Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

July Books- 2020

Only two books again this month- my reading has really taken a nose dive!

Keith Clarke- The Muse Colony.  not certain if this is still in print as I bought it in 1998- probably when we were house hunting in Gloucestershire/Oxfordshire.  The ISBN is 1 872971 30X. It’s been a while since I read this the first time and I was prompted to re-read it as one of the poets Edward Thomas mentioned in this book also features in my next book which I started reading first- this being shorter I finished it first.

In the months before the first world war in 1914 the small village of Dymock became the focal point of a group of young poets including Edward Thomas, Rupert Brooke and Robert Frost. They brought with them their families and friends and rented cottages and rooms, they walked  and talked and wrote poetry inspiring each other and in turn were inspired by the countryside. It was a magical Summer. This book explores this idylic time.  A forgotten world and time when life was gentler and slower. A thoroughly enjoyable re-read. There are a lot of daffodils in their work!

Robert MacFarlane- The Old Ways- which are of course old footpaths, and the book traces some of them through the author’s walk, on his own or with a friend, noting flora, fauna, geology and people associated with them. In parts very interesting, but not quite what I expected as I had assumed the book would only cover the UK and that there would be more history and less geology. I loved the connection to Edward Thomas, and to a local to Swindon naturalist Richard Jeffries, who lived at Coates, where there is a museum about him, still closed,  and where we walked last month.

I was very interested in the explanation for ancient man building houses in river estauries on stilts. At the time before farming the British Isles were covered in forests, people dwelt by the sea, plentiful food and houses on the water were safer from wolves and bears, oh my. ( Sorry family favourite saying from the Wizard of Oz). The way people got about was in boats on the sea- the sea routes were the very old ways before footpaths.

However my overall feeling was that something is lacking in the book- I would have welcomed maps, and proper photos, not just black and white grainy ones, of places and people, but more importantly what the book lacks is any humour, and I found myself longing for a Bill Bryson type observation.

I’m now reading a book lent to me by my son called Tombland by C J Sansom, it’s more of a page turner, thank goodness. Meantime I managed to join the local library- three branches in one town- a treat I’ve not enjoyed since we lived in Sussex. The libraries started to re-open a couple of weeks ago for click and collect- you choose your books , they find them, email you and you collect them from the library without needing to go inside. I found my old wishlists from North Yorkshire, cross checked with ones in the library here, and selected three. Email received yesterday they were ready for collection tomorrow afternoon. Hurrah! That’s my weekend sorted.

Love to know if your library has managed to open yet and if you had a good book on the go.

Comments on: "July Books- 2020" (26)

  1. Those sound like such interesting books! It’s often nice to be able to alternate more sedate works with things that are a little more action packed 🙂

  2. Glad you are getting some books to read! Because SD never completely closed, we’ve been able to visit, though they limit numbers. We are fortunate, because we have a drive through pick up and return, so even when the doors were closed, you could get books. I’ve stuck with the overdrive system though, which is all digital, so I read on my iPad. That has kept me in books, and when I want to hold one, I go searching through our books and find something. (We have LOTS of books, a whole room full, actually.)

  3. Clitheroe library is still closed unfortunately, I’m not sure why. Sounds like you will get back into reading with your latest book. X

  4. Murtagh's Meadow said:

    I like the sound of both your books. Our libraries opened couple of weeks ago so we were able to stock up on new ones.

  5. After the disappointment of my last read I’ve started an old copy of Rebecca (Daphne du Maurer) that’s been of the shelf for years. One of those 2nd hand picks your look at and think ‘I should read that sometime’. That time has arrived!
    Sadly our library has closed again – they are doing a postal delivery of ordered books plus any authors you nominate…..to fill up the box. I have 6 on hold so here’s hoping they come in soon.

    • I love Rebecca, I really hope you enjoy it. I nominated as a Good Read for the BBC top 100 books. I hope you get some good books from your library, so sad they have had to close again.

  6. Our libraries run by the Council have opened for collection and have even starting permitting ‘browsing’ though apparently you have to hand in any books you touched! I am still reading The Lord of the Rings and have recently stated the second volume The Two Towers. Can’t see me going back to the library for a while. I presume you book Tombland is supposed to be pronounced as tomb-land. When I saw it first I read it as Tom-bland. #-o

    • Yes as Tomb Land- made clear quite early on , and that has nothing to do with tombs- in Norwich apparently. I am enviuos of being able to ahndle books with care. Swindon has been slow off the mark. It’s years since I read Lord of the Rings, and I skipped the battle scenes too, which according to my sons were the best bits.

  7. My library operates the same as Katechiconi. I read, or I should say listened to,Macbeth by Jo Nesbo through the Bolinda system for audio books. I absolutely loved the book so much I am using it as my book for my bookclub to read. I will purchase a copy so I can read it after having listened to it. The book follows the storyline of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Set in Scotland but in a dystopian near future. Obviously a crime fiction novel.

  8. My library has been open for a couple of weeks. Initially with the book online, receive text message to come and fetch them system, but now we’re actually allowed to go in and browse, subject to numbers. But as I usually go to our tiny local branch at odd weekday hours, I’m usually the only one there and Librarian Sally and I can have a good gossip and discussion of what we’re currently reading. My local is part of a chain of 6 local libraries, plus they offer Bolinda, a digital library lending system where you can borrow e-books or e-audio books. I currently have two on my phone for listening while I walk Mouse 🙂 Currently, I’m reading The Only Plane In The Sky, the oral history of 9/11, a chunky tome of nearly 500 pages, and re-reading both Kipling’s Kim and Kathy Reichs’ Déja Dead.

    • The system you have seems to be the way the libraries here are going. I have a Kindle which I use on holiday, but I’m not keen on electronic books or even audible- my mind wanders with these. I’m hoping we will be allowed inside soon too.

  9. I don’t read French well enough to frequent the library here but will probably join one when I get back to England – if possible, who knows?
    I have three books on the go at the moment – something I never used to do. I have my hard copy book for if I snatch some reading time during the day which is Gabriel Garcià Marquez ‘Love In The Time of Cholera’ (fab), my Kindle book for bedtime – ‘The Vine Witch’ (only just started it so will let you know) and my Audible book for bathtime and sewing time which is ‘Where The Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens (good but the narrator’s southern drawl grates on me a bit when she voices certain characters).

    • My they all sound like good books. Joining a library sounds like a plus for blighty!. When we lived in Munich I joined the local library there and read my way through the English section!

  10. Click & collect is a great idea for libraries. Our libraries are still closed and they’re only opening a handful across the city, no date for our local library yet, which is very disappointing.

    • They opened the main library a week earlier, but I decided to wait for the one nearest to me to open this week. Has to be said that my old lbrary has been open over three weeks now. I hope your local one opens soon.

  11. These books sound great, especially the first one! Maybe I can find it somewhere here as well? Our library opened two months ago, I think (thank God), it’s with restricted hours, only 50 people are allowed in at the same time (it’s huge, three floors) and you shouldn’t spend more than 30 minutes, but I am so happy that I can get books that I don’t mine – I look online for books I’m interested in and then quickly browse the shelves around, this has worked fine so far. Will you try to volunteer at the new library, too?

    • I am very tempted to volunteer again as I loved it so much- I might mention it tomorrow. I am envious of you being able to go in to the library. Thank goodness I have a big list I choose from for someone else to collect.

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