Of course I am attracted to any book about the mysterious thylacine and any book set in the equally mysterious wilderness of Tasmania.
I first read th...moreOf course I am attracted to any book about the mysterious thylacine and any book set in the equally mysterious wilderness of Tasmania.
I first read this book when I was in high school and have just reread it now that it's be made into a movie, which I will be interested to see.
This book is probably not for everyone. I wouldn't have thought it was for me, given the title. I can't explain exactly why I like this book. I don't find the main character, M, at all appealing. His mission appalls me and the ending is not the one I would have hoped for. I guess there's something alluring about the lonesome wandering the unseen wilds of Tasmania, which is rendered besutifully by Leigh's writing, and curious in the strange family M stays with and the relationship he develops with them despite himself.(less)
Although I've been brought up to appreciated Australian's native flora and fauna I've always been curious about the seemingly story-book animals of Eu...moreAlthough I've been brought up to appreciated Australian's native flora and fauna I've always been curious about the seemingly story-book animals of Europe and their Disney-like forest homes and so A Year in the Woods was an obvious choice.
I was obviously first attracted to this book because of its gorgeous cover: perfectly balanced with cute woodland animals, acorns and leaves and charming text. The book itself is beautifully designed, each chapter, or mont, marked with a simple illustration and the thoughts, experiences and stories in each punctuated with a small leaf motif.
Oragnised as such A Year in the Woods doesn't have any really narrative but is rather a collection of observations throughout the year as the forest changes with the season. And the ranger, Colin Elford, conveys these experiences wonderfully through detailed descriptions of all the events of the forest, both big and small.
I was rather suprised however as to how much of the book focused on the hunting and killing of deer. I wasn't aware culling deer would be such a huge part of a rangers job given they are native animals in England. I'm pretty sure no rangers in Australia carry out culling of our native wildlife. I was even more suprised that at times recreational hunters accompany Elford on his patrols of the forest to try to shot a trophy deer. Elford of course explains and follows all the guidelines on when it is premitted and necessary to shoot certain typd of deer and shows how it is necessary to maintain the balance in the forest. At times however I was reading the book thinking that it may appeal more to hunters rather than those interested in nature.
Despite this one complaint I did really enjoy A Year in the Woods a nicely presented, well-written account of a year in the English woods.(less)
I really liked this book. It’s a rather quick read; a brief, short story. The start too wasn’t particularly special and, as I’ve later found out, rath...moreI really liked this book. It’s a rather quick read; a brief, short story. The start too wasn’t particularly special and, as I’ve later found out, rather self-indulgent and autobiographical. The large excerpts of other pieces of literature in the first half too made me wonder just who the author of this story was. But I quickly became intrigued and in the end, just reading the book, I really loved the oddness of it, depsite its darkness. I also loved the use of animals as characters as I did in The Life of Pi. Some of the descriptions too, especially in the taxidermist’s play, are beautifully crafted. I’ve always disliked pears but after reading the initial pages of the play sent to Henry I was instantly convinced of their virtues and wanted one.(less)
This is a short, sparse, lonely novel. It seems empty yet full. Emptiness in the insolated, snow-covered landscape of a Maine winter, in it’s minimal...moreThis is a short, sparse, lonely novel. It seems empty yet full. Emptiness in the insolated, snow-covered landscape of a Maine winter, in it’s minimal cast of characters and the emptiness of a life lived alone in a cabin when Hobbes, a beloved companion is cruelly shot. Julius Winsome wastes no time in methodically, calmly and expertly seeking revenge, but perhaps not solely for the loss of his dog.
The story however is full of perfect language and beautiful descriptions. One of the things I love about reading is stumbling upon a phrase where the tools of language have been used so perfectly you enjoy just reading the words over and over to digest the meaning again in such a delicious way. Despite the story’s bleakness it often rewarded me with these kinds of moments, for example a description of Julius Winsome's late father who "was so sparing in his words you had to add water to them before they swelled into a sentence you could understand.” (p137) (less)
This book was a unique read for me; told by a dog and the other main character a semi-professional race car driver, not your average 9 to 5 job.
I love...moreThis book was a unique read for me; told by a dog and the other main character a semi-professional race car driver, not your average 9 to 5 job.
I loved The Art of Racing in the Rain immediately, and I couldn’t stop reading, even though from the outset it’s clear it’s going to be a rather sad story.
But then at about the Chapter 30 mark I feared it took a wrong turn, to me, it seemed to be heading towards the realm of Jodi Picoult (although to be fair I have only read one of her books), and suddenly I didn’t like it so much.
The metaphor of car racing as life’s journey also seemed to start getting a little too overused. But then, I am not really a car racing fan or know anything much about it.
I think the story got back on track though, and while the ending was sad, and then perhaps the epilogue a little too conveniently happy, it did nicely round out the story and I think I loved it again. (less)