New Non-Fiction July
July Non-Fiction Reads
This month’s recommended reads involve a love of nature and the great outdoors! Many have a summery feel which encourages us to reminisce about bygone days and dream of future holidays. Some are coming soon; some have just arrived, and others are hidden treasures just waiting to be rediscovered! A bit like holidays themselves!
Birdgirl: A Young Environmentalist Looks to the Skies in Search of a Better Future by Mya-Rose Craig
Mya-Rose Craig is a passionate environmentalist and birder. Watching birds has been the constant thread throughout her life, and she has visited every continent, and spotted more than five thousand different species! She is all too aware of the fragility of nature, and each sighting helps her to escape her own life challenges – her mum’s recurrent mental health issues. Mya-Rose understands that there is something so very uplifting about watching birds; a mindfulness in itself, and this beautiful book invites us to enter her world.
The Half Bird by Susan Smillie
Susan Smillie decides to quit her job in London and broaden her horizons. Her new home is a boat, and her solo voyage crosses the Mediterranean. This beautiful memoir sees Susan having the courage to change course; face challenges head-on; and enjoy her voyage of discovery. By no means plain sailing, but valuing life’s simplicity. A physical and metaphysical journey which encapsulates the freedom of the sea. Invigorating!
The Island House: Our Wild New Life on a Tiny Cornish Isle by Mary Considine
Mary and Patrick have a blueprint, but life has other plans, so after a traumatic year, they decide to relocate to Cornwall and start afresh. An opportunity to renovate the old Island House presents new challenges – cold and remote in winter, but also life-enhancing. For all those who aspire to leave the city behind and embrace the coast.
My Sand Life, My Pebble Life: A Memoir of a Childhood and the Sea by Ian McMillan
A beautiful memoir of childhood holidays spent by the sea. Travelling to the coast in the family Ford Zephyr, conjures up so many of our own memories: who will be the first to see the sea? Will the family car manage the steep incline? Endless sunny days; collecting shells; fish and chips... And then reluctantly packing up for the journey home. A must-read for those of us who love to rekindle happy childhood summers spent by the sea.
The Ghost in the Garden: In Search of Darwin’s Lost Garden by Jude Piesse
An absolute gem of a book which encapsulates memoir, nature, science, discovery... Hard to compartmentalise, but one which leaves an indelible mark. The Mount in Shrewsbury is where Darwin made his first foray into the theory of evolution. His mother, sisters, and gardeners opened his eyes to the wonders of nature, and it is here where he saw the beauty in flowers and collected bird eggs. The Ghost in the Garden may be Darwin’s ghost but for those of us lucky enough to have had the opportunity to roam and explore, it reminds us of that special time, when your life is ahead of you, and there is a promise of adventure to come...
Seed to Dust by Marc Hamer
A beautiful book which takes us through the gardening year, season by season. Marc Hamer is an experienced gardener of many years’ standing, and we learn about his relationship with the garden he tends – not his own – his life, and the transformative aspects of nature. A homage to simplicity and contentment, away from the rush and bustle of city life. One not to miss!
Where the Hornbeam Grows: A Journey in Search of a Garden by Beth Lynch
Beth Lynch must leave her beloved Sussex, and move to Switzerland, to create a new sense of belonging. She finds solace in gardening, but this is so much more than a book about propagating flowers. It is about love, loss and relocating. Lovely evocations of the Sussex garden of her childhood, and the healing power of nature. For those of us who have loved and lost a garden and need to find new roots. An inspirational read with a summer feel!
Rootbound: Rewilding a Life by Alice Vincent
Living out of a suitcase, and moving from one temporary London apartment to another, Alice finds comfort in nurturing pot plants in her limited space. The presence of greenery helps Alice to rejuvenate herself. A powerful read and one which celebrates the balcony garden. If you loved Eat, Pray, Love, then this is the one for you!
Pharmacopoeia: A Dungeness Notebook by Derek Jarman
An absolute classic which still has resonance today! Prospect Cottage, situated on the sandy dunes of Dungeness, Kent, was the film director, Derek Jarman’s, home and refuge for many years. It was indeed his ‘pharmacopoeia’; one of his lasting legacies, which has now been saved for the nation by Creative Folkestone, custodians of the property.