It’s some time since I wrote about the reading matter on my bookshelf. This time I have chosen a novel, a guide, a How to… book and a personal account of a journey. First though guest reviewer Lizelle looks at a Shaun Ellis’ book about Wolves.
Animals and the hierarchy of the pack have always interested me so when I saw Wolf Within: How I learnt to talk dog I had to have it and have thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Through his “living with Wolves”, many of my own nascent thoughts on their behaviour were verified. The hierarchical system he observes within the wolf pack could well be used by us humans in our living together in a more harmonious way.
The story of his living with and as a wolf reads much more like a novel, not a thesis on wolf behaviour; it is both educational and enjoyable at the same time. Some purist may quibble over some of his theories but he did actually live with the wolves so much of what he writes is from inside knowledge.
Wolf Within: How I learnt to talk dog is readable at many levels and at the end I found that I had both learnt a lot and wanted to continue to learn more about this much maligned creature. At the end of any book which I read I want to put it down thinking “This has this widened my knowledge.” Shaun Ellis’ book did just that. It led me to fulfil a longing I have always had, to walk with wolves myself.
So, from Jack London to Shaun Ellis I move on to Feral by George Monbiot
This is a novel that reads like a biography charting the journey of the young Indian boy, Hassan as he follows his passion and seeks his destiny. It is a story that spans two continents and two of the world’s great cuisines. Gastronomic war breaks out when Indian cuisine meets French cuisine with only the hundred feet of the title separating the protagonists in the village of Lumiere.
I will not spoil the ending for you – you will have to read it yourself
The novel is, in equal measure, humourous, charming and moving. The characters are both eccentric and real highlighting the cultural gulf separating them. Throughout the book the author has captured both the smells and tastes of the food so well that you could be right there in the kitchens. It is not a book you should read when hungry.
Being a travel photographer myself I was surprised at how many tips I was able to pick up from this guide. In the book the author sets out to make the taking of photographs with a digital camera both fun and creative. He assumes nothing so the book is as applicable to the total beginner as it is to those with some experience in the field of travel photography. It is very readable and explanations are easy to understand
The book covers the essentials of choosing the right gear and the basics of camera control. It then moves on to cover the art of travel photography, covering such subjects as light, exposure and composition. There is a section on different subjects such as landscapes, people, wildlife and food, and how to shoot them. Finally there is a section on post-capture adjustments, selling or showing your images and captioning.
This one book on travel photography that will remain on my reference shelf for some considerable time.
I live on the edge of the New Forest and when I came across this book I wondered whether I would discover anything new about the National Park on my doorstep. I soon discovered that my exploration of the New Forest was way too fast.
Emily Laurence Baker takes the reader through the New Forest stopping to explain the way people live, how the commoning system works, land management and of course the ponies that constantly stop the traffic. The book is full of delightful and often hidden places to see that are missed by those hurrying through. She interviews those who live and work in the forest opening up insights that are both interesting and intriguing.
With this book in your hand you will discover the different characters of the villages and hamlets that dot the New Forest and find delightful places to stay from camping to luxury country hotels. One need never go hungry as there are recommendations on where to eat from the simple to the gastronomic.
You really cannot go slow in the New Forest in a car so there are numerous routes for hiking, cycling and horseback riding. This is a book that will not remain on the bookshelf but will migrate to the glove compartment of my car ready for use at a moments notice.
Self confessed slouch Tim Moore sets out, before it is too late in life, to cycle the Tour de France. Not to cycle in Le Tour but to cycle the route followed by the Tour de France, including all the monstrous mountain stages that sort the real cyclists from the “also rans”
I almost put the book down before Tim had even reached the Pyrenees. At first it seemed to poke fun at caricatured French civilisation, and fly blown towns along the way a few too many times for my liking. It was all a bit too repetitive.
Then the foothills of the Pyrenees hove into view and the style changes somewhat. It is still the comic style that is Tim Moore but there was a subtle change as he takes on the first big challenge, and then the next. The narrative becomes a little less travel orientated and more focused on his own self determination, and his failures.
Throughout the book he weaves in stories and facts about the Tour de France, its characters, the feats and the drug taking. By the time he rides into Paris Tim Moore has turned from a slouch into a lean mean cycling machine and I refused to put the book down until I had turned the last page.
If you would like to purchase any of these books you can do so by clicking on the links at the end of my brief review of each book or you can click on the images in the widget below. All the links are affiliate links which means that when you purchase any of these items from Amazon.co.uk through these links I will receive a small percentage of the sale which helps me maintain this website. Affiliate links are denoted by (£) throughout this website
You can also visit the Off the Bookshelf (£) section of the Travel Unpacked shop