Wednesday, October 29, 2014
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Boobies, Peckers & Tits: One Man’s Naked Perspective documents Olaf’s epic quest, which combined seeing as many species of birds In one year…while he was nude.
Called “wickedly extraordinary,” the never-to-be-forgotten tales range from being shot at in Texas to a heart-stopping chase by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone, all while trying his best to avoid arrest. Described by Olaf as containing “rampant nudity,” Boobies, Peckers & Tits as also a story filled with a love and respect for nature and family as well as the realization that, with the passing of each day, now is the time to start that life quest.
RECOMMENDATION: An unusual tale of an unusual big year!
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
1) Fisher, Celia. The Magic of Birds. 2014. British Library. Hardbound: 160 pages. Price: $30.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Of all the animals with which we share the planet, few have captured people’s imaginations as thoroughly, or enchantingly, as birds. Symbols of freedom but also of captivity, good fortune but also ill omen, the human spirit and the unknowable animal—birds have delighted and haunted us for millennia.
The Magic of Birds brings that fascination to the printed page. A marvelous mix of words and images, it carries readers around the globe, from the myths of ancient Egypt to the Finnish epic The Kalevala, to find the tracks of birds in art and literature. We see birds peeking out of illuminated medieval manuscripts, swooping across antique maps, and preening in natural history paintings. Alongside, Celia Fisher offers a dazzling cultural history of birds, tracing their presence, as animals and symbols, in the literature, art, and religion of Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas.
A truly stunning volume, worthy of our eternal love affair with birds, The Magic of Birds is the perfect book to set beside your birdseed and binoculars.
RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated introduction to the relationships between birds and Humans.
Monday, October 27, 2014
Thursday, October 23, 2014
1) Beolens, Bo, Michael Watkins, Michael Grayson. The Eponym Dictionary of Birds. 2014. Bloomsbury. Hardbound: 624 pages. Price: $86.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Birdwatchers often come across bird names that include a person's name, either in the vernacular (English) name or latinised in the scientific nomenclature. Such names are properly called eponyms, and few people will not have been curious as to who some of these people were (or are).
Names such as Darwin, Wallace, Audubon, Gould and (Gilbert) White are well known to most people. Keener birders will have yearned to see Pallas's Warbler, Hume's Owl, Swainson's Thrush, Steller's Eider or Brünnich's Guillemot. But few people today will have even heard of Albertina's Myna, Barraband's Parrot, Guerin's Helmetcrest or Savigny's Eagle Owl. This extraordinary new work lists more than 4,000 eponymous names covering 10,000 genera, species and subspecies of birds. Every taxon with an eponymous vernacular or scientific name (whether in current usage or not) is listed, followed by a concise biography of the person concerned. These entries vary in length from a few lines to several paragraphs, depending on the availability of information or the importance of the individual's legacy. The text is punctuated with intriguing or little-known facts, unearthed in the course of the authors' extensive research.
Ornithologists will find this an invaluable reference, especially to sort out birds named after people with identical surnames or in situations where only a person's forenames are used. But all birders will find much of interest in this fascinating volume, a book to dip into time and time again whenever their curiosity is aroused.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with an interest in ornithological etymology.
1) Campbell, Iain, Sam Woods and Nick Leseberg. Birds of Australia: A Photographic Guide. 2014. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 391 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Australia is home to a spectacular diversity of birdlife, from parrots and penguins to emus and vibrant passerines. Birds of Australia covers all 714 species of resident birds and regularly occurring migrants and features more than 1,100 stunning color photographs, including many photos of subspecies and plumage variations never before seen in a field guide. Detailed facing-page species accounts describe key identification features such as size, plumage, distribution, behavior, and voice. This one-of-a-kind guide also provides extensive habitat descriptions with a large number of accompanying photos. The text relies on the very latest IOC taxonomy and the distribution maps incorporate the most current mapping data, making this the most up-to-date guide to Australian birds.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with an interest in the birds of Australia.
2) Bach, Richard. Jonathan Livingston Seagull: The Complete Edition. 2014. Scribner. Paperback: 133 pages. Price: $12.99 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The new complete edition of a timeless classic that includes the never-before-published Part Four and Last Words by Richard Bach.
This is the story for people who follow their hearts and make their own rules…people who get special pleasure out of doing something well, even if only for themselves…people who know there’s more to this living than meets the eye: they’ll be right there with Jonathan, flying higher and faster than they ever dreamed.
A pioneering work that wed graphics with words, Jonathan Livingston Seagull now enjoys a whole new life.
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of the book can now read the final Part Four.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In 1976 a deadly virus emerged from the Congo forest. As swiftly as it came, it disappeared, leaving no trace. Over the four decades since, Ebola has emerged sporadically, each time to devastating effect. It can kill up to 90 percent of its victims. In between these outbreaks, it is untraceable, hiding deep in the jungle. The search is on to find Ebola’s elusive host animal. And until we find it, Ebola will continue to strike. Acclaimed science writer and explorer David Quammen first came near the virus while he was traveling in the jungles of Gabon, accompanied by local men whose village had been devastated by a recent outbreak. Here he tells the story of Ebola—its past, present, and its unknowable future.
Extracted from Spillover by David Quammen, updated and with additional material.
RECOMMENDATION: A quick introduction on a topic that's in the headlines.