With so much talk about ‘the new nature writing’, I wanted to refresh my acquaintance with nature writing from the 20th century and earlier. I opened five books from my shelves at random pages, and with each of them found something satisfying first time – so satisfying that I’d like to share the excerpts with you. Some are not so old – Richard Mabey is often regarded as the father of the new nature writers (Oliver Rackham was born in the previous generation, and was an academic botanist as well as a writer, so seems to me to predate the new wave.) In the case of Gilbert White, I chose a page at random from the e-book online.
You’re upstairs on the No. 50 bus in Kings Heath High Street. The traffic always clogs here, as people flock to shops supplied by juggernauts with goods funnelled in from around the world: money pours into the tills. Outside a supermarket, a child’s bike chained to a lamp post serves as a blue plaque: Hope, … Read more