Turned Out Nice Again: On Living With the Weather Hardcover – 14 Mar 2013
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Praise for Richard Mabey -
'The nation's favourite nature writer(Sunday Telegraph)
Mr Mabey is the kind of person you wish you had with you on every country walk, identifying, explaining, deducing, drawing on deep knowledge lightly worn (Country Life)
Enraptured, visionary, witty and erudite (Telegraph)
An exploration of our preoccupation with the weather, as heard on BBC Radio 3: Changing Climates.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
The weather has a huge effect on our daily lives and it is something we all talk about. A comment on the weather is often the first thing we say to people after we say hello. It is because our weather is so varied that we find it such a common topic of conversation. Our memory of weather events which we personally witnessed tends to be selective. For example many people remember the hot summer of 1976 but far fewer remember the equally hot summer of 1975.
The author quotes from various diarists such as Francis Kilvert and Gilbert White who both made a point of mentioning the weather in their work. I enjoyed reading this little book which is written in an easy and entertaining style and it reminded me that we often confuse weather with climate. I also learned of a phenomenon which I have never seen or heard of before - moon rainbows. I shall now be looking out for them if there is bright moonlight and rain showers - an uncommon combination.
"There is really no such thing as bad weather," said Ruskin. "Only different kinds of good weather." Read Mabey, and you can almost believe the great man was right.
If you are already a fan of the writing of Richard Mabey this will be a very familiar read. It contains sections of introspection, mainly about depression and mental illness, beautifully observed sections about the fine detail of the countryside and (in my opinion) a slightly too reverential approach to a small group of authors - in this case Gilbert White is singled out.
If you are not a fan - or if you are coming fresh to his work - this is about as good an introduction as you could get.
It could be read in a single sitting of less than an hour and leave you asking for more.
My only concern is that on two occasions Mabey seems to conflate meteorological and geological phenomenon. He identifies the climate of the UK to be generally benign - citing a lack of volcanoes or tsunamis. And he identifies a "halcyon day" as being caused (at least partly) but the incoming tide flowing over a bottle of wine. None of these is in any way a weather (or even climate) related event. This struck me as unfortunate.
With the exception of the point in the last paragraph, I would highly recommend this book - just don't take on a train journey that last more that 40 minutes!
Elsewhere he explores the links between the weather and our feelings, and the way in which the latter can affect our memories of the former (everyone recalls the UK summer of 1976 as sweltering, for example, but few recall that that of the previous year was just as hot and prolonged). He's a very good writer, but I think his description on p79 of a state of prolonged instability and chaos as a "state of reductio ad absurdum" is misleading; although it means "reduction to absurdity", that expression is invariably used as the name of a common form of argument.
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