Thursday, December 11, 2014

What is Elizabeth Speller reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Elizabeth Speller, author of The First of July.

Her entry begins:
I’ve just finished two very different non-fiction books: but there’s a sort of connection. At the centre of both is a powerful connection with place.

John Huth is a Harvard professor. His web page begins with a quotation from Kipling and explains his areas of study as being Experimental Particle Physics and Cultures of Navigation. It seems appropriate to the topic of his book that I’m lost immediately.

In The Lost Art of Finding our Way Huth explores a fascinating question: before signposts and early maps, and millennia before SatNav, how did human beings find their way, often accurately, across great distances? I read facts from his account out aloud to everybody: snakes measure distances in paces (yes, improbable, I know) and am delightedly smug when I find I already know one of Huth’s tips for orientation (lichen grows on the north side of trees). But perhaps most fun (and, in an emergency, most useful) is the suggestion for...[read on]
About The First of July, from the publisher:
A captivating novel of the tragedies of war, as lives cross, dreams are shattered, and futures altered as the hours pass during the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

On July 1st, 1913, four very different men are leading four very different lives.

Exactly three years later, it is just after seven in the morning, and there are a few seconds of peace as the guns on the Somme fall silent and larks soar across the battlefield, singing as they fly over the trenches. What follows is a day of catastrophe in which Allied casualties number almost one hundred thousand. A horror that would have been unimaginable in pre-war Europe and England becomes a day of reckoning, where their lives will change forever, for Frank, Benedict, Jean-Batiste, and Harry.
Learn more about the book and author at Elizabeth Speller's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Elizabeth Speller and Erwin.

Writers Read: Elizabeth Speller.

--Marshal Zeringue