Thursday, 10 July 2014

Inspirational books

I have come across some lovely books recently, all connected to nature and the great outdoors. All three books celebrate the authors own particular piece of England.

left to right: 'Gone to Earth' by Mary Webb,
 'Red Sky at Sunrise' - Laurie Lee's autobiographical trilogy
and 'Four Hedges' by Claire Leighton

Mary Webb is from Shropshire and her book is essentially a novel, however her nature writing must be autobiographical because of its sparkling clarity. It is a very romantic tale but also a tragic one; the anti fox hunting imagery throughout the book is particularly powerful.

The Laurie Lee trilogy comprises his three glorious works, 'Cider with Rosie', 'As I Walked out one Midsummer Morning' and 'A Moment of War'. The cover is wonderfully illustrated by printmaker Mark Hearld and the book is a lovely object to have as well as to read; it made it irresistible to buy. Its been lovely to read 'Cider with Rosie' while living close by to all the places mentioned.

The third book 'Four Hedges' is my new greatest find. I'd love to lend it to friends but I don't think I can give it up just now! Claire Leighton is a brilliant wood engraver and the illustrations are quite sumptuous, there are more than 80 of them in this book.

A very proud blackbird
 The book takes the reader through the creation of a garden in the Chilterns, month by month. What I particularly liked was how so many of the problems, joys and preoccupations of a garden are the same today as when the book was written in 1935.

The movement  and strain in the men as they plant this tree is so well captured
You'll see your garden in a new way and fall in love with it all over again.

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