Monday, 7 August 2017

Written off?

New nature writing. Nature narrative. Call it what you will, but the past few years has seen a massive increase in the publication of books that define this genre. I first started to take to it via the works of such writers as Roger Deakin and Richard Mabey. Then along came the likes of Mark Cocker and Tim Dee to add to the mix. I saw - I bought - I read. Anything by Marren, Jaimie, Goulson and, of course, Macfarlane. There are some wonderful books to be had from that team of authors...

But recently I have started to withdraw from that sort of book. It might just be overload, too much gorging on rich fare. But I think there's another reason behind my retreat - I believe that the publishers know that there's a few bob to be made from such natural history works and so they are keen to keep pumping them out, with quality control slipping in the process. In quite a few instances, the authors are not up to scratch or the subject matters tired. I've started to read (and put down uncompleted) too many books over the past year to warrant my total devotion to all things 'nature narrative'. There is also a worrying trend to 'big up' flowery prose again, which induces the gag reflex in me. I thought we had moved on from eulogising Skylark's song and nodding daffodils, or at least could come up with a new way of expressing our feelings towards them.

You could say to me, "Alright then, do better yourself", but I can't. But the publishers can. Before we suffocate in the millions of pages filling up the bookshelves of Waterstones (and the very few independent bookstore still open,) can they not just step up on the quality control, seek out the original and not kill off the geese that are laying the golden eggs? I would hate for the new Deakins and Mabeys to be lost amongst a raft of lesser writers, not read because their worthy prose has been drowned out by too many ordinary sentences and paragraphs clogging up the shelves.

2 comments:

  1. I always feel I have to be careful when writing myself...it's easy to fall into the "glorious" trap too many times

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