Book Reviews

Snow by Marcus Sedgwick

What Da Cover says: Of all weathers, snow is the one that has always affected Marcus Sedgwick the most. While many people’s idea of the perfect holiday involves sun, sea an sand, he instead makes trips to cold, snowy parts of the world: Russia, Scandinavia or the Arctic Circle. A few years ago he bought a mountain home, an old chalet d’alpage high in the Haute Savoie, and for the first time he began to understand what it is to live in an environment where extreme snowfall is frequent. Like the six sides of a snowflake, the book has six chapters, each exploring the art, literature and science of snow, as well as his own experiences and memories, asking whether it really did snow more during his boyhood in Kent and whether changing climate patterns might mean, that for some areas of the world, snow may become a thing of the past. He also wonders why snow is so powerful for our imagination, so transformative and as fundamental as our response to darkness, to sunlight.

What I Says: Snow is my favourite weather, it brings back memories as a kid sat eating my breakfast listening to the radio as the DJ reads out the list of schools that are closed because of snow, and the cheer as my school was read out and then the day of fun playing in the snow…now that I’m a parent the school closures give a different response :-). Every year I take December off work in the hope of a good snow storm and the chance to explore.

This little book is only just over 100 pages long but it is crammed full of information…just like snow Sedgwick has packed it down to fit on the pages. There are 6 distinct chapters where Sedgwick investigates snow, it’s science, etymology, art, history, literature and mythology are all explored. Mixed in amongst this info are his personal experiences of snow, he shares that he lives in the Alps and gets the full-on snow experience, the shovelling of snow multiple times a day to stop it building up and he shares just how much joy he still gets from the first snow fall of the year.

When I purchased this book I didn’t realise it was a Little Toller Monograph, surely it isn’t going to be any good being so small? I thought…but it was the perfect length. Sedgwick covers just enough books and art to wet your appetite and he goes deep enough into the science and etymology to not confuse and bore you. The shared personal experiences give you the longing for some snow so you can get out there and see how the world has been transformed overnight. This book totally works, the monograph idea is a brilliant one and this reader is hooked and must have them all!

If you want to get yourself a copy then you can get it direct from Little Toller to support the small publisher and avoid funding the little bald spaceman’s next trip into space.

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