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Liz F

Notes from Walnut Tree Farm has to be one of my favourite books of recent years. I have read it through once as a diary and I dip into it now every so often because I love the writing.
I get the feeling that I would have really liked Roger Deakin and I would have loved to have met him although sadly he passed away a few years ago and this book was compiled by friends of his from notebooks that he had left.
It is a lovely book and a real keeper as it gives a real taste of the English countryside (in my opinion anyway!)and I can imagine dipping into it for years to come.
I did read Ring of Bright Water but many years ago and my main memory of it is that it is quite sad (unless I am mixing it up with Tarka the Otter which I read about the same time)
I am currently reading a book called Nightwalk by Chris Yates which is (not surprisingly) about his experiences of walking at night in the countryside near his home to experience another side of the natural world. I'm about half way through and finding it fascinating although I don't think I would be brave enough to venture out into woodland at night without a torch as he does! Not sure I would recommend trying it in woodland in the US either - you have far more dangerous animals in the wild there than we do!

Joan Kyler

I read Ring of Bright Water back in the 1960s and liked it. There's also a film of the book that I saw fairly recently on TV, although it's from the late 1960's. The film stars Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, the same two from Born Free.

I've heard of Roger Deakin and may even have read something by him or about him. I'm currently reading The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane, which another blogger wrote about. He dedicated the book to Deakin and writes about his friendship with Deakin and visits to Walnut Farm.


They are both such lovely projects.
I'd like to read a short stotry per week. That's a great project.
I like nature writing but do I have a favourite book? I guess but I don't know it's English title, I read it in a German translation. I'll try to find out.
I'll put the Deakin on the wish list. it sounds like something I would like a lot.


Walnut Tree Farm has been on my list for ever-so-long. Must get to that.

One of my favorite nature books is The Invisible Garden by Dorothy Sucher. She tells of her adventure reclaiming a farm she and her husband by in Vermont. I return to it often.


Walnut Tree Farm sounds like a wonderful book. I'm trying to think of a my favorite nature book and I can only think of books about gardening and there are so many I can't pick a title out of the jumble. Oh, how about Out of Africa, not really all about nature but it does play a huge part in the book.


I look at my shelves and see
"Desert Solitaire" by Edward Abbey,
which I found to be a fascinating
account of the author's time
spent as a park ranger in Utah.
This is not a warm and fuzzy book
about nature but a compelling
look at an environment that is
wild and harsh. Published in 1968,
in it Abbey has lots to say
about exploitation of the
wilderness by mining interests
and the tourist industry. His
prose will astound you.
It did me.

I do love books about nature
and will have to pick up
"Walnut Tree Farm".
(It sounds familiar; I may
have already read it.)

I am also a big fan of
personal essays. I think you
had started your project when
I first started reading your
blog. Don't give up on them!
I just finished rereading Anne
Fadiman's "Ex Libris" and
am starting her second book
of essays "At Large and At Small".
I find them comforting, amusing,
and informative.


Ah Roger Deakin's Notes from Walnut Tree Farm. I cannot even begin to say how much I liked that, but then again I think you know it's an all time favourite for me. Very different but also good are Alix Kates Shulman Drinking the Rain, Annie Dillard Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and Adam Nicolson The Smell of Summer Grass.
I recently bought all three Robert Macfarlane's books, to read as a small project as soon as I find the time for it.
I read Ring of Bright Water long ago, and remember it to be good but a little sad too.


Goodness gracious--must open another page in my books to check out list for all of these nature writing titles. I will leave you with my favorite: The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod by Henry Beston.


Have you read his book Wildwood? I almost like the sound of that one even better than this. But this is indeed the perfect book to dip into. I think I would have liked him as well and I'm glad to hear that I am getting a real taste of what the English countryside is like. From what I've read about Ring of Bright Water, it is a sad book. I'm looking forward to reading it, but hope it isn't hard going. Will have to look up the Yates--I think I'd prefer to read about night walking than actually do it--I can just imagine coming across a bear or something!


Another book I missed--had never even heard of this one until it showed up in my mailbox, but I'm happy to find it now and can't wait to start reading. Will look for the film, too. It was a reader here who introduced me to Roger Deakin and I am glad she did. Thanks for the heads up on the McFarlane--I've just added it to my wishlist!


I really love short stories, but I still tend to pick up novels before any other book. Habit I guess. Reading one story a week was a perfect way for me to read more of them during the year--even if I just chose randomly. I'd be curious to know if your favorite has been translated into English? Deakin's observations are really wonderful.


It's a nice one to leave on your bedside table and read a little of each night--at least that's what I've been trying to do. I like the sound of the Sucher as well (another one added to my wishlist). I've always wanted to travel to Vermont--an armchair sort of book!


I think you would like this one. Actually Out of Africa is somewhere on my shelves, and I'd say it counts. I think I prefer gardening books to the real thing as I don't have a very green thumb. With books it doesn't matter--the beauty of books!


I've never read Edward Abbey, but I know his book is a classic of the genre. I need to read him as well as Rachel Carson. I was really enjoying reading essays--not sure why I stopped midyear and have often thought of just picking back up again. Maybe when I finish reading my Greek myths I'll be ready for a new project. I should at least try and read a book of essays this year. And I loved Ex Libris--that is definitely one that is worth rereading. Her essays are fairly short and easy to squeeze in one or two a week from what I recall. I'll have to look for At Large and Small--not sure if I've looked at that one before.


I am pretty sure it was you who introduced me to Roger Deakin--so thanks! :) I'd like to read the Shulman and definitely Annie Dillard's book--I read one of her essays and really liked it. The Smell of Summer Grass intrigues me since the smell of summer grass has fond recollections of growing up for me--I'm off to check it out now. You'll have to let me know how the McFarlane books go--I looked him up again and his newest, which is due to be published here this fall sounds really good as it is about walking--right up my alley. I'll keep in mind what I've heard about Ring of Bright Water--somehow I'm not surprised it would be sad--animal stories always are it seems.


I've added them all to my own wishlist--lots of good books to explore, but then I always get good suggestions from other readers. I actually do own (unread...) The Outermost House. Anything about beaches is of interest to me. It's another classic, isn't it. Another little reading project (or a new reading path anyway) I see here in this post! :)

Liz F

Will it surprise you to know that I also have a copy of Roger Deakin's Wildwood on my shelves but unread? Didn't think so!

I also have a copy of The Outermost House, also unread and quite a few other similar books - when I have time I must get them all in one place so I know what I have got!

I think that Roger Deakin must have been one of those blessed people who had the gift of friendship because I am currently reading a lovely book by Hugh Thomsen who was also a friend of his. It's called The Green Road Into The Trees and it's about a walk he did on the Icknield Way which is an ancient path from Dorset to Norfolk and runs through where I grew up in Bedfordshire. I used to walk part of the Icknield Way very frequently with my dad when I was growing up and although I have lived in Yorkshire for more than 30 years now, reading the book made me feel very homesick for a while!


I found it but I realize it's a special interpretation of nature, more as in plants and gardens but I loved that book so much. one of my all tme favourite non-fiction reads. Judith Handelsman "Growing Myself".
It might be out of print.


My favorite nature book when I was a child was BORN FREE. I read it first in fifth grade, so many times that the pages started to fall out. One of my favorites is not strictly a nature book, but nature is woven throughout the story: Mary O'Hara's WYOMING SUMMER, which is lovely and lyrical (the diary entries from which she took MY FRIEND FLICKA and its sequels). I love the bits of nature that appear in Gladys Taber's "Stillmeadow" books along with her tales of daily life.

And if you've ever wanted to read a book where the prose is almost poetry, you must, must read CIDER WITH ROSIE.


I think I might just have heard myself say the same words in other cases myself! :) I think I am going to order Deakin's Wildwood--it almost appeals to me more than the one I am reading! I try and keep my nonfiction books sort of together by subject, so I could actually go to my shelves and find The Outermost House pretty easily. Of course it helps that I don't have very many nature books--may have to rectify that and add a few new books to my stash...ahem. Deakin does mention a lot of people in this book--he seems quite gregarious and I really like how he thinks about and approaches nature. I'm adding The Green Road into the Trees to my wishlist--it's still too new to get through the Book Depository (unless I bypass ordering directly and go to ABEbooks to order the book from TBD there--very strange how that works), but it sounds equally as good. I've been so disgustingly bad about spending money lately--as soon as I come back from vacation I Must Be Good! Until then...I'm indulging (far too much, but oh well).


I never read Born Free, but wasn't it a movie, too? I have vague recollections of it. It sounds like a much loved book--I have a few of those from childhood. I do have a couple of Gladys Tabor's books on hand--maybe I'll do a little nature reading project when I wrap up my mythology reading! And I took a look at Cider with Rosie and I want it now! ;) Unfortunately my library only has one volume of his memoirs and not this one, so I guess I'll have to order a copy. I'm all for prose being like poetry. Didn't Elizabeth Jane Howard know/was friends with Laurie Lee? The name is really familiar.


That looks really interesting--it does look as though it is out of print--over here as well. Maybe I'll see if I can get it through interlibrary loan. The descriptions says it is a book of essays, and I do enjoy nature essays, so it might be right up my alley. Thanks for finding the title for me!


I've been enjoying your mythology posts (even though I don't often comment on them). I like your plan of choosing a reading project and writing about it through the year--I might do that myself next year. Sometimes it's nice to have a little structure along with the "reading at whim" I do most of the time.

I am interested in nature writing, but I don't think I've read very much of it. A glance through my shelves didn't produce anything obvious, but many of my favorite books have strong elements of nature in them. I did enjoy Archie Carr's A Naturalist in Florida.


Oh my, I didn't realise until a couple of years ago how much I loved nature writing. I'm not so good with the real thing! But my favourite books is more of a gardening book almost, The Morville Hours by Katherine Swift. I adored it - the most soothing book I think I've ever read. I will be following your project with great interest!


I have a few ideas in mind of what I'd like to do as a weekly sort of project--it depends on how much I draw the mythology out. I do both--plan a little and read at whim a lot. I haven't read much nature writing either, though what I've read I really like and need to make more of an effort to read books that fall into that category. The fun thing about finding a new genre of books is being able to explore! And I have been enjoying looking up all the suggested titles, so thanks! :)


I like controlled nature--how's that as a description? I like it, but I am not much of a camper, though I love walking and looking. Gardening books definitely appeal and I own that Swift book--must take it out and look it over since I plan on reading a nature book or two this fall. Thanks for the reminder as I've had a copy for far too long unopened!

Liz F

The Morville Hours is a gorgeous book - I would love a country garden!
If you want to combine nature and mystery - have you read Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon series?
Anna is a park ranger and the stories are set in different national parks all around the USA - from the Great Lakes to Florida - and I found them fascinating so they might be worth a look.


Strangely I read very few mysteries set in the US, but I really should make an effort as I am sure I would like them. I will have to look her up. And I have the Morville Hours to read, too. I'm looking forward to getting back into a normal reading routine and hope to read a few nature books in the upcoming months. I would love to have a country garden, too, but I am not sure I could manage it myself--a gardener in the family would be nice! :)

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