Birdbooker Report 301

30 December 2013 by GrrlScientist, posted in Birdbooker Report

SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts.


“Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin.
Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.)

Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.

~ Arnold Lobel [1933-1987] author of many popular children's books.

Compiled by Ian "Birdbooker" Paulsen, the Birdbooker Report is a weekly report that has been published online for years, listing the wide variety of nature, natural history, ecology, animal behaviour, science and history books that have been newly released or republished in North America and in the UK. The books listed here were received by Ian during the previous week, courtesy of various publishing houses.

New and Recent Titles:

  1. Crawforth, Anthony. The Butterfly Hunter: The Life of Henry Walter Bates. 2009. University of Buckingham Press. Hardbound: 272 pages. Price: $43.95 U.S./£25.00 U.K. [Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US].
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Henry Walter Bates is remembered today as the author of A Naturalist on the River Amazons, a science travel book that when it was first published in 1863, immediately became a best seller. His adventures, as a peripatetic collector, were his way of making a living free from the constraints of middle class Victorian Britain. His writing was similar in style to Bruce Chatwin’s and brought the Amazons, its flora, fauna and people, into the Victorian drawing room. Bates was also a competent self-taught natural scientist with finely tuned observational skills.
    Aware of the direction in which evolutionary science was moving before he went to the Amazon; he related all he observed in the light of evolution by natural selection. His field observations were the first to give practical support to Charles Darwin’s theory as it developed. Bates noticed that some palatable butterflies flying in the Amazons copied other unpalatable ones in shape, colour, pattern, and habits, so well that predators were fooled and left them alone, thinking they were all the same. Known today as Batesian mimicry, Darwin was intrigued and used this new knowledge as proof that species were not immutable, that change was occurring all around him all of the time, and sometimes that change led directly to new species.
    IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with an interest in natural history history.
  2. Olsen, Penny. Flocks of Colour. 2013. NLA Publishing. Paperback: 216 pages. Price: $39.99 (AUD) (about $35.43 U.S.). [kindle UK; kindle US].
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: What name could be a more apt description of Australia than ‘The Land of Parrots’, a name inspired by late sixteenth-century maps showing a southern region labelled ‘Psittacorum regio’? This beautiful book takes a close look at parrots in Australia, from the first published illustration of an Australian parrot—a Rainbow Lorikeet collected live on Cook’s 1770 voyage—to William T. Cooper’s twentieth-century watercolour of the elusive Night Parrot.
    With introductory essays by ornithologist Penny Olsen, Flocks of Colour covers two and a quarter centuries of discovery and illustration of Australia’s avifauna. It features a rich portfolio of images of all the Australian parrots, by various artists including John Gould, Edward Lear, Neville W. Cayley and William T. Cooper, selected from the collections of the National Library of Australia, The foreword is by Joseph Forshaw, a world expert on the parrot family.
    IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: This title would make a nice gift book for someone with an interest in Australian parrots and/or bird art. Purchase hard copies here.

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Ian "Birdbooker" Paulsen is an avid book collector who is especially well-known to the publishing world. Mr Paulsen collects newly-published books about nature, animals and birds, science, and history, and he also collects children's books on these topics. Mr Paulsen writes brief synopses about these books on his website, The Birdbooker Report.

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