We are, allegedly, a nation of nature lovers; but what does that really mean? For some it's watching racer snakes chase iguanas on TV as David Attenborough narrates, a visit to the zoo to convene with the chimps; for others it's a far-too-ambitious clamber up a mountain, the thrilling spectacle of a rare bird in flight.
Lev Parikian embarks on a journey to explore the many ways that he, and we, experience the natural world. Starting in his own garden plot, he gradually moves outwards to local patch, wildlife reserve, craggy coastline and as far afield as the dark hills of Skye. He visits the haunts of famous nature lovers to get up close to their insatiable curiosity and follows their lead with tired and sometimes soggy-socked footsteps.
And everywhere he goes there we are, too, each experiencing nature in our own way: ramblers, dog-walkers, photographers; loving couples, grumpy singles, families; kite-flyers, den-builders, grass-loungers; young whippersnappers, old farts, middle-aged ne'er-do-wells; beginners, specialists, all-rounders; or just people out for a stroll in the sun doing their thing.
Warm, humorous and full of telling detail, Lev Parikian's new book puts the quirks, habits and foibles of 'how we are in nature' under the microscope. And in doing so, he explores how our collective relationship with nature has changed over the centuries, what being a nature lover in Britain means today, and what our actions mean to nature.
Lev Parikian is a writer, birdwatcher and conductor. His book Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear? was published by Unbound in 2018. He lives in West London with his family, who are getting used to his increasing enthusiasm for nature. As a birdwatcher, his most prized sightings are a golden oriole in the Alpujarras and a black redstart at Dungeness Power Station.
"Funny, accessible and full of wonders – a genuine breath of fresh air."
– Melissa Harrison, author of All Among the Barley and The Stubborn Light of Things
"Lev Parikian is one of those rare beasts: a nature writer with a sense of humour. This is a witty, touching and profound book about one man's burgeoning relationship with the natural world – and it's also a joy to read."
– Stephen Moss, naturalist and author
"An open, warm and unique journey full of unabashed enthusiasm for the natural world. A rare thing."
– Stephen Rutt, author of The Seafarers and Wintering
"This is an enjoyable, light-hearted book about the benefits of an interest in nature and the great outdoors. [...] He comes across as a thoroughly decent bloke with an optimistic take on life and considerable tolerance of the foibles of other people. You sense he'd be a good person to share a pint with. And he'd make you laugh as he told you what he'd been up to and why nature is important to him."
– Ian Carter, British Birds 114, January 2021