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A Writer's House in Wales

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  136 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Through an exploration of her country home in Wales, acclaimed travel writer Jan Morris discovers the heart of her fascinating country and what it means to be Welsh. Trefan Morys, Morris's home between the sea and mountains of the remote northwest corner of Wales, is the 18th-century stable block of her former family house nearby. Surrounding it are the fields and outbuild ...more
ebook, 192 pages
Published June 15th 2011 by National Geographic (first published 2002)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Sep 18, 2013 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
”At first sight, I’m sure you will agree, it is nothing much to look at. There are lots of such buildings in our part of Wales--solid old stone-built farm buildings, apparently timeless, built of big rough boulders and roofed with slate from the mountain quarries. Many of them are crumbled now, but many more will shelter cattle, and some have been converted like mine into dwelling places. Whatever their condition, they are impregnated with Welshness. Their very stoniness, their modest strength, ...more
Amanda
Jul 31, 2011 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
Loved this book. I was completely charmed by the author - her voice, her lifestyle, her adventures. She just has this mesmerizing yet cozy attitude that convinced me that I'd love to be invited to her cottage in Wales for some tea and to hear her stories. She has lived quite a lot, and it shows in both the adventures she relates and her abiding contentedness in returning again and again to Wales, her true love.

Morris incorporates an interesting strategy by dividing the book into four parts, fir
...more
John
Feb 09, 2012 John rated it really liked it
I've admired Morris as a travel writer for a long time, so downloaded this short series of essays on the place her house in Wales has in her life when I noticed it among my library's holdings. I have very little interest in Wales, and things Welsh, yet had a hard time putting down the book - highly recommended!
Andrew
Mar 04, 2009 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this series from National Geographic. And I love that I only paid $1 for this book!

Each book in the series is a whole world - or rather, it is seeing the entire world from one locale. For each volume the National Geographic editors enlisted a well-accomplished author to observe and celebrate the birds, trees, language, habits, customs, weather of their native region. This volume allows you to settle into the rural hills of Wales.

Though very different from the volume by David Mamet on Verm
...more
Laura
Loved this book. I picked it up because it was in the 942 section, and I was looking to read a book from that section for my Dewey Decimal Challenge. Seemed pretty interesting, fulfilled my 942 need, so I went with it.

Reading this while actually in Wales made the whole experience - both reading and traveling - much more vibrant than would have otherwise been the case. When the author talked about the Welshness of slate floors, my feet were on slate floors. When I saw signs around town in Welsh,
...more
Ginger Williams
Jun 02, 2012 Ginger Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A short lovely paean to Wales, a house and to books. In a few pages, Morris conjures up a unique magical country (which I now must visit!) . Who knew that there are still a lot of people whose mother tongue is Welsh? And who knew that a house can be just as real a character as the author herself?
There are the usual eccentric but lovable neighbors prevalent in a book of this sort but they are a nice change of pace from the usual Tuscans or neighbors in Provence. This book makes one feel like a
...more
Deborah
Nov 30, 2011 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was enchanted by Jan Morris voice in this book. I felt like a welcome guest in her home and country, which was deeply meaningful to me as my family has roots in Wales many generations ago. If you're interested in Wales, read this book. If you're not (or don't know yet that you are) this book still has much to offer. Here you will be led to think on the character of your own home, what you attribute it to and that ways that it has shaped you.

I absolutely will read more works by this talented,
...more
Ci
Apr 23, 2014 Ci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a semi-memoire, semi-history of the Wales and the author's house. With her characteristic style blending the lyrical and factual, this book offers a rumination of one's place in the world. it is a light fare, not much to impart other than the natural beauty and ragged history of Wales. The description of the house itself is balanced between the author's well-deserved love and pride and the history of the land and people round it.
Becky
May 19, 2011 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful, vivid, cozy, melancholy little book about Wales. It has made me sort of despair of writing any more about Welsh history and mythology without visiting North Wales, but these things happen. I am going to have to seek out more Jan Morris.

I would recommend that readers start with the afterword about the Welsh language, in order to avoid mentally butchering the pronunciation of the Welsh names.
Michelle Gartner
May 25, 2014 Michelle Gartner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, but I doubt I would recommend it to my friends. It really is about a house in Wales, and this book would not suit everyone's tastes, to put it gently... it might in fact bore most people to tears.
John Blevins
Sep 19, 2016 John Blevins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely little tome, which I read as I prepare to explore a bit in Wales, a place of my long ago ancestors.
Easy to read (though I did use the dictionary several times), and it made me wish to see her home in person.
Donna
Mar 03, 2010 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I've read by Jan Morris, and it's quite a gem. She uses her house as the means for providing a brief history of Wales and Welsh culture. Her writing reminds me of John McPhee's, with a little wit thrown in.
Sally
Feb 06, 2008 Sally rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read much of Jan Morris's travel writing, but I read this one because I was heading to Wales. She has a great voice, but, at times, her syntax is a bit odd. Nevertheless, it was a great primer for the mood, attitude, and even the politics of Wales.
Helen
Jul 07, 2012 Helen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned, 2012
A beautifully written description of this Welsh writer's home in Wales. Shame I don't care about the house at all, or Welsh history for that matter either. Otherwise I'm sure I would have loved this book. I don't, so I'm not going to read any more of it. Thank you and good night.
Dotty
This is part of a National Geographic series in which literary authors tell a personal story about a particular place. Jan Morris writes about her house in Wales, about the Welsh and about writing in that house. I've read four in the series now, and have enjoyed all of them.
Carla
Mar 10, 2010 Carla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Delightful. Thanks DH for re-introducing me to Morris.
Amanda
Dec 11, 2015 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk
More interesting than I expected.
Jill Bowman
Dec 15, 2013 Jill Bowman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Wales and I love Jan Morris. The combination is poetry. How I would love to live there!
Megan
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Aug 06, 2012
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Christopher Roden
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Jan Morris previously wrote under the name "James Morris".

Jan Morris is a British historian, author and travel writer. Morris was educated at Lancing College, West Sussex, and Christ Church, Oxford, but is Welsh by heritage and adoption. Before 1970 Morris published under her former name, "James Morris", and is known particularly for the Pax Britannica trilogy, a history of the British Empire, and
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