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The Bedside Book of Birds: An Avian Miscellany [Hardcover]

Graeme Gibson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Nov 2005
Featured in the vast majority of mythologies and religions, birds are generally associated with creativity and the human spirit. From the Christian dove to Quetzalcoatl (the Aztec plumed serpent), and from Raven Man to Plato's description of the soul growing wings and feathers, birds have represented the soul in contrast to the body, the spiritual as opposed to the earthly. The Bedside Book of Birds is an unexpected and fascinating treasure trove of paintings, drawings, essays and scientific observations: it marvellously conveys the hope, the longing and the enchantment that birds have evoked in humans in all cultures and all times. Beautifully produced, the book contains more than one hundred illustrations, ranging from early cave paintings through works by Audubon, Morris and Gould, to Inuit and other works created in the twentieth century. There are writings by naturalists like W.H. Hudson, Laurens van der Post, Peter Matthiessen and Barry Lopez, and by classical authors such as Shakespeare, Coleridge, Melville and Poe. There is also a rich seam of contemporary work by Jorge Luis Borges, Ted Hughes, Italo Calvino, Bruce Chatwin and Haruki Murakami, among many others. The Bedside Book of Birds is a book to explore, to savour, and to learn from - a book for the winged soul in all of us.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; First Edition edition (7 Nov 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747578125
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747578123
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.2 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 308,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'Beautifully compiled and illustrated ... A wonderful artefact...the choice of pictures and text makes the book consistently surprising' Daily Telegraph 'A spellbinding miscellany of images, essays, poems and scientific extracts' Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times 'Anyone who has watched birds, studied them, given them the least attention, will find this a treat. It is a compilation of writings that celebrate the many ways people have engaged with birds made companions of them, mythologised them, hunted and eaten them ... This book is well worth buying for the illustrations alone' New Scientist --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Graeme Gibson is the author of four novels including Perpetual Motion and Gentleman Death. A past president of PEN Canada, a council member of WWF Canada, and chairman of Pelee Island Bird Observatory, he lives in Toronto with his wife, the writer Margaret Atwood.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a joy 19 Jun 2006
This is a remarkable anthology for the bedside of a bird lover. Divided into 9 sections (or 'habitats,' as the author calls them), the book is filled with a huge selections of bird-related passages found in literature, poetry and folklore. Gibson is the perfect anthologist for the material; the selections included consistently show his admiration, affection, and mystification for the feathered creatures. The hardcover edition is beautiful, heavy, and full of beautiful illustrations. The edition has a magical quality. It is a joy to open.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Avian Miscellany. 4 Oct 2010
By Kim M
I bought this lovely book for my boyfriend. Since I also like birds and very much enjoy folktales, I was delighted to open it to find not only plenty of myths and legends on our feathered friends, but beautiful illustrations to compliment the text. Everything from exotic birds to the more familiar are covered here with tales from many countries and cultures. A gorgeous 'coffee table book' for bird lovers and fans of folklore.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT 31 Jan 2010
By DoRon
What a wonderful interesting,hard to put down book,full of beautiful illustrations and well worded, a treasure to own.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bedside Book of Birds - An Avian Miscellany 18 Mar 2010
Purchased this for a bird crazy friend, he loves it, we had a brief flick through & was delighted with the contents.
There is a little bit of everything bird related including facts, myths, poems & beautiful illustrations.
A perfect gift, keepsake, coffee table or bedside book.
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