Books

Nodding off over Darwin's  Voyage of the Beagle

Nodding off over Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle

I’m never usually one to arbitrarily jump on a feast or festival in order to grind out an idea for a blog.

That’s a lie, of course; I’m all over them from Christmas to St David’s Day to Dickens’s birthday. No bad thing, though, I would contend, for it is the high days and holidays punctuating the year that keep cultural life charmingly varied. At least they would if so many hadn’t been forgotten, which is why I’m also all in favour of inventing modern ones, and I recommend self-created festivals too. Some friends of ours celebrate a different anniversary meal for what seems to be every kind of tasty food under the sun, and who can blame them?

Without further space-filling (and speaking of invented festivals), I am catching up with the news that yesterday was World Book Day. Over on the Facebook page for A Focus On Nature, a few people have been talking about which wildlife-themed books were inspirational during their childhood, and among those discussed are a number that I recall fondly myself.

Not least among them is Gerald Durrell’s timeless classic, My Family And Other Animals, which seems to me much more likely to instill a love of real nature than any number of series about imperiled talking animals, however beloved. Durrell’s writing about people in My Family and his many other books is at least as delightful as his writing about animals, making his work all the more relevant to a conservation landscape in which people and wildlife are both indispensable. There’s a certain joie-de-vivre that carries through his books but is sometimes lacking in today’s conservation movement.

I’ll make no secret of the fact that I would like to be ‘a writer’, though whether that means I stop at this blog or ever end up writing a book remains to be seen. In the meantime I find the best way to inform my own writing is to keep reading. I don’t do so nearly as voraciously as I could as a child, tending too often to relegate reading to times when I am likely to nod off after just a page or two. When I do concentrate enough to think about it all a little more, I have tried to collect some thoughts in a few pieces for the A Focus On Nature blog, which you can catch up with here:

Nature Reading Roundup (February 2014)

Nature Reading Roundup: Walking

Nature Reading Roundup: Solitude

You can also spy on what I’m reading (and have read) over on Goodreads, where I intend to start posting short reviews of any nature-themed books I happen to read.

Happy reading!

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