I dreamed about sparrows last night which I found rather sad if the only sparrows left are in dreams.
“Miners use canaries to warn them of deadly gases. It might not be a bad idea if we took the same warning from the dead birds in our countryside.”
So wrote Lord Shackleton in 1963 in his introduction to Rachel Carson’s now iconic book Silent Spring
We couldn’t see it then could we – yet now it’s here.
Reading the right books suddenly feels like a huge responsibility but which are the right books?
I’ve challenged myself to read 50 books in 2020 and to read more books about the environment, painful though it is. Suggestions welcome in the fields of poetry, memoir, biography, literary fiction, philosophy and new nature writing.
So far on my list I have:
Figuring by writer, genius, blogger and writer of genius Maria Popova.
This was a daunting looking read coming in at a cool 545 pages – but fascinating and endlessly erudite. I’m on p429 (yes, thank you Christmas). Published by Canongate. Review upcoming in the next week–
Bird Cottage by author, artist, singer, songwriter and philosopher Eva Meijer. Pushkin Press.
Really looking forward to this one on the connections between ourselves, the natural world and the epidemic of loneliness.
A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar,
the latest book from American born British/Libyan Pulitzer prize winning author of The Return, about the author’s search for his father. Published by Viking.
Dark Enchantment by Dorothy Macardle (Tramp Press).
Not an author I know anything about but I found this reviewed in the FT Weekend and thought it sounded intriguing – a sort of gothic ghost story set just after the Second World War.
Whose Story is This? Rebecca Solnit (Granta).
Who gets to shape the narrative of our times?
Daemon Voices, Philip Pullman. (David Fickling Books).
Famed author of His Dark Materials trilogy in a series of talks/lectures about his influences including Milton and Stephen Hawking.
Unsheltered, Barbara Kingsolver (Faber & Faber).
Mmm! A long way short of 50 but it’s a start!