The Consolation of Nature by Michael McCarthy, Jeremy Mynott and Peter Marren (Hodder Studios)
Nature writing books have become one of my favourite genres. I think that this goes back to 2018 when I noticed time in nature helped me to recover from my brain haemorrhage, and was reinforced last year as Mr Norfolkbookworm and I tried to get out for a walk every day as a way of coping with the pandemic and lockdowns.
This book is one of the first I've read that concentrates very specifically on events in 2020 and it is a detailed look at late March to the end of May - spring. In 2020 this time frame also coincided pretty much with the first lockdown.
The three authors live in different parts of the country (London, Suffolk & Wiltshire) and they keep diaries which are a mix of nature observations, research into natural phenomena, and diary of the pandemic.
Incredibly for a book set in three such disparate locations I am a little familiar with each of them and so did feel that I was walking with the authors on their daily walks. Living in a city which is well served with green spaces we were lucky enough to be able to follow the season changes on our daily walks and so I could connect with each author's writing. In a personal capacity it has been interesting to see just how much I was recording weather and nature 'firsts' last year via my Facebook memories.
I am very much a dabbler in bird watching and nature recording but this book has made me want to be better at it and to keep an awareness of natural events so I can be one of these people who say with some authority "the swallows are late this year."
This book is wonderful and I really didn't want to return it to the library - to the extent that I've had to buy myself a copy!
Interestingly just as I finished this book I was approved on Net Galley as an advance reader for The Eternal Season by Stephen Rutt which looks at summer as a season with a focus on last year's in particular. I'm not sure I'm ready to read pandemic inspired fiction yet but I'm certainly keen on these views of 2020.