Two book reviews in two days. I’m in danger of becoming industrious! Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll be able to fight it off.
There is method in my madness of course, if I put it on the review page and on here it swells the review page and increases the number of posts, even if it is only a copy of the other review. The crafty bit is this – by publishing a post I’m automatically publishing on Twitter so it’s three for the price of one.
Now, I may get a stiff note from an affronted author by publishing my reviews this widely, and I’m in no state to engage in a battle of wits with a man who uses words like fortissimo and perambulating – that’s loud and walking to me – but it’s worth it just to avoid the grind of thinking about Twitter for another day. The constant search for news is wearing me down, particularly as I’m doing @QuercusCommy, @farmecodavid and @ScrevetonShed – all of them in a somewhat intermittent manner at the moment.
I’ll leave you with a photograph of Byron, the farm apprentice, changing a smoke alarm battery. It’s quite cramped in the cupboard with the electrical and heating equipment and the alarm was clearly fitted before they rammed the rest of the gubbins in. To keep the story short, we realised there was a problem when the lights went out due his struggles to free himself.
I’m developing the instincts of a news photographer now – taking the photograph first and offering help second.
The Private Life of an English Field
by John Lewis-Stempel Black Swan London 2015 Paperback 291 pp
£8.99 though as you can see from the photograph I did get a bit of a deal from Waterstones.
A good read, and an informative nature book – one of my favourite combinations. What could possibly be better (apart from the addition of some cake recipes)?
Well, maybe it could be improved by using a year that had some meaning for the farm rather than a simple calendar year, and I was left with the impression that nature sometimes fitted a bit too neatly into the structure of the book. A few descriptions of times spent not seeing anything of note might have balanced the book a little more. While I’m criticising, it could be that the writing could benefit from lightening up a bit. It’s a little dense in places and reminds me of past writers. However the language stays modern, even if I did feel there was an ever-present danger of a Latin quote lurking over the page
Apart from those minor points I have no quibbles.
It’s a fine example of how I like these these books to be – a tour through time and an examination of the present fitting together to set everything in context. There is a lot of wildlife on his farm, but he’s realistic enough in tone to know that he’s lucky, and that there’s not as much wildlife as there used to be. It’s also an example of what you can see if you develop the habit of observation. I used to be observant as a child, but I seem to have lost the knack as I grew older. Maybe I’m entering my second childhood now, as I’m starting to see more, but maybe it’s just that I have more time to stand and watch as I grow older.