Saturday, March 16, 2019

Earth To Earth

Earth to Earth

A Natural History of Churchyards

By Stefan Buczacki

Published by Unicorn, March 2018

If you have any interest in natural history or in churchyards in general, let alone in particular, this is a book you will enjoy.

Churchyards are generally tranquil places, often largely left to their own devices and as such can be veritable havens for flora and fauna of all sizes. Hidden treasures abound, whether your interest is gravestones, church architecture, history, birds, animals or even lichens and mosses.

 Beautifully produced, with a lovely green ribbon marker and filled with captivating and atmospheric photographs, paintings and line-drawings, this book is a pleasure to look at.

 It is also an enormous pleasure to read, covering the way churchyards hold a special place in our history, imagination, art, poetry and prose as well as the more practical commentary on how certain creatures such as badgers can cause problems.  For those in charge of churchyards, there is  valuable information on how and what to plant to encourage or safeguard existing wildlife.

A wonderful volume!

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Human Kind

The Human Kind

A Doctor's Stories From The Heart Of Medicine

By Peter Dorward

Published by Green Tree/ Bloomsbury, September 2018

Dr Peter Dorward is a GP in Edinburgh, and has a very mixed general practice indeed. He also trains students. From his beginning days as a junior doctor, feeling out of his depth and battling extreme exhaustion in the "bad old days" of medical training to the current way of training and working, he looks at all aspects of medicine in a general practice and the incredible variety of patients, lifestyles and situations which he meets as a result.

He describes some memorable characters who stay with you long after you have closed the book - especially Alicia whose ability to interact with the world is sadly diminished and nobody really knows how much she takes in although her doting mother believes she is actually very able to respond and interact. From youngsters with functional illnesses to drug addicts, angry patients to depressed patients, from the terminally ill to the emergency cases he is called to see, Dr Dorward describes his attitudes and thoughts about prescribing protocols, moral and ethical dilemmas and what he believes are the societal and psychological underpinnings for many illnesses.

This is not always an easy book to read; there are quite lengthy philosophical discourses about the nature of health, illness, society and medicine and parts of the book are really very sad indeed. I  did find his commentary about a former student's Christianity very dismissive and patronising, which is a shame as Dr Dorward is otherwise obviously a caring and compassionate man.

I did enjoy the book, but I don't think it will be one I would read again.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.

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Sunday, March 10, 2019

Read To Your Baby Every Day

Read To Your Baby Every Day

By Chloe Giordano

Published by Frances Lincoln Children's Books/Quarto,

5th March 2019

There can be few people by now who do not know the benefits of reading to children daily, but babies also love  looking at books and being read or sung to as well.

By adulthood, lots of people have largely forgotten all the words to nursery rhymes, but these are some of the easiest and most enjoyable stories in miniature to share with babies and toddlers. This book is an ideal "refresher course" for parents, grandparents and friends who want to make reading an enjoyable pastime to share with a small child.

Many of the old favourites are here: Baa Baa Black Sheep, Frere Jaques (in English and in French), Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush, etc, but how many of us know all the words to Old Mother Hubbard? This actually has no fewer than fifteen verses, which was news to me!

This delightful book is full of wonderful illustrations, all from Chloe Giordano's original pictorial fabric art embroideries, and they are absolutely exquisite. I don't know who will enjoy them most, the adults reading or the little ones listening and looking. I am certainly buying a copy for my baby grandson.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for letting me see a digital copy to review.

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Friday, March 01, 2019

Master Recipes From The Herbal Apothecary

Master Recipes From The Herbal Apothecary:

375 Tinctures, Salves, Teas, Capsules, Oils And Washes

For Whole Body Health And Wellness

By J J Pursell

Published By Timber Press, Inc,  5th March 2019

This great book does exactly what it says on the cover title.

There is an initial specific chapter providing details of 60 key herbs and how they work. The author recommends becoming friends with 20 and learning as much as you can about them, preparing and using them. A valuable table provides information about dosing schedules depending on the format of the remedy made. Almost every kitchen will have the utensils needed to make herbal remedies; mine certainly does.The instructions for preparing each type of herbal remedy are simple, clear and concise, and well illustrated with colour photographs.

General Day-to-Day Health issues and their remedies are covered, along with chapters dealing with
Immune Defense,Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Care for Babies and Children,  Herbs for Elders and also chapters on herbs for Emotional Support and Travel Wellness.

There is an excellent chapter entitled Herbs for Odds and Ends, which covers flea treatment in animals, herbs for dying fabrics, domestic uses of herbs for cleaning, air freshening etc and in making notepaper.

I enjoyed this book so much I have ordered a paperback copy for myself :-)

Many thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for letting me have a digital copy of the book to read and review.

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