The Bedside Book of Birds: An Avian Miscellany PDF/EPUB

The Bedside Book of Birds: An Avian Miscellany In this stunning assemblage of words and images, novelist and avid birdwatcher Graeme Gibson has crafted an extraordinary tribute to the venerable relationship between humans and birds Birds have ever been the symbols of our highest aspirations As divine messengers, symbols of our yearning for the heavens, or avatars of glorious song and colour, they have stirred our imaginations from the moment we first looked into the sky Whether as the Christian dove, or Quetzalcoatl the Aztec Plumed Serpent or in Plato s vision of the human soul growing wings and feathers, religion and philosophy have looked to birds as representatives of our better selves that part of us not bound to the earth With the passion of a birdwatcher and hoarder of words, Gibson has spent fifteen years collecting the literary and artistic forms our affinity for birds has taken over the centuries Birds appear again and again in mythology and folk tales, and in literature by writers as diverse as Ovid, Thomas Hardy, Kafka, Thoreau and TS Eliot They ve been omens, allegories, disguises and guides they ve been worshipped, eaten, feared and loved Nor does Gibson forget the fascination they hold for science, as the Galapagos finches did for Darwin Birds figure charmingly and tellingly in the work of such nature writers as Gilbert White, Peter Matthiessen, Farley Mowat and Barry Lopez Gorgeously illustrated, woven from centuries of human response to the delights of the feathered tribes, The Bedside Book of Birds is for anyone who is aware of birds, and for everyone who is intrigued by the artistic forms that humanity has created to represent its soul A nice collection of art and short stories about birds. I picked this one up aaaages ago, maybe over a year even Was really enjoying it too, but it got lost amidst the piles and piles of other half started books about the place There are many many such like, which are much loved but lie semi abandoned about the place I have too many books and that is a fact But one I am very happy to live with At some point at the end of last year, I made a promise to myself to finish it, reading small bits from it on a regular basis, as I said,because it s th I picked this one up aaaages ago, maybe over a year even Was really enjoying it too, but it got lost amidst the piles and piles of other half started books about the place There are many many such like, which are much loved but lie semi abandoned about the place I have too many books and that is a fact But one I am very happy to live with At some point at the end of last year, I made a promise to myself to finish it, reading small bits from it on a regular basis, as I said,because it s the kind of book you read from in small morsels anyway or that you peck at like a birdI ve taken photos of some of the gorgeous artwork in this book along the way to share on Instagram artist credits at bottom of post , and a couple of poems too, such as the following This is a wonderful collection of short pieces around the avian theme which is a delight to page through It features excerpts from novels and short stories I was pleased to find a few pages from Haruki Murakami s The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, which I d read sometime in the 90s and been meaning to reread ever since, so be prepared to add to your groaning wishlist and tbr too This is often a very melancholy tome, as man s relationship with birds has historically been that of predator, and they our innocent victims Here s a heartbreaker from The Heron by Giorgio Bassanithough wounded, though weakened by loss of blood, and consequentlyanxious than ever to enjoy there, sheltered from the wind, the last warmth from the sun, at a certain moment it had thought that it was wise still, immediately, to move on The long strip of land, over there, thickly covered with vegetation,or less the same color as its feathers, and mostly tall enough to allow it to walk there without being seen, perhaps represented what best suited the bird s needs To hide in there, for the present, waiting for night, which was now near and afterwards, afterwards it would see what could be done It went farther and farther away, painfully dragging its shattered wing after it and he thought he could read in its narrow, obstinate little neck all this reasoning But how mistaken it was, he suddenly said to himself, it fooled itself to such a degree the strip of land was all right, it would get there but with all the blood it was still shedding, the dog, soon unleashed to search for it, wouldn t have the slightest difficulty in flushing it , it was wrong to such a degree, obviously, poor stupid animal, that if he hadn t felt that shooting at it would seem, to him, shooting in a sense at himself, he would have fired at once Then, at least, it would be all over and then I bought The Novel of Ferrara Countless poems and stories feature these plumed beauties, and I will be all theattuned to the mention of birds in fiction from now on This volume now joins a growing collection of gorgeous Bird Books on my Natural History shelf, alongside Gibson s companion book, The Bedside Book of Beasts, another splendid and much recommended book, though equally heartbreaking Graeme Gibson is a novelist, a past president of PEN Canada and a member of of the Order of Canada Among many other things, he has been a council member of the World Wildlife Fund of Canada and is chairman of the Pelee Island Bird Observatory PIBO Half of the after tax royaties from this book are donated to PIBO Probably of most interest to GR readers, Gibson lives in Toronto with his spouse, the writer Margaret Atwood Artwork Goldfinch, K Svolinsky 1896 1986 , Czech An owl, a heron, and a crane from Codex Canadiensis, L Nicolas 1634 after 1698 , France Buntings, A F Lydon 1836 1917 , England Two Swans, O Eckmann 1865 1902 , Germany Everything about this book is of interest There was the selection of passages included, which ranged from ancient to modern Many kinds of birds were discussed, from the extinct passenger pigeon to common birds, from the small lecherous sparrow to the giant dangerous cassowary A variety of genres were covered travelogues, literature, poetry, religious and mythological writings, natural history The whole breadth of history was looked at, from prehistoric times to the present Last but definit Everything about this book is of interest There was the selection of passages included, which ranged from ancient to modern Many kinds of birds were discussed, from the extinct passenger pigeon to common birds, from the small lecherous sparrow to the giant dangerous cassowary A variety of genres were covered travelogues, literature, poetry, religious and mythological writings, natural history The whole breadth of history was looked at, from prehistoric times to the present Last but definitely not least, there were the gorgeous illustrations Some birds, such as owls, ravens, falcons, albatrosses and vultures, appeared inthan one entry, but that did not bother me Of course environmental themes were discussed, such as the slaughter of various species But the humorous and positive associations we have with birds were also looked at This is a delightful book for anyone interested in history, science, folklore, culture or art I could not resist the cover of this book and for me it s strongest feature are the old paintings of birds from throughout history and cultures.The paintings are accompanied by poems, stories, folk tales and nonfiction travelogues about, you guessed it, birds.The author has divided the stories up according to topic creation stories of the world, birds as sentient creatures, how birds were prepared as food, reports by explorers and adventurers, and birds that are in turn the predators It s a ni I could not resist the cover of this book and for me it s strongest feature are the old paintings of birds from throughout history and cultures.The paintings are accompanied by poems, stories, folk tales and nonfiction travelogues about, you guessed it, birds.The author has divided the stories up according to topic creation stories of the world, birds as sentient creatures, how birds were prepared as food, reports by explorers and adventurers, and birds that are in turn the predators It s a nice mix of real reports of birds and stories of fantasy and supernatural with birds as the subject.But the most appealing aspect of this book are the beautiful illustrations That alone is worth possessing the book

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