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At the Water's Edge: A Personal Quest for Wildness
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At the Water's Edge: A Personal Quest for Wildness

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  59 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
For the last 30 years nature writer John Lister-Kaye has taken the same circular walk from his home deep in a Scottish glen up to a small lake. Each day brings a new observation or an unexpected encounter—a fragile spider’s web, an osprey struggling to lift a trout from the water, or a woodcock exquisitely camouflaged on her nest—and every day, on his return home, he ...more
Hardcover, 314 pages
Published March 3rd 2010 by Canongate UK (first published 2010)
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Brian Robbins
This was given to me as a Christmas present, and sadly proved a great disappointment. Looking at the cover when I unwrapped it, I should have been sufficiently warned - on the jacket was written "Wonderful" a quote from none other than that Barbie doll of natural history TV, Kate Humble.

The 2 stars was based entirely on the personal observations of scenery & animals that were sadly too few in number. Had it not been for these, the book would have been given a resounding 1 star.

Lister-Kaye s
For the past three decades Lister Kaye has followed the same route from his home to a small loch and observer the things that he sees, from the constant turn of the seasons, to the drama of the lives of the wildlife that is played out every day.

This repetition means that his observations of the things he sees around him are sharp, and he picks up on subtle changes and other things that would be missed on irregular trips. When possible the walks are undertaken at dawn, which in this part of Scotl
Sep 12, 2014 Craig rated it really liked it
I fell in love with this book. It won me over by degrees. At first I thought it a quaint but inconsequential journal of a writer's observations of wildlife near his home - okay okay, that's exactly what it is - but the more I read, the more I grew to realise it is also something very special.

Each chapter follows a similar structure - generally an insight into a wildlife encounter from Lister-Kaye's journal, a wider-ranging account of other sightings of the same or related animals or the season,
Andrew Fish
Jun 09, 2013 Andrew Fish rated it it was ok
It's an odd coincidence that I received both this and The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris as presents for the same Christmas. Because, whilst superficially these may appear to be entirely different animals, closer examination reveals them to be not entirely dissimilar. They are, rather, the town mouse and the country mouse of self-indulgent faux intellectualism.

In its favour, this volume isn't as badly written as the Paris tome: it is at least broadly consistent with its
Sep 13, 2015 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book for the humble and curious—if you can still view nature and your place in the world that way. Lister-Kaye's aim is to inspire or provoke readers to a greater awareness and awe of the natural world and, along with those feelings, a sense of guilt and concern for our accelerating destruction of it. I picked this up because of its Scottish Highlands setting and the impression the cover copy gave that Lister-Kaye has written a sort of walker's journal, describing the same morning walk ...more
Andree Sanborn
NOTE: This edition of the book is for the Kindle edition. The edition is not correctly edited. It should say Kindle Edition and not Paperback.)

I did not like the first two chapters of the book but chapter three changed my mind. A constant theme of the energy of the sun and the origin of life is skillfully presented in the third chapter and Lister-Kaye returns to it constantly in the book. The chapter is done so well that I may use it in school for my classes one day. The author's stated theme is
Eric W.
Sep 12, 2011 Eric W. rated it really liked it
In the tradition of many nature writers, this book is more a collection of essays than one work organized around a central theme. Well, maybe the theme was how the change in the environment is affecting one naturalist's corner of the world. Either way, I found it thought-provoking for its journey for me mentally to a part of the world I've never seen and yet was filled with things I found familiar. I also enjoyed his clear-eyed perspective on nature's terrible beauty. While Lister-Kaye finds ...more
Oct 28, 2015 Lauri rated it it was amazing
This book had a very special appeal to me, having just been at the Aigas Nature Center in the Scottish Highlands, which is the home of the author. I am glad I waited until after my visit to read this. I could just picture Sir John walking around the loch, with his walking stick and one of two favorite dogs. Sir John is a world-renowned naturalist. He's written many books on nature and the environment. I am looking forward to reading more.
Maureen Berry
Aug 10, 2014 Maureen Berry rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Stopped reading this at page 74 - the story was spoiled by a lot of words that I had to look up I think he swallowed a dictionary to the determent of the story
Jul 31, 2012 Charlotte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
A fantastic book, which opens your eyes to the nature around you and makes you want to explore just to try and get the feeling of being emensed in the 'wilderness'
Jun 26, 2014 Gill rated it really liked it
loved the observations of wildlife. would have preferred fewer diversions into his personal philosophies
Jun 05, 2016 Johnpingham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Some wonderfully lyrical observations and encounters backed up with some interesting ecological explanations and reflections on the natural world as a whole and humans' place within it.
Susan Schmidt
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Mar 16, 2015
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