Gavin F (gavluvsga) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Gavin F

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Book #5: Seashaken Houses by Tom Nancollas

Number of pages: 226

This book is part memoir, and part historical essay, about lighthouses around the British Isles. The found the book quite densely-written, with some unusual words that most people probably wouldn't even know the meaning of, but I found it compelling.

My favourite parts of the book were when the author described his own visits to the lighthouses that are mentioned, describing what is was like to enter them and I enjoyed the vivid picture that was painted of what they looked like inside. One of the best chapters was about how the author spent a week living at Fastnet Lighthouse, which describes his experiences on the lighthouse (which includes wanting to help out with chores even though his hosts insisted he didn't have to), interspliced with stories about the lighthouse's construction.

I noticed that towards the end, the narrative did almost turn into a lament about how most lighthouses are now automated and do not have lighthouse keepers living inside; I kept finding myself picturing the scene where Homer Simpson runs up the lighthouse, hoping to make friends with the lighthouse keeper, only to find nobody there.

This is quite a niche subject, but if you're into historic buildings (it is easy to tell the writer is fascinated with them) and architecture, this is definitely worth reading.

Next book: Have You Eaten Grandma? (Giles Brandreth)
Tags: british, essays, history, memoir, non-fiction, scholarly

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