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Cold Blood: Adventures with Reptiles and Amphibians

Biography / Memoir
Can we know what it feels like to be a toad? Or a lizard? Join Richard Kerridge on the hunt for Britain’s reptiles and amphibians and realise the potential of puddles and ditches everywhere

By: Richard Kerridge (Author)

290 pages, b/w illustrations

Vintage

Paperback | May 2015 | #221894 | ISBN-13: 9780099581390
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £9.99 $13/€12 approx
Hardback | May 2014 | #212291 | ISBN-13: 9780701187958
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £16.99 $22/€20 approx

About this book

As a boy, Richard Kerridge loved to encounter wild creatures and catch them for his back-garden zoo. In a country without many large animals, newts caught his attention first of all, as the nearest he could get to the African wildlife he watched on television. There were Smooth Newts, mottled like the fighter planes in the comics he read, and the longed-for Great Crested Newt, with its huge golden eye. The gardens of Richard and his reptile-crazed friends filled up with old bath tubs containing lizards, toads, Marsh Frogs, newts, Grass Snakes and, once, an Adder.

Besides capturing them, he wanted to understand them. What might it be like to be cold blooded, to sleep through the winter, to shed your skin and taste wafting chemicals on your tongue? Richard has continued to ask these questions during a lifetime of fascinated study. Part natural-history guide to these animals, part passionate nature writing, and part personal story, Cold Blood is an original and perceptive memoir about our relationship with nature. Through close observation, it shows how even the suburbs can seem wild when we get close to these thrilling, weird and uncanny animals.

Read an interview with the author on the NHBS Blog

"Cold Blood shows us how much is to be gained from studying nature. A book that persuades anyone to try sampling life at first-hand rather than at second is much to be welcomed'"
- Steve Jones, Sunday Telegraph

"Perceptive and original [...] Kerridge writes vividly of the natural world (5 stars) [...]  In prose as effortless as a snake's progress, Richard Kerridge has written a wry, wise and refreshingly understated memoir"
- Patrick Barkham, Guardian

"Cold Blood casts an unexpected but beautiful love-light across ordinary England, and its uncaring reptiles and amphibians [...] "[A] perceptive memoir [...] Cold Blood is proof that an early infatuation with the natural world can lead to a lifetime of wonder [...] Captured moments such as the golden flash of a palmate newt delight the reader as much as they did Kerridge's childhood self"
- Tim Dee, Observer

"Subtle and meditative, lyrical and passionate"
- Gavin Francis

"Simply wonderful [...] the natural history book I have been waiting for"
- Brett Westwood

"A mix of memoir, science writing and humn to nature, this will propel Kerridge into the pantheon of great 21st-century nature writers. He tells the story of his fascination with reptiles and explains what it is to be cold blooded."
- Patrick Neale, The Bookseller

"[A] perceptive memoir [...] Cold Blood is proof that an early infatuation with the natural world can lead to a lifetime of wonder"
- Barbara Kiser, Nature

"Perceptive and original [...] Kerridge writes vividly of the natural world"
- Gerard Henderson, Daily Express

"As a memoir, Cold Blood has the feel of a minor classic. It is exquisite. As a piece of nature writing, it is also rich, subtle and shot through with quiet passion"
- James McConnachie, Sunday Times

"[A] perceptive memoir [...] Cold Blood is proof that an early infatuation with the natural world can lead to a lifetime of wonder"
- Pete Dommett, BBC Wildlife

"Perceptive and original [...] Kerridge writes vividly of the natural world (5 stars)"
- Tom Fort, Literary Review

"Captured moments such as the golden flash of a palmate newt delight the reader as much as they did Kerridge's childhood self"
- Barbara Kiser, Nature

"You don't have to know or care much about amphibians to enjoy this book, although it might well kindle such an interest – for amphibians read: whatever was your childhood passion"
- Peter Forbes, Independent

"Engaging blench of natural history handbook and memoir"
- Mark Whitley, Countryman

"The quality of the writing is superb – evocative, moving, informative"
- Magnet

"Everyone is seasoning serious non-fiction with autobiographical fragments these days, but it's rare to find both elements handled equally well"
- James McConnachie, Spectator

"This is a funny, moving and compulsively readable account of the author's boyhood obsession with these often neglected creatures"
- Stephen Moss, Guardian

"As natural history it's unerringly engaging [...] ; as the story of a tragically damaged father-son relationship it is unforgettable"
- Melissa Harrison, The Times

"A triumph"
- Helen Macdonald, Irish Times

"After reading this book, I know that I shall never again pass a pond or through a stretch of sun-drenched heathland without looking for the creatures that haunt Kerridge's imagination [...] Cold Blood casts an unexpected but beautiful love-light across ordinary England, and its uncaring reptiles and amphibians"
- Gerard Henderson, Daily Express


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Biography

Richard Kerridge leads the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. His essays have been published in Granta and Poetry Review, and he has twice won the BBC Wildlife Award for Nature Writing.

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