6TH DECEMBER 2019
December… How the did that happen? How can the fieldfares be scoffing all the berries on our hawthorn hedge already? I definitely remember photographing bluebells in April, and being attacked by bees in May, and enjoying our annual week’s holiday in Anglesey in September. But… DECEMBER?!
It’s been a while since my last newsletter. Over the last few months, I’ve been busy gazing into my computer screen, occasionally adding words to the first draft of my next book, then rearranging them several times before taking most of them out again. But I do finally feel to be making some progress. The book is about how Charles Darwin saw the world, and how he enabled us to see it in a new and better way. Well, that’s what it’s about at the moment, but who’s to say how it might evolve over time? (See what I did, there?)
As usual, I’ll be taking some time between Christmas and New Year to make plans for the year ahead. Cracking on with the book will feature prominently, of course, but I’ll no doubt be considering one or two other, smaller projects. Who knows, I might even throw my hat into the ring to play the next James Bond. I have the liver for it, apparently.
How about you?
Some stuff I thought worth sharing:
These recommendations go all the way to eleven…
The Island Review: The Writers, The Artist, The Notebooks
Five writers and artists reveal their note-keeping habits.
Guardian: ‘Extraordinary’ 500-year-old library catalogue reveals books lost to time
The discovery of a 2,000-page manuscript summarising the library of the illegitimate son of Christopher Columbus provides a fascinating insight into the lost world of 16th-century books.
Beneath the Stream podcast: ‘Irreplaceable’ with Julian Hoffman - the fight to save wild places
A discussion of threatened places and habitats of the non-human world with my mate Julian Hoffman. (See also Recent Reading below.)
Places Journal: Through Mountains to the Sea
A journey on the A66 through the Lake District to West Cumbria.
Science History Institute: Ronald Fisher, a Bad Cup of Tea, and the Birth of Modern Statistics
How a longstanding disagreement about the best way to brew a cup of tea let to an important insight into how to conduct scientific experiments.
The Art Assignment (YouTube): Whose Migrant Mother was this?
Blog brother John Green recounts the true story behind Dorothea Lange’s iconic photograph Migrant Mother.
An unofficial video archive (endorsed by the man himself) of many of the wonderfully erudite and quirky TV programmes made by Jonathan Meades.
Literary Hub: How to Be a Writer: 10 Tips from Rebecca Solnit
Excellent advice from one of the best.
Nautilus: Why We’re Drawn Into Darkness.
Robert Macfarlane on the awe and horror of subterranean places.
Guardian: Happy 25th year, blogging
I still greatly miss the pre-Twitter and -Facebook days when everyone seemed to be blogging. (Some of us still are!) October 7th, 2019 marked the 25th anniversary of the first serious blog, Scripting News, written by Dave Winer. It’s still going strong. It’s where I got my news on 9/11, when all the mainstream news sites couldn’t handle the traffic.
I’m just back from our local bookshop, where I picked up my Christmas present from my better half: the newly published volume 27 of The Correspondence of Charles Darwin! (No prizes for guessing what my present was last year.)
If you’re in a total panic about what to buy your loved one (or even your mortal enemy) this Christmas, might I shamelessly endorse my book On the Moor: science, history and nature on a country walk? All the cool kids are reading it.
Have a great one, and see you in the New Year.