Nocturne: A Journey in...
James Attlee
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Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  51 ratings  ·  21 reviews

“Nobody who has not taken one can imagine the beauty of a walk through Rome by full moon,” wrote Goethe in 1787. Sadly, the imagination is all we have today: in Rome, as in every other modern city, moonlight has been banished, replaced by the twenty-four-hour glow of streetlights in a world that never sleeps. Moonlight, for most of us, is no more.

So James Attlee set out to

Unknown Binding, 320 pages
Published May 14th 2014 by Not Avail (first published 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 246)
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In Nocturne, James Attlee really pleasingly tells the stories of his various moon-focused journeys. He's interested in exploring the role of moonlight in art/culture/life, both historically and now, in a time when light pollution means people in general see less of the moon and are probably less aware of the moon than in the past. He goes to Japan for the autumn moon-viewing festival of Tsukimi; he goes to Italy and writes about Vesuvius and painters of the volcano and the moonlit Bay of Naples;...more
2.5 stars: I found this book tough to get through, which was unfortunate. It was beautifully written and lyrical, but I was often jarred by interjections of the author's personal observations that (I think) were failed attempts at being humorous.

I think first I'll start with the positives. I really loved what I *did* learn from the author here. He tended to focus on the moon's presence in art and literature, with an emphasis on the visual arts. I can't say that I particularly remember each of t...more
Night RPM
A book that is literally obsessed with the moon and the night. Attlee is incredibly erudite and writes with fluid but modest elegance. The best parts of the book are when Attlee shares esoteric events/facts about something - the moment of discovery, for the reader, I feel, is as pleasant & genuine as it must have been for the writer. One jumps from Li Po to Mussolini to Basho to Rudolph Hess, and I really loved taking this detour through Attlee's book. This is very much a book for the promen...more

His ideas and writing are very unique and I learned things, many esoteric facts I never would have stumbled over independently. His obvious art interest encouraged certain inclusions, but given my ignorance of many cited paintings, I would have loved small reproductions, even black and white. No doubt that would have required a different level of funding and permissions. Unfortunately I have little interest to explore those my own and I suppose that sums of the book: interesting for the time of...more
I looked forward to reading this book: I adore the moon. The very first and last chapter is about the author's moon watching in his home area; this was gorgeous reading, and really mirrored my own feeling of wellbeing about stepping outside into moonlight. I don't know what it is about moonlight, but things always seem brighter with a white, full moon in the sky.

The book in split into several chapters of moonwatching in selected countries: the first is London, and provides us with some backgrou...more
Chock-full of all sorts of anecdotes about the moon.
There's everything from the author's moonlit walks in his own town, to Japanese moon festivals, to kooky New Age contraptions, to the Apollo program, to stories about artists who used the moon as a major motif in their work.

I was hooked from the start when he wrote about having an "assignation" with the moon - as if the moon were his mistress. There's some interesting thoughts about how differences in how the moon is viewed might lead to other...more
I couldn't make it past page 100 of this book. In the opening chapters, James Attlee says he disagrees that urban lighting reduces crime. He even manages to accuse the old people of an estate who complained and were insecure when street lighting was turned off from midnight to 5am of being somehow out of touch with reality. He suggests (without proof) that in their "very middle-class residential area of the suburbs" crime rates would be low and they are being somehow foolish. I would suggest he...more
«Attlee escribe de manera maravillosa y emocionante sobre la luna». John Banville
«Apasionante. Te apetece sacar una silla al jardín y leer a la luz de la luna.» The New York Times
«Nocturno es una buena guía que recupera los paseos nocturnos, el placer de la contemplación y la emoción de la naturaleza. Nos insta a recuperar la capacidad de disfrutar del aquí y del ahora.» The Telegraph
«Un libro erudito, sencillo, ligeramente chiflado y totalmente cautivador.» The Sunday Times
«Attlee siempre es am...more
A non-fiction work that reads like fiction. It is an ode to the moon that travels through culture and time to illustrate its significance. The author also mourns the coming of technology such as street lights, our predilection for locking ourselves up at night in our bulb-drenched homes, etc. -- all things that have robbed us of the night sky.

The author knows how to use imagery and establishes some really beautiful scenes, but there's a point where it starts to seem like to much...almost like a...more
Alexandra Zk
Very powerful book, read this on the plane, it's the prettiest book I've ever read <3
Jenn Larsen
I started out really enjoying this strange book and Attlee's gorgeous way with metaphor. Until halfway through I began to feel overstuffed by metaphors, as if I'd had too much foie gras. There's a lovely meandering quality to his writing, and a gentle touch with an ethereal subject, but I have a feeling the overall memory won't last long. Side note that may have affected my judgement: By the time I was finished, I was feeling a little cranky about how nice it would be if someone paid me to trave...more
Ken Mannion
May 09, 2013 Ken Mannion marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
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Some nice insights into the culture that has sprung up around moon study. Some myths, stories and interesting tidbits about artists and people who love the moon.
I found the first third to half of this book to be very eye opening...then it digressed, but I was still able to slowly make my way through it.
Sep 06, 2012 Tracey marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended-tcpl
GB recco: eleanorigby "It's about finding moonlight and the treatment of the moon and moonlight throughout history and in culture. "
Liked it, but didn't love it. Didn't feel any guilt about returning it to the library before finishing it. Worth a quick read.
Putting this down for a while, but will return. Fun, eclectic mix of the personal, natural, and art historical.
The prose sometimes can't get out of its own way. The travelogue portions of the book, though, are quite moving.
Paul Cheney
An interesting meander around the planet looking at different cultures and ways of looking at the moon
A wide variety of topics around the Moon, moonlight and history
Eilidh marked it as to-read
Sep 11, 2014
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Shannon Rose
Shannon Rose marked it as to-read
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Stacey McClurg
Stacey McClurg marked it as to-read
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Jul 17, 2014
Jessica Spiegel
Jessica Spiegel marked it as to-read
Jul 12, 2014
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