This blog has reviewed 41 books this year (and many thanks to Ian Carter for his reviews).
My selection of the ‘top 4’ books of the year is as follows;
A tour-de-force of clear writing about a technical subject. Deserves to be widely read. Which birds are related to which others most closely? And how did they all end up living in the parts of the world where we now see them? Those are pretty fundamental questions and this book gives science-based clear, and entertaining, answers. See my review here.
Beautifully-written, and compelling reading, from one of our best nature writers. A must-read if you want to know something about the history of how we got to where we are now in our failure to save wildlife. Doesn’t sound that uplifting? But it is, because the quality of the writing and the ideas, and occasional acerbic comment, lift any feeling of gloom or helplessness. See my review here.
I turned to read this book wondering what all this was going to be about, and found I was immediately hooked. The mixture of history, politics and nature was right up my street but the story was told so well that I wanted to turn the page to learn more. I rather feel that Ms Boase may have been a little hard on, or a little dismissive of, some of the men who were around at the time when the RSPB came into existence but they are long gone so they won’t suffer and anyway, it’s a point of view. I’d be surprised if we see another book from the author with nature conservation as a main theme (although there is plenty of scope) but I’ll always be grateful that she dropped in, and produced this fascinating read which zips along. And yes, I might check out her next book on the basis that I enjoyed her writing so much in this one. See my review here.
Book of the year 2018
This is the book that everyone will pretend to have read, and pretend to have understood, this year. Let’s hope that many people actually read it, as it is a brilliant book, filled with experience and facts. I don’t think the reader should necessarily swallow the author’s line completely, but the message of hope is a good one and the Knepp project will stand for a long time, whatever happens in the future, as a landmark in nature conservation. Required reading and very enjoyable to boot! See my review here.