It’s January, and while others like to experiment with newfangled diets and the latest exercise craze,  I like to reflect on some of my intake of books over the last twelve months.

As with last year’s reading list, I have to get my disclaimer out and confess that many of these books I’ve actually listened to rather than read! 😮 

While this is the source of much bemusement and mickey-taking from my best mate (who I won’t name and shame just yet), without audiobooks I wouldn’t get to enjoy half the titles I recommend here. So hopefully this revelation won’t put you off checking out some of these cracking pageturners below… 

Wilding, Isabella Tree – Top Read 

Probably my favourite read last year and can always found in a prominent spot in any bookshop I visit.  Wilding is a truly fascinating account of what happened when a traditional but failing farm took a step back and let nature take over the land.

The Genius of Birds, Jennifer Ackerman

Think birds are clever? You don’t know the half of it until you’ve read this book! The Genius of Birds is entertaining, enlightening and enchanting in equal measure.  


Bird Sense, Tim Birkhead

If you want to learn from the best, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more respected and more knowledgable on bird behaviour than Tim Birkhead. This book is a treasure trove of birds facts, stories and observations.

The Great Nadar

My admiration of  “The Great Nadar” began as an essay during my National Diploma in Photography at Kingston Art College. He caught my attention again when reference briefly in Robert Macfarlane’s ‘Underland’ (see below). This is a character that should unquestionably be celebrated more than he is today. The book wonderfully depicts the trials, tribulations and genius of this charismatic, groundbreaking Parisian. From Victor Hugo to Charles Baudelaire, his social circles were as impressive as his diverse talents. Accomplished writer, cartoonist, photographer and balloonist. 

From the catacombs to aerial photography this is a photographic pioneer everyone should know about!   

 

Extraordinary Insects, Anne Sverdup-Thygeson

The health of our planet is largely determined by some of it’s smallest creatures. They were around before the dinosaurs and will likely be some of the few to survive the apocalypse, Extraordinary Insects is a riveting celebration of the mini-beasts that keep our world turning!

A Sting in the Tale, Dave Goulson 

Bees have made headline news in recent years and concern has peaked over both their importance and fragility. Dave Goulson brilliantly delivers a clearer perspective on one of our most treasured insects. Full of fascinating facts and eye-opening accounts on the relationship between bees, humans, conservation, economy and industry.    

The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read, Philippa Perry

I nearly didn’t include this book as it is a little off-theme from my blog, but I found it so inspirational I couldn’t not include it (sorry for the double negative but I quite like ‘em!).


Homing: On Pigeons, Dwellings and Why We Return, Jon Day  

I picked up this book after hearing Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood recommend it on BBC Radio 4’s A Good Read. I really enjoyed reading how the author gets pulled in further and further into the world of pigeons. Not only is it a fascinating delve into the world of pigeons but it is also a poignant exploration into the meaning of “home”.


Being a Beast, Charles Foster

This was one of the most entertaining reads of last year and had me laughing out loud in disbelief at the antics of this maverick eccentric writer. Wannabe shaman Charles Foster takes the desire to see and think like an animal to the next level. Believe me when I say there is nothing he won’t do to gain a deeper insight into his chosen species!

Underland, Robert Macfarlane

I’ve been looking forward to this book for a long time, and when it did, it didn’t disappoint. As always Robert Macfarlane writes eloquently and powerfully on our complex relationships with the natural world. A timely masterpiece that really captures the state of where we are.