A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.
Foreword by Chris Bonington.
Part of our Wilderness Week series.
Question: What do the British Isles and the Tardis have in common?
Answer: They’re both bigger on the inside than seems remotely likely from the outside.
Geographically speaking, the British Isles are tiny. They are also crowded. Speaking of the ‘wild places’ of such a heavily populated speck on the globe would therefore, on the face of it, appear to be a nonsense.
And yet … anyone who has stood on the summit of Cross Fell, been overwhelmed by the enormity of Morecambe Bay or risked compound fractures on the limestone pavements of the Yorkshire Dales will tell you that there are more – and more diverse – wild places in the British Isles than almost anywhere else on the planet.
This beautifully produced little book from Rucksack Readers is a celebration of that diversity.
Produced to mark 25 years of the Outdoor Writers’ Guild it contains 25 highly personal short essays from members of the Guild, illustrated throughout with striking colour photographs.
Call of the Wild criss-crosses the British Isles, and the choices of some of the best known names in outdoor writing are sometimes rather surprising. The usual suspects are all present and correct – St Kilda, the Cairngorms, The Peak District, Connemara … but the Ashdown Forest, the Broads and the Hambledon and Hod Hills … and from people more closely associated with the Himalayas?
The choices that seem the most unlikely, however, are those which most effectively make one of editor Roly Smith’s introductory points that ‘wildness’ is everywhere if you know how to look, and it’s impossible not to be as seduced by Kev Reynolds’ heartfelt hymn to the Ashdown Forest as by Robert Swain on Morecambe Bay or Mike Harding on Connemara.
This is a satisfying book in every way … from the choice of photographs and words to the possibly prosaic fact that it’s just a pleasing thing to hold and read and turn the pages of. The essays – not too long and not too short – can be ‘dipped’ into at random and the whole thing is small enough to be slipped into a backpack or suitcase.
It’s also a work a love. Together, they’re a well-nigh irresistible combination.
(Photo credits: Stanage Edge, Peak District by Jerry Rawson and Pattern of Channels in Morecambe Bay by Jon Sparks.)
Rucksack Readers. 2005. Hardback. 128pp. ISBN: 1-898481-49-0.
SPECIAL OFFER: Rucksack Readers is offering readers of Vulpes Libris an exclusive £2.50 discount on online orders for Call of the Wild or any of their other publications. Just visit their online shop – http://rucsacs.com/order.php – and enter ‘vulpeslibris’ in the discount code box when you order. £2.50 will be deducted from the total value of your order. The offer lasts until the 31st May.
Click here to read our interview with Jacquetta Megarry – founder and onlie begetter of Rucksack Readers – about her chosen field of specialist publishing.