Autumn has definitely got a grip on the season now and I find that the way the light pivots on the equinox is one of our magical times of the year. A few stats on my reading as we have reached nine months now. I have read 158 books so far, 73 review copies, 71 from the library and 15 of my own. 106 of these books have been written by men and 53 by women, this works out at 33% and I am a couple of per cent down on my target of 35%. My top five categories are travel, natural history, fiction, poetry and science and my top five publishers are Eland, Unbound, Jonathan Cape, Faber and Faber and Bloomsbury. Let me know if you want to know what the other publishers and categories are.
It was a good month for reading too, I managed to get through another 17 books from the TBR and here there are:
Magnificent Women and Their Revolutionary Machines was about the crucial role that women played in engineering from World War 1 onwards. A really fascinating read.
I have loved all of Dave Goulson’s books so far and when I spotted The Garden Jungle in the library grabbed it. It is a well thought out and written book on how we can use our garden and green spaces to maximise the opportunities to help the much-beleaguered insect and wildlife in our country. In a similar vein is The Bumblebee Flies Anyway. This is the story of Kate Bradbury’s garden and how it went from a yeard full of decking to a green oasis buzzing with life
Michael Dobbs-Higginson is a fairly unique character and A Raindrop in the Ocean is his memoir about his life in business and travelling the world. Made for an interesting read.
I read six natural history books this month, and they are all very different and all worth reading. How to See Nature was written to help people reconnect with the natural world. One way of doing it is to go pond dipping and ponds are the focus of John Lewis-Stempel’s latest book. The Hen Harrier is a reprint of Donald Watson’s classic book and while it has dated a bit now, I thought it was good.
Woodlands are some of my favourite things, and the other three natural history books were about British woodlands. Epitaph for the Ash is about the ash dieback disease and the devastating effect it is having on our woodlands. Lisa Samson almost didn’t write this book as part of the way through she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. I also read two books by Oliver Rackham, both published by Little Toller. The Ash Tree is a celebration of the much-underrated tree and the woods it inhabits. The Ancient Woods of the Helford River is a detailed and fascinating survey of this creek on the Lizard peninsular in Cornwall.
Don McCullin is best known for his gritty reportage photography. The Landscape is photos taken recently and over his career of the places that he has been to over his life. Beautiful photographs.
My poetry book for the month was Us by Zaffar Kunial. Still thinking about this, but really liked some of the poems contained within. Want to read his next one, Six on cricket too.
I did get to read two of the Royal Society Prize books. John Gribbin’s Six Impossible Things is a short and baffling book on the quantum world. The Remarkable Life Of The Skin is an uncovering of our largest organ and it a really interesting read.
I have had White Mountain book from the library for ages so thought that I had better get round to it. I had it down for my #WorldFromMyArmchair Challenge for Nepal, but it is mostly about other peoples journey’s there rather than his own. Really like his style of writing though and have his book about his journey through Canada in a birchbark canoe.
Finally onto my book of the month, except this month there were two. The latest book from Kathleen Jamie, Surfacing, which is moving and brilliant and the second is A Claxton Diary by the immensely talented (and genuinely lovely) Mark Cocker. All I can say is read them both.