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The Living Mountain: A Celebration of the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland (Canons) [Kindle Edition]

Nan Shepherd
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

The Living Mountain is a lyrical testament in praise of the Cairngorms. It is a work deeply rooted in Nan Shepherd’s knowledge of the natural world, and a poetic and philosophical meditation on our longing for high and holy places.

Drawing on different perspectives of the mountain environment, Shepherd makes the familiar strange and the strange awe-inspiring. Her sensitivity and powers of observation put her into the front rank of nature writing.

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Product Description


"The finest book ever written on nature and landscape in Britain" (Guardian)

"Most works of mountain literature are written by men, and most of them focus on the goal of the summit. Nan Shepherd's aimless, sensual exploration of the Cairngorms is bracingly different" (Robert Macfarlane)

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Introduced by Robert Macfarlane

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly different 7 Aug. 2011
By Emily
if you've reached the point of near boredom with the thousands of macho books of near death, tragedy and successful climbs which are typical of biographies and novels of the mountains, then you will find this a breath a fresh air.
Nan's use of language is poetic and beautifully visual and completely different from anything you will usually read about living and enjoying the mountains.

This is a must read for anyone who loves the Cairngorms, Scotland, or mountains in general. But if you simply have a love of beautiful language then you will find this a perfect introduction to the wilderness.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original, eye opening and inspiring. Brilliant 11 Mar. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Like many other reviewers, this short book has had real a affect on me.

Although, as the title suggests, its about mountains, (and is specifically about the Cairngorms), more fundamentally it is about nature and our human relationship with nature. For this reason I think anyone interested in nature could get something from it.

I always thought I was quite aware of nature, wildlife, light etc. I spend a lot of time outside, walking, cycling, watching wildlife. But this book made me realise I'd hardly even begun to look or listen. I don't even know my own back garden as well as Nan Shepherd got to know a mountain range!

Its also so refreshing to read a book about mountainsthat doesn't involve 'conquering' them. There are a few amazing wildlife experiences described but mostly she opens our eyes and our minds to the beauty in the ordinary - things we could all see every day if only we took the time to see them.

It has become one of my favourite books ever and I have alreday re-read parts.
My copy had a rather long winded introduction by Robert MacFarlane. Nan speaks very well for herself without the need for this!
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal, Spiritual and Beautifully Written 17 Jun. 2010
For those who love the mountains for the emotional, spiritual and inspirational nourishment that they provide, then this book expresses it all in a very personal relationship with the mountains written in both poetic and philosophical prose. Beautifully written avoiding all the usual action, disaster and/or heroics associated with mountain stories.
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70 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! 20 May 2010
By Stewart M TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Living Mountain is Nan Shepherd's love song to The Cairngorms. Many (probably most) books about mountains are written to show man (and it normally is men) on or against mountains. This book is different. This book places the author with the mountains.

This is an intimate and detailed study of the Cairngorms that focuses far more on rivers and light, the freezing of streams and the disorientation of mist, than it does does peaks or particular journeys. In this way the book seems directionless, but only if direction is defined in a geographical fashion. If the direction of travel relates to a journey of understanding then the book is not directionless at all, and charts the authors growing knowledge of the mountains.

If you are looking for a book full of daring deeds and heroic ascents, then this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a thoughtful account of how people build an emotional connection to a place and how individual aspects of that place can combine to form wonder, then you should read this book.

Highly recommended.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry in prose 14 Oct. 2008
This book is the most incredibly beautiful evocation of the Cairngorm Mountains in Scotland. It is like reading poetry. I was living in Aberdeen in the seventies when it was published, and read it then, and like the author I walked and camped for days on my own in the Cairngorms and came to love their special qualities of light and space, spareness and harsh wild beauty. I met the author once, and was struck by her blue eyes full of the distance. She spoke so lovingly of the hills, and so descriptively. What a pity this wonderful book is no longer in print. It deserves to be. I read an article by Robert Macfarlane about it in a newspaper recently. He has discovered it, and I so wish many more people could do so too. We need wildness for our souls.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect and magical 15 Jun. 2012
This is quite simply a perfect piece of literature. It is compelling, magical, mesmerising, and an absolute pleasure to read. Read this because you love nature, or the moutains, or read it simply because it is a brilliant piece of writing. If I had to get rid of most of my books and could only keep a handful, this book would be in that handful - because it is also a text to return to time and again.

Once again finding a book by chance in a good bookshop has proven the way to find unexpected gems
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and evocative 31 Dec. 2012
By A. Burt
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Nan Shepherd's little book captures the essence of mountains and their lure for those of us who love them in a way I have never experienced in any other book. She is not interested in conquering mountains, but rather in knowing them intimately. She has an incriedible eye for detail, and many times I found myself thinking that she had found the perfect expression for my own mountain experiences. My only criticism is of the introduction. The contextual background to Nan's life is useful, but the exposition of the text is unnecessary as it speaks so eloquently for itself.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sublime 26 Jan. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
the finest work about hills and nature that i have read. this slim volume is essential reading for all who venture into, and wish to be part of, nature and landscape. anyone who reads this will look differently at their surroundings on their next trip into mountain, plateau, glen or the wilderness.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Book club read
This was our book club read of the month, I found it hard to get into, Not my cup of tea
Published 5 days ago by nad
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderful book.
Published 21 days ago by James Nash
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps "the most" beautifully written book I have ever read.
One of the most, perhaps "the most" beautifully written book I have ever read - she paints an exceptionally clear picture of the mountains - without being flowery, she... Read more
Published 25 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cairngorms
Just opened my eyes even further to the timeless beauty and wonder of the Cairngorms in all it wondrous nature both beauty and terror
Published 26 days ago by Dave D
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspirational read
Excellent. Unique insight into the landscape of the Cairngorms and Nan Shepherd's relationship with them over many years.
Published 28 days ago by Mrs. B.K.Stagles
5.0 out of 5 stars Iconic read
Excellent writing about nature. Slim volume easy to read.
Published 1 month ago by eric mcrory
5.0 out of 5 stars a lovely, important book
Published 1 month ago by B. Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars Have bought six copies of this for myself and friends ...
Have bought six copies of this for myself and friends. Only one copy of this new edition though as I am not a big fan of the added introduction - it detracts from Nan's writing... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Nairnian
5.0 out of 5 stars For anyone who loves the wild places this is a ...
For anyone who loves the wild places this is a book which should be purchased as soon as possible by those who have not already read it.
Published 1 month ago by Mavis Sudworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Love landscape? - you'll love this
Simply breathtaking...she lets the landscape breath and treats her subject with religious reverence.
Published 2 months ago by moonstone
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