Kate Humble is a writer and broadcaster specialising in science, wildlife and rural affairs. Together with her husband she runs Humble by Nature, a rural skills education centre on a working farm near Monmouth in the Wye Valley. She lives in permanently muddy jeans on a smallholding in Wales.
Winnie the Pooh
by A A Milne
My father used to read this to me when I was very young—he used different voices for all the animals.
The characterisation was so clever; we all know someone just like each inhabitant of the Hundred Acre Wood: gloomy Eeyore; thick but loyal Pooh; enthusiastic Tigger.
A A Milne was masterful in exploring the way they got along together, opening my eyes to how society really works.
Last Chance to See
by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine
This book tells of the authors’ adventures as they set out to find the rarest of animals, those on the brink of extinction.
Their travels are rather hectic and they share a wonderful humour, which really appealed to me. Yet underpinning everything is the realisation that we can’t just sit back and allow species to disappear.
I read the book in my teens when I’d barely travelled. But the idea that we must take responsibility for our fragile planet was a hugely inspiring one to me. I’ve never looked back.
Read more: David Attenborough on climate change
by Paul Theroux
I’ve always loved Theroux’s travel writing, but this novel took my breath away. I picked it out in a second-hand bookshop, read the first paragraph and thought, How does he do that?
The words aren’t long or complicated but, from that first paragraph, his writing grabs you by the nose hairs and drags you along.
I had an art teacher who told me, “You’re only an artist when you’ve found your own style, not when you’re copying someone else,” and Theroux epitomises this.
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