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Simon Roberts (Bristol, UK)

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The Running Sky: A Birdwatching Life
The Running Sky: A Birdwatching Life
by Tim Dee
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars See more through your binoculars, 30 Oct. 2009
I hesitated to read this book, having been on the outskirts of Tim Dee's life for the last decade or so. I had thereby borne distant but still uncomfortable witness to the family upheavals which took place as he set out to write it.

I was also intrigued - probably for much the same reasons. But I am a birdwatcher (though what Simon Barnes would recognise as a bad one). And I had benefited more than once from Tim's superb birdwatching skills and knowledge, readily shared (I can still recognise the call of a nuthatch). So I wanted to know what he could do in print.

And what Tim can do in print is immerse you completely in his emotionally charged experiences of encountering birds in places both exotic and mundane, in situations both sublime and ridiculous. The rich, poetic weave of his descriptions of birds and their birdwatcher lets you share his vantage points and see far more than you would have seen through your own binoculars. And his sharing of formative moments from his bird-watching life (or, really, his life - there is no dividing line) helps to explain why these experiences are so emotionally charged for him.

This is a great book worthy of the praise it has received from those better placed to judge its literary merits. For me it has refreshed and recharged my own relationship with birdwatching - and added something extra to my binoculars in the process.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 16, 2009 10:55 AM GMT

Why We Disagree about Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity
Why We Disagree about Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity
by Mike Hulme
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.54

18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vital reading for anyone trying to persuade others to do something about climate change, 30 Oct. 2009
This is a really important book about climate change and therefore about all of our futures, whether we are actively seeking to embed the implications of climate change into our work and lives - or not.

I was initially put off by the title - assuming it would be a well-argued put-down of various 'climate change deniers' by one of the world's leading climatologists (though the 1-star reviewers here could probably do with one of those, and perhaps with actually reading this book too!). I didn't need to read another one of those.

But then I read a short article by Mike Hulme and realised it was so much more. This book is a drains-up analysis of why science, economics, politics, religious and secular systems of ethics, the media are each inadequate for providing 'the answers' many seek to the questions about what we should be doing as a society - or even as a species - in response to the potentially dramatic climatic changes we have unintentionally unleashed on our futures.

Hulme draws skillfully on a wide range of academic disciplines and lays out his compelling narrative with care and clarity, leading the reader through the logic of his analysis with ease.

If you've never asked yourself WHY climate change matters - or if you have but then didn't challenge your own answer for its failure to be anything other than your own answer - you'll be stimulated and, potentially, liberated and empowered by this book.

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