News that Jack Cooke's The Treeclimber's Guide to London has been snapped up by HarperNonFiction, can be met with delight and wide-eyes. Particularly by readers fond of closer interactions with nature than book-bound day-dreams provide. Tree-clambering is definitely both a primal and a terrifically exciting act (best done sensibly, of course!).
Cooke's title, to be released in Spring next year, has reportedly cost HarperNonFiction a five-figure sum. What the it receives for the outlay is a book Harper's publishing director Jack Fogg calls "one of a kind". The Bookseller reports that Harper nicked the book in a rather active five-publisher auction, so that bodes well. And Fogg particularly seems thrilled with Harper's catch:
Jack’s book is truly one of a kind. He writes beautifully on nature and its convergence with city life, and brings an elegant, lyrical and unassuming tone to his writing which fits perfectly with the subject.
What's the book actually about? It's Cooke's "charming account of the 80 or so trees" he has climbed in/around London in the period of a year. If that sounds somewhat left-field, it's clearly delivered in a style which makes publisher's knees go a-quiver - and it's sparking a little fire of joyful abandon within us.
Cooke's accounts will also be partnered by monochrome line drawings from his wife, Jennifer. Which, honestly, sounds the perfect accompaniment to her husband's words.
Of course we'll wait to see what the finished article does for the senses. But we're half-expecting our younger book-devouring selves to be quite satiated. As much as our youthful desire for acutely realised freedom and adventure.