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Somewhat dull and boring, with a rather bland writing style.
on 20 January 2016
At first, I was quite taken with this pleasantly laid-back celebration of our wildlife, especially as it appeared to be refreshingly free of the overwritten, overly poetic prose that seems to be almost ubiquitous in nature writing, and which I find irritatingly self-indulgent, even pretentious.
However, as the book progressed, what I had initially found quite charming started to become increasingly dull, and I slowly found myself losing interest and becoming more and more bored - both with the content itself and also the rather flat, matter-of-fact writing style. In the end, all I wanted to do was finish the book as quickly as possible, and had it not been a gift from my wife, I think I would have been tempted to simply give up.
As I recall, the author (or was it the editor?) also seemed to have a rather bizarre habit of inserting semicolons where they didn't belong, or at least where they felt quite abrupt and very much out of place. For me, this totally ruined the flow of the prose, to the extent that, in the end, my already bored mind was almost starting to drift into a game of 'spot the annoying semicolon'.
I also found it quite odd that, again as I recall, the author neither went to see nor discussed (except perhaps in passing) the huge starling murmurations for which the Somerset Levels are famed. Maybe he felt that waxing lyrical about such a renowned wildlife spectacle would have been a little cliched, or maybe, as a local, he had simply been there and done it all before, and therefore didn't feel the need to include it in the itineraries that formed the basis of the book. Or perhaps these murmurations occur beyond the confines of the author's local patch, though I also seem to remember that he wasn't averse to venturing further afield when it suited him. In any event, having visited the Somerset Levels and witnessed the starlings' jaw-dropping performance for myself, I can't help thinking that its inclusion would have rendered a fairly uneventful book somewhat more interesting, plus also given the author an opportunity to move beyond his rather bland writing style.
I also found the title of the book rather odd, as I don't remember either hares or hummingbird hawkmoths featuring very prominently at all.
In summary, this is a gentle, easy-going book which will undoubtedly appeal to many readers. However, for me, and without wishing to be unkind, it was ultimately quite dull and boring, not to mention being written in a style to match. The illustrations were quite nice, though ...