From the bestselling author of H is for Hawk comes Vesper Flights, a transcendent collection of essays about the human relationship to the natural world. Helen Macdonald brings together a collection of her best-loved writing along with new pieces covering a thrilling range of subjects.
There are essays here on headaches, on catching swans, on hunting mushrooms, on twentieth-century spies, on numinous experiences and high-rise buildings; on nests and wild pigs and the tribulations of farming ostriches. Vesper Flights is a book about observation, fascination, time, memory, love and loss and how we make the world around us. Moving and frank, personal and political, it confirms Helen Macdonald as one of this century's greatest nature writers.
**CHOSEN AS A SUNDAY TIMES BOOK TO WATCH OUT FOR AND A NEW STATESMAN BOOK TO READ**
A SUNDAY TIMES NATURE BOOK OF THE YEAR*UPDATED EDITION FEATURING EXTRA MATERIAL
*A nature diary by award-winning novelist, nature writer and hit podcaster Melissa Harrison, following her journey from urban south London to the rural Suffolk countryside.
'A writer of great gifts.' Robert Macfarlane
'The journal of a writer to compare to Thomas Hardy. Melissa Harrison is among our most celebrated nature writers.' John Carey, The Times
A Londoner for over twenty years, moving from flat to Tube to air-conditioned office, Melissa Harrison knew what it was to be insulated from the seasons.
Adopting a dog and going on daily walks helped reconnect her with the cycle of the year and the quiet richness of nature all around her: swifts nesting in a nearby church; ivy-leaved toadflax growing out of brick walls; the first blackbird's song; an exhilarating glimpse of a hobby over Tooting Common. Moving from scrappy city verges to ancient, rural Suffolk, where Harrison eventually relocates, this diary - compiled from her beloved Nature Notebook column in The Times - maps her joyful engagement with the natural world and demonstrates how we must first learn to see, and then act to preserve, the beauty we have on our doorsteps - no matter where we live. A perceptive and powerful call-to-arms written in mesmerising prose, The Stubborn Light of Things confirms Harrison as a central voice in British nature writing.
As a boy, James Rebanks's grandfather taught him to work the land the old way. Their family farm in the Lake District hills was part of an ancient agricultural landscape: a patchwork of crops and meadows, of pastures grazed with livestock, and hedgerows teeming with wildlife. And yet, by the time James inherited the farm, it was barely recognisable.
The men and women had vanished from the fields; the old stone barns had crumbled; the skies had emptied of birds and their wind-blown song. English Pastoral is the story of an inheritance: one that affects us all. It tells of how rural landscapes around the world were brought close to collapse, and the age-old rhythms of work, weather, community and wild things were lost.
And yet this elegy from the northern fells is also a song of hope: of how, guided by the past, one farmer began to salvage a tiny corner of England that was now his, doing his best to restore the life that had vanished and to leave a legacy for the future. This is a book about what it means to have love and pride in a place, and how, against all the odds, it may still be possible to build a new pastoral: not a utopia, but somewhere decent for us all.
'A heartfelt book and one that dares to hope' Alan Bennett
'I was thrilled by it' Philip Pullman
Shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize | Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize | Shortlisted for Fortnum & Mason Food Book Award | Longlisted for the Wainwright Prize | Longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2021 WAINWRIGHT PRIZE FOR NATURE WRITING
Lev Parikian is on a joyful journey to discover the quirks, habits and wonders of how we experience nature. ___It's often said that we're a nation of nature lovers, but what does that really mean? Lev Parikian sets out to explore the many ways that he, and we, experience the natural world - from pavement to garden and from wildlife reserve to far-flung island. He visits the haunts of famous nature lovers to examine their insatiable curiosity; meets ramblers, birders and den-builders; and gets up close and personal with the nature he finds everywhere - including the kitchen sink.
Open a window, hear the birds calling and join this warm and generous journey into the tangled bank.
'If, like me, you've got more *into nature* in the last few months, but sometimes feel a bit excluded by nature writing, then this book will make you feel included and welcomed.' Tracey Thorn
'A witty, touching and profound book about one man's burgeoning relationship with the natural world - and it's also a joy to read.' Stephen Moss
'Lev's endearing child-like joy at even the smallest of encounters is infectious.' BBC Wildlife Magazine
In 2016, days before they were unjustly evicted from their home, Raynor Winn was told her husband Moth was dying. Instead of giving up they embarked on a life-changing journey: walking the 630-mile South West Coast Path, living by their wits, determination and love of nature.
But all journeys must end and when the couple return to civilisation they find that four walls feel like a prison, cutting them off from the sea and sky that sustained them - that had saved Moth's life. So when the chance to rewild an old Cornish farm comes their way, they grasp it, hoping they'll not only reconnect with the natural world but also find themselves once again on its healing path . .
Winner of the 2021 Wainwright Prize for Writing on Global Conservation.
The smash-hit Sunday Times bestseller that will transform your understanding of our planet and life itself. The more we learn about fungi, the less makes sense without them. They can change our minds, heal our bodies and even help us avoid environmental disaster; they are metabolic masters, earth-makers and key players in most of nature's processes.
In Entangled Life, Merlin Sheldrake takes us on a mind-altering journey into their spectacular world, and reveals how these extraordinary organisms transform our understanding of our planet and life itself.
'Gorgeous!' Margaret Atwood (on Twitter)'Reads like an adventure story...
'Urgent, astounding and necessary' Helen Macdonald'
A magical writer' Russell Brand*
Any garden belongs to everyone who sees it - it is like a book and everybody who visits it will find different things. Marc Hamer has designed and nurtured 12 acres of garden for over two decades. It is rarely visited so he is the only person who fully knows its secrets; but it is not his own.
His relationship with the garden's owner is both distant and curiously intimate, steeped in the mysterious connection which exists between two people who inhabit the same space in very different ways. In this life-enhancing book Marc takes us month-by-month through his experiences both working in the garden and outside it, as the seasons' changes bring new plants and wildlife to the fore and lead him to reflect on his past and future. Through his peaceful and meditative prose we learn about gardening folklore and wisdom, the joys of manual labour, his path from solitary homelessness to family contentment and the cycle of growth and decay that runs through both the garden's life and our own.
Beautifully illustrated, Seed to Dust is a moving and restorative account of a life lived in harmony with nature. You've seen gates like that at the side of the road, you've wondered what's behind them. They really are the entrance to the wonders you imagined.
One of Waterstones Best Books to Look Forward to in 2021
The Bookseller's Book of the Month
A Guardian 2021 Literary Highlight
"I knew in every bone of my body, in every fibre of my being, that I had to report what had happened, not only for myself but to help stop anyone else having to go through what I did. I knew I could not remain silent, or still, I could not stop walking through the world." A journey of reclamation through the natural landscapes of the North, brilliantly exploring identity, nature, place and belonging. Beautifully written and truly inspiring, I Belong Here heralds a powerful and refreshing new voice in nature writing.
Anita Sethi was on a journey through Northern England when she became the victim of a race-hate crime. The crime was a vicious attack on her right to exist in a place on account of her race. After the event Anita experienced panic attacks and anxiety.
A crushing sense of claustrophobia made her long for wide open spaces, to breathe deeply in the great outdoors. She was intent on not letting her experience stop her travelling freely and without fear. The Pennines - known as 'the backbone of Britain' runs through the north and also strongly connects north with south, east with west - it's a place of borderlands and limestone, of rivers and 'scars', of fells and forces.
The Pennines called to Anita with a magnetic force; although a racist had told her to leave, she felt drawn to further explore the area she regards as her home, to immerse herself deeply in place. Anita's journey through the natural landscapes of the North is one of reclamation, a way of saying that this is her land too and she belongs in the UK as a brown woman, as much as a white man does. Her journey transforms what began as an ugly experience of hate into one offering hope and finding beauty after brutality.
Anita transforms her personal experience into one of universal resonance, offering a call to action, to keep walking onwards. Every footstep taken is an act of persistence. Every word written against the rising tide of hate speech, such as this book, is an act of resistance