The Old Ways by Robert Macfarlane

 I wanted so much to love this book. I tried. But it just wasn’t possible in the end. As a single volume it’s too diffuse, maybe. As a collection it’s too erratic and patchy. The cover artwork, by Stanley Donwood, is a green-and-white thing of great beauty and, as with Christmas dinner as a small…

Everyman’s England by Victor Canning

 Victor Canning was a thriller writer, churning out factory lines of potboilers like The Golden Salamander, which was turned into a film and apparently rendered him the money to buy a country pile in Kent. That is what such money is there for. Everyman’s England features no exotic brushes with death (although there is one night in a ditch)…