Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Birdbooker Report 115

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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.

The Birdbooker Report is a special weekly report of a wide variety of science, nature and behavior books that currently are, or soon will be available for purchase. This report is written by one of my Seattle birding pals and book collector, Ian “Birdbooker” Paulsen, and is edited by me and published here for your information and enjoyment. Below the fold is this week’s issue of The Birdbooker Report which lists ecology, environment, natural history and bird books that are (or will soon be) available for purchase.


New and Recent Titles:

  1. Hahn, Kimiko. Toxic Flora: Poems. 2010. W.W.Norton. Hardbound: 125 pages. Price: 24.95 U.S. [Amazon: $18.21].
    SUMMARY: :Kimiko Hahn’s eighth volume of poetry, is flourishing with poems that explore the mesmerizing science of things. Inspired by articles from the weekly “Science” section of the New York Times, Hahn’s poems delve into observations and natural oddities in paleobotany, astronomy, biology, and other scientific fields. The articles instigate the poet’s own creative investigation into loss, extinction, and the varied landscape of human relationships.
    RECOMMENDATION: An interesting approach to poetry writing.
  2. Rose, Sarah. For All The Tea In China: How England Stole the World’s Favorite Drink and Changed History. 2010. Viking. Hardbound: 261 pages. Price: $25.95 U.S. [Amazon: $11.69].
    SUMMARY: In 1848, the British East India Company, having lost its monopoly on the tea trade, engaged Robert Fortune, a Scottish gardener, botanist, and plant hunter, to make a clandestine trip into the interior of China–territory forbidden to foreigners–to steal the closely guarded secrets of tea horticulture and manufacturing. For All the Tea in China is the remarkable account of Fortune’s journeys into China–a thrilling narrative that combines history, geography, botany, natural science, and old-fashioned adventure.Disguised in Mandarin robes, Fortune ventured deep into the country, confronting pirates, hostile climate, and his own untrustworthy men as he made his way to the epicenter of tea production, the remote Wu Yi Shan hills. One of the most daring acts of corporate espionage in history, Fortune’s pursuit of China’s ancient secret makes for a classic nineteenth-century adventure tale, one in which the fate of empires hinges on the feats of one extraordinary man.
    SUMMARY: An interesting read about the geopolitics of plants in the 19th century.
  3. Gardiner, Jenny. Winging It: A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who’s Determined to Kill Me. 2010. Gallery Books. Hardbound: 241 pages. Price: $23.00 U.S. [Amazon: $15.64].
    SUMMARY: A hilarious and poignant cautionary tale about two very different types of creatures, thrown together by fate, who learn to make the best of a challenging situation — feather by feather. Like many new bird owners, Jenny and Scott Gardiner hoped for a smart, talkative, friendly companion. Instead, as they took on the unexpected task of raising a curmudgeonly wild African gray parrot and a newborn, they learned an important lesson: parrothood is way harder than parenthood.
    RECOMMENDATION: Should have had more about Graycie the parrot!

You can read all the Birdbooker Reports in the archives on this site, and Ian now has his own website, The Birdbooker Report, where you can read his synopses about newly published science, nature and animal books. But Ian assures me that he still loves us here, so he’ll still share his weekly Birdbooker Reports with us!