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July RandomCAT: All about birds

2019 Category Challenge

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Edited: Jul 2, 1:13pm Top

This month I’m looking for books that have some connection with birds - however loose it may be:
- bird on the cover
- bird in the title
- a bird plays a part in the story
- something birdy in the title - like wings or feathers
- a major part is about an activity typical for birds: flying, leaving the nest, laying eggs ...

Do tell us about that bird connection!

Jun 19, 4:23pm Top

Excellent challenge! I'll have to root around my tbr and see what I find.

Jun 19, 4:32pm Top

Oh, wonderful! I was already eyeing A Catskill Eagle by Robert Parker for next month, so that eagle in the title will make this a perfect fit :)

Jun 19, 5:08pm Top

Two sci-fi books from my shelves immediately spring to mind, All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders and The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. I'm sure I have others that would work also! Time to hunt through my TBR shelves...

Jun 19, 5:41pm Top

I'll be reading Seven Fallen Feathers, by Tanya Talaga.

Jun 19, 5:44pm Top

I'm going to read No Man's Nightingale, which I think is the last Inspector Wexford,

Jun 19, 6:06pm Top

I have two nonfiction books related to birds and will probably choose one of them.

Jun 19, 6:11pm Top

I'll do my best to get to The Bear and the Nightingale.

Edited: Jun 19, 6:15pm Top

I have a book that will meet this Challenge and another one, North on the Wing: Travels With the Songbird Migration of Spring by Bruce M. Beehler. I have planned to read this before and this time I'm determined to get to it!

Jun 19, 6:53pm Top

>4 christina_reads: - The Sparrow was great. You should read that.

I seem to have quite a few books that have a bird on the cover. I'll have to pull some of them out and see what I'm in the mood for.

Jun 19, 7:19pm Top

Ok, looks like I'll be reading one or the other of these:

- The Bluebird Effect / Julie Zickefoose
- Owls in the Family / Farley Mowat

Jun 19, 9:01pm Top

I've a few but I'm thinking of one by Ann Cleeves: Raven Black the first in the Shetland series or The Crow Trap the first in the Vera series.

Of course, my planning often goes off the rails before the time comes so it might be something else entirely.

Jun 19, 10:10pm Top

This might be a good time to read Cargo of Eagles by Margery Allingham. It's been sitting on my shelves for a while.

Jun 20, 12:40am Top

I've got lots of Penguins on my shelves,
also a Jackdaw,
Eight for Eternity which is a reference to magpies,
Under the Eagle,
The Sweetness At The Bottom of the Pie has a picture of a bird on the cover.

Edited: Jun 20, 4:18am Top

>14 Robertgreaves: Penguins! Now that's a bright idea!

ETA: Brilliant. I meant to say brilliant.

Jun 20, 5:18am Top

I have several possibilities for this theme. My RL book group has a tree theme and I am going to read Wilding: The return of nature to a British farm by Isabella Tree for that; it has a bird on its (beautiful) cover.

I also have a couple of fiction books I might try - Tiny Sunbirds Far Away by Christie Watson, or A Thousand Paper Birds by Tor Udall.

And, not that I need to buy any more books ever, let's face it, but I've wanted Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life for ages, so this may be the excuse I need to indulge!

Jun 20, 6:51am Top

Just thought of another one on the TBR - The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. Though as I've now just ordered the Anne Lamott book (see previous post) I might run out of time before I get to that one.

Jun 20, 11:09am Top

Ooh, I also have Mary Stewart's The Stormy Petrel, which might be fun. I'm definitely spoiled for choice this month!

Jun 20, 11:42am Top

Excellent! I was already going to read Hollow City for SeriesCAT and it will work here as well with Miss Peregrine being a bird.

Jun 20, 12:15pm Top

I have a couple of book lined up for next month that will fit this theme - Lost and Found by Caroline Parkhurst has parrots on the cover and A Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Nicholas Drayson.

Jun 20, 4:38pm Top

Love birds and they are pretty common occurrence in literature. Hope I can get some time to do some reading. Summer has been so busy.

Jun 21, 1:32am Top

>12 VivienneR: read both of these and like both series, the Shetland series better than Vera

Jun 21, 1:34am Top

What a nice variety of books. I had not thought of it, but any penguin book would fit the bill - lol.

Jun 21, 4:08am Top

>23 sushicat: fit the bill

I see what you did there

Edited: Jun 21, 10:52am Top

I have a bunch of books that will fit this delightful random category!

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
A Catalogue of Birds by Laura Harrington
The Cry of the Owl by Patricia Highsmith
The River: Poems by Jane Clarke (lovely heron on the cover)
Mink River by Brian Doyle (crow on the cover)
Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey
Ten White Geese by Gerbrand Bakker
The Wizard of Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

How will I choose? :-D

Jun 21, 11:22am Top

>25 EBT1002: - Oh, you just reminded me that I also have Parrot and Olivier in America on my shelf as well as Bird by Bird. Maybe I can squeeze an extra book or two in for the challenge.

Jun 21, 1:23pm Top

Not read for this challenge as I finished it a couple of weeks ago, but if anyone wants a short read then Max Porter's Grief is the Thing with Feathers would fit the challenge this month.

Edited: Jun 21, 2:42pm Top

That's a fun challenge. I think I will read Transcription by Kate Atkinson which has a flamingo on the cover. No idea if it is at all relevant to the contents...

Jun 21, 7:44pm Top

Edited: Jun 22, 1:19pm Top

When I saw it on display at a bookstore this evening, I realized that I have on my tbr shelf The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See. I think I will read this book. It will also fit the TBRCAT.

Jun 22, 12:53pm Top

How about The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsell?

Jun 22, 5:44pm Top

I'm going to read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont. It will also count for the "alliterative title" square on my BingoDOG card.

Jun 22, 5:59pm Top

One of the YA summer free audio books from SYNC in June was Wild Bird by Wendelin van Draanen, so I’ll listen to it.

Jun 23, 11:46am Top

I'm planning to read Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin. I'll also be able to tick the short stories box in the Bingo DOG with this one.

Jun 25, 4:18pm Top

>31 LadyoftheLodge: absolutely - I see a bird there

Jun 26, 1:05am Top

I think H Is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald will be my choice. Not that I have been keeping up with the other months, but we live in hope that I will catch up one day!

Jun 26, 1:50am Top

In all of the wonderful novels written by Patrick O'Brian about the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, one of the two principal characters, Stephen Maturin, is frequently frustrated by his inability to stop the ship and go bird-watching. Nevertheless, he gets to observe literally dozens of species, all over the world. I believe every single novel (there are twenty, I think) has his comments on this or that species of bird. He is a naturalist, and his observations are informed by a deep knowledge of anatomy and bird behavior.

You will profit enormously by reading these novels. Read them in order: the first one is Master and Commander. (There is a movie of the same title, based on some of O'Brian's novels, but as is usually the case, it doesn't bear comparison to the written works.)

Jun 26, 1:26pm Top

>36 JayneCM: I've heard a couple of really fascinating interviews with her about that book, and it's now on my wishlist (along with about 20 million other books, sigh).

Edited: Jun 26, 1:48pm Top

>36 JayneCM: It did nothing for me, so I'd be interested to know how you find it.

Jul 2, 3:53pm Top

Both of my choices are checked out at the library so may not be available this month. However, I found A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders on the shelf at home.

Edited: Jul 2, 10:18pm Top

A book I quite liked and would recommend if you like slightly weird books set in Quebec: Black Bird, by Michel Basilières.

Jul 3, 6:49am Top

To my surprise (which is embarrassing since there is a birdcage on the cover) a certain bird species is central to the mystery in Fever Dream.

Jul 3, 11:26pm Top

I have completed my read of Lost And Found by Carolyn Parkhurst. The cover of this book is very bright, colorful and has parrots!

Jul 4, 6:40am Top

>38 Jackie_K: >39 Helenliz: I have read varied reviews of H Is For Hawk so am looking forward to reading for myself!

Jul 4, 9:34am Top

>44 DeltaQueen50: What a brilliant cover!

Jul 4, 10:56am Top

>46 Jackie_K: And parrots actually play a part in the story. :)

Jul 6, 10:16am Top

I finished Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird today, and gave it 4 stars. I think I'll be dipping in and out of it often in the future.

Jul 6, 10:27am Top

I've decided to read The Stormy Petrel by Mary Stewart; a petrel is apparently a type of sea bird.

Edited: Jul 6, 1:48pm Top

I've just finished And No Birds Sang, by Farley Mowat. It is the author's memoir of his experience in the infantry during World War II. I read the last few pages with tears in my eyes.

Had it not been for the theme, I don't think I would have picked up this book. So thank you, Sushicat, for making me read it.

The birds are not just in the title, they make a few appearances in the book. The author was a keen bird-watcher. One of his first encounters with the war happened when he was watching birds (while hitching a ride on a tank): "Standing in the unroofed gunner's compartment of the lead carrier, I had been bird-watching when the battle started, my binoculars focussed on a pair of red-tailed kites soaring on the updrafts from the escarpment. As I tried to hold the big birds in the shaky circle of my glasses, they went into a sudden dive, sliding swiftly out of sight. I heard a distant snarling bark, a whining scream, and then a stunning crash as a shell aburst a few yards away from the carrier."

Jul 6, 2:32pm Top

>48 Jackie_K:--I read Bird by Bird a few years ago. Sounds like I need to go back to it!
>44 DeltaQueen50:--Love the cover! Reminds me of Margaritaville!

Jul 7, 11:43am Top

Ok, it's a stretch, but I'm counting it. In Past Tense by Lee Child Reacher looks into his father's background. His father's main characteristic is that he was an avid birdwatcher and parts of the plot hang on this hobby as well as his membership in a local birdwatching club.

Jul 7, 3:53pm Top

My birdy selection:

Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson
When a new boy starts at Frannie's school, everyone takes notice, because he's the only white boy there. Some think he doesn't belong in this school or in this part of town at all. Frannie isn't sure what to think of him, but she knows what it's like to be the new kid, and since her brother is deaf, she also experience how kids treat Different every day. So, Frannie juggles life at school negotiating a new friendship with the Jesus Boy (the nickname by general consensus for the new kid), dealing with the angry bully, and sorting through her best friend's religious near-fanaticism. She's not without worries at home, either: although part of a loving and generally happy family, she's troubled that her mother is again pregnant when previous pregnancies have failed and left her (mother) depressed and weak. But Frannie's teacher has had them read some Dickinson, and Frannie uses everything going on around her to try to suss out the meaning of how hope can be a thing with feathers.
Short but powerful, this story packs a ton into its just over 100 pages. Still, somehow it doesn't feel as if it's overdoing anything, and all the elements are blended well. A good story, with characters who are comfortably genuine. Definitely recommended for kiddos and adults alike.

Jul 7, 7:01pm Top

I made that long list of possible reads, and wound up enjoying The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall.

Jul 8, 5:20am Top

I have finished L'épervier which means sparrowhawk, a graphic novel about seafaring adventures and a treasure hunt in 18th century France.

Jul 8, 7:32am Top

Took me a while to figure out what I want to read, but have landed on The Birds Fall Down by Rebecca West, a Virago Modern Classic which is also a 1001 book.

Jul 10, 7:55am Top

I've finished The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd.

Jul 11, 6:40pm Top

I have had this book on my shelf forever. I bought it strictly for the title. This is the perfect month to finally read it.
So I will be reading Slow Death by Rubber Duck by Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie

Jul 12, 4:17pm Top

Finished Hollow City which featured a couple of birds, Miss Peregrine and a pigeon played a rather important role.

Jul 12, 6:58pm Top

Finished Thrice the Brindled Cat Hath Mew'd which, surprisingly includes birds. Birds who are accused of murder!

Jul 13, 1:26pm Top

I finished The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall.

Edited: Jul 14, 1:02pm Top

I finished Fünf, a crime fiction first-in-a-series by Ursula Poznanski. I must admit that the crow on the cover is not very big, but anyway... And the book features an owl named Elvira (a stuffed animal for children), so I guess that makes it okay. ;)
It was a very good start into a new series, and the second book is called Blinde Vögel ("blind birds"), so there's another connection!

Jul 16, 1:34am Top

I have read The Winter of the Birds by Helen Cresswell. It contains some (imaginary?) birds that are evil and made of steel and run on wires at night, and also some definitely real birds, such as sparrows, gulls, pigeons, and doves. It's quite good overall, but I could not get past the sexism of the main character, Edward, who is a boy obsessed with heroes. He thinks there is no such thing as a female hero,* but this opinion of his is never overtly challenged in the book, and also there are very few female characters in general. Although, the boy seems to be evolving on some of his other silly ideas about heroes by the end, so maybe one day...

*I have also just been reading Not One Damsel in Distress which is a book of stories about female heroes; if Edward had had a book like it, perhaps he would not have this wrong idea.

Edited: Jul 16, 12:35pm Top

I finished Isabella Tree's Wilding: The Return of nature to a British farm which has a turtle dove (one of the stars of the rewilding project) on the cover. It was absolutely wonderful, a 5* read.

(edited to add: actually it might be a nightingale on the cover. Sorry I'm not a twitcher so I'm not sure which one it is!)

Jul 16, 1:46pm Top

Owls in the Family / Farley Mowat
3.75 stars

Billy has a collection of animals as pets, including gophers, snakes, rats… He and a couple of friends decide they want an owl, so go looking to steal one from a nest, but instead find an injured baby owl and bring him home. They later come across a second injured one, and bring him home for company for Wol, the first owl. The two owls are very different in personality, but they both seem to not realize they are owls who can fly and do other things owls can do.

This was so short; I wish it had been longer. I felt terrible when I thought Billy was going to bring home an owl by stealing it out of a nest! There were plenty of humourous stories about Wol and Weeps. I am curious if Mowat actually had owls as pets.

Jul 16, 10:13pm Top

I read Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness by David Casarett, a light mystery set in northern Thailand, with an interesting setting and enjoyable characters. Thanks to sushicat for giving us a prompt that caused me to read this book!

Jul 19, 7:25pm Top

Finished A Catskill Eagle by Robert B. Parker--full review written!

Edited: Jul 19, 7:38pm Top

I finished Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott a couple of weeks ago, forgot to record it here! I LOVED it!!!

Jul 20, 6:39am Top

>68 EBT1002: I read that one too for this challenge, it was good, wasn't it?

Jul 20, 8:11pm Top

>69 Jackie_K: I absolutely loved it!

Jul 21, 5:40pm Top

I just read a fun but short read for this challenge: The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl. I recall the story from my childhood, but loved some nuances that must have gone over my head at 8...

Jul 22, 11:33am Top

I just finished another fun book that has a connection to birds with A Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Nicholas Drayson - not a nature book, but a charming love story.

Jul 22, 4:43pm Top

I am reading Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen. It is a free AudioSync YA book. I am liking it.

Edited: Aug 2, 10:19pm Top

I finished the month with Birdie, by Tracey Lindberg.

Aug 2, 10:40pm Top

On Wings of Cheer by Sam Campbell is a great book. It's timeless, and part of a series written by a man who gave lyceum events at schools in the 1960s, maybe 1950s as well. He and his wife lived part-time in an animal sanctuary on an island in Minneota or Wisconsin. The rest of the year they traveled to schools showing films of the animals and their antics. The animals were rescues that were given freedom as soon as they were able to survive in the wild. I believe this was the first book in the series I was given.

Group: 2019 Category Challenge

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