Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by independent publisher Elliott and Thompson for review. These are my own honest opinions which have not been influenced by any means.
The author, Lev Parikian, goes into depth on the exploration of British wildlife and that of naturalists and nature lovers, past and present. From looking into the wildlife which can be found in your own home, to stargazing into the expanse of the galaxy above British skies.
Throughout the book, not only is there great detail on the places that Lev visits, but also on the people that either inspired those trips, or the ones he finds along the way. People watching is a very common and hilarious theme throughout the book, as well as the totally serious, and not in any way sarcastic, activities of nature watching.
This book could convince someone that lacks any interest in the outdoors to have a little peek outside to see what’s going on in the natural world. Even someone like myself, who has a degree in Natural History, will learn a lot about British nature in this book. The descriptions of the places Lev visited will pique many people’s interest to explore their own country, rather than always feeling like the only exciting places for wildlife are abroad.
The detail of naturalists from the past, and the houses of those that he visited, such as Charles Darwin’s house in Kent inspire a sense of curiosity. The words and language used to describe these places invokes a feeling that you have to visit for yourself one day.
The way Lev talks about himself is not only hilarious and can evoke an eruptive laugh from even the most serious of readers, but his character is so relatable through his words. Throughout the book, some readers could be convinced that they are almost an exact copy of Lev. From the interest in wildlife, to learning to sketch and having a curious eye for the natural world, it is almost like reading about myself.
Lev has a way of looking at people and how we all connect with nature in modern times. Some are avid and enthusiastic naturalists or wannabe naturalists, and there are others who couldn’t care at all. Some may just be in nature because they were walking the dog anyway, whilst others might have been looking for a specific beastie. It’s interesting to read just how different everyone’s experience with nature is. Some peoples’ interest in nature may even be confined to their sofas on a Sunday night when the latest nature documentary is on. Lev discusses how these TV programmes may influence an expectation of the natural world that simply couldn’t be met by just going outside. He also wonders whether it could make people believe that the only interesting acts in nature only occur in some far flung place on the other side of the world.
My only negative comment is that the book contains a lot of footnotes. This somewhat disrupts the flow of reading for me personally; however, they add such important information and give Lev even more personality through his writing. This book is just so good in every other way, that this point can be easily overlooked for the priceless knowledge gained.
A true, heart-warming and hilarious look into what British nature has to offer. I would absolutely recommend this book for any nature lover, whether new to nature, or a very experienced naturalist. It may also suit anyone who wants to experience nature from the safety of their home or garden. This book is so well written that the imagination goes wild trying to picture all of the things and places that Lev has experienced throughout. Without a doubt, this book is one of the most entertaining pieces of writing I’ve read for a long time.
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