If ever a book embodied the truth behind the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words it is Errol Fuller’s new Lost Animals; Extinction and the Photographic Record, for while somewhat sparing in text, the photographs it includes speak volumes. Indeed, it might even be said that the light touch given to the amount of text included allows the stories of the animals to be told all the more effectively by the photographs themselves.
Many readers will no doubt already be familiar with Mr. Fuller’s work conveying the fascinating stories of many of the planet’s vanished creatures in such previous of his books as Extinct Birds, Dodo: From Extinction to Icon, and The Great Auk. Combining his talents as both a writer as well as an artist, Mr. Fuller has a particular knack for using imagery to the greatest effect in recounting the life histories of his subjects in order that his readers may come away from his books with a sense of just what has been lost. However in Lost Animals, he may have exceeded even his own previously set high standards. Keep reading…
Recent Book Reviews
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…
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…
Newly Noted Books
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
“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.”