The Lost Words

So, I did a bad. (Was it a bad? Really?) I dipped into my savings for the sake of a book. A pretty uncommon thing these days, but more and more recently I’m feeling an urge to buy books. Just buy them. Lots of them. I haven’t, and I’ve tried to contain all of the bookish love and excitement, but it doesn’t always work. Case in point, The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris.

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Eudora Welty is there too, yes, but I ordered her into the bookstore about a month ago and she, gladly, happened to be in. But hey, they kind of go together- The Golden Apples and gold foiled illustrations.

I went into the bookstore for specific books. Two books that I’ve been wanting to read but not wanting to buy for many months now, ones that the library doesn’t have and I won’t buy online because I want to support my bookstore. I thought that now would be the time when I suck it up and buy them so I can read them and pass them on.

Spoiler: I still don’t have them.

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I have no regrets.

The Lost Words is a beautiful book, almost A3, completely filled with gorgeous paintings from Jackie Morris, who never ceases to impress, and acrostic poems by Robert Macfarlane, who has written nature poetry I didn’t before know I needed. The book is a celebration of nature, a hark back to the times of a wild childhood, which is something I’m increasingly interested in. I’d rather spend my time getting to know the names of every bird in my garden than have social media at all.

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It’s one of the most stunning books I’ve ever held, and now happily own. I’ve said before that Jackie Morris is probably my favourite illustrator, and this reaffirms that. Her watercolours are so deep and wild and refreshing. She makes me want to go plant trees and pick wildflowers and dig my feet into the dirt.

I’ve heard of Robert Macfarlane before, and I’ve been interested in his nature writing.  I had expectations for what that would be, but this is something else entirely. There’s a lot of feeling in what he writes – he really clearly evokes the nature and attachment of his subject and I can feel it so beautifully.

My favourite from this collection is his ‘Lark’.

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Both of these authors feel so connected to the natural world, so enchanted by it, and because of that this book pure delight and wonderment. It’s adoration and respect, and I can’t think of any way this could have been a better collaboration.

I have no doubt I’ll continue buying Jackie Morris’s beautiful work, and hopefully be reading some more Robert MacFarlane now too. But for now, this book is completely stunning and enough.


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