Friday, 2 January 2009

Classic books about the countryside

This is something we were discussing across on Creative Living, as one of the members wanted suggestions for reading the classic novels. This is my countryside version:

The Natural History of Selborne by Gilbert White.

Old favourites of mine: Lark Rise to Candleford; Still Glides the Stream; The Peverel Papers (by Flora Thompson).

Rural Rides by William Cobbett
Cottage Economy ditto.

Precious Bane - Mary Webb.

Wild Wales - George Borrow.

Wanderers in the New Forest - Juliette de Baraclai-Levi;
Traveller's Joy - ditto.

Juliette de Baraclai-Levi - Traveller's Joy;
Wanderers in the New Forest - ditto.

A modern country classic - A Moorland Year by Hope L Bourne, a redoubtable lady who copes on an absolute pittance on Exmoor.

Anything by Henry Williamson - especially Tarka the Otter.

Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady - an evergreen, for browsing and continual delight in the illustrations and notes.

Anything by Alison Uttley, especially A Country Child, which is my permanent bedside companion - the prose is superb and the countryside it evokes, haunting.

The diaries of Francis Kilvert, who was a curate in the Welsh borders around 1870-79. Again, a constant companion of mine and any biographies about him.

Anything by Thomas Hardy, because he evoked the countryside of his childhood in the 1840s and told a good tale . . .

Cider With Rosie - Laurie Lee, which I read first for Eng. Lit. at school.

A Small Country Living - Jeannine McMullen
A Small Country Living Goes On - ditto
Wind in the Ash Tree - ditto.

I am sure I will remember lots more later. What are your favourites?


Tea with Willow said...

The Magic Apple Tree, by Susan Hill ... always a favourite, I return to it over and over again, and of course, Thomas Hardy for his beautiful writing.

I will definitely look up some of your suggestions BB!

Willow x

sukipoet said...

A comment abt a book you had found in an earlier post made me wonder if you liked Mary Webb. I have read most of her bks and love her. Thanks for the tip too abt Dart which I will try to find. Course I love T. Hardy. Have read Laurie Lee and some of Levi's books as she writes on herbs too. In fact she came to a neaby herb conference at least once. Thanks for the tips on the other bks. Be well, Suki

Rowan said...

I love all the books by 'BB' but he was a wildfowler and fisherman as well as a artist and naturalist so maybe not everyone's cup of tea. My favourite of his books is called Letters From Compton Deverel published in 1950 but written in the year I was born - 1946. He wrote some lovely children's books too such as The Little Grey Men and Down The Bright Stream - they are about the last four gnomes in England:)

Nan said...

Thank you for this list!

Goosey said...

I would add The Magic Apple Tree as well. I do like Francis Kilverts diarys as well, in fact I like most of your choices.

thelma said...

Magic Apple Tree is a firm favourite, sometimes still do the cake from it. Richard Jefferies and his books, and what about Jan Morris - The Matter of Wales; an overview of the country....what happened to Jeaninine McMullen, her radio programmes were wonderful years ago, did she return to Australia?

Bovey Belle said...

How could I forget the Magic Apple Tree - it is such a beautiful book and a firm favourite of mine.

Thelma - I don't know what happened to Jeannine McMullen. She wrote her last book probably 12 or so years ago now. I've tried Googling her, but no joy. I loved her radio programmes too. Richard Jefferies I've not opened for many a long year . . .

Rowan - my elderly neighbour was given a wonderful book by BB for Christmas (a grown up one). She said if she didn't think it was interesting, she'd get her son to take it back and change it. I was DROOLING over it . . .

Suki - I had Mary Webb's Precious Bane on my shelf gathering dust for many a long year, and gave it away, then heard how wonderful it was. Fortunately, my friend Leanne gave me a spare copy of hers which I now treasure. Superb writing.

Goosey, Nan, Willow and all - I think we all have the same excellent taste in books!