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on 2 October 2017
Nan Shepherd is nothing like a household name, but this is likely to change as I understand her face is about to appear on the Scottish £5 note. This is the only book of hers I have read but it would seem to me that an increase in her profile is well deserved.
Although this is a small book, the prose is so beautiful and dense that it is jam packed with thoughts and ideas. Nan Shepherd is a very close observer of the world around her; in this case the Cairngorms mountains on her doorstep. In reading this book I was reminded of books such as Annie Dillard's Pilgrim At Tinker Creek and the Summer and Winter books of Tove Jansson. What these three female writers share is an ability to go deep into the local world around them rather than to travel widely (and inevitably provide a more shallow experience).
Although small, the book is very difficult to pin down succinctly because it has many elements to it, including autobiography, philosophy (particularly on the subject of knowledge), sociology and, of course, natural history.
This book may well end up being considered a classic of its type and should be read slowly and probably read multiple times.
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on 12 October 2017
Fabulous writing - every chapter a prose poem - vivid observation of the Cairngorms. Her personality shines through.
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on 12 September 2017
Have heard about this book on Radio Scotland I decided to buy it. It is a fantastic book that any mountain climber or hill walker can relate to. It is also a book that will delight with each reading you do of it.
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on 17 October 2017
A classic worth any walker, mountaineer or nature lover having on their bookshelf
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on 11 March 2014
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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on 21 January 2016
Very insightful but much to esoteric for my own reading tastes. More about feelings and immersion in the whole mountain environment.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 May 2010
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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on 31 October 2016
Good
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on 7 August 2011
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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on 16 March 2017
My wife says this is excellent.
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