Changing the world: three book reviews

I have read three books between late January and the end of the first week of February. They were very different books, but had one thing in common: they were all about changing the world in some way. Two were non-fiction and the third was a historical novel – three more highly recommended books.

The Running Hare The Secret Life of Farmland by John Lewis-Stempel


This book is the story of the author’s year-long experiment to use wildflower- and wildlife-friendly farming in a field, which had lost many species due to modern agricultural methods. Apart from his own superb writing, he quotes many other writers from earlier times. He also tells a few amusing stories about things which went wrong for him.

I have already reviewed Meadowland, which he wrote before this book. I found The Running Hare easier to read. It has much useful information about endangered plant species and how different parts of the animal kingdom interact. I returned it to the library before writing this review, but I remember there was also a bibliography.

It was short-listed for the Wainwright prize 2017.

God’s Smuggler One man’s mission: to change the world by Brother Andrew with John and Elizabeth Sherrill

I first heard of this book when I was a student, but I have only just got round to reading it! It is a fast-paced story. Brother Andrew as a young man reminds me very much of the author of From Prison to Praise, which I mentioned here. Like that book, it is a page-turner. I acquired my copy in exchange for a voluntary donation to CAPuk.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

I chose this book from the library, having read and enjoyed another book by the same author a long time ago – The Secret Life of Bees. I had completely forgotten what the story of that was, until I read a synopsis at the back of The Invention of Wings. This is set in the 19th century mainly in Charleston, South Carolina. It does not pull any punches about the cruelty of the time, but is well worth reading. There is a bibliography at the end of further reading about the protagonists, Sarah and Angelina Grimké and African culture.

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