The edition of this book that I possess (circa 1970's) claims that this is something like the third most published book in the English Language, loved from America to Japan. It is a seminal book. When Linnaeus was creating his very methodical classification of the natural world it took a vicar from the little village of Selbourne to put in stone the study of nature through its behavior. This book taught me how to examine the world around me, but it also offers the guilty pleasure of complete escapism. What could be safer then 1780's Southern England, as yet untouched by industry? Gilbert creates a world where human concerns do not exist and the rhythm of the natural world is all through this collection of letters to his friends.