This blog’s books of the year

I have reviewed 31 books on this blog this year – three more than last year.

Some of these are sent to me by publishers or authors, some I simply go out and buy.

Which books you like is as personal a choice as what music you like. But for what it’s worth, here are my top five books of 2015, the next five (in no particular order) and the rest (a list which contains many entertaining reads).

Book of the Year:  Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham


Undoubtedly this blog’s ‘Book of the Year’ – about nature, about Chris Packham, about childhood, about the 1970s and about Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s literature not writing and it’s a book that will last a long time.

My review



The Fight For Beauty_97817807487572.  The Fight for Beauty by Fiona Reynolds

Written by a leading member of the NGO movement for the last few decades this is a fascinating insight into how landscapes have been valued and protected over the years – and a little bit about how wildlife has lost out.



My review




3. Bring Back the King by Helen Pilcher

Can we bring species back from extinction using traces of their DNA?  But should we?



My review





4. Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter (ed Melissa Harrison)

Four volumes of seasonal writing about nature – get them all.





My reviews: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter



97814729383985. The Ethical Carnivore by Louise Gray

A year of eating only meat that the author had killed herself. How did it go? Could you do the same?





My review


The rest of the ‘Top 10’ in no particular order:

9781408851265The Most Perfect Thing by Tim Birkhead







My review


410CEl0qsHL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Badgered to Death by Dominic Dyer







My review

piersmaSummer’s Guest by Theunis Piersma







My review



Where the Wild Thyme Blew by Peter Marren






My review



Britain’s Birds by Rob Hume et al





My review




Those were my ‘Top 10’ and here are another bunch of really good books in no particular order:

Cat Wars by Peter Marra and Chris Santella  My review

The Life of the Robin by David Lack  My review

Speaking Out by Ed Balls My review

Rivers Run by Kevin Parr My review

Wild Island by Jane Smith My review

The Keartons by John Bevis My review

Wild Kingdom by Stephen Moss My review

Shetland by Ann Cleeves My review

The Sacred Combe by Simon Barnes My review

Nightingales in November by Mike Dilger My review

How did we get into this mess by George Monbiot My review

No Way but Gentlenesse by Richard Hines My review

Raptor by James MacDonald Lockhart My review

An Unreliable History of Tattoos by Paul Thomas My review

Walking with Birds by Colin Whittle  My review

Devon Bird Atlas by Stella Beavan and Mike Lock My review

 A Sky Full of Birds by Matt Merritt My review

The Nature of Sex by Carin Bondar My review


4 Replies to “This blog’s books of the year”

  1. Thank you, Mark. I always find your reviews extremely interesting. Might I add one of my books of the year (it was published in Jan 2016) The Outrun, by Amy Liptrot, a personal story of tackling alcoholism and the part Orkney and its wildlife played in that recovery. Amy worked as a warden on the Corncrake project and writes beautifully about landscapes, birds and island mammals.

  2. And just a quick comment for anyone inspired to buy Summer’s Guest by Theunis Piersma that the advice about how to care for swifts is entirely erroneous (and rather surprising to find in a book published and promoted by the BTO).
    See Dick Newell’s excellent ‘action for swifts’ blog post for a summary of what’s being done to alert buyers to the errors and also how to care for swifts properly given that they have such specialist needs when in care. .

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