11 October 2014

Books of Nature and Beyond #BookADayUK

Today is Event Day for Books Are My Bag, where bookshops up and down the country are festooned in orange and authors are meeting readers and... you know how it goes. The #BookADayUK Twitter stream will be full of intriguing titles found and purchased. 

I thought I’d concentrate on books already in my care, two in fact, brought to mind because the clear blue sky seen from my desk is full of skeins of geese – pink-footed, greylag, Canada – all heading south for the winter. They are flying low over the roofs intent on stopping at the mere at the edge of town to rest and feed on what’s left in the cereal fields. 

First title up has, of course, to be The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico written during World War 2. Condemned as a sentimental tear-jerker by some critics (who listens to them?) it was the first book I read where I was aware of – and took on – the use of metaphor and symbolism.

Years later I attended a litfest to hear the fascinating story of William Fiennes. Recuperating from a debilitating illness in his teens, the birds beyond his window became his mental lifeline to the world, and Paul Gallico’s book an inspiration and a goal for health: he would follow the snow geese on their annual American migration. The Snow Geese is the result – a fascinating travel book of both man and bird that I can heartily recommend.

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