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Landmarks Hardcover – 5 Mar 2015
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A joyous meditation on words, landscape and the relationship between the two, travelling from Cumbria to the Cairngorms, and exploring the landscapes of Roger Deakin, J.A. Baker, Nan Shepherd, and others. From Robert Macfarlane, the bestselling author of The Old Ways.
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
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MacFarlane unearths all sorts of words for different natural occurrences and introduces us to some of his favourite nature writers.
He rails against the loss of nature vocabulary to the point where the mainstream has been left with dull generic terms like field, hedge, wood, hill etc.
There is a rich body of words out there from sailors, farmers, shepherds, trekkers and country folk and Macfarlane's aim is to document these before they are lost forever.
One of the words I've taken from it is 'smeuse' - a Sussex term for a small worn away tunnel or entrance in a hedge caused by a creature going back and forth.
MacFarlane makes the point that by giving things a name we are more likely to notice them, look out for them - meaning the way we experience nature is enhanced.
A truly enjoyable, life-affirming work
Between the glossaries are essays on the works of other outdoors writers, most of whom Mr MacFarlane seems to have known. Part memoir and part book review, these are of varying interest but readable and beautifully written.
I recommend to all who love words and the countryside.
Robert MacFarlane is a passionate and interesting author, his writing soars and is always a joy to read.
It is a huge topic and the book is comprehensive and beautifully written. A work of love
Otherwise, I enjoyed the book as well as meeting authors I had not heard of before.