable.



Girl Squads was an unsolicited review copy that I was sent a long while ago. It is quite enjoyable and Maggs has done her bit for feminism by filling in the gaps that are lacking in regular history books. It is American centric but otherwise is a good read.


Two slightly strange books next. The first Tarmac to Towpath is a visual and artist response to the lockdowns that have been imposed because of the pandemic. I really liked it. The second is a blend of the words of Gary Budden and the amazing art of Maxim Griffin. Wonderful stuff



I am not autistic, but I can see that I have traits that move me a tiny bit up the spectrum. Katherine May is though and it wasn’t until she embarked on the South West Coast path that a chance encounter with a radio programme answered a question that she hadn’t even thought of at that point in her life. This is her story.


There is not a lot of depth to this, but it is a beautifully produced book about our little amphibious friends, frogs.


I read quite a lot of natural history books this month, meaning that I have now read more than travel so far this year. This will be resolved soon! Birdsong in a Time of Silence is another book about the discovery of the natural world during the lockdown last year. Another book that has lockdown as one of its themes is the Eternal Season, but there is more to this that that, it is also about how we are starting to have dramatic effects on the way that wildlife is being disrupted.



The Stubborn Light Of Things is Melissa Harrison’s nature diaries that have been collected together in one beautiful book. They are short pieces that can be dipped into as and when suits. How we interact with the natural world if the focus on Ian Carter’s book. Drawing on his years of experience he teases out the threads that inextricably link us to every living entity on this planet.



You can take the nature writer out of their local patch but it won’t stop them from writing about the things that they see around them. This was an idea from Jim Crumley’s publisher, Saraband and he has done an excellent job of finding a never-ending succession of interesting things to look at.


Just the one poetry book this month, which means that I am two behind on my target for the year now! Anyway, Owl Unbound is an interesting collection by Zoë Brooks about nature, life and the whole dam thing.


Sticking with life, how it evolved on this planet is still being understood. Marianne Taylor has chosen ten species to show how life has developed in its own particular way and has included a 1/2 chapter on artificial life and a bit of speculation as to where we will go from here. It might not be as in-depth as some people would like, but I did like the rich graphics and images used.


Delving into the secret life of those that spy is a combination of smoke, mirrors and deception. This claims to have an inside view of those clever bods that make and break codes but being an official history means that it does always feel like something (i.e. all the good stuff) is missing.


My book of the month is Where? This book by Simon Moreton is an artistic blend of personal memoir, family history and tribute to his late father. It is truly excellent and if you want a very different book then I can highly recommend it.

Any of these that take your fancy? Or are there some that you have read already? Let me know in the comments below

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  1. Dorothy ~Jane McLachlan ~ Wortley

    The Story of Life by Marianne Taylor is the one that grips me from this list but will be a while before I get to it as I ” finally ” got to The Watermill and collected my copy of ” EARTHED “. Yes, the Girls would have posted it but I also wanted to collect my signed Polly Pullar – browse books and pick up some Art Supplies…
    I picked up a book I have looked at on my last 5 visits and so as it moves place in the shop and I am always drawn to it – it is actually a collection of 4 Books so saving for the long dark Winter nights…
    Luckily I have some sketching/painting trips planned so getting to see some new places…
    Looking forward to next month’s review.
    Take care, stay safe and Happy Travels! In Books or Space.

    • Paul

      Thanks, D-J. Happy reading

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