Strands: A Year of Discoveries on the Beach Hardcover – 31 May 2012
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Elegant memoir. For those for whom such encounters are a rare occurrence, reading this beautiful book is only a tide's whisper away from being on a beach itself and feeling the wind in your hair and the sand between your toes. (The Economist)
Compelling...well-contextualised, sharply-observed, clued up, environmentally aware and deeply researched. She writes a supple, attractive, gently ironic prose that brings alive this distinctive shoreline. (Independent)
Each sentence is as cunningly crafted as a piece of driftwood, a lyrical tribute to the meeting place of land and sea. (Mary Crockett Scotland on Sunday)
Sprackland's clean and unfussy prose, her powerful sense of atmosphere, gradually draw you in. If a book can have the appeal of a really good long walk, this one does. (Marcus Berkmann Daily Mail)
"Nature writing" is the Olympics of metaphor production, requiring technical agility and testing the writer's stamina for simile. In this respect Sprackland excels; her quick portraits of the sea's idiosyncratic cast-offs are inventive and precise.absorbing narrative. (Laurence Scott Guardian)
An insightful and lyrical account of a year on one beach - part natural history, part meditation, part travelogue.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
In those early days the beach was still covered by 6/8ft. wooden poles sticking up out of the sand, we presumed to prevent planes landing during the war.
Behind the dunes was another very different area, low lying and marshy, in the spring a haven of wild flowers and nesting waders. We often used to find nests in the high water line, just a scrape in the sand usually with 4 brown spotted eggs.
I went to Southport Technical College, and in the Summer Holidays worked for the Council as a "Beach Cleaner Etc" according to my contract. Duties included selling Deck Chairs from a large stack, selling tickets to pitch a tent in the sand dunes ( no kidding!!!) The best job of all though was to follow the morning tide out in an old jeep, and mark anything obnoxious with a red flag for the "heavy gang " to pick up before the visitors arrived. Those early morning on the beach are some of my best memories, huge skys, air like champagne, you could see the Lake District, the north wales coast and further round Formby point,the Liverpool skyline.
We live far away now but still have relatives in the area so always pay a visit to the beach whenever we are visiting .
Jean, thank you for bringing back all these happy memories.
Leslie N. Wilson.
I was planning on lending the book to my Mum once I'd read it but now, 2/3 of the way through, I'm not going to. Why? Because I want this book to never be out of my possession; I'll buy her a copy of her own!
This book is wonderfully written. For someone like me - an avid collector of random facts and information, as well as a devotee of that particular stretch of sand and a bit of an old romantic - this book is a joy to read.
The author swings from waxing lyrical about the weather and artifacts uncovered by the sea to snappy observations on life that make you laugh out loud without thinking.
It ebbs and flows, and delivers unexpected joys and curiosities, just like the tides of 'our beach'. It has found a permanent place in my mental list of all time favourite books.
To the author - thank you. I will read this book again and again, on the beach itself and when I'm far away and feeling homesick. I really want to see your crowded mantelpiece.
All (nearly) of the chapters in this book could have been written about almost any beach anywhere in the world. However, the author still manages to generate a feeling of both place and uniqueness.
Things are found washed up on the beach: things that tell stories, things that remain mysterious, living things, things long dead. But the charm of the book comes form the realization that most of the stories could have been told about any beach.
So it's a book that manages to feel both local and general at the same time. It's a book that reinforces the idea that we can connect with a landscape wherever we find it - it does not have to be classically beautiful, exotic or inaccessible. We just need to spend time with it.
I'm not entirely convinced that all the material in the book is completely scientifically accurate -the section on the impact of anti-depressive drugs springs to mind here. But I am willing to forgive this, as I did not read the book on the assumption it would be a textbook.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm a real collector of 'finds' from our local beach and was recommended this book by an environmental artist in Scotland. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Malcolm White
Treat yourself to a walk on the beach - full of surprises and delights.Published 2 months ago by Klee
A jolly good read if you have an interest in the beasties and plants of the tideline.Published 5 months ago by Ponderosa.
This book exceeded my expectations in so many ways. Fascinating facts and snippets of history interspersed with philosophical reflections, but all delivered in an easy to read,... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Mahogany