Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Book of the moment

The Lie of the Land
an under-the-field-guide to the British Isles
Ian Vince
ISBN: 978-0-330-53539-7

“The premise of this book is based in part on the idea the underlying geology of these islands is reflected in the landscape” - Chapter 13, The Fiery Ring of Wales
I enjoyed this book. It was a cheerful excursion into the stones beneath our feet and how they were formed and how that geology then informs the earth we walk on
It blends solid geology with intriguing anecdotal snippets and personal experiences.  The characters involved in the history of geology kept that interesting -  squabbles between Victorian geologists and the problems of a woman proving so good at finding fossils were entertaining. Vince’s own excursions in pursuit of geological adventures are invitations for you to head off into the wild yourself - or even just down the road and over the bridge to look in the local stream for evidence of ancient local history 
Given the timescales of the processes involved and the breadth of evolutionary and tectonic activity, chapters do, at times, feel that they are skating across the surface of a whole heaving, lightly crusted lava-flow. But that is to be expected with 300 or so pages to cover a few billion years of activity
I enjoyed this book: it takes great huge sweeps of time and slow complex processes and shakes them down into accessible pebbles. Polished stones to keep on a “useful treasures” shelf and get out to read again before you go adventuring yourself

And if we're talking about books, don't forget to visit the book page of the Creeping Toad website!

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