“Strictly Come Dancing Annual 2009”

(March 2012)

A Poundland find from the first series we watched, and quite well done, with plenty of information about – and photos of – the participants and dancers. A nice memento, but I wouldn’t have paid full price for it.

Francis Pryor – “The Making of the British Landscape”

(06 July 2011)

First spotted when I was unpacking books at the Library, this was an excellent, weighty read that I really savoured. Taking heed of previous works on the subject and starting in prehistoric times, the author takes us right up to the present day effects on the landscape of modern farming and conservation. Just enough personal information and opinion (e.g. as a sheep farmer, planter of heritage tree species and critic of programmes like “Coast” that skate over the landscape, just looking for the pretty bits) and with a theme of connecting (or re-connecting) people to landscape, but this does  not get in the way of a scholarly and dense but immensely readable work on the way our landscape – natural-looking countryside, suburbs and cities alike – has been shape by geology and humankind.

Winifred Holtby – “The Land of Green Ginger”

(16 Sept 2011 – from Ali)

LIke South Riding, this is rooted in the landscapes of Yorkshire, but in this case the characters escape – or yearn to escape – to more exotic climes, symbolised by the odd street name in the town – The Land of Green Ginger. After a little casual anti-Semitism, we follow Joanna, child of a missionary but shipped back to her aunts to be raised, falling for the first man who seems able to match her whimsy, trapping herself unwittingly into a life of hard grind and harder to keep reputations. Neither belonging to the gentry or the village, the failing gentleman farmers are associated with the other outsiders, the Northern European foresters brought in after WWI, to whose fate they must bear witness. Will Joanna ever encounter the islands of her dreams? This powerfully feminist work outlines brutally the choices available to those women not brave enough to strike out on their own, and the fate of those who try for domesticity.

This was the new, “pretty” reissue done by Virago, and doesn’t have the customary introduction or afterword, which I did miss.