Why did I read it? When first published, several people recommended this book to me, and it was recommended more than once by some. I imagine those recommendations came because of my like of the natural world, and of language. I have no idea why, but I put it on my 'wish list' and then my 'to be read</i>' pile, but never actually started it; these decisions I now regret.
What's it about? With the Oxford Children's Dictionary removing words relating to nature, e.g. acorn, in favour of technological terms, Robert Macfarlane explores the United Kingdom in search of those words to describe, and connect us to the natural world. Connection. That is the key to this book. In a time, and place which seems to breed disconnection, this book seeks to reunite us with a deep love for landscape, and language.
What did I like? Every single word, and most especially the glossaries. Rich in words and landscape, there is so much to enjoy, and explore in this book. I listened to the audio book, which is rather nicely done. I did query a few of the Gaelic pronunciations - being a learner of the language, not a native speaker, I may not completely comprehend the dialectal nuances. I am very pleased I opted to purchase the Kindle edition, too, so I can explore those glossaries at my leisure.
Oh, the joy I found in this book: learning new words for phenomenon I had no idea might even exist; remembering 'childish' the way children use language to describe their surroundings; and discovering new Gaelic words I wanted to include in my (ever-expanding) vocabulary.
The narrator, Roy McMillan|, did a splendid job. I'm afraid I have no idea of the name of other gentleman whose voice was used to read out various words, but his voice gave luscious contrast to Mr McMillan's smooth tones.
What didn't I like? I could find no fault with this book. I find fault with myself for not reading it sooner.
Would I recommend it? Yes! Yes! Yes! Not necessarily the audio version though - not because it is not well read, but because once you've read the book, I'm pretty sure you'll want to keep it to hand to pore over the word glossaries, and then add to your own.
Someone posted about this book on Twitter last week. I really do enjoy knitting, and I have a stash of yarn I really need to do something with. Right now the forecast is for two more weeks of clouds and cool temperatures, which means the studio will be too chilly for comfortable work. Sitting in the house with a ball of yarn and some new patterns seemed like a good idea.
I made a deal with myself: If I made enough money off last week's art show, I would treat myself to the Kindle edition, currently on sale for $8.98 US. Last night I finished my bookkeeping and decided I sold enough at the art show to justify a slight splurge.
Having bought (or acquired through other means) more than a few craft books in my time, I knew enough to take advantage of the online previews.
The first few patterns looked scrumptious!
I was ready to hit the Buy it Now button!
Caution took hold again. I read further on the sample.
The instructions for each pattern are given in a symbol coded chart rather than the familiar "k1, p1, yo, k2tog" text.
A comprehensive key is provided for the symbols, but even on the "Look Inside" preview, it wasn't easy to read. Zooming enlarged the text font, but didn't make the Key any clearer:
Discouraged, but not without hope, I decided to download the actual Kindle sample. The screen caps above are all from my laptop and the "Look Inside" feature. Unfortunately, what I got on the Kindle download was even worse. Here's the Key as it appears on the same laptop via Kindle for PC:
Changing the font size does not change the size of the chart, which is formatted as a graphic.
The Kindle version, therefore, was virtually useless for me. Others might find it workable, but I couldn't justify it. There's still a part of me that wants to buy the paperback -- currently $14.01 -- and then re-translate it into traditional knitting instructions, but I'm not sure I'm that dedicated.
The patterns sure are gorgeous though, aren't they?