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Village Christmas: And Other Notes on the English Year (Penguin Modern Classics)

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From the author of Cider With Rosie, Village Christmas is a moving, lyrical portrait of England through the changing years and seasons. Laurie Lee left his childhood home in the Cotswolds when he was nineteen, but it remained with him throughout his life until, many years later, he returned for good. This collection brings to life the sights, sounds, landscapes and traditi From the author of Cider With Rosie, Village Christmas is a moving, lyrical portrait of England through the changing years and seasons. Laurie Lee left his childhood home in the Cotswolds when he was nineteen, but it remained with him throughout his life until, many years later, he returned for good. This collection brings to life the sights, sounds, landscapes and traditions of his home - from centuries-old May Day rituals to his own patch of garden, from carol singing in crunching snow to pub conversations and songs. Here too he writes about the mysteries of love, living in wartime Chelsea, Winston Churchill's wintry funeral and his battle, in old age, to save his beloved Slad Valley from developers. Told with a warm sense of humour and a powerful sense of history, Village Christmas brings us a picture of a vanished world.


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From the author of Cider With Rosie, Village Christmas is a moving, lyrical portrait of England through the changing years and seasons. Laurie Lee left his childhood home in the Cotswolds when he was nineteen, but it remained with him throughout his life until, many years later, he returned for good. This collection brings to life the sights, sounds, landscapes and traditi From the author of Cider With Rosie, Village Christmas is a moving, lyrical portrait of England through the changing years and seasons. Laurie Lee left his childhood home in the Cotswolds when he was nineteen, but it remained with him throughout his life until, many years later, he returned for good. This collection brings to life the sights, sounds, landscapes and traditions of his home - from centuries-old May Day rituals to his own patch of garden, from carol singing in crunching snow to pub conversations and songs. Here too he writes about the mysteries of love, living in wartime Chelsea, Winston Churchill's wintry funeral and his battle, in old age, to save his beloved Slad Valley from developers. Told with a warm sense of humour and a powerful sense of history, Village Christmas brings us a picture of a vanished world.

30 review for Village Christmas: And Other Notes on the English Year (Penguin Modern Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Bannister

    Sometimes you read the right book at the right time. This was such a book for me and more than once did I have tears in my eyes imagining how things were in much simpler times. Beautiful descriptive writing, consisting mostly of Laurie Lee’s tales of his early years in the Cotswolds and later years in London. 4.5 ⭐️

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    The slow unwrapping of Christmas in the winter dawn Lee has always considered his home to be in the Cotswolds, even when he left to walk across Europe, his heart still remained there. Village Christmas is a collection of essays and other writing about his favourite moments at home in the valley of Slad, and of other times in his life. He has fond memories of time long past, of cold winters and frozen ponds, carol singing and warm breath causing clouds as they walked. The germs of spring stand on t The slow unwrapping of Christmas in the winter dawn Lee has always considered his home to be in the Cotswolds, even when he left to walk across Europe, his heart still remained there. Village Christmas is a collection of essays and other writing about his favourite moments at home in the valley of Slad, and of other times in his life. He has fond memories of time long past, of cold winters and frozen ponds, carol singing and warm breath causing clouds as they walked. The germs of spring stand on the brink of stillness, life loaded but as yet unfired It is split into four sections one for each season with some of the seasonal delights and other wide ranging subjects like living in wartime Chelsea, the Lakes, country rituals and those moments as the seasons turn slowly on. It is a beautifully written book, with warm lyrical prose, so much so that you don’t feel that you are reading it, rather that you are immersed in his world and place. The way that he captures times long past in intimate detail makes you capture your breath. This is the first Lee book that I have read, but I have recently been recommended The Cider with Rosie trilogy. On the strength of this, I will definitely be reading them next year.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mark my words

    Some fine writing here. Though I was expecting each piece/note/article to concern its chosen season. Actually, when I first saw the book I thought it was all about village life at Christmas. So on two counts the title was rather misleading. very readable nontheless.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    To much work and not enough time to read lately, etc,etc. A beautiful book that even when I was only able to read 5 to 10 pages it was a great release from the stress of daily life. Laurie Lee is a fine writer that inspires the imagination and sparks the soul for a love of the countryside. There really is nothing to fault his beautiful writng, he genuinly writes in a way that really makes you see what he has seen. A view of the countryside that is near perfect, a childhood sense wonder pervades hi To much work and not enough time to read lately, etc,etc. A beautiful book that even when I was only able to read 5 to 10 pages it was a great release from the stress of daily life. Laurie Lee is a fine writer that inspires the imagination and sparks the soul for a love of the countryside. There really is nothing to fault his beautiful writng, he genuinly writes in a way that really makes you see what he has seen. A view of the countryside that is near perfect, a childhood sense wonder pervades his stories of growing up in a place called Slad. Highly recommended... Now where is that copy of Cider With Rosie mum was always telling me to read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Some pieces in this collection warrant 4 or 5 star ratings, and were obviously the ones I enjoyed the most - where he wrote about his childhood in the Slad Valley. However I did feel this collection of writing was brought down a little by some thinner, weaker less interesting pieces which felt as if they were only there as padding to make the book a decent length, which was a bit of a shame. On the positive side, though, it has encouraged me to seek out his works for which he was most well known Some pieces in this collection warrant 4 or 5 star ratings, and were obviously the ones I enjoyed the most - where he wrote about his childhood in the Slad Valley. However I did feel this collection of writing was brought down a little by some thinner, weaker less interesting pieces which felt as if they were only there as padding to make the book a decent length, which was a bit of a shame. On the positive side, though, it has encouraged me to seek out his works for which he was most well known - my project for 2017.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    I never thought I'd pick up any book by Laurie Lee; set Cider with Rosie at school to read and study, I found a sense of rebellion and lost any real chance of a direct route into english literature. Having read his poetic and heart affirming words in this book I am drawn to say my education will resume as soon as I find my copy of Cider with Rosie. This is a collection of stories and essays about life through the seasons of the year and in some ways also mirroring the passage of time in one's lif I never thought I'd pick up any book by Laurie Lee; set Cider with Rosie at school to read and study, I found a sense of rebellion and lost any real chance of a direct route into english literature. Having read his poetic and heart affirming words in this book I am drawn to say my education will resume as soon as I find my copy of Cider with Rosie. This is a collection of stories and essays about life through the seasons of the year and in some ways also mirroring the passage of time in one's life on earth. His observation and knowledge of his childhood environment brings this part of the Cotswolds alive like no guide book could. His writing transports you to its pastorial best although much of it had changed even in Lee's remebering although he reckons he knew he was home when he heard the blackbirds signing in a gloucestershire accent. He also spent some of his time living in London and his recollections of Chelsea are very interesting. At times he takes us on a geography field trip following the course of the Severn river and reminds us of our historical past remembering the Berkeleys. However, it is his couplets and expressions that rise from each page that will live long after you close the book. I thoroughly enjoyed his insights into "Slagtown" and remembering of his local pub - The Queen's Elm. His notes on marriage are so cleverly pulled together without expressing his own bias "Sexual relationships now are relaxed and easy and can be slipped in and out of like sleeping-bags." My favourite story is simply entitled 'My Day' and details both the struggles and successes of trying to be a writer and a poet. I have never judged a book by its cover - this one is just magic. I now will never judge a book by its author. I have never been more pleased to have read a book when I didn't know what to expect. I trust all who pick it up will keep these stories to hand and dip into them often when they need a smile on their face or a sense of being.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    I remember reading cider with rosie when I was school so when I saw this selection of short stories in the bookshop decided to buy and glad I did as lee brings out visions of bygone years with what Christmas was and other visions of life in 1920's onwards until laurie lee himself was in old age, in parts there is a sense of humour. I remember reading cider with rosie when I was school so when I saw this selection of short stories in the bookshop decided to buy and glad I did as lee brings out visions of bygone years with what Christmas was and other visions of life in 1920's onwards until laurie lee himself was in old age, in parts there is a sense of humour.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Richard Newton

    A series of short observational pieces mostly about various aspects of Lee's life - whether in the well known Slad of Cider with Rosie or his later time in Chelsea, with a few different pieces about the history of places in the Cotswolds and observations on life. Mostly, highly evocative and enjoyable short pieces, with just a few that are not quite of the same standard. A pleasing, gentle read. Read this if you like that warming melancholy for the past that Lee was a master of. Made up of such A series of short observational pieces mostly about various aspects of Lee's life - whether in the well known Slad of Cider with Rosie or his later time in Chelsea, with a few different pieces about the history of places in the Cotswolds and observations on life. Mostly, highly evocative and enjoyable short pieces, with just a few that are not quite of the same standard. A pleasing, gentle read. Read this if you like that warming melancholy for the past that Lee was a master of. Made up of such short pieces an easy book to dip into time and again. As a complete aside, I can't quite get my head around someone who spent so much time eulogising and missing Slad choosing to live in Chelsea - even if it is not quite the same as the Chelsea we now know. The Chelsea he paints is charming and full of interesting characters, but it's not Slad. This detracts nothing from the book, it's just a question that popped into my brain now and again.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Great writing from Mr Lee as always, some sections are better than others but overall the impact of the collection of writings as a whole is memorable and certain turns of phrase are simply unforgettable - 9.5/10. Re-read at Christmas 2019 - still finding the writing so evocative as I have done since first reading Cider with Rosie at school as a teenager, which has always lingered in my memory and prompted me to read everything else he has written - 9.5/10.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    This book just did not turn out to be what I thought it was. The title and the way the book was sectioned by season led me to think this was going to be more seasonally based. The first few essays about Christmas were excellent and I enjoyed a few of the essays about spring but most of the essays were not seasonal in theme.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Colin

    I'm not sure I dare to read Cider with Rosie again. It was something I sweated over at 15 and 16, trying to map out the characters and themes in my mind, in order to regurgitate them onto paper for the o'level examiners and, goddammit, only got a B, but it left an impression on me, all the same, and I feel like his rural childhood in the 30s is almost as present to me as my suburban one in the 70s and 80s. If I were to read it all again, would my memory of it change? Probably. But here's the nex I'm not sure I dare to read Cider with Rosie again. It was something I sweated over at 15 and 16, trying to map out the characters and themes in my mind, in order to regurgitate them onto paper for the o'level examiners and, goddammit, only got a B, but it left an impression on me, all the same, and I feel like his rural childhood in the 30s is almost as present to me as my suburban one in the 70s and 80s. If I were to read it all again, would my memory of it change? Probably. But here's the next best thing: a collection of texts that touch on some of the themes, reflect on changes in the decades after publication; his little bit of fame at the local and national level. I picked it to read because the title was in keeping with the season, but I went in to read the chapters on spring, summer, autumn too, and emerged sticky with nostalgia for a past I don't really remember at all, except as an early literary memory.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Clarissa

    My fifth Laurie Lee book! I believe it could be safe to say that he is my favourite British writer maybe even my actual favourite writer. Village Christmas and Other Notes on the English Year is a selection of nostalgic recollections of his childhood in Gloucestershire, memories of residing in Chelsea London in adult life and other musings in between. The selection is divided loosely around the four seasons. Some of stories are better than others and there was only one that I did not connect wit My fifth Laurie Lee book! I believe it could be safe to say that he is my favourite British writer maybe even my actual favourite writer. Village Christmas and Other Notes on the English Year is a selection of nostalgic recollections of his childhood in Gloucestershire, memories of residing in Chelsea London in adult life and other musings in between. The selection is divided loosely around the four seasons. Some of stories are better than others and there was only one that I did not connect with at all. Lee's signature painterly prose is present as always as he leads the reader through the hazy nostalgia of a vanished world. I could quote, highlight several lines and paragraphs from this but I'll quote just the one; 'The English Spring' 'Almost every place in the world knows some measure of Spring - a moment's thaw, a brief changing of gears, perhaps a pause in the furnace of some desert wind, a burst of rock-flowers, a revving-up of the blood. But Spring comes to England as to no other country, as though this island were its natural home, as though this small platform on the edge of the Atlantic was the original spawning ground of the season. Indeed you might also imagine, to judge from much of our folklore and poetry, the Spring and England had invented each other.'

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lady R

    I grew up in the Cotswolds so this was already going to be an evocative read for me. I also grew up with "cider with Rosie" and it's a book I return to from time to time and love. Lee has a beautiful lyrical writing style - he perfectly conjures up the Christmases & winters of my childhood but it's also a brilliant portrait of a stolen and often now-forgotten way of life. I will keep this book on by bedside table year round to dip into as the seasons change for the perfect escapism. I grew up in the Cotswolds so this was already going to be an evocative read for me. I also grew up with "cider with Rosie" and it's a book I return to from time to time and love. Lee has a beautiful lyrical writing style - he perfectly conjures up the Christmases & winters of my childhood but it's also a brilliant portrait of a stolen and often now-forgotten way of life. I will keep this book on by bedside table year round to dip into as the seasons change for the perfect escapism.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Silvia

    It's not a book just about Christmas, it actually is more like reverence for the British countryside. It's not a book just about Christmas, it actually is more like reverence for the British countryside.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nathalie (keepreadingbooks)

    I will admit, I mainly read this one for the Christmas bits. Or at least, that's why I picked it up in December rather than at any other point this year. And the winter/Christmas part was also by far my favourite, though that could be due to my Christmas-craving mood ;) Laurie Lee writes in an accessible and very human way about growing up in the Cotswolds in a time where the digital age was still a sci-fi dream. Nature obviously plays a large part in his memories, and so do traditions, both Chri I will admit, I mainly read this one for the Christmas bits. Or at least, that's why I picked it up in December rather than at any other point this year. And the winter/Christmas part was also by far my favourite, though that could be due to my Christmas-craving mood ;) Laurie Lee writes in an accessible and very human way about growing up in the Cotswolds in a time where the digital age was still a sci-fi dream. Nature obviously plays a large part in his memories, and so do traditions, both Christian and pagan. That was the essence of village life in the early-to-mid 1900s - traditions, nature, harmony and not least community. Everyone knew everyone and children roamed the village 'roads' freely all year round. It's idyllic, there's no doubt about that, and he laments the loss of that life more than once, but also admits that memories sometimes make things appear more rosy than they were - such as when he exaggerates how 'every' winter back then was filled with snow and clear days. It's always difficult to read about other seasons in a particular season. My mood follows the seasons to a large extent, so reading about summer while getting ready for Christmas made it slightly odd - and probably accounts for the fact that after the 'winter' part, I was just eager to finish it and move on to my next Christmas read. I don't doubt, however, that I'll read more of Lee's work in the near future! /NK

  16. 5 out of 5

    Karen M

    I read this at the start of a new year wanting a little nostalgia, a glimpse of a different time and a partial escape from the present. Lee certainly did not disappoint. The childhood Christmas descriptions with all the details so crisp and bright were the best for me. His poetic use of words , which seems so effortless , leaves clear images of the little choir boys moving round the village houses singing in their clear treble voices, Christmas Eve shopping, the Christmas pudding , the greenery I read this at the start of a new year wanting a little nostalgia, a glimpse of a different time and a partial escape from the present. Lee certainly did not disappoint. The childhood Christmas descriptions with all the details so crisp and bright were the best for me. His poetic use of words , which seems so effortless , leaves clear images of the little choir boys moving round the village houses singing in their clear treble voices, Christmas Eve shopping, the Christmas pudding , the greenery collecting and decorating - and the lovely lines about bringing in the tree . The food , the clothes ... all spring from the pages. It’s interesting to read about his time in Chelsea , a Chelsea that is so far removed from current times , and his Spanish time and people and places tinged by his feelings but for me it’s when he’s in the countryside or his garden that the words come alive.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Holly Williams

    Settling down in the glow of Laurie Lee’s writings has been heaven. It’s been an unprecedentedly quiet year but reading about the slow pace of Cotswold life and local traditions has been the perfect escapism. The seasonal collection is a little disjointed but I loved and needed it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Book-Social

    When suggested last month we snapped up this 150 page or so collection of Lee's descriptions, memoirs and musings. Consisting of Chapters of no more than a few pages, topics included the river Severn, a pub and the landscaping of a garden! Winter, including Christmas, was the opening section so more than met the one rule of book club requirement (we review a Christmas book at Christmas). Spring, Summer and Autumn sections followed and one of the group chose to stop reading after the Winter sectio When suggested last month we snapped up this 150 page or so collection of Lee's descriptions, memoirs and musings. Consisting of Chapters of no more than a few pages, topics included the river Severn, a pub and the landscaping of a garden! Winter, including Christmas, was the opening section so more than met the one rule of book club requirement (we review a Christmas book at Christmas). Spring, Summer and Autumn sections followed and one of the group chose to stop reading after the Winter section in order to read each section in its correct season. I love this idea but would either forget and end up reading them all in Autumn or would get frustrated that I still hadn't finished such a slim book that I had started in 2018. "Children trapped in new concrete estates will be denied the freedom we knew. They'll become prisoners of television, as most children are today, and as they grow up they'll start hanging about the streets in gangs and stealing cars." As the above quote illustrates Village Christmas is unashamedly opinionated and quite often politically incorrect. There was certainly more than a trace of grumpy old man within its lines yet it was refreshing to read such honesty. Lee was clearly comfortable in himself and his ideals and wasn't afraid to express them. For all it was only 150 pages it wasn't necessarily a quick read due to the detailed descriptive writing Lee provided. Some of the group didn't like this however at times the prose was just beautiful. When describing the Lake District: "It resembles from the air a kind of rough-cut jewel hanging from the narrow throat of Scotland, a jagged cameo of crumpled green and blue slivers of lake" A lot of the group loved the book for the way it reminded them of how life was during their childhoods. It certainly harked back to yester year and evoked a time when life was more simple. Lee's Chapter about London shortly after the War (Chelsea Bun) describe a scene unrecognisable to me - no traffic, large houses just abandoned, writers and poets shooting each other with airguns in the street....well that might have just been Lee! Yet in an instant Lee brings the book right up to date with a last Chapter sentence: "Chelsea..... has largely become a parody of what it imagined itself to be, a place to which people travel great distances to find themselves taking photographs of each other, an arena almost entirely filled with spectators." When reading the book I found myself folding down corners of various pages that had lovely little quotes, or spot on observations but had to stop half way through as realised I was turning down nearly every page. I just loved the writing! It is a very English book, I'm not sure what you would get out of it if you had no interest in England. But at a time of year when life is most reflective, I found it the perfect way to end my 2018 reading. We awarded it 7.1 (to be precise).

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gill

    Well, I'm disappointed with this one. It's partly my fault for not reading the description of the book in detail. When I bought it (in an online sale of Christmas type ebooks) I assumed from the cover that it was all short passages about Christmas and winter. Then, when I realised it wasn't, I, quite reasonably, assumed from the title that all the passages were to do with the different seasons etc. Which they are not! So, to summarise, I liked the first very few bits to do with the winter. I dip Well, I'm disappointed with this one. It's partly my fault for not reading the description of the book in detail. When I bought it (in an online sale of Christmas type ebooks) I assumed from the cover that it was all short passages about Christmas and winter. Then, when I realised it wasn't, I, quite reasonably, assumed from the title that all the passages were to do with the different seasons etc. Which they are not! So, to summarise, I liked the first very few bits to do with the winter. I dipped in to other parts of the book, but too many of the passages didn't interest me. So I left the book unfinished.

  20. 4 out of 5

    travelsalongmybookshelf

    💙B O O K R E V I E W 💙 Village Christmas and Other Notes on the English Year - Laurie Lee I absolutely adore the writing of Laurie Lee. This is a collection of Lee’s writings through the changing year and seasons. I have read the Winter collection and aim to read the rest through the coming year. They are set in the Slad Valley in an area of the Cotswolds that I know really well and parts of it are still so similar now - the front cover is almost identical to a photograph I have of my own children 💙B O O K R E V I E W 💙 Village Christmas and Other Notes on the English Year - Laurie Lee I absolutely adore the writing of Laurie Lee. This is a collection of Lee’s writings through the changing year and seasons. I have read the Winter collection and aim to read the rest through the coming year. They are set in the Slad Valley in an area of the Cotswolds that I know really well and parts of it are still so similar now - the front cover is almost identical to a photograph I have of my own children playing in the snow with their friends. The writing is beautiful, lyrical and loving. He brings the people and landscape to life so vividly and recalls traditions lost and some still present. The descriptions of Carol singing, frosted windows, icicles and the glory and wonder of Christmas through a child’s eyes is just wonderful. This is a 5 star read and I know that will not change as I continue to read it through this year

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Hartnup

    I never have liked Laurie Lee. It's all eulogies to the rose-coloured past and grumbles about the present-day and how we're all missing out on the experiences he had in his happy golden childhood. Rubs me up the wrong way, He even says things like "I don't want to sound like an old curmudgeon, but...". I could also do with a lot fewer carefully crafted metaphors and similes. He could learn a thing or two from Hemingway about the merits of spare prose. This book in particular is full of self-indu I never have liked Laurie Lee. It's all eulogies to the rose-coloured past and grumbles about the present-day and how we're all missing out on the experiences he had in his happy golden childhood. Rubs me up the wrong way, He even says things like "I don't want to sound like an old curmudgeon, but...". I could also do with a lot fewer carefully crafted metaphors and similes. He could learn a thing or two from Hemingway about the merits of spare prose. This book in particular is full of self-indulgence, being a collection of essays nobody but a well-established author could get published. No more, thank you.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Howells

    It’s difficult not to feel slightly cheated by this book. It has a sense of being the ‘B sides’ of Laurie Lee -the pieces that didn’t quite make the grade first time around. It’s not clear if these are newspaper articles or random jottings that have remained uncollected until now. That’s not to say there isn’t good stuff in here - he’s reminiscence of a Cotswolds Christmas (which I’ve read before) and the pieces about his life in Chelsea and his ‘day in the life of’ piece are definitely worth pi It’s difficult not to feel slightly cheated by this book. It has a sense of being the ‘B sides’ of Laurie Lee -the pieces that didn’t quite make the grade first time around. It’s not clear if these are newspaper articles or random jottings that have remained uncollected until now. That’s not to say there isn’t good stuff in here - he’s reminiscence of a Cotswolds Christmas (which I’ve read before) and the pieces about his life in Chelsea and his ‘day in the life of’ piece are definitely worth picking up this book for. The rest show the trademark Laurie Lee lyricism but they are mainly inconsequential.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Luke

    Wonderful (christmas) read. Lee is marvelous at describing landscapes, family spheres and particular moods. Although the book covers every season (note this if you are looking for a christmas/winter read because that is how it's marketed), the cozyness and slightly old fashioned Englishness make it feel very festive. This old fashionedneaa is also one of the things that irked me slightly because it means that Lee can come across slightly patriarchal and against technolog. but if you can put this Wonderful (christmas) read. Lee is marvelous at describing landscapes, family spheres and particular moods. Although the book covers every season (note this if you are looking for a christmas/winter read because that is how it's marketed), the cozyness and slightly old fashioned Englishness make it feel very festive. This old fashionedneaa is also one of the things that irked me slightly because it means that Lee can come across slightly patriarchal and against technolog. but if you can put this aside or put it into the context of Lee's zeitgeist, it doesn't have to prevent you from enjoying the book and can even come across quite charming in a grumpy grandpa kinda way ;)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    I wanted to read this because 1. Christmas and 2. Cotswolds where I spent a summer. Hard to rate because I truly enjoyed the wonderful essays about his childhood in the Cotswolds, the idyllic English countryside, and seasonal traditions in that place. The descriptions were beautiful. I found myself re-reading paragraphs just to enjoy them again. The reflections from his childhood and where it took place were what I assumed the whole book would be about. The chapters about his life later on were I wanted to read this because 1. Christmas and 2. Cotswolds where I spent a summer. Hard to rate because I truly enjoyed the wonderful essays about his childhood in the Cotswolds, the idyllic English countryside, and seasonal traditions in that place. The descriptions were beautiful. I found myself re-reading paragraphs just to enjoy them again. The reflections from his childhood and where it took place were what I assumed the whole book would be about. The chapters about his life later on were not my cup of tea. I also loved the chapter following the Severn geographically. That was so neat to Google along as I read and check out all of the places named.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

    Interesting snippets from Laurie Lee's life. There are some great pictures of the Slad valley in Gloucestershire at a certain point in history, 'It's my valley and I want to be returned to the soil and the roots from which I was born.' There are also humorous images of Lee's time in Chelsea, London, where Lee would regularly meet literary characters like Dylan Thomas and shot the poet, Paul Potts one day just because he caused Lee no offence! These were interesting vignettes of Laurie Lee's life Interesting snippets from Laurie Lee's life. There are some great pictures of the Slad valley in Gloucestershire at a certain point in history, 'It's my valley and I want to be returned to the soil and the roots from which I was born.' There are also humorous images of Lee's time in Chelsea, London, where Lee would regularly meet literary characters like Dylan Thomas and shot the poet, Paul Potts one day just because he caused Lee no offence! These were interesting vignettes of Laurie Lee's life but it was hard to get fully absorbed into the book or Lee's life because they were just that, fragments or life pictures that didn't really hold together into one comprehensive whole.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Georgina

    Would rate 4.5 stars if I could. No doubt a lot of the pieces in this book are beautifully written. I could read and probably will read some every year when the season comes around. I felt however that some of the pieces were added just to bulk up the book, and they didn't have much relevance to the chosen season. Saying this, Laurie Lee's writing is beautiful and completely absorbing. I definitely intend to go pick up a copy of Cider With Rosie! Would rate 4.5 stars if I could. No doubt a lot of the pieces in this book are beautifully written. I could read and probably will read some every year when the season comes around. I felt however that some of the pieces were added just to bulk up the book, and they didn't have much relevance to the chosen season. Saying this, Laurie Lee's writing is beautiful and completely absorbing. I definitely intend to go pick up a copy of Cider With Rosie!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    What a sweet collection of stories. I got only a small sampling, as this was done in only 5, 15-minute segments for BBC. Seems like these stories would be the perfect thing for December evenings in the lead up to Christmas, and perhaps for other occasions as well. It's always nice to have some short reading available for when you have a little time to relax. As that time is so precious to all of us these days, you want to make sure it's spent with something you know you'll enjoy. What a sweet collection of stories. I got only a small sampling, as this was done in only 5, 15-minute segments for BBC. Seems like these stories would be the perfect thing for December evenings in the lead up to Christmas, and perhaps for other occasions as well. It's always nice to have some short reading available for when you have a little time to relax. As that time is so precious to all of us these days, you want to make sure it's spent with something you know you'll enjoy.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    Although this was made up of lots of small pieces of writing that didn't really hang together, each individual piece was very enjoyable. The descriptions of the English countryside and seasons were especially beautifully written and evocative of a bygone era; no one writes about the English countryside quite like Laurie Lee. It was interesting reading of his time in a London I could barely recognise today. Although this was made up of lots of small pieces of writing that didn't really hang together, each individual piece was very enjoyable. The descriptions of the English countryside and seasons were especially beautifully written and evocative of a bygone era; no one writes about the English countryside quite like Laurie Lee. It was interesting reading of his time in a London I could barely recognise today.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ken Macfie

    Firstly the book is not about a Village Christmas . It is a series of reminisces put together in a very loose seasonal bundle. The writing in places is wonderful, poetic and comical, full of vivid description particularly of the Cotswold countryside. However some of the chapters feel. as though Mr Lee has been scrabbling through some old jottings and used them to pad out the publication.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

    I’ll be honest, there are a few duds in this collection of essays; and the use of seasons as a theme is tenuous at best. But when an essay hits the mark, it really hits the mark, and there are many essays that do so. And without a doubt, Lee is at his best when writing about the Slad valley and surrounding area.

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