Force of Nature
The Rise and Rise of Nature Writing
The Rise and Rise of Nature Writing
This month’s issue celebrates a wonderful, diverse range of nature titles. As we emerge from our homes and venture beyond our own streets to experience the outdoors, we become aware that nature plays an immense part in how we live our everyday lives – part of living fully in the world as well as being a precious resource for our wellbeing. Nature books – and the connections people have with the natural world - have become a publishing phenomenon.
It’s not just confined to the countryside. There are deeper issues underlying an appreciation of landscape, flora and fauna in this month’s choices – combatting and managing climate change, balancing the needs of wildlife with the needs of rural economies, more intelligent land use, and celebrating nature in the most unlikeliest of urban settings.
And not least is the creative response to the natural world which comes to the fore in the fiction and memoirs. We hope you enjoy this month’s choice.
Extract taken from The Secret History of Here By Alistair Moffat Published by Canongate
This morning I was much moved by a trivial, simple detail.
Amongst the birches on the margins of the Bottom Track, one with a rich, red bark took a terrible beating in last year’s summer storms. About halfway up its peeling trunk, a major limb had almost been torn off and come to rest not on the ground but on the branches of a sitka spruce that stands beside it. To my great surprise, the bough had kept enough of a connection with the trunk to come into leaf this spring and help the birch to photosynthesise and grow. I liked that – mutual support amongst the community of the trees.
It is very cold this morning, a bitter wind blowing out of the north-east that feels as though it has come straight off the wastes of Siberia. Even though the sun is brilliant in a cloudless, cerulean blue sky, the eye-blearing, ear-nipping cold means it does not feel like a May morning. The buds are closed tight against the overnight frost and, having been out all ni...
Extract taken from Islands of Abandonment By Cal Flynn Published by William Collins
‘It was a telling example of one of the bird’s character traits that distinguishes it from the golden eagle: it has no fear of humankind and its works, humankind’s settlements and humankind’s noise.’
‘No written description can really do it justice: the noise, the power and the spray of it.’
‘They did not speak their names or venture the reasons for their departures for fear of what that might reveal. They just carried on.’
‘If, in his hero Aldo Leopold’s famous phrase, we ‘think like a mountain’, and realise the interconnectedness of all living things, restoring nature’s balance will become feasible again.’
‘I would like the reader to join me in my growing sense of wonder.’
‘Out of the gloom swaggers a powerful creature, the master of this glen. He is so close that I feel the sound of his call vibrating the air as much as I hear it. He shakes his antlers, his breath clou …
‘I have had many animal companions in my life and all of them have touched me greatly, but the one that stands out was my rescue Greyhound, Smoky.’
‘Canoeing slowly along the tree-shaded Blue Spring, it was the sound of frequent nose blowing on the water’s surface that made the experience particularly surreal. These loud exhalations and intakes o …
‘She’s more interested in dead birds than in living ones.’
‘Today, all old buildings that survive in the wild solidly enough to still provide basic shelter are known as bothies. Some walkers now seek them out as others bag Munros, in a pursuit that has become …
‘The hottest day of the year is now on average 0.8 centigrade hotter.’
‘The bear came forward, growling again, swung its head and lifted its wounded paw from the ground. Honey, she thought to it, honey. Not sure if it was enticement or endearment.’
‘This engagement with the history of the land question continues throughout the twentieth century. It is evident in the work of Aonghas MacNeacail, especially in his poem ‘oideachadh ceart’ (‘a prope …
‘The wind is rarely still. It shifts from airt to airt, and everything – flowers, clouds, birds, animals, boats – are caught up in the invisible stream. In late summer afternoons the wind goes through …
‘fàd, a single, cut peat’
‘What is special about the Cuillin is that they are Britain’s only true mountains, comprised of narrow rock ridges and jagged peaks.’
‘There is no cream in a classic carbonara but its addition is merited by any cycling cook looking to add ultra-richness to this delicious comfort food.’
‘Light in Scotland has a quality I have not met elsewhere’ – Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain
Kirsty Logan is the author of the novels The Gracekeepers and The Gloaming, the short story collections A Portable Shelter and The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales, the flash fiction chapbook The Psychology of Animals Swallowed Alive, and the short …
The Wee Book Company Ltd wus incorporated in 2018 wi’ the aim o’ producing quality, modern non-fiction Scottish humour an’ children’s fiction. We’re a’ aboot the funny but we underscore wur books wi’ messages o’ love, positivity, confidence an’ resilie …