Today sees the publication of Lev Parikian’s new book, Into the Tangled Bank, “in which our author ventures outdoors to consider the British in nature”. Over the past few months I think many people will have been venturing out more and discovering previously unknown local walks, or even just noticing the wildlife in their gardens or local areas. We are fortunate enough to have a good sized garden which is visited by a variety of birds as well as the occasional mouse, fox or even hedgehog. Being at home, we have been able to watch the blackbirds and sparrows build their nests, listen to the cheeping of the chicks growing ever louder and then feel like proud parents as we spot the fledglings in the garden.
In this book, keen nature watcher Lev Parikian considers his own love for nature as well as that of the British public in general. He covers topics such as how we encounter nature, different kinds of nature lovers, nature in all its forms both animal and plant, and he links into naturalists of the past and present such as David Attenborough, John Clare and Emma Turner. As well as looking at nature in the author’s own local patch in South London, the reader is taken across the United Kingdom to nature reserves such as Slimbridge in Gloucestershire, Gilbert White’s house in Selbourne, Kielder Observatory and a trip to Skye and Raasay.
I really enjoyed reading Into the Tangled Bank. The author has a really engaging and relatable style of writing. His footnotes in particular made me laugh a lot as he added some more personal comments. I learned a lot about nature and also about naturalists through the years, some of whom I’d only been vaguely aware of before. There was plenty to make me think such as the part of the book about the ethics of zoos and their role in conservation. It would be a great book to dip in and out of although it’s equally enjoyable to read right through.
This is a timely book not just because so many of us may be appreciating the nature around us more but because of the growing awareness that if we do not look after our planet, much of that nature which we take for granted may not be there for us to enjoy for ever. Into The Tangled Bank is an entertaining, witty, informative and most of all heartfelt appreciation of the natural world by an author who clearly wants to share his love of nature.
My thanks to Alison Menzies and publishers Elliot & Thompson for sending me an early copy of the book. Into The Tangled Bank should be available to buy or order from your usual book retailer. You can find buying links on the E&T website here: Into the Tangled Bank
From the back of the book
Lev Parikian is on a journey to discover the quirks, habits and foibles of how the British experience nature. Open a window, hear the birds calling and join him.
It’s often said that the British are a nation of nature lovers; but what does that really mean? For some it’s watching racer snakes chase iguanas on TV as David Attenborough narrates, a visit to the zoo to convene with the chimps; for others it’s a far-too-ambitious clamber up a mountain, the thrilling spectacle of a rare bird in flight.
Lev Parikian sets out to explore the many, and particular, ways that he, and we, experience the natural world beginning face down on the pavement outside his home, then moving outwards to garden, local patch, wildlife reserve, craggy coastline and as far afield as the dark hills of Skye. He visits the haunts of famous nature lovers reaching back to the likes of Charles Darwin, Etta Lemon, Gavin Maxwell, John Clare and Emma Turner to examine their insatiable curiosity and follow in their footsteps.
And everywhere he meets not only nature, but nature lovers of all varieties: ramblers, dog-walkers, photographers; loving couples, striding singles, families; kite-flyers, den-builders, grass-loungers; young whippersnappers, old codgers, middle-aged ne’er-do-wells; beginners, specialists, all-rounders; or just people out for a stroll in the sun. Warm, humorous and full of telling detail, Into the Tangled Bank puts the idiosyncrasies of how we are in nature under the microscope. And in doing so, it reveals how our collective relationship with nature has changed over the centuries, what our actions mean for nature and what being a nature lover in Britain might mean today.