thought.photos

occasional snapshots of thought

Posts from the “Books” Category

Geographical Healing

Posted on 2nd May 2016

I recently read two books that have landscape as a theme; H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald and The Outrun by Amy Liptrot. The books are similar in many ways; both written by women in the aftermath of emotional turmoil and both the story of recovery by distraction. Macdonald distracts herself from a deep state of grief by training a goshawk called Mabel and Liptrot distracts herself from her alcoholic cravings by immersing herself in the landscape of the Orkneys. H is for Hawk was given to me by a friend who admitted (after I’d read the book) that she failed to complete it. I have to admit that I got to a point about two thirds of the way through where I…

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Landscape & Nostalgia

Posted on 3rd July 2015

Almost exactly 20 years ago, Simon Schama’s book Landscape & Memory was published. It’s not an easy read but it became a significant influence on the way I taught Landscape Architecture. Essentially, the book describes “landscape” as being a construct within the mind of the individual rather than an objective entity whose constituent parts are rock, water and vegetation. Schama believes that nature and human perception are indivisible and that “Before it can ever be a repose for the senses, landscape is the work of the mind. Its scenery is built up as much from strata of memory as from layers of rock”.

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Memoirs

Posted on 17th March 2014

Things are changing. For the last 18 years, I’ve been driving. Up the M3, around the M25 to the University of Greenwich, a round-trip of 200 miles and I did this two or three times a week. I like driving, so this never felt like a real chore and with Radio 4 to keep me company, I was never bored and I certainly felt better informed for listening to the Today programme as I drove. People would ask me why I didn’t use the train for this journey and I would tell them that it takes longer (which it does) and it costs more (which it does) and it’s less reliable (which it is). Getting the train makes no sense. Things will change. Next…

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