I’m trying to compile a list of books that talk about the feeling of “place,” and/or delve into unusual places, or features of the land, both natural and manmade. But it’s tough for me to describe the category succinctly, so I will list some books below to guide and solicit your input for further reading. The list below is not a rating for the books, nor much of a synopsis, but should give you the idea I’m after.
Anything by Robert MacFarlane, including:
“The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot”
Literally about old ways, i.e. old paths, ways, landmarks and what the author discovers travelling them.
Place names and how they apply to landforms around Britain, with many dialectic and archaic terms for places we no longer name.
“The Wild Places”
A search for and exploration of remainders of wilderness around the British Isles.
“Mountains of the Mind”
Mr. Macfarlane’s first book, delving into his explorations into mountain climbing and phenomena related to it, including how seeking high places has gripped our imaginations, etc.
“Holloway” (as co-author)
An exploration of depressed paths in the earth formed from centuries or millennia of footfall and wagon ruts. I love this book.
“Waterlog: A Swimmer’s Journey Through Britain”
Not as read in America as he should be, Deakin is a very sensitive and careful writer. This is his journey into swimming in untamed, wild waters around Britain.
“Notes From Walnut Tree Farm”
Observations from his home of the same name; haven’t read this one yet but it sounds ideal.
“Cairns: Messengers in Stone,” by David Williams
All about human-made piles of stones called cairns and what they mean, where they are, different styles, etc.
“Tiny Stations: An Uncommon Odyssey Around Britain’s Railway Request Stops,” by Dixe Wills
A tour of and through those relicts of the past, railway stations that you must request to be let off at, or flag down the train if on the platform. Other books by the same author (e.g. “At Night: A Journey Round Britain from Dusk Till Dawn”) seem to have the same focus, but I haven’t read them yet.
“Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Never Set Foot On and Never Will,” by Judith Schalansky
An brief exploration of some very remote and weird islands you are unlikely to ever visit.
“Portals: Gates, Stiles, Windows, Bridges & Other Crossings,” by Philippa Lewis
Brief little book, but charming look at different kinds of portals. Part of a series by the publisher “Wooden Books” on offbeat, brief topics. They’ve one on stone circles and another on ley lines that look promising.
I must have more I can’t recall offhand. I personally thought to write/compile such a book on things like the remaining stone walls in Southeast Florida, or the last few buildings made of Miami oolite (the native limestone), or something on the South Florida sinkholes and the flora and fauna they harbor.
Get the theme? It’s hard for me to describe. Please add your own in the comments!