Robert MacFarlane

I'm looking forward very much to the new book by Robert MacFarlane.

Each of his books has been progressively more entertaining, inspirational and deep in its exploration of our relationship with landscape, something that is an interest of mine, if judged by the volume and variety of books on that theme on my bookshelves.

"Landmarks" apparently has a large glossary of landscape terms and an exploration of the meaning of many unfamiliar landscape terms, particularly some of the local variations which have some very specific meanings. The Inuit may have lots of words for snow, but we have more words than that for some very esoteric and transient relationships between the landscape and microclimates.

This beautiful Guardian article has useful detail on its gazetteer of words, and some of the inspirations for writing the book. It rewards the time it takes to read it, and provided me with a great deal of areas to explore further. I'm currently writing about landscape (amongst other things) for a GCSE textbook that is coming out later in the year.

A useful review in the London Review of Books too, which provides another perspective on the book.

You can also add to Robert's word hoard by sending them to him on a postcard. A few additional ones here.

I like this one for example, which I've experienced close to where I work...


the whispering sound of wind in reeds or grass (Fenland)
And don't forget the roarie bummlers...
Book is out on Thursday...