Nature

May 2022 Featured Books

I Belong Here

I Belong Here

Author: Anita Sethi Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/05/2022

I knew in every bone of my body, in every fibre of my being, that I had to report what had happened, not only for myself but to help stop anyone else having to go through what I did. I knew I could not remain silent, or still, I could not stop walking through the world. A journey of reclamation through the natural landscapes of the North, brilliantly exploring identity, nature, place and belonging. Beautifully written and truly inspiring, I Belong Here heralds a powerful and refreshing new voice in nature writing. Anita Sethi was on a journey through Northern England when she became the victim of a race-hate crime. The crime was a vicious attack on her right to exist in a place on account of her race. After the event Anita experienced panic attacks and anxiety. A crushing sense of claustrophobia made her long for wide open spaces, to breathe deeply in the great outdoors. She was intent on not letting her experience stop her travelling freely and without fear. The Pennines - known as 'the backbone of Britain' runs through the north and also strongly connects north with south, east with west - it's a place of borderlands and limestone, of rivers and 'scars', of fells and forces. The Pennines called to Anita with a magnetic force; although a racist had told her to leave, she felt drawn to further explore the area she regards as her home, to immerse herself deeply in place. Anita's journey through the natural landscapes of the North is one of reclamation, a way of saying that this is her land too and she belongs in the UK as a brown woman, as much as a white man does. Her journey transforms what began as an ugly experience of hate into one offering hope and finding beauty after brutality. Anita transforms her personal experience into one of universal resonance, offering a call to action, to keep walking onwards. Every footstep taken is an act of persistence. Every word written against the rising tide of hate speech, such as this book, is an act of resistance.

eBooks of the Month
England on Fire

England on Fire

Author: Stephen Ellcock Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/05/2022

A stunningly provocative and thought-provoking book viewing England from a different perspective, one where: “magic and rebellion and destruction are the horses to which the country is hitched. On these fabled shores we are all castaways, whether our family has lived here for four thousand years or four”. Stephen Ellcock’s books are particular favourites of mine, I regularly dip into All Good Things, and The Book of Change. Here he has joined forces with Mat Osman, whose short texts sit as an introduction to each chapter where the images chosen are allowed to sing. I love Mat’s introduction! He perfectly describes Stephen’s talent for choosing images and picking up on the thoughts and feelings of the moment. He also brings England to life: “Like a teenager sulking in their room, England is in one of its periodic spasms of insularity - but no matter, we’ve been here before”. Look deeper, explore roots that are bound to the ancient and to wilderness, join protests and anti-fascist marches, adore our absurdity while remaining aware of our capacity for division  and discord. While our dark times are explored, hope springs in the form of a new breed of artists, the images chosen here matter, they speak of and to our deepest emotions. This book has helped me to feel connected again with the country in which I live, my eyes opened in a new awareness. A LoveReading Star book, England on Fire is truly beautiful, it’s astute, inclusive, and absolutely magical.

Star Books
Through A Vet's Eyes

Through A Vet's Eyes

Author: Dr Sean Wensley, Miranda Krestovnikoff Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/04/2022

'A compelling account of the trials, tribulations and triumphs of life as a vet - and a lesson to us all on how we should treat the animals with which we share our lives.' - Stephen Moss, naturalist and author Dr Sean Wensley is an award-winning vet and lifelong naturalist who has contributed to animal welfare and conservation projects all over the world. His debut book is about how we can choose a better life for animals, from the chickens we eat to the pets we keep. As our societies become more urbanised, we are further removed from the reality of where and how our food is produced. Surveys suggest that nearly 1 in 4 UK adults don't know that bacon comes from pigs. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the humanisation of our pets is a risk to their welfare; with over 60% of UK dogs being overweight or obese, we are effectively killing them with kindness. Through A Vet's Eyes seeks to redress this imbalance so that we see all animals as thinking, feeling beings not dissimilar to ourselves. As he takes us through the years in which he trained to become a vet, and set against a backdrop of inspiring natural spectacles, Dr Wensley shares his first-hand experience of how animals are treated and used for our benefit. He interrogates the different levels of welfare afforded to them and reveals how we the general consumer can reduce our animal welfare footprint through the choices we make every day.

The Hedgerow Apothecary Forager's Handbook

The Hedgerow Apothecary Forager's Handbook

Author: Christine Iverson Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/04/2022

Before picking up the Forager’s Handbook, the practice of ‘foraging’ seemed to me something of a dark art or perhaps even an act of desperation. Having spent a few evenings with this book, I now find myself planning trips out of town to hunt for beech nuts that I can make coffee with, or elderflower to create my own cordial. It’s so obvious, of course, that the countryside is packed with wild plants that provide remedies, health foods, and hold secrets that can be put to other uses in the home. We're just not looking anymore. Over the past centuries our knowledge of foraging has slipped away, like so many things, as we’ve sacrificed simple and sustainable living for mass manufacture and distribution. Author Christine Iverson writes, “When I go foraging in the hedgerows I feel I am following in the footsteps of our ancestors.” There is no doubt an emotional, or perhaps even spiritual benefit to be gained from ‘living off the land’ as much as possible, and discovering the gifts that nature has tucked away for us in the hedgerows. Helpfully, this apothecary focuses very much on the practical. It is arranged by season so you know what you have a chance of finding when you venture out, how to identify what you are looking for, and of course what the common uses are for what you find. The Forager’s Handbook is a wonderful companion to inspire a fun day out, but also to slip into your pocket as you stroll along should the opportunity for some spontaneous foraging arise.

April 2022 Featured Books

Everyday Ways to Save Our Planet

Everyday Ways to Save Our Planet

Author: Laura Tobin Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/04/2022

With over 200 “sustainable swaps” for families to implement, Everyday Ways to Save Our Planet by TV meteorologist Laura Tobin is a personal, practical and achievable guide to countering climate change. Written in response to many people feeling overwhelmed by what they can personally do to make a difference, Tobin takes us back to basics by breaking down the science in clear terms, before explaining how we can all do our bit to have a collective big impact, and it’s all underpinned by an inclusive can-do outlook: “My philosophy is that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something”. Sharing anecdotes from her own family's experiences, Tobin takes readers through areas of everyday life — from energy, water and transport, to how we manage our bathrooms, gardens and kitchens. Alongside fact files and infographics that make for sobering reading, we're presented with fixes to habits that hurt the environment. We can, for example, all easily brew our tea better, bathe better, and buy better. In short, Everyday Ways to Save Our Planet is an informative and welcoming step-by-step resource for anyone who isn’t sure how to start living their best eco-friendly life.

March 2022 Featured Books

The Instant

The Instant

Author: Amy Liptrot Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2022

Wishing to leave behind the quiet isolation of her Orkney island life, Amy Liptrot books a one-way flight to Berlin. Searching for new experiences, inspiration and love, she rents a loftbed in a shared flat and looks for work. She explores the streets, nightclubs and parks and seeks out the city's wildlife - goshawks, raccoons and hooded crows. She looks for love through the screen of her laptop. Over the course of a year Amy makes space hoping for the unexpected. And it comes with an erotic jolt, in the form of a love affair that obsesses her. The Instant is an unapologetic look at the addictive power of love and lust. It is also an exploration of the cycles of the moon, the flight paths of migratory birds, the mesmerising power of Neolithic stonework and the trails followed by a generation who exist online.

Adrift

Adrift

Author: Tracey Williams Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/02/2022

A charming, thoughtful, quirky yet stunning little book awaits anyone with a yen for beauty, and in particular those with a love for lego, beach combing, the environment and the impact of humans on our oceans. Beachcomber Tracey Williams has been finding lego washed up on beaches for years, ever since a container of nearly 5 million pieces of lego fell off a cargo ship in 1997. Here she examines the journeys the lego pieces have taken, the history of beach combing, and the environment consequences of plastic in our oceans. Even though I’m well aware of the fabulous books Unicorn publishes, I have to say that I wasn’t quite expecting this treasure to fall into my hands. It is full of colourful images including photos, paintings, and sketches. Personal memories, newspapers cuttings, poems, notes, and interviews populate the pages. While there is much to delight, the consequences of our littering of the oceans is made abundantly clear. The irony of much of the lego pieces belonging to a set about the sea, is not lost. Oceanographer Dr Curtis Ebbesmeyer began following the lego spillage back in 1997, and his section really hits home. He talks about one spillage in the Pacific where items floated around the world and he says of the plastic: “I like to tell people how one green frog washed up in the Gulf of Mexico, having been in the sea for twenty-six years”. He succinctly finishes: “It looks like James Bond had it wrong. It’s not diamonds that are forever. It’s actually plastic”. The story of the lego is a fascinating one, from the beach combing art of the finds, through to highlighting the environmental impact. This book would make a perfect gift for all ages, younger children will be fascinated by the colour as an older reader guides them, lego enthusiasts will be thrilled, anyone with an interest in the ocean and our environment I am sure will be captivated. Adrift really is special, it contains 183 pages of engaging information and images, and we declare it a LoveReading Star Book.

Star Books