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Birdwatchingwatching: One Year, Two Men, Three Rules, Ten Thousand Birds Paperback – 6 Aug 2009
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"Horne's observations are at once funny and fascinating" (Metro (Review for 'Birdwatching' show))
"Rather like a rare bird - his ostensible subject - [Horne] is a fragile delight, covering any subject with a daft, surreal charm" (The Sunday Times (Review for 'Birdwatching' show))
"Remarkably touching, honest, and dryly witty" (Time Out)
"Enjoyable and entertaining" (Stephen Moss Guardian)
Enjoyable and entertainingSee all Product description
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Maybe I took a bit of a dislike to the main character because this from the start AND find football boring.
Apparently his father fumbled a voice message once so his son mocks him for it each time he addresses him. How awful!
I believe Alex could write a story, he's a comedian but he just flips to football all the time and its so annoying.
Can you imagine getting half way through a paragraph and someone saying "Its just like football" No it isn't! What are you talking about?
The book is misleading as the diary is more about football than birding. Some of the birding entries seem like an after thought.
Catchy title, bound to sell as it captures the imagination of father and son relationship.
My father is into birding and now I am, so thats why I thought there would be some common ground.
Better Title: The Reluctant Birder.
Cover: Have a kid in a Liverpool shirt with a football under his arm, sulking with his bottom lip out.
Let me get the negatives out of the way first - there are some dodgy bits in it from a factual point of view but I am not sure whether they were genuine mistakes due to Alex's lack of knowledge or perhaps poetical licence? Also there is a fascinating typo on page 364 which is either an Enigma code or unbelievably poor proof reading (it's 5 and 6 lines up).
Right enough of that. If you were not a birdwatcher you would still like this book because it is more than about birdwatching. Alex is trying to find out whether he might be a suitable father in the future and does this by challenging his father to a competition, to try to work out what makes his father, and the relationship he has with him, tick (that's quite witty that, a tick is a new bird seen to us birdwatchers).
What I liked was the relationship that he has with his father (the excellently named Duncton, won't spoil it for you as to where the name comes from) and the love between the two of them and his siblings. I think that came across very strongly. Alex too seems to be a bloke to go down the pub with, self deprecating and considering he is a stand up comedian, shy and not up his own arse - modest and happy to learn from others.
A great book, I would've given it 5 stars but for the factual mistakes and that typo, and well worth reading particularly if you are a birdwatcher.
I'll leave you to decide whether he will make a good father or not.....
yet this is a book that every expert should read. Up and down the country there will be hides with a group of pros sitting together and in the corner there will be someone who is completely clueless - possibly wearing yellow trainers jeans and a red shirt. That person will almost certainly be feeling what the author does so experts out there: read and understand! Birdwatching is a massively confusing world to many and Alex's narration highlights this brilliantly. So if you read this book as an expert, one day you will be in that hide and the yellow trainers will walk in and you can be on hand to sort out the pochards from the wigeon and the tuftys from the goldeneyes!
This book won't teach you about all the birds in the uk and it doesn't provide much science; instead it gives a beginners guide to what life is like as a birder! It's a great read anywhere, but it makes especially good travel material!
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