Wednesday, the 29th of July, and time for Shelf Control once again! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, all you do is pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what its about, why you want to read it, and such. If you participate, link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks as well!
This week my pick is non-fiction, The Natural History and Antiquites of Selborne by Gilbert White. This book, first published in 1789 by the author’s brother Benjamin has been continuously in print since, with (according to the Goodreads description) over 300 editions until 2007.
The book is essentially a collection of over a hundred letters written by Gilbert White to Thomas Pennant, a zoologist and Danes Barrington a barrister, though many of these were never actually posted. The letters, among other things, are organised around plant and animal life cycles, and observations on different species including birds, quadrupeds and insects as well as vegetation besides general descriptions of Selborne. There are also some meteorological observations.
Gilbert White was born in July 1720 in his grandfather’s parish in Selborne, Hampshire. In 1749 he was ordained and obtained various curacies thereafter. Besides being a parson, he was also an ecologist, naturalist and ornithologist making detailed observations of nature and animals over years around Selborne where he spent a lot of time, including as a curate. The first edition of the book was illustrated by Swiss artist Samuel Hieronymus Grimm, who stayed at Selborne for about a month.
I have had this one on my TBR for a fairly long time, have downloaded a public domain copy a few years ago. Being interested in nature and animals generally, I thought a book written that long ago would give an interesting perspective. Also being written in letter form, it might be an easier and more interesting read than just text. This year Gilbert White himself turns 300, so it seems a good time for me to pick this one up finally.
Do you enjoy writings on nature? Which are some favourite books? Have you read this one? How did you like it? Looking forward to your thoughts and recommendations!
Find Lisa’s pick this week (here)