The Frayed Atlantic Edge by David Gange

Reviewed by Peter Reason David Gange is historian at the University of Birmingham and has a passion for mountains and wild water. Well before The Frayed Atlantic Edge was published, I came across him on Twitter and through his blog,  Mountain, Coast, River, much appreciating his stunning photographs from the western coasts of the British…

This Is Not a Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook

Edited by Clare Farrell, Alison Green, Sam Knights, and William Skeaping. Review by Peter Reason There cannot be many followers of Shiny New Books who are not aware of the activities of Extinction Rebellion. Reports of the shutdown of London bridges and the later occupation of five major London sites for ten days, and of…

Horizon by Barry Lopez

Reviewed by Peter Reason Barry Lopez is one of the greats of ‘nature writing’ (although he dislikes the term, as it seems do most ‘nature writers’!). He is most widely known for Arctic Dreams: Imagination and desire in a northern landscape, which is widely regarded as a classic. His non-fiction includes Of Wolves and Men,…

Europe: A Natural History by Tim Flannery

Reviewed by Peter Reason A natural history, Tim Flannery tells us, encompasses both the natural and the human worlds. This book attends to three big questions: How was Europe formed? How was its extraordinary history discovered? And why did Europe become so important in the world? Flannery – palaeontologist, explorer, conservationist with a wider range…

The Light in the Dark: A winter journal by Horatio Clare

Reviewed by Peter Reason Reading the title of this book and seeing the book cover, the prospective reader might, as did I, expect a book about the darker period of the year, and the night. And they would be right: this book is indeed about those darker times. But I have always liked the dark…

How to Change your Mind: The new science of psychedelics by Michael Pollan

Review by Peter Reason ‘The soul should always stand ajar.’ It is fitting that Michael Pollan introduces his latest book on the resurgence in interest in LSD, psilocybin and other psychedelics with this epigraph from Emily Dickinson. For, as he concludes in this entertaining and informative book, exploration of alternative states of consciousness can have…

The Overstory by Richard Powers

Review by Peter Reason This is a novel about the place of humans in the living world. Too serious, too philosophical, you might say? But this is also a gripping adventure story in which the lives of nine human protagonists are entwined with each other in dramatic action to prevent the destruction of ancient forests.…

Owl Sense by Miriam Darlington

Review by Peter Reason Miriam Darlington’s first book, Otter Country, recounted her search and study of otters in Britain. I reviewed this book with enthusiasm in Resurgence & Ecologist, noting in particular how she described startlingly close encounters with otters with a vividness that took me deeply into the experience. So I opened her second…

The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris

Reviewed by Peter Reason When our postman handed me the package that contained my review copy of The Lost Words I blurted out, ‘I’ve been waiting for this!’ In the weeks before its delivery I had read hugely appreciative reviews in the national press and on line. The book has benefited from a major marketing…