Author Jini Reddy On Her Perfect Winter Reads

Author Jini Reddy On Her Perfect Winter Reads

Posted by Lady Wimbledon | 16 November 2017 | Arts & Culture, Magazine

A week ago my first book, Wild Times, won an award for Best Guidebook at the British Guild of Travel Writers Awards, held at The Savoy. I was thrilled but surprised too: as guidebooks go it’s pretty unconventional! Naturalist and BBC producer Stephen Moss summed it up as a ‘quirky and imaginative series of encounters (and experiences) guaranteed to put you back in touch with nature.’

I spent five mad months in an odyssey across Britain doing everything in it – and searching for answers to the questions I’d begun to ask after many years exploring natural landscapes abroad, as a travel journalist. Like: ‘How do we celebrate the landscapes and nature in our midst in more heartfelt ways?’ And ‘How do we develop empathy for the living world?’ There’s nothing in the book that you’d call hardcore: it’s all about authentic, gentle, creative, reflective and potentially transformative experiences that anyone can do, with of plenty of helpful details on how to do it all, who to do these experiences with, how to get to the places in the book, and where to stay. And best of all you won’t need a car.

Bradt are offering readers a special 20% off discount when entering the code BGTWA20 at checkout. Valid until 31st December 2017

As winter is upon us I wanted to share a few other books that I’ve enjoyed which, in their own ways, explore the relationships between humans and nature – with a nod to the current season.

Winter: An anthology for the changing seasons (Elliot&Thompson), edited by Melissa Harrison, features extracts from classic texts and established writers – among them Robert Macfarlane and Virginia Woolf – as well as new writing. In vibrant prose and poetry these diverse voices explore the delights, comforts and sensations of the season. All proceeds go to The Wildlife Trusts – and once the year has turned, you can look forward to the others in the series: Spring, Autumn, and Summer.

Contrary to what its title may suggest Alone in Antarctica (Summersdale) by polar explorer Felicity Aston is the antithesis of every yawnsome testosterone-fuelled ‘I conquered Everest’ type autobiography. It’s genuinely a page-turner, written movingly and with great emotional honesty. Snow and ice have never appeared more enchanting – or more lethal. Aston’s first book Call of the White is equally gripping and she is giving a talk at the Antarctica Event at The Royal Geographical Society on the 29th November.

 

Bleaker House (Picador) by Nell Stevens is the very original memoir of a young writer, who, desperate to finish her novel travels to a frozen island in the Falklands in search of inspiration and solitude. Alas, she hadn’t reckoned on the weather, the sheep, the penguins, hunger, loneliness and worst of all, writer’s block…

 

Shortlisted for the Costa Award, At Hawthorn Time (Bloomsbury), a novel by Londoner Melissa Harrison is a love letter to nature and a must-read. The humanity of Harrison’s characters, whether disenfranchised rural dweller or drifter attuned to the ways of the wild, shines through. And whilst the hawthorn blossoms in spring it’s also symbolic of darkness and death. Her next book,All Among the Barley (Bloomsbury) is due out next August, and you can read her ‘Nature Notes’ column in The Times.

Don’t spend all your time reading though – wrap up warm, and get outdoors. Winter, season of frost and fallen leaves, wintering birds and slumbering creatures, is full of gifts and all of them free.

Jini is an author, features writer and consultant. She is currently working on a new book for Bloomsbury. She can be found tweeting @Jini_Reddy and writing at www.jinireddy.co.uk.

 

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