The Hidden World of the Fox by Adele Brand – Book Review

I’ve been intrigued by foxes for many years, my interest and imagination kindled by the mysterious and often mystical representation of foxes in literature. But I wanted to become better acquainted with the animals themselves and Brand’s book, packed with her knowledge and research, was an accessible read. The Hidden World of the Fox briefly … Continue reading The Hidden World of the Fox by Adele Brand – Book Review

The Familiars by Stacey Halls – Book Review

A witch-hunt in Northern England in 1612 led to the accusation and imprisonment of twelve women. One of the women died in custody, ten were found guilty of witchcraft and hanged. Only one was acquitted. The Familiars explores some of the burning questions around this notorious piece of history: why would women willingly admit to witchcraft if the penalty was death? Considering the lack of evidence, and that the main informant was a child, why was only one woman, Alice Gray, found not guilty? The book is a well-researched work of fiction based on these historic events.

The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane – Book Review

Are there any wild places left in Ireland and Britain? In his book, The Wild Places, Robert Macfarlane embarks on a journey through mountains, islands, moors, forests, salt marshes, and more, searching for ‘wildness’.  But Macfarlane must revaluate his own ideas and preconceptions about ‘wildness’ as he discovers and maps the so called ‘wild places’ on these islands in this well-researched book. His search takes him to a variety of landscapes, from the hostile pinnacle of Ben Hope to the fascinating Burren in Ireland. Each landscape is unique and layered as natural and human history entwine.

The Sea by John Banville – Book Recommendation

As a child, did you imagine you would be the person you have become? Do you believe memories, especially childhood memories, are like a collection of “polished tiles” that would “someday be the marvellously finished pavilion of the self?” How much of what we remember is true and when does memory give way to fantasy? John Banville explores the unstable qualities of memory and grief in The Sea [2005], a novel awarded the Man Booker Prize in 2005. When we look back at our memories we are confronted with uncertainty, blurred details, figments of imagination, unreliable emotions and doubtful truths about the very events that shape us as adults.