BOOKS FOR BIRDERS
Audubon, John James, The
Audubon Society Baby Elephant Folio:
Audubon's Birds of America (R.T. Peterson, V. Peterson, eds.),
Abbeville Press, New York, 1981
If it will fit your house or your budget,
own this. It's
dictionary-sized, beautiful, and full of the most important paintings
of birds ever made.
Austin, Oliver L., Jr., Birds of the World, Golden Press, New
A terrific overview of global ornithology,
with great full-color
illustrations by Arthur Singer
Burton, Robert, National Audubon Society North American Birdfeeder
Handbook, Dorling Kindersley, London/New York/Stuttgart, 1992
A practical guide for anyone who wants to
bring birds into his or
her life, or just get more information on the ones you already have.
Catesby, Mark, Catesby's Birds of Colonial America, University of
North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC, 1985
Before Audubon, there was Catesby, the
first naturalist to paint
our continent's birds.
Connor, Jack, The Complete Birder: A Guide to Better Birding,
Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, 1988
If you've been birding for a while and want
to take the next
step, Connor knows exactly where you should put your feet.
Ehrlich, Paul R., David S. Dobkin and Darryl Wheye, Birds in
Jeopardy, Stanford University Press, Stanford, Cal., 1992
Forbush, Edward Howe (John Bichard May, ed.), A Natural History of
American Birds of Eastern and Central North America, Bramhall House,
New York, 1939
The classic, described lovingly by E.B.
Ford, Alice, John James Audubon, University of Oklahoma Press,
Norman, OK, 1964
Heinzel, Hermann and Martin Woodcock, Collins Guide to the Birds of
Britain and Europe, William Collins Sons & Co LTD, London, 1978
Birding, unlike politics, does not stop at
the water's edge.
Take this across the pond.
Hill, Jen, An
Exhilaration of Wings: The Literature of Birdwatching,
Penguin Books, New York, 1999
The ornithological words of everyone from
Thoreau to Browning to
Teddy Roosevelt; a delightful way to spend a day when the weather's
too nasty for birding.
Long, John L., Introduced Birds of the World, Terrey Hills, Sydney,
NSW: Reed, 1981
Pasquier, Roger, Watching Birds, Houghton Mifflin Company,
Pearson, T. Gilbert, ed., Birds of America, Garden City Publishing
Company, Garden City, NY, 1936
The massive book my grandmother got me from
the Beaufort County
Library's discard pile; if you find one in a similar place, or maybe
a used bookstore, don't hesitate to grab it.
Peterson, Roger Tory, ed., The Bird Watcher's Anthology, Harcourt,
Brace and Company, New York, 1957
Peterson, Roger Tory, A
Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North
America, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1980
The Birder's Bible. Period. Go buy it.
Right now. Chop chop.
Scott, Shirley F., ed., Field Guide to the Birds of North
America (2nd Edition), National Geographic Society, Washington,
An excellent supplement to the Peterson; it
covers the whole of
the continental U.S. in one volume, too, which makes it convenient
for birders in the East or in the West.
Sill, Ben L., Cathryn P. and John C., Another
Field Guide to Little-Known & Seldom-Seen Birds of North
Publishers, Ltd., Atlanta, 1990
A hilarious and lovingly illustrated guide
to birds that really
ought to exist.
Stokes, Donald and Lillian, Stokes
Field Guide to Birds/ Eastern Region, Little, Brown and
Company, Boston/New York/Toronto/London,
Another excellent supplementary field
guide, illustrated with photographs.
White, E.B., Essays
of E.B. White, Harper & Row, New
York/Hagerstown/San Francisco/London, 1977
Well, maybe it's not that useful from a
except for the essay "Mr. Forbush's Friends, but damn, the man could
PC'S RECENT READS
Alterman, Eric, What Liberal Media?
Painstaking research, overwhelming logic, wry observation—this is why
we need a free press. (And why it's important to note that the one we have
isn't the one many people think we have.) A splendid book for explaining the
difference between what people say and what's actually true.
Beagle, Peter S., Tamsin
A beautiful and engrossing ghost story from one of fantasy's masters, with
one of the best teen narrators you'll ever meet, Jennie Gluckstein.
Eugenides, Jeffrey, Middlesex
A sprawling multigenerational narrative of changing roles, changing nationalities,
and even changing genders, written with verve, depth, and originality.
Frank, Thomas, What’s the Matter with Kansas?
If all politics is local, we can all learn a lot from Frank's pointed observations
about Kansas' shift from home of radical economic populism to hotbed of reactionary
anti-intellectualism. Thought-provoking and intriguing.
Gaiman, Neil, with Adam Kubert, Richard Isanove et al., 1602
The heroes of the Marvel Comics universe, from Daredevil to Dr. Strange to
the X-Men, come to life four hundred years too soon, and it's more than Elizabethan
England can handle. Gorgeous artwork and delightful recasting of familiar
characters and situations.
Le Guin, Ursula K., The Lathe of Heaven
One of her true masterworks, this is a tale about
dreams, reality, and the dangers that await those who seek to breach the wall
between them. It's by
Le Guin—it's going to be great.
McPhee, John, The Founding Fish
Everything you ever wanted to know about shad fishing—more
than everything, actually, but in McPhee's capable hands, there's not a subject
on earth that
Moore, Christopher, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood
It's not for believers in Biblical inerrancy, but if you believe God has a
sense of humor, you'll love this.
Pratchett, Terry, Going Postal
One of the best of the recent Discworld books, this
account of a con man assigned the task of organizing the Ankh-Morpork Post Office
stands alone, but gives
Pterry's fans a look at plenty of their favorite characters.
Rhodes, Richard, John James Audubon: The Making of an American
A detailed and complex portrait of America's first
great nature artist. (And yes, I reviewed it for OnEarth Magazine.)
Ruth, Maria Rudd, Rare Bird: Pursuing the Mystery of the Marbled Murrelet
A quirky and personal account of the author's obsession with the titular bird
and its maddeningly mysterious nesting habits. (And yes, I wrote a blurb
Schulz, Charles M., The Complete Peanuts: 1950-1952
The first two years of Charlie Brown and his pals,
done in the minimalist style that defined the American comic strip for decades
afterwards. A beautiful
package from Fantagraphics Books, and a fitting treatment for one of the
medium's true greats.
Vowell, Sarah, The Partly-Cloudy Patriot
For every geeky American whose heart beats a little
faster when hearing the words "Free Exercise Clause," "Spoils
System," or "Bull
Moose Party." A collection of hilarious, thoughtful, and touching essays
on American history and culture.
Whedon, Joss, with John Cassaday et al, Astonishing X-Men: Gifted
The creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel turns to penning the adventures
of my favorite super-team from high school? And he gets the artist of Planetary
to come along? Why the hell wouldn't I think this is the greatest thing since
Winick, Judd, The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius
As inventive as Isaac Asimov, as hilarious as Douglas
Adams, and as cheerfully profane as George Carlin, Winick has created a science-geek
South Park, but
with far better artwork and even more four-letter words. Absolutely priceless.