Monday, November 26, 2007

Post-Thanksgiving Plenty

The bird book business has been declared healthy by none other than the November 25 Washington Post. In a review section centerfold flaunting full-color photos of a cock-of-the-rock and other seductive avians, Gregory McNamee introduces a mixed flock of the latest temptations for lovers of birds & books. Titles considered range from an introductory guidebook, National Geographic Birding Essentials, to a biography of birding’s patriarch, Roger Tory Peterson, by Douglas Carlson.
Though McNamee's remarks about each volume are brief, he knows the subject well, remarking in passing, for example, that Scott Weidensaul’s 1999 book Living on the Wind belongs in every birder’s collection. If you’re starting to ponder what new books to bestow on your near and dear ones this holiday, this Post review is a good place to start.

Also consider, in the same Post issue, a review of Colin Tudge’s The Tree: A Natural History of What Trees Are, How They Live, and Why They Matter. The reviewer shares my appreciation for Tudge’s preternatural ability to elucidate complex topics, partly through analogies and anecdotes from outside of science. He frequently quotes Shakespeare and Tennyson, notes the Post, “so that reading The Tree is like being in the company of a kindly biology professor who has strayed into a literature seminar.” I’m hoping to wake up Christmas morning to a copy tucked under my tree.

Any other ideas for nature book gifts this season? Do are some books—such as Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us-- too grim/alarming/depressing to be appropriate presents? What traits make a nature book appealing for gift-giving?


Wild Flora said...

Hi Julie,
None of these are new, but perennial favorites of mine for book giving include:
Anything by Aldo Leopold, but especially (of course) Sand County Almanac
For anyone who lives in the Pacific Northwest: Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest by my friend Russell Link
Anything by the Xerces Society. The butterfly gardening book is good for beginners, people who are beyond that stage would get The Pollinator Conservation Handbook
Heart and Blood: Living With Deer in America by Richard Nelson
Anything by Bernt Heinrich. Bumblebee Economics is great for insect lovers
The Lawn: History of an American Obsession by Virginia Scott Jenkins
Humblebee Bumblebee by Brian L. Griffin
Tracking and the Art of Seeing: How to Read Animal Tracks and Sign by Paul Rezendes
And of course any appropriate field guides are always welcomed.

pinenut said...

Thanks for a great list, Flora! I wouldn't mind several selections from that stack under my tree. I'm also enamoured by Bernt Heinrich books for gifts. He's seriously accurate and thorough, yet never dwells in the threats and losses in the landscapes he knows so well. I was happy to see in today's Washington Post list of best nonfiction books for gift giving--Nature's Engraver, a book about the wildlife art of Thomas Bewick.

Thanks again, Flora. I hope that more people suggest a some good titles!