Robert Macfarlane

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Born
in Halam, Nottinghamshire, The United Kingdom
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Influences

Member Since
June 2020


Robert Macfarlane is a British nature writer and literary critic.

Educated at Nottingham High School, Pembroke College, Cambridge and Magdalen College, Oxford, he is currently a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and teaches in the Faculty of English at Cambridge.

Robert Macfarlane is the author of prize-winning and bestselling books about landscape, nature, people and place, including Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination (2003), The Wild Places (2007), The Old Ways (2012), Holloway (2013, with Stanley Donwood and Dan Richards), Landmarks (2015), The Lost Words: A Spell Book (with the artist Jackie Morris, 2017) and Underland: A Deep Time Journey (2019). His work has been translated into many languages, won prizes around the
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Average rating: 4.19 · 35,216 ratings · 5,352 reviews · 72 distinct worksSimilar authors
Underland: A Deep Time Journey

4.23 avg rating — 7,115 ratings — published 2019 — 32 editions
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The Old Ways: A Journey on ...

4.16 avg rating — 6,220 ratings — published 2012 — 26 editions
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The Lost Words

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4.56 avg rating — 2,971 ratings — published 2017 — 8 editions
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The Wild Places

4.27 avg rating — 3,256 ratings — published 2007 — 26 editions
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Landmarks

4.25 avg rating — 2,484 ratings — published 2015 — 10 editions
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Mountains of the Mind: A Hi...

4.10 avg rating — 2,596 ratings — published 2003 — 26 editions
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The Gifts of Reading

4.10 avg rating — 1,401 ratings — published 2016 — 9 editions
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Holloway

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4.02 avg rating — 737 ratings — published 2012 — 4 editions
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Ness

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 436 ratings4 editions
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The Lost Spells

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4.72 avg rating — 388 ratings3 editions
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More books by Robert Macfarlane…

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Starting Point by Hayao Miyazaki
Personally, I was never more passionate about manga than when preparing for my college entrance exams. It's a period of life when young people appear to have a great deal of freedom, but are in many ways actually opressed. Just when they find themselves powerfully attracted to members of opposite sex, they have to really crack the books. To escape from this depressing situation, they often find themselves wishing they could live in a world of their own - a world they can say is truly theirs, a world unknown even to their parents. To young people, anime is something they incorporate into this private world.
I often refer to this feeling as one yearning for a lost world. It's a sense that although you may currently be living in a world of constraints, if you were free from those constraints, you would be able to do all sorts of things. And it's that feeling, I believe, that makes mid-teens so passionate about anime.
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Hayao Miyazaki
Make Your Creative Dreams Real by S.A.R.K.
Why Dream?

Life is a difficult assignment. We are fragile creatures, expected to function at high rates of speed, and asked to accomplish great and small things each day. These daily activities take enormous amounts of energy. Most things are out of our control. We are surrounded by danger, frustration, grief, and insanity as well as love, hope, ecstasy, and wonder. Being fully human is an exercise in humility, suffering, grace, and great humor. Things and people all around us die, get broken, or are lost. There is no safety or guarantees.

The way to accomplish the assignment of truly living is to engage fully, richly, and deeply in the living of your dreams. We are made to dream and to live those dreams.
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S.A.R.K.
The Gamble by Kristen Ashley
Not one fuckin thing gentlemanly about protecting whats yours. Looks like youre gonna lose it, you do everything you can to stop that from happening. Max looked back to Niles. And you didnt do that. She was a week away from me, she walked into a room I was in holdin another mans hand, Id lose my fuckin mind. Not at her. Wonderin where I lost my way and Id talk to her about how to find my way back.
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Kristen Ashley
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The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
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Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
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Bossypants by Tina Fey
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The Room Where It Happened by John R. Bolton
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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
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Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Into the Wild
by Jon Krakauer (Goodreads Author)
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Einstein by Walter Isaacson
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More of Robert's books…
“Those who travel to mountain-tops are half in love with themselves, and half in love with oblivion.”
Robert Macfarlane, Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination

“Mountains seem to answer an increasing imaginative need in the West. More and more people are discovering a desire for them, and a powerful solace in them. At bottom, mountains, like all wildernesses, challenge our complacent conviction - so easy to lapse into - that the world has been made for humans by humans. Most of us exist for most of the time in worlds which are humanly arranged, themed and controlled. One forgets that there are environments which do not respond to the flick of a switch or the twist of a dial, and which have their own rhythms and orders of existence. Mountains correct this amnesia. By speaking of greater forces than we can possibly invoke, and by confronting us with greater spans of time than we can possibly envisage, mountains refute our excessive trust in the man-made. They pose profound questions about our durability and the importance of our schemes. They induce, I suppose, a modesty in us.”
Robert MacFarlane, Mountains of the Mind: Adventures in Reaching the Summit

“There is no mystery in this association of woods and otherworlds, for as anyone who has walked the woods knows, they are places of correspondence, of call and answer. Visual affinities of color, relief and texture abound. A fallen branch echoes the deltoid form of a streambed into which it has come to rest. Chrome yellow autumn elm leaves find their color rhyme in the eye-ring of the blackbird. Different aspects of the forest link unexpectedly with each other, and so it is that within the stories, different times and worlds can be joined.”
Robert Macfarlane, The Wild Places

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Topics Mentioning This Author

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UK Book Club: Kindle 99p daily deal 271 453 Feb 28, 2013 07:47AM  
75 Books...More o...: Mollie T's 2013 Books 11 13 Dec 30, 2013 11:43AM  
Nature Literature: August suggestions - 2014 5 37 Jul 21, 2014 12:07PM  
21st Century Lite...: Guardian's Top 10 in Books 1 39 Oct 06, 2014 08:01AM  
Around the World ...: Guardian's Top 10 in Books 1 34 Oct 06, 2014 08:04AM  
Catching up on Cl...: Guardian's Top 10 in Books 2 47 Oct 07, 2014 01:51PM  
The Book Vipers: This topic has been closed to new comments. Group Read Non-Fiction Nominations - December 2014 11 30 Nov 03, 2014 11:47PM  
Goodreads Choice ...: Guardian's Top 10 in Books 5 89 Dec 22, 2014 09:22AM  
The Book Vipers: Book Vipers Magic Square Book Lists 250 256 Jan 06, 2015 01:39AM  
“The first language humans had was gestures. There was nothing primitive about this language that flowed from people’s hands, nothing we say now that could not be said in the endless array of movements possible with the fine bones of the fingers and wrists. The gestures were complex and subtle, involving a delicacy of motion that has since been lost completely.

During the Age of Silence, people communicated more, not less. Basic survival demanded that the hands were almost never still, and so it was only during sleep (and sometimes not even then) that people were not saying something or other. No distinction was made between the gestures of language and the gestures of life. The labor of building a house, say, or preparing a meal was no less an expression than making the sign for I love you or I feel serious. When a hand was used to shield one’s face when frightened by a loud noise something was being said, and when fingers were used to pick up what someone else had dropped something was being said; and even when the hands were at rest, that, too, was saying something. Naturally, there were misunderstandings. There were times when a finger might have been lifted to scratch a nose, and if casual eye contact was made with one’s lover just then, the lover might accidentally take it to be the gesture, not at all dissimilar, for Now I realize I was wrong to love you. These mistakes were heartbreaking. And yet, because people knew how easily they could happen, because they didn’t go round with the illusion that they understood perfectly the things other people said, they were used to interrupting each other to ask if they’d understood correctly. Sometimes these misunderstandings were even desirable, since they gave people a reason to say, Forgive me, I was only scratching my nose. Of course I know I’ve always been right to love you. Because of the frequency of these mistakes, over time the gesture for asking forgiveness evolved into the simplest form. Just to open your palm was to say: Forgive me."

"If at large gatherings or parties, or around people with whom you feel distant, your hands sometimes hang awkwardly at the ends of your arms – if you find yourself at a loss for what to do with them, overcome with sadness that comes when you recognize the foreignness of your own body – it’s because your hands remember a time when the division between mind and body, brain and heart, what’s inside and what’s outside, was so much less. It’s not that we’ve forgotten the language of gestures entirely. The habit of moving our hands while we speak is left over from it. Clapping, pointing, giving the thumbs-up, for example, is a way to remember how it feels to say nothing together. And at night, when it’s too dark to see, we find it necessary to gesture on each other’s bodies to make ourselves understood.”
Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

“Here's a secret: Everyone, if they live long enough, will lose their way at some point. You will lose your way, you will wake up one morning and find yourself lost. This is a hard, simple truth. If it hasn't happened to you yet, consider yourself lucky. When it does, when one day you look around and nothing is recognizable, when you find yourself alone in a dark wood having lost the way, you may find it easier to blame it on someone else -- an errant lover, a missing father, a bad childhood -- or it may be easier to blame the map you were given -- folded too many times, out-of-date, tiny print -- but mostly, if you are honest, you will only be able to blame yourself.

One day I'll tell my daughter a story about a dark time, the dark days before she was born, and how her coming was a ray of light. We got lost for a while, the story will begin, but then we found our way.”
Nick Flynn, The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009

“Over the years I'd lodged him in the permanent past, my pluperfect lover, put him on ice, stuffed him with memories and mothballs like a hunted ornament confabulating with the ghost of all my evenings. I'd dust him off from time to time and then put him back on the mantelpiece. He no longer belonged to earth or to life. All I was likely to discover at this point wasn't just how distant were the paths we'd taken, it was the measure of loss that was going to strike me--a loss I didn't mind thinking about in abstract terms but which would hurt when stared at in the face, the way nostalgia hurts long after we've stopped thinking of things we lost and may never have cared for.”
André Aciman, Call Me by Your Name

“There is a lot of folklore about equestrian statues, especially the ones with riders on them. There is said to be a code in the number and placement of the horse's hooves: If one of the horse's hooves is in the air, the rider was wounded in battle; two legs in the air means that the rider was killed in battle; three legs in the air indicates that the rider got lost on the way to the battle; and four legs in the air means that the sculptor was very, very clever. Five legs in the air means that there's probably at least one other horse standing behind the horse you're looking at; and the rider lying on the ground with his horse lying on top of him with all four legs in the air means that the rider was either a very incompetent horseman or owned a very bad-tempered horse.”
Terry Pratchett, I Shall Wear Midnight

“The truth of life is that every year we get farther away from the essence that is born within us. We get shouldered with burdens, some of them good, some of them not so good. Things happen to us. Loved ones die. People get in wrecks and get crippled. People lose their way, for one reason or another. It's not hard to do, in this world of crazy mazes. Life itself does its best to take that memory of magic away from us. You don't know its happening until one day you feel you've lost something but you're not sure what it is. It's like smiling at a pretty girl and she calls you 'sir'. It just happens.”
Robert R. McCammon, Boy's Life




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