A few from the bookshelf

Sponsorship, freebies etc

I was recently asked at a shoot whether I’m sponsored by any archery retailers or suppliers, when it comes to getting hands on books or equipment for my reviews.

The simple answer to this is no, I’m not sponsored by anyone or linked to any company.
As many of you know I’m a registered NFAS coach and a member of a couple of archery clubs but that is all. I don’t work for an archery company, though I do occasionally write for Bow International.

Bow international

I have occasionally been given products to review and I’m happy to do this, but it is on the understanding that it is a fair and honest review based on my experience and not a promotional piece.
When I have written equipment reviews for items I’ve been given, I will submit the review to the supplier, for feedback and comment. This has meant that on a couple of occasions I’ve pulled a review. I feel very strongly that any review I give is as fair as it can be, based on my experiences or observations. I would like to thank those suppliers who have been good enough and open enough to offer their equipment for my perspective.
Most of the time though I’ve just bought the book or item myself out of my own pocket, reading it, trying the techniques, testing it, sometimes to destruction. This is why I don’t get to write many reviews as I do take my time trying stuff out and limited funds.
Check out the different reviews by clicking on the categories list
Thanks for reading.

Literature Review – My Outdoor Life by Ray Mears

Ray Mears - My Outdoor Life

Ray Mears – My Outdoor Life

As many of you will know I normally write reviews of archery related books, but this was a birthday gift and since Ray Mears is well known for being an outdoors enthusiast I thought I would include his book here. Some of you the UK readers may have caught his recent TV series exploring France’s wilder parts. Anyway I hope no one objects to me including it here.
The copy of the book I have is over 350 pages, a paperback published by Hodder & Stoughton (www.hodder.co.uk) for those interested the ISBN 978-1-444-77821-2
It covers his life from early childhood and the development of his desire to learn about woodland skills, to his involvement with television and his numerous expeditions taking him to the four corners of the globe. I wonder how many passports he’s gone through in his time?
Included in the book is his account of a helicopter crash that nearly cost his life along with members of his film crew. I can’t help but think how lucky they were to survive.
This wasn’t the first book by him I’ve read, that being The Real Heroes of Telemark, which if you have a chance I would highly recommend.
I found this book a very easy and engaging read, written in a manner that encourages you to imagine him talking to you, possibly reminiscing on past adventures and trips, over a shared campfire. I feel it gives a far greater insight into the man who many will know from his television series or bushcraft books. It goes some way to exploring what has shaped his life, from early judo lessons, on to the expeditions in Africa, all providing a greater level of detail than I was expecting. It is a very brave person who can open themselves up and discuss their feelings and beliefs in this way, being both honest and open, whilst not fishing for compliments or favour. I feel this is very apparent where he writes of the loss of his first wife and the turmoil that engulfed him.

Ray Mears inside the book

Ray Mears inside the book

One thing I found of interest was his analysis of how TV documentary makers have changed from when he started and now. How they afford less time to expeditions, expecting filming to be completed in far less time than in the past. Maybe this explains why some modern documentaries feel as though they are lacking in depth. Could this be a reflection of the speed we now are forced to live our lives at. Expecting fast facts and data?
Overall I’ve enjoyed the book and have little doubt that I won’t reread it from time to time.
To give it a rating almost feels wrong as though rating the man and his achievements which I am sure are not yet ended. In fact he has just completed a new series on UK television. For that very reason I’m going to give a 9/10 as I’m sure he’s got more stories and adventures to come.
Thanks for reading