Top 5 books for the summer

Once again, the British climate has failed to reach the dizzying heights of a flaming July and with three months of persistent rain on the horizon; we are all perhaps left disappointed but not surprised. Even if you feel let down by the weather, you shouldn’t feel let down by your bookshelf, seeing as there is the looming prospect of quite a lot of time indoors this summer! Here are the top five recommendations from Quiller for summer books; whether looking to educate yourself on the basics of ‘the sport of kings’ or immerse yourself in the history of countryside customs, there’s something for everyone this summer.

Falconry Basics

Falconry is an ancient and noble art with a rich history. Originating in the East, it has recently enjoyed a revitalisation in Britain where falconers train birds for a multitude of purposes, from showmen to pest controllers and ring bearers. Although these days birds are bred in captivity, they are still wild, independent predators and so their husbandry requires the right knowledge and skills. Falconry Basics is designed to provide those new to falconry with the essential information, including starter birds and their temperaments, their maintenance, sourcing equipment, as well as all aspects of training, flying and hunting. With diagrams and line drawings throughout, this guide assumes no prior knowledge, and this newly revised edition offers a comprehensive, practical guide for a whole new generation of falconers.

The Airgunner’s Companion

Being an effective hunter with a modern precision air rifle is challenging and demanding, yet is one of the most humane methods of hunting and pest control today. The Airgunner’s Companion provides the reader with the fundamental knowledge necessary to be as effective a hunter as possible. The author J.D.J. Braithwaite brings his 35 years of experience and a scientific and analytical approach to hunting with air rifles. He supplies detailed discussion in areas such as types of airgun, additional shooting equipment, camouflage, managing serious vermin control and a dedicated section on the effective control of grey squirrels. This book provides an authoritative insight into new airgun technology, tried and tested hunting methods, contemporary scientific knowledge concerning animal behaviour and is a go-to guide for beginners and intermediates interested in air rifle hunting.

Practical Deer Management

This long overdue book is a source of candid and comprehensive advice for anyone who has to deal with deer and the issues they present, whether they be gardeners suffering attacks on their flower beds, foresters looking to prevent damage to saplings, or landowners with larger scale problems. This volume fulfils the need of a pragmatic and clearly written guide to deer management; it also suggests non-lethal protective measures in addition to more active methods, and examines other considerations such as health and the law. The author Charles Smith-Jones is a familiar name to readers, and his fascination and love of deer is apparent throughout. His belief that British deer deserve to be managed respectfully and humanely underpins the entire book.

Decline of an English Village

Written by political activist and journalist Robin Page, Decline of an English Village was seismic when first published in 1974. It met with immediate critical acclaim as it carried a sense of foreboding for the future of the English countryside and the decline of traditional village life. In this 45th Anniversary Edition it returns with a new and updated introduction, in which Page exposes greed, political ineptitude, and social and environmental indifferences as the driving forces behind the deterioration of rural communities. This book is like a time capsule, transporting readers back to a time when the land was worked in a traditional sense and villages were founded on community. He also raises sensitive topics such as overpopulation, intensive farming, and environmental degradation of the beloved English countryside. This book is a reiteration of the tragedy that befalls the countryside in the name of industrialisation and urbanisation.

The Countryman

The Countryman is a book for everyone, no matter your connection to the countryside. Whether you are a country dweller or a budding naturalist from the city, the enormous amount of subjects contained are a real treasure trove. From the toad to the bumblebee, the cuckoo to the pheasant, the life cycle of the dragonfly, the attractions of the nightjar and the dove, the development of sheep breeds and the value of the cottager’s pig – these are just some of the characters of the natural world as described by Johnny Scott. Scott’s impressive observation skills and fluent style enable him to convey his knowledge of the countryside in an accessible way. His affection for country customs and all that the natural world has to offer shines through.

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