Stones of Aran: Pilgrimmage, Tim Robinson 1986

Tim Robinson a British cartographer and writer,  moved his family to the Aran Islands off the West coast of Ireland in 1975 and launched a massive  conceptual art project.  He decided to map the largest island of the group of three, connecting the physical features of the island with folk tales, historical events, and commentary by the current islanders.   Walking along the coast of this island that totals <10 square miles from the eastern tip and returning to that point many weeks or months later, Robinson details the cliffs, bays, rock outcroppings, and storm beaches and accompanies those observations with history, botany, folklore, and the observations of the current inhabitants.  I love the concept, but the book was a hard slog.  There's only so much I could read about cliffs and limestone, storm beaches and clefts in the rock.  I admire Robinson's concept, but the 370 pages might well have better been reduced by 90% to a brief article.  I feel badly criticizing this book since Robinson died in April from COVID at the age of 85 just two weeks after his wife died.  This book and a subsequent work in which he described his travels through the center of this island will stand for a long time as a tribute to his idea and his work. Shop your local indie bookstore