Featured Review

Recommended Reading About Ebola

Recommended Reading About Ebola

By now you’ve likely read the report that Richard Preston’s best selling book The Hot Zone; the Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus is to be made into a major motion picture by director Ridley Scott. Ordinarily, given the fact that the disease is now front page news in the industrialized world, I would simply chalk such a development up as to be expected. However, as I was not particularly impressed by the book – nor apparently are others far more learned on the subject than myself – I thought I would take the opportunity to recommend a few books addressing the subject that did greatly impress me when I first read them and that I continue to think are well worth reading. Keep reading…

Recent Book Reviews

Discovering the Truth About Nature

Discovering the Truth About Nature

Let’s face it: children ask an astonishing number of questions, and children exposed to even a tiny bit of nature ask an exponentially larger number. Parents – or for that matter, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers and anyone else with an interest in a child’s overall education and well-being – naturally want to be able to provide them with factual answers, or at least direct them to a reliable source where such answers can be found. The problem is that, when it comes to nature at least, for a large number of adults such answers are not always known for certain and in all-too-many cases a well-circulated myth is unknowingly held to be correct. Keep reading…

A Very Important Message Indeed

A Very Important Message Indeed

When a female Passenger Pigeon – named Martha by those who tended to her daily needs at the Cincinnati Zoo – died in her cage on 1 September 1914, a species of bird that only a hundred years prior had numbered in the billions forever vanished from the face of the planet. Other bird species, to say nothing of numerous other species of flora and fauna, have been known to have gone extinct in living memory, but ever since the death of Martha, the extinction of Ecopistes migratorius has haunted human memory. Keep reading…

Newly Noted Books

Nature in Towns and Cities

Nature in Towns and Cities

The last time a New Naturalist series volume was wholly devoted to the subject of nature in an urban area was Richard Fitter’s famous 1945 work London’s Natural History (New Naturalist #3). Now, David Goode once again takes up the subject.

Field Guide to Oregon Rivers

Field Guide to Oregon Rivers

For those seeking to explore, or simply learn more about, the many rivers to be found in the state of Oregon, the publication of Tim Palmer’s Field Guide to Oregon Rivers by Oregon State University Press should come as welcome news indeed.

The Lost Elements

The Lost Elements

I’ll admit that when I received my advance copy of The Lost Elements; The Periodic Table’s Shadow Side from Oxford University Press, I thought that they had quite possibly achieved publishing Nerdvana. A history of the periodic table is one thing – but its “shadow side?” What dark secrets about it could there possibly be?

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Stig Dagerman’s German Autumn

Stig Dagerman’s German Autumn

For the first review to be published in my new “all sorts” blog, I’ve chosen Stig Dagerman’s eye-opening as well as discomfiting collection of reports from post-World War II Germany titled German Autumn.

The Well-equipped Naturalist

Opticron BGA Classic 7x36mm Binocular

Opticron BGA Classic 7x36mm Binocular

Smaller than a conventional full sized binocular but larger than both compact and the increasingly ubiquitous 32mm objective “mid-sized” models, the BGA Classic 7x36mm breaks from both the magnification and objective diameter conventions to provide a highly versatile binocular that is well-suited as both a primary a well as a “sidekick” model.

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Marginalia

Macdonald, Dee, and Lockhart at the LRB Bookshop

Macdonald, Dee, and Lockhart at the LRB Bookshop

Helen Macdonald, Tim Dee, and James Macdonald Lockhart recently gathered to discuss birds at the London Review Bookshop. Fortunately, for those unable to attend, it was recorded and can now be heard via podcast.

On the Importance of Nature to Mental Health

On the Importance of Nature to Mental Health

“I got into bird watching because I discovered I could be on a murder scene and there’d be birds. So I got these little binoculars I’d carry in my pocket because I had to have some connection to the natural world – or the sane world – if I was going to do this.”

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