Monday, 20 May 2013

Birds and People

I'll give you fair warning - I'm likely to blog about this book a lot over the next year or so. It arrived in the office on Friday and I can honestly say no review copy's ever been so eagerly awaited. Eight years of research and writing have gone into it, and at first glance it's truly extraordinary.

Mark Cocker's Birds Britannica has long been a favourite of mine, and here he does for the birds of the world what he previously did for the species of these islands. Which is to say, considers them in the round, and especially in terms of their interaction with humans. Folklore, myth, literature, science, anthropology and birdwatching mingle in these pages, and he continues to manage the difficult balancing act between getting over a wealth of hard information, and maintaining great readability.

This time, there's the added bonus of David Tipling's superb photography - it makes it a book that you can't stop flicking through every time you've got a spare moment.

Anyway, I'll be returning to the subject soon, but keep an eye out - it's released this summer.


Caroline Gill said...

Thank you for this, Matt. 'Crow Country' was a book that stretched my mind and imagination no end, not least because I grew up along the Yare valley and could picture the places so well. But it was Mark's description of complex details like the murmuration formations that transfixed me.

When I heard about this latest volume, I was particularly excited because it was embracing a variety of disciplines in its approach. When it comes to residencies etc., I am often tempted to wonder whether artists get more out of science-based operations or opportunities than scientists do from artistic ventures, in terms of what is on offer (though I have little difficulty in imagining the value of artistic works made on polar expeditions). It seems to me that this book will weave artistic and scientific strands together in a rare blend of symbiotic harmony. I look forward to hearing more from you on this subject.

Padhraig Nolan said...

Looks smashing. I love Crow Country too. Dipped back into it again last night!