Books · Read in 2022 · Reviews

(audio) Book Thoughts: Waterlog (Roger Deakin)

A Swimmer’s Journey through Britain


Title: Waterlog
Author: Roger Deakin
Roy McMillan
 Non-Fiction / Travel / Memoir
First published: 1999
Edition: Audio & Paperback, published by Vintage in 2000

In 1996 Roger Deakin, the late, great nature writer, set out to swim through the British Isles. From the sea, from rock pools, from rivers and streams, tarns, lakes, lochs, ponds, lidos, swimming pools and spas, from fens, dykes, moats, aqueducts, waterfalls, flooded quarries, even canals, Deakin gains a fascinating perspective on modern Britain.


First line(s)

The warm rain tumbled from the gutter in one of those midsummer downpours as I hastened across the lawn behind my house in Suffolk and took shelter in the moat.


Going into this one I already knew I enjoyed the author’s writing style, as I had read/listened to Wildwood earlier this year. That was actually what prompted me to pick up this one. It is therefore no surprised that I really enjoyed this one as well.

Maybe I did not quite love it as much as Wildwood, but I think I simply preferred the subject matter of that one. Still, this was a joy to listen to and I really enjoyed being taken across Britain whilst the author swam in all sorts of (mainly cold!) places and tells the reader all about these places.

The author has a wonderful way of choosing a subject and then delving into history and little tidbits of information. I really enjoy that style of storytelling and is very well done. It feels very easy and conversational. Do I need to know any of it? Noooooo, but I enjoy hearing all about it for sure.

This is one of those non-fiction books that you just need to enjoy for what it is. It is oddly specific, but such a treat.

6 out of 7 stars

Books · Read in 2022 · Reviews

(audio) Book Thoughts: Wildwood (Roger Deakin)

This is a very “me” kind of book


Title: Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees
Author: Roger Deakin
Roy McMillan
 Non-Fiction / Nature / Travel / Memoir
First published: 2007
Edition: Paperback, published by Penguin in 2008

From the walnut tree at his Suffolk home, Roger Deakin embarks upon a quest that takes him through Britain, across Europe, to Central Asia and Australia, in search of what lies behind man’s profound and enduring connection with wood and with trees. Meeting woodlanders of all kinds, he lives in shacks and cabins, builds hazel benders, and hunts bush-plums with aboriginal women.At once autobiography, history, a traveller’s tale and a work of natural history, Wildwood is a lyrical and fiercely intimate evocation of the spirit of trees: in nature, in our souls, in our culture, and in our lives.


I love books like this: non-fiction that combine nature, travel and memories. This definitely reads a travel memoir, but with an emphasis on trees, which is the reason Deakin travelled to these places in the first place.

I thoroughly enjoyed following the author on his journeys. Narrator Roy McMillan does a great job bringing the sights and sounds to life as well. I loved learning about various species of trees and what meaning they held or still hold for the people who live with them. The tone of the narrative was perfect for me and I loved how it sometimes meandered.

My favourite part of this book were the chapters about Australia. I spent a year in Australia in my early twenties and I absolutely fell in love with the landscapes there. Every time I read about Australia, it brings back a sense of nostalgia and beautiful memories. It made me realise I should seek out some more non-fiction books that deal with the history and nature of Australia.

I also enjoyed the chapters on walnut trees in Kyrgyzstan and reading about the people the author met along the way. I am starting to expect there will be more travel memoirs in my future!

I found this book so relaxing and enjoyable. I have already ordered another book by this author. He has written a few, but unfortunately he passed away in 2006. This sat on my shelves for four years and I wish I had read it sooner!

If you enjoy nature and a meandering memoir type stories, you will love this.

7 out of 7 stars