Book club choice. The Cow Book, by John Connell.
Not what I would normally read BUT I am a firm believer that sometimes books choose you and happen to appear at the right time with the right message and this one did exactly that.
Of course, before you all get worried, I’m not going to move to Ireland and start farming cows and sheep… but reading this book while ‘on lockdown’, while the world as we know is changed, probably forever, I found it soothing. Reading about a life dictated by the rhythms of the seasons and practical needs of looking after animals was grounding and brought my attention back to the basics. Also, it’s terrible hard work, I mean I ‘knew’ it was… but it really is.
So what my holidays have been cancelled, right? Priorities, please.
This is a lovely, well written book, with chapters about the hard work required, not romanticised in a silly ‘it’s a good life’ way, alternating with chapters about the history of cows – who knew they had such a varied and important history. Written in the first person, it tells the story of the year the author spent back home in Ireland working on the family farm. It’s about family relationships, and it’s about Ireland too, about a sense of place that roots you and draws you in, of belonging to people and history and the pure geography of the landscape. I love that.
Unexpectedly I really enjoyed it.
Cows, who’d have thought.
(More about/by John Connell here)