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The Living Mountain: A Celebration of the…
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The Living Mountain: A Celebration of the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland (Canons) (original 1977; edition 2011)

by Nan Shepherd (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6002639,921 (4.11)33
THE TIMES AUDIOBOOK OF THE YEAR 'The finest book ever written on nature and landscape in Britain' Guardian In this masterpiece of nature writing, beautifully narrated by Oscar-winning actor Tilda Swinton, Nan Shepherd describes her journeys into the Cairngorm mountains of Scotland. There she encounters a world that can be breathtakingly beautiful at times and shockingly harsh at others. Her intense, poetic prose explores and records the rocks, rivers, creatures and hidden aspects of this remarkable landscape. Shepherd spent a lifetime in search of the 'essential nature' of the Cairngorms; her quest led her to write this classic meditation on the magnificence of mountains, and on our imaginative relationship with the wild world around us. Composed during the Second World War, the manuscript of The Living Mountain lay untouched for more than thirty years before it was finally published.… (more)
Member:read247
Title:The Living Mountain: A Celebration of the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland (Canons)
Authors:Nan Shepherd (Author)
Info:Canongate Canons (2014), Edition: Main - Canons Imprint Re-issue, 160 pages
Collections:2024, nonfiction, Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd (1977)

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English (20)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
Highlight is "Frost and Snow" which begins to explore how our senses expand
what our body and mind feel, every minute, day and night.

Odd inclusions: mentioning locations not shown on the map, "fey,"
the eternal sadness of the interlocked stags, the many mountain deaths -
do we always need the reminder of Death to Love Life?

Thoreau would have enjoyed this book!
Even without an accompanying set of photographs or a video,
readers join the summits, plateaus, lochs, and pine-needle "compacted balls."
(How welcome their photo would be.) ( )
  m.belljackson | Apr 16, 2024 |
Slow to start, but really, really good. Nan builds up a view of her mountains in layers, starting with the physical forms of the mountains, and then moving on to water, snow, air, plants, animals, people, and the higher senses of existence. It's kinda reminiscent of the Judeo-Christian creation story.

Like the mountains, best read with a quiet mind. I found that the book didn't really capture my attention or pull me in like other books have, but I found that when I was calm and undistracted and could give it the time it needed, it was glorious. There are so many breathtaking moments, but they show up unannounced, and in a paragraph, they're over again. So you need to be paying attention.

I'll read this again sometime when my mind is less scattered. ( )
  capnfabs | Mar 9, 2024 |
The Living Mountain is by typical measures a slim volume. But I found it to be like the TARDIS: bigger on the inside. I found it took me longer to read than I anticipated because I needed to dwell on passages. Not because they were obscure or profound (though some were). But because Shepherd is writing about living life. And some discussions just should not be rushed.
If you are going to read this version of The Living Mountain, do yourself a favor. Go straight to Shepherd's material and only then, if you are so inclined, read Robert Macfarlane's introduction. I love Macfarlane's books but in this case he is not adding any particular insights, in my opinion. And the introduction is FAR too long. Shame on the editor for not reining Macfarlane in. ( )
  Treebeard_404 | Jan 23, 2024 |
The author spent most of her life wandering the Cairngorms, a low range of mountains of northern Scotland. Her book was rejected by publishers who deemed it too esoteric for the tastes of the time (during WWII) so the author put it away for 30 years until she felt the time had come when a book of meditations while hiking would be appreciated. It’s not a coffee table book so to make up for the lack of photos and maps of actual trails followed on her hikes, watch the numerous Youtube videos that replicate her travels in the Cairngorms. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | May 16, 2022 |
For such a short book, it took me a long time to finish. Probably because it deserves to be thought over in some parts, and contemplated in the same way Shepherd contemplated the mountain.

It's also a bit trite at times, places where she interrupts herself and corrects herself, that just feel a little too staged. But it made me want to visit the mountains of Scotland. ( )
  rumbledethumps | Mar 23, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nan Shepherdprimary authorall editionscalculated
Macfarlane, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winterson, JeanetteAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Summer on the high plateau can be delectable as honey; it can also be a roaring scourge.
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THE TIMES AUDIOBOOK OF THE YEAR 'The finest book ever written on nature and landscape in Britain' Guardian In this masterpiece of nature writing, beautifully narrated by Oscar-winning actor Tilda Swinton, Nan Shepherd describes her journeys into the Cairngorm mountains of Scotland. There she encounters a world that can be breathtakingly beautiful at times and shockingly harsh at others. Her intense, poetic prose explores and records the rocks, rivers, creatures and hidden aspects of this remarkable landscape. Shepherd spent a lifetime in search of the 'essential nature' of the Cairngorms; her quest led her to write this classic meditation on the magnificence of mountains, and on our imaginative relationship with the wild world around us. Composed during the Second World War, the manuscript of The Living Mountain lay untouched for more than thirty years before it was finally published.

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