This review is published with a nod to Mike Sowden from Fevered Mutterings for recommending this book on several occasions on his various networks and on his blog. He seemed fairly passionate about Kathleen Jamie's writing and his post about what makes Findings, a collection of short memoirs such effective travel writing really spoke to me. I downloaded a copy almost immediately. Three stories in I bought a copy as a Christmas gift for my Mother. Here's my review.
What's it all about? Kathleen Jamie is a Scottish poet who in this collection of observational essays explores many corners of her native land and in doing so manages to bring incredible depth and vibrant life to many forgotten or seemingly mundane parts of the nature and world around us.
What's so good about it? While predominantly about nature and history there are other themes that sneak into Jamie's writing in such a sly way I'm not even sure how aware of it she is; love, family, mortality, adventure, possession, the oddities of life. The story of the corncrakes fascinated me despite it being a topic I'd normally stare blankly at and the sweet and subtle sadness as she describes her husband falling suddenly ill was too short-lived; more personal stories please Ms Jamie! She's also an incredible writer who makes you suddenly very grateful that all these words and their combinations exist.
Who, me? This book is for anyone who appreciates uncomplicated, beautiful writing and stories of nature and Scotland. If you like both, then your ship has sailed in. It's also an excellent book to read if you want a little motivation and encouragement to write yourself. Findings was one of a number of short story collections I read before and during my NaNoWriMo adventures writing the first draft of my own collection of little (very fictional) stories. Aside from inspiring me to examine the details, capture the moments and celebrate them all, this book also reminded me that story-telling is an art form to be treasured.
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Frances M. Thompson
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