Christina Riley: 'The seemingly simple act of taking the time to read some of these books is a form of activism'
- Emily Henderson
- 23 October 2019
Glasgow-based artist and founder of The Nature Library discusses the inspiration behind the project and her hopes for its future
Glasgow is already home to many wonderful libraries, but there is, for a few weeks at least, a new reading room in town. The Nature Library, which is on display at Civic House until Wed 30 Oct and The Project Café on Renfrew Street from Sat 16–Sat 30 Nov, is a small, carefully curated 'collection of books celebrating the power of words to connect people with nature'. First opened at Civic House in October, the shelves are lined with classic and contemporary works, fiction and non-fiction, memoir, poetry and children's books. Titles include Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, Kathleen Jamie's Sightlines, John Muir's Mountaineering Essays, Nature Sounds Without Nature Sounds by Maria Sledmere and Tove Jansson's A Winter Book. Visitors cannot take books home, but are welcome to sit and read for as long as they like.
Glasgow-based artist Christina Riley is the founder of The Nature Library. She was inspired to set it up by the John Muir Trust's recent Wild Words campaign, a month-long celebration of nature writing.
'I'm actually not sure how my interest in nature writing came about, but many summers ago I remember picking up a beautiful Henry Bugbee Kane illustrated edition of Cape Cod by Henry David Thoreau in a used bookstore in Hanover, New Hampshire,' says Riley. 'I read it under the trees next to the river that runs along the border into Vermont. Since then I've been drawn to books about nature. It started with just being charmed by different people's observations of the land and sea, but in the past year or so there's definitely been a shift with a focus towards learning, an attempt to understand what's happening.