Light Rains Sometimes Fall by Lev Parikian [7/10]

Light Rains Sometimes Fall: A British Year Through Japan’s 72 Seasons” is the latest quirky, rewarding outing of British conductor and nature chronicler Lev Parikian. Framing a year as six dozen traditional Japanese “seasons” of around five days, with each chapter listing the Japanese traditional phrases associated with each “season,” the author describes a year of exploring his own British town turf: the cemetery, the streets, the parks, his own garden. And of course his project fitted perfectly into the pandemic-locked-down world we faced over 2020 and into 2021. Parikian is a devout birder, and superb at describing birds and their sounds and habits, but he’s also an endlessly curious naturalist, beginning journeys of learning about butterflies, plants, wasps, you name it. His effortless style marries lyricism, intelligence, humor and adept pacing. Listen: “But without getting too ‘the stars are God’s daisy chain’ about it, all I can say is that after five minutes of simply standing still in the presence of this bird, I feel better. Would I go so far as to say it sparks joy? I would.” And: “Yes, light rains do sometimes fall, as do heavy ones. And then there are the occasional torrential downpours, the kind that feel like some sort of endurance test.” I strongly recommend Light Rains Sometimes Fall; if any book can persuade you to see more closely, this is it.

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