Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Landmarks, a fascinating exploration of the relationship between language and landscapes by Robert Macfarlane, read by Roy McMillan.
Words are grained into our landscapes, and landscapes are grained into our words. Landmarks is about the power of language to shape our sense of place. It is a field guide to the literature of nature and a glossary containing thousands of remarkable words used in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales to describe land, nature, and weather.
Travelling from Cumbria to the Cairngorms and exploring the landscapes of Roger Deakin, J. A. Baker, Nan Shepherd, and others, Robert Macfarlane shows that language, well used, is a keen way of knowing landscape and a vital means of coming to love it.
The audiobook version contains an exclusive bonus chapter - a recording of Finlay MacLeod (novelist, historian, broadcaster, archivist, and one of the dedicatees of Landmarks) reading words and definitions from his Peat Glossary for the Isle of Lewis.
This hoard of rare and evocative terms was one of the inspiring documents for the book.
Finlay's voice is also used as a divider between chapters, and the other glossaries in the text are bracketed with appropriate sound effects.
©2015 Robert Macfarlane (P)2015 Penguin Books Limited
What a wonderful, stirring, enriching and delightful experience this book this is to listen to.
It is a forever book.
The narrator is a pleasure to listen to, and perfectly matched here.
Retired father of two with 4 grandchildren. I listen to my books while driving or flying off to somewhere. Keeps me up to date.
Flogs the loss of words to death. Languages are living things that reflect life as it is lived where it is lived. Words come and go. Do we need another book to tell us the obvious?
Not written the book
He was fine with the material he had to use.
"Love it, but it's costing me a fortune!"
Yes. The author effortlessly takes you into his subjects. His writing is taut, precise and evocative.
Each chapter is dedicated to a different author/topic. Some reviewers didn't like this, but I loved it. It allowed for journeys into particular words and stories associated with the underlying topic that I found fascinating.
He reads beautifully; with him the stories come alive. You are climbing the mountain with him, swimming in icy water alongside him, clambering into caves as he explores. It's a full on sensory experience.
Yes. It made me furious to learn nature related words were being removed from children's dictionaries as they were "no longer deemed relevant". It also created a burning desire to get out there and experience some of the places or things discussed.
I couldn't tear myself away from this recording. The only downside..I became so caught up in the books and authors described in each chapter that I've had to buy many of them AND a hard copy of Landmarks so that I have easy access to the glossaries!
Living on the isle of Lewis and hearing our mother tongue makes me feel so proud of our country
I would, and I have. I chose it for our audible club after seeing Robert Macfarlane on "Springwatch".
I just think that so much goes on in the world, at such a hectic pace, it is worth taking some time out to slow things down.
I learnt so many interesting things, some of which I had no intention of learning but have ended up feeling richer for the experience.
I loved the readings from the dictionary definitions, with the appropriate backing sound effects. one moment you were in a cave, the next sitting beside a stream or walking in scree.
I haven't, so unfortunately I have no comparison here. I wil say, however, that he has a very soothing voice which suits this book perfectly.
"You've got mail!....ignore it, and do something else"
I read, many moons ago, a book called "The Song of the Rolling Earth", having visited the areas in Scotland in which the book is set.
This was, though set against a broader canvas, a similar book in many ways.
If you seek a little solice and refuge from emails, texts and general pestering, immerse yourself in this this.......and find out what a smoose is!
"Enjoy listening... then buy the book"
I have listened to over 100 audiobooks in the last three years. Only once did I buy a book after listening to it. That book was Robert Macfarlane's "Old Ways" and the reason I bought the book was because Macfarlane's text is a reference to several worlds of interest and erudition. I knew I would go back to it and explore other avenues that it presented.
I will also buy "Landmarks" when it appears in paperback, for the same reasons. Even though many chapters are glossaries -- and not as well suited to listening as to reading -- the remaining chapters are chiefly an exposition of the writing of other "Nature" writers such as Nan Shepherd, J A Baker, Macfarlane's friend Roger Deakin, the American John Muir and others.
The result is an impassioned and expert dissertation on the rich language used in the past to define Nature, focussing on English, its dialects, and the Celtic languages of Britain.
The historical vignettes presented, such as the interaction between John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt resulting in the creation of Yosemite National Park, were fascinating and the final chapter, Childish, was a brilliant expansion of the theme.
"A taster for many other wonderful authors!"
Roy McMillan's voice is certainly a reason to choose the audio version.
The Old Ways also by Robert Macfarlane and read by Roy McMillan.
Laugh and cry out loud!
Because of this book I have now read other books that were superb. J A Bakers The Peregrine will now be one of my favourite books ever... it would be a brilliant audio book but I'd have to think hard about who could be the voice.
A magical evocation of landscape and language, history and heritage. Eloquent, lyrical and poetic. Endlessly fascinating and charming. Buy it!
"Routed in the land...flies in the mind."
The idea of this book is very attractive, to collect and collate the various terms that define our understanding of the old/current world around us through the peculiarities of language passed down in near history.
I was very happy with this and very interested - although not entirely satisfied in the way in which the promise was delivered through. The ‘falling short’ for me was that the individual characters who were used to deliver the message - a Lancastrian musician being one example - seemed to lack depth of characterisation and, where offered, their link with the land seemed at times tenuous. This, of course, from me as anything but a son of the land - albeit, a Welsh and Irish heritage does give one a sense of entitlement when it comes to the wide-open spaces in the world of nature-spirituality.
What was enlightening, was the worrying news that so many common-place words now have no place (and are they so common?) with the youngest literate generation that we currently have in our care. If nothing else, the stir that this caused me was justification enough to read this work - but, to be fair there were lots of small pleasures along the route (Tyneside to South Shields, south along the river on a daily commute as it happens).
"A wonderful book"
I have listened to this book on many occasions and love it. It celebrates writers who are in touch with specific aspects of the landscape or its wildlife - Cairngorm mountains, open water, peregrine Falcons etc. The writing is lyrical and it is beautifully read by Roy McMillan whose command of Gaelic names and words is stunning. My only reservation as an audio book is the many pages of glossary. It works for me as I listen in bed and regard this as a kind of soporific chant, although sometimes I get frustrated that by the time I hear a definition and realise I'm interested I have forgotten the word! I guess the answer is to buy it for kindle as well.
Absolutely. This is such a fascinating and detailed text, with a wonderful form of construction. Fabulous work from Macfarlane.
I am absolutely amazed by this book. It demonstrates such a fantastic body of research, and so wonderfully written together, it was an absolute joy to experience.
Anyone interested in space and place, in people, in language, in literature, could hardly fail to enjoy this book!
"This book is a poem"
I love Robert MacFarlane's books. His ideas about landscape and our relationship to it are endlessly stimulating. For me, because this is not a narrative as such, I sometimes had to rewind to pick up the thread of the thoughts.
The glossary of words for landscape features, beautifully read, is poetry and made me want to buy the physical book so I could browse at my own pace but the physical book is printed on such nasty paper I didn't.
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