Birdbooker Report 322

26 May 2014 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. Aldhous, Chris. Ghosts of Gone Birds. 2013. Bloomsbury. Paperback: 256 pages. Price: $42.95 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US].
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A visual record of the first four Ghosts of Gone Birds exhibitions, this book introduces the ideas behind this unique art and conservation project, providing a platform for the artists to tell us why they got involved, and how they approached the brief – to “breathe life back into the birds we have lost – so we don’t lose any more”.
    Featuring the work of more than 180 artists and writers, Ghosts of Gone Birds captures the dazzling diversity of gone birds that exist beyond the familiar shape of the Dodo, and re-introduces the world to the delights of species like the Red-moustached Fruit Dove, the Snail-eating Coua and the Laughing Owl.
    IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: An interesting collection of bird art and essays relating to extinct species.
  2. Birkhead, Tim. The Red Canary: The Story of the First Genetically Engineered Animal. 2003 (2014). Bloomsbury. Paperback: 268 pages. Price: $17.00 U.S. [Amazon UK; Amazon US].
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The creation of Dolly the sheep in the 1990s was for many people the start of a new era: the age of genetically modified animals. However, the idea was not new, for in the 1920s an amateur scientist, Hans Duncker, decided to genetically engineer a red canary.
    Favored originally for their voice, by the middle of the nineteenth century canaries had become so popular that millions were exported from Europe to the United States to satisfy demand. During the 1870s, English canary breeders caused a scandal by feeding their birds red peppers to turn them orange. In the 1930s, Duncker’s genetics efforts caught the attention of the Nazi regime who saw him as a champion of their eugenic policies, even though his ingenious experiments were not successful.
    Nonetheless, Duncker’s work paved the way thirty years later for an Englishman, Anthony Gill, and an American, Charles Bennett, to succeed, after recognizing that the red canary would need to be a product of both nature and nurture. In Tim Birkhead’s masterful hands, this highly original narrative reveals how the obsession of bird keepers turned the wild canary from green to red, and in the process, heralded exciting but controversial developments in genetic manipulation.
    IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: First published in the USA as A Brand New Bird. A new preface has been added for this edition.

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

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