Book Review: Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald – “hugely readable, yet endlessly thought-provoking”

 

Reading Helen Macdonald’s 2014 book H is for Hawk was highly memorable for me. As I wrote in my review, “this is a book which makes one look afresh at man’s links with nature. In a time when we are rightly focused on global, big-picture problems, it nevertheless reminds us of the values we derive from being individually and inextricably bound to our own heritage and community”.

Macdonald’s latest work, Vesper Flights continues on the same theme, this time expanding on the glory and importance of our differences in a collection of vivid and powerful essays:

“I hope that this book works a little like a ‘Wunderkammer’ [a cabinet of curiosities]. It is full of strange things and it is concerned with the quality of wonder…..Most of all I hope my work is about a thing that seems to me of the deepest possible importance in our present-day historical moment: finding ways to recognise and love difference. The attempt to see through eyes that are not your own. To understand that your way of looking at the world is not the only one. To think what it might mean to love those that are not like you. To rejoice in the complexity of things.”

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Jigging About in Lockdown

If you were hoping for a lively post about home-based boogie, you will be sadly disappointed and I recommend you look away now.

But if, like us, you have re-discovered some gentler pursuits during lockdown, grab a cuppa and snuggle down (click any picture to enlarge).

Hub and I both used to enjoy doing jigsaws as children.  Hub once tackled a 5,000 piece affair, juggling several boards of pieces which had to be gently eased from under the bed to be worked on. I tended to go for smaller puzzles and have fond memories of one in particular – it was a circular and very beautiful picture of the signs of the zodiac.  Because it was round, the individual pieces were satisfyingly odd.  I also remember one that was a picture of Scottish mountains.  Little did I know then that I would now be living (relatively) near by! Continue reading