Reading list

6 Vintage books perfect for Spring

Bee Quest

Dave Goulson

Dave Goulson was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2013 for A Sting In The Tale which described his passionate drive to re-introduce the now extinct short-haired bumblebee back to its native habitat in the UK. He returns with Bee Quest which not only sets us on the trail of some of the world's most elusive species but also shows how we are all responsible for maintaining the biodiversity of the future.

 

A Little History of British Gardening

Jenny Uglow

There is no doubting the passion of the British gardener and whether you've a small patch of grass, or an opulent orangery, there is a long history of cultivation that comes before us. Jenny Uglow's 'potted' history takes us all the way from the thorn hedges around prehistoric settlements to the hordes of us who descend on public gardens every weekend (with this book even including a handy guide to some of them). Whether you're happiest with a pair of pruning shears or prefer to sit back and admire it all with a glass of something cold in your hands, this book is perfect for spring.

 

Wild Kingdom

Stephen Moss

Open a newspaper and you're likely to be assaulted by any number of headlines about our wild animals suffering as a result of pollution, climate change and the human population. Is Britain's wildlife in an irreversible decline? Stephen Moss has travelled the length and breadth of the country and his exhaustive approach has unearthed good news to go along with the cautionary tales. The return of native species to areas where they once thrived as wellas their introduction to new areas of 'rewilding' show that there's room for us all to live together if we make the effort.

 

H is for Hawk

Helen Macdonald

The accolades keep coming for this multi-award winning book which manages to be both memoir, biography and nature writing all at the same time. Macdonald's response to her father's death is beautifully observed, her relationship to a goshawk she is training is thrilling and heartbreaking, and her slow unearthing of the life of T. H. White, author of The Goshawk and finely handled. This is the kind of book that makes you look at the world with different eyes, the kind of book that readers have been passing from hand to hand.

 

The Man Who Planted Trees

Jean Giono

Giono's classic allegory was originally written in response to a commission from Reader's Digest called 'The Most Extraordinary Character I Ever Met'. When the fact-checkers discovered that the titular planter was an invention of the author rather than someone he had really met, the piece was rejected. But it endures as a tale of a man who alters a landscape and a reminder to us all that the power remains in our hands to alter our environment for good or ill.

 

Spring

David Szalay

We couldn't resist this too-perfectly titled novel from the author shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize last year with All That Man Is. James and Katherine meet at a wedding in 2006. They exchange phone numbers. What follows is a wonderfully detailed account of a fledgling relationship and an incredibly funny novel about attraction, London, and deviating from the script.

 

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