RECOMMENDATIONS (Staff, 7-9, 10-12) What are you reading?
I’m a pretty voracious reader. I reckon the ideal job would be to get paid for just reading all the time – I can’t think of much else that would be better than that. I’ve usually got 2 or 3 books on the go at once – I tend to read one heavily for a day or two, then jump onto another, then back to the first, and so on. I like to read a wide variety of stuff – science fiction is a favourite, as well as political and historical stuff, and some environmental stuff too. At the moment I’m reading Landscape and Memory, by Simon Schama. Why that book?I’m interested in Schama’s stuff on history, particularly the history of Britain that he’s done a few years ago, and since this one is about some aspects of environmental history, and since I’m interested in this from my perspective as a teacher of Outdoor and Environmental Studies, I’m keen to chase this topic up.What’s it about?Schama writes about how human cultures – especially European and North American have created the notion of landscapes and wilderness and nature. He takes a really broad look at Western culture – the art, the music, the science – and links this to the history of our treatment of, understanding of, and development of the notion of natural environments.Has it lived up to your expectations?I haven’t finished it yet, but it’s a really interesting read, especially as he relates some of his personal experiences in visiting the wild places of Europe and North America, some of which I’ve been to, others that I’d love to visit myself. It is also a tough one to read – it’s a very long book – definitely one to read over a period of time, with other books on the go.Would you recommend it to others?I’d definitely recommend it to others – assuming that they’re interested in the ideas that he raises. It’s not something you can just pick up and get into. You’ve probably got to have an interest to begin with. For students, it might be of interest as a book to look at short sections of.Thanks Mr Mannion for sharing with us what you’re reading. It’s always good to be introduced to new authors and subject matter.More about Simon Schama here.