The Year in Books – April 2015




The monthly account of the wildlife, farming and nature described in Meadowland, was my enjoyable March read.  At times the beautifully vivid and intense writing that created my understanding of the Meadows was interrupted by analogies that broke the spell, and rudely awakened me from my immersion and delight in the book. Wrens as slappers, geese as vulgar, irate drivers.  We all see the natural world differently of course, and I suppose I’m silly in being surprised by it.  I would also have preferred that the gun was left in a cupboard in chapter one.


Four Hedges book

I also picked up again Four Hedges by Clare Leighton, a book I’ve had for ages and only part read before.  Clare Leighton was one of the finest engravers of the twentieth-century.  In the 1930’s when she settled in the countryside, she turned her creativity to the land and gardening became her passion.  The remarkable illustrations for the book are her own bold and elegant engravings.  The story of a garden carved from meadowland.  I can recommend her account, full of tender observations, and sensitive thought.

Badgerlands by Patrick Barkham

Actually, I’ve already started my read for April, it is Badgerlands by Patrick Barkham.  A couple of chapters in and I’m gripped.  Even planning early nights to get back to it sooner.  Tell you more  at month end.





The Year in Books is an ongoing project started by Circle of Pine Trees which is open to everyone.  The aim of the project is to read (at least) a book a month during 2015. You can join in at any time, full details here.



  1. Comment by countrysidetales:

    I have Peterken’s Meadows sitting on my shelf awaiting reading. I too would be made grumpy by the reference to wrens as slappers- one of my favourite birds. I can’t do a book a month at present with college reading to do as well, but I think it’s a great project to be part of and will very much look forward to your analysis on the Patrick Barkham book, which I have just been on line to order having read your post :o) Have you read his Butterfly Isles book? Also v good.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Peterken’s Meadows looks good, and I know I shall get Butterfly Isles. You must have masses to read with college – I suspect that would be reading I’d like too. I’m so pleased I joined in with The Year in Books, and I’m determined to continue reading more.

  2. Comment by Amanda:

    I just happened to see that book to day,Four Hedges by Clare Leighton,(Salt’s mill) there looks to be a few to read.
    I really must get back to reading, so joining in might be the push I need. Have more than a few books on my shelf that I have not touched.
    Amanda xx

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      That’s just me before I joined in – and I love that it made me set time aside and was that little kick up the… I love Salt’s Mill, what an extraordinary story, Titus and his mill community.

  3. Comment by Annie:

    Four Hedges is one of my favourites … I keep dipping back in, even though I must have read it in it’s entirety three or four times over.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      It is such a beautiful book isn’t it – and does call you back. I can’t help but linger over the illustrations, each time it is like seeing them afresh. Wouldn’t it have been an experience to meet her?

  4. Comment by Annie:

    * its entirety … I had an English teacher who considered misplaced apostrophes vulgar and she’s still with me in spirit although she was ancient then (late 1970s) so is probably 6 foot under now!

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      I’m glad she’s still with you.

  5. Comment by countrysidetales:

    Annie- I am married to a man who cannot abide them either! :o)

  6. Comment by Ellen Abbott:

    curious your selection of non-fiction. curious my selection of only fiction.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      I’ve noticed that before Ellen, that you love reading fiction – there seems to be so much I need to learn that I like my books about things that interest and fill in the gaps (clearly I paid no attention as school whatsoever!)

  7. Comment by Helen:

    I am so pleased to have discovered your blog and your book choices. I have a copy of Meadowland on my shelf, which I’m now going to make my April book for #theyearinbooks but I do also like the sound of Four Hedges.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Hello Helen, thankyou and welcome! Isn’t the cover of Meadowland just beautiful, I’ll be interested to hear what you think after reading.

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