This is a brilliant book! Journalling his experiences of nature over the course of a year, Simon Barnes shares his enthusiasm for and knowledge of nature in a totally engaging style. There is no pomposity and no overly self conscious poetic phrasing that tends to creep into so much of nature writing these days. Just unabashed enthusiasm!
He talks about birdsong, his favourite wildlife places, his favourite moments sharing nature with other people, his views on the future for conservation, how, even if you are already a keen naturalist, there is always something new to find in nature, why it is good to learn the names of species (even though at the same time it's okay not to be able to name everything you see) and many other topics. His enthusiasm (yes that word again) is contagious and will inspire readers to get out into nature and enjoy it.
I could quote almost any paragraph from this book, but I chose this excerpt about my favourite bird:
'Now they were back and the sky was full of them, scything and sickling and showing us triumphantly and precariously that the globe was still working. The swifts, the longed for birds, were now back in numbers, and their cheery screaming had become a part of daily life once again: as if nothing could possibly go wrong ever again: as if the darkness of winter could never come again: as if nothing could trouble a wild-loving human's heart could ever again be a part of the world and the way we live in it.'
Read this book!
How to be Wild by Simon Barnes published by Short Books (2007)