It’s dark. It’s raining. January is upon us and the season of reflection, projection and resolve is underway. For voracious readers, this means that the perennial question: what to read next will be nagging at their shoulders more urgently than ever.
This post originally began as a bit of a rant. Fed up with the latest salvos in yet another round of click-baiting polemic about ‘New Nature Writing’, I launched into an aggrieved fan-boy defence of certain ‘nature’ writers.
Since then I’ve occasionally added new links and info to the post, in an attempt to expand its terms of reference and offer some useful resources for anyone else engaged in the debate. I still maintain as I said in the original version: “Let’s not have a Nature Writing of Roundheads and Cavaliers. I’d rather have a mix of scientists who feel and poets and artists who protest, and use evidence and le mot juste. There will always, always be room on my shelves for books by scientists and poets, rationalists and dreamers – as often as possible butted right up against each other.”
Crumbling ruins, moonlight, tree-lined walks, bats flitting, owls hooting, wolves howling, trapdoors and darkling cellar stairs…
Ever since I can remember I’ve been attracted to things that might be termed ‘Gothic’. For that reason I have been looking forward enormously to the latest exhibition at the British Library: Terror and Wonder – The Gothic Imagination.
I was recently nominated by a friend on Facebook to post a list of the 10 books that had made the most impact on me. It was a lot harder than I thought and I’ve had to miss out some real favourites. I could have written ten lists, let alone ten titles, featuring almost entirely…
The Topping and Company bookshop in Ely is so good it’s almost laughable. This is the kind of shop that you don’t expect to find in real life; only, perhaps, in a lost Penelope Lively children’s book, or there to be sneered at for its too-good-to-be-true perfection in a Richard Curtis film.
As a reader some books are inevitable. Recently I finally got around to reading one that had nagged at me for years. As I plunged in it felt like meeting an old friend.