It may be a comment on human nature, but there seems to be an innate instinct in our species to try to classify anything we encounter that is new or different by comparing it with things with which we are already familiar. "Lundy, Rockall, Dogger, Fair Isle, A Celebration of the Islands Around Britain" by Mathew Clayton & Anthony Atkinson is a book that is in many ways unique, but we still found ourselves thinking of it in terms of other books it reminded us of.
What you find between the covers is an evocation of everything that so many of us find so alluring about islands. The love of both the author and the illustrator of this book for their subject matter shines out of every page. The book is divided into 35 chapters, each of between two and eight pages. The text of the book, almost in its entirety, appears to be hand-written with pen and ink, which gave us our first point of reference: think of Wainwright and his seven-volume "Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells" and you get the idea. It is also beautifully illustrated with pen and ink drawings: think Wainwright again, or, for islands, think of Hamish Haswell-Smith.
The result is a book that feels like a work of art in its own right. The title obviously comes from four islands (more accurately, as the authors point out, three existing and one long-lost island) that feature in weather forecasts for shipping. An idea of the coverage can be gained from the approach taken to Scottish islands. The Hebrides is given a couple of pages of general introduction, followed by individual sections on Colonsay, Eilach An Naomih, Eilean Ban, Eriskay, Flannan Isles, Jura, Lewis, Luchruban, Rum, Skye Staffa and North Rona. As is obvious from that list, islands included range from the large and well known to the very small and very little known. There really is something here for everyone, and however well you think you know the islands around the coasts of Britain, there is a great deal here that will be new and fascinating. And that's before you get to the final section, covering "Islands of the Imagination", which include Kirrin Island, Sodor and Summer Isle.