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Bedside Book of Birds by Graeme Gibson
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Bedside Book of Birds (edition 2005)

by Graeme Gibson

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265442,932 (4.05)2
Member:antiamy
Title:Bedside Book of Birds
Authors:Graeme Gibson
Info:Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (2005), Hardcover, 384 pages
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The Bedside Book of Birds: An Avian Miscellany by Graeme Gibson

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Swept up ( )
  Faradaydon | May 13, 2011 |
This book is a fascinating compilation of references to the bird. It's gorgeous, the quotes are gorgeous, everything about it is gorgeous. I just wish that the examples chosen fit the categories better, or else that the book were organized differently. But it was a fantastic bedtable book, and makes a great coffee table book as well. ( )
  twig_tea | Jun 4, 2008 |
So, a collection of literary and historical references to about birds.

I picked this up expecting to have a quick flick through and then put it down. But when I realised I was holding up a queue, and had read about twenty pages, I decided to read the whole thing.

I do not usually enjoy collection of snippets such as this, as I find it frustrating to find an extract ends just as it has engaged me. In this case, however, I found the content so varied that I was immediately distracted by some new shiny bit, I forgot to worry about the previous ending.

The illustrations are delightful, and the selected passages are entertaining, and range far beyond the expected quotes from romantic poets and Greek mythology.

Oh, and I do like the stories about albatrosses best! ( )
2 vote francescadefreitas | Aug 2, 2006 |
Showing 4 of 4
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Epigraph
I have made a great mistake. I have wasted my life with mineralogy, which has led to nothing. Had I devoted myself to birds, their life and plumage, I might have produced something worth doing. --John Ruskin
Dedication
For Peggy, Graeme, Jess and Matthew
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385514832, Hardcover)

In this stunning assemblage of words and images, novelist and avid birdwatcher Graeme Gibson has crafted an extraordinary tribute to the venerable relationship between humans and birds.

Birds have ever been the symbols of our highest aspirations. As divine messengers, symbols of our yearning for the heavens, or avatars of glorious song and colour, they have stirred our imaginations from the moment we first looked into the sky. Whether as the Christian dove, or Quetzalcoatl—the Aztec Plumed Serpent—or in Plato’s vision of the human soul growing wings and feathers, religion and philosophy have looked to birds as representatives of our better selves—that part of us not bound to the earth.

With the passion of a birdwatcher and hoarder of words, Gibson has spent fifteen years collecting the literary and artistic forms our affinity for birds has taken over the centuries. Birds appear again and again in mythology and folk tales, and in literature by writers as diverse as Ovid, Thomas Hardy, Kafka, Thoreau and T.S. Eliot. They’ve been omens, allegories, disguises and guides; they’ve been worshipped, eaten, feared and loved. Nor does Gibson forget the fascination they hold for science, as the Galapagos finches did for Darwin. Birds figure charmingly and tellingly in the work of such nature writers as Gilbert White, Peter Matthiessen, Farley Mowat and Barry Lopez.

Gorgeously illustrated, woven from centuries of human response to the delights of the feathered tribes, The Bedside Book of Birds is for anyone who is aware of birds, and for everyone who is intrigued by the artistic forms that humanity has created to represent its soul.

From The Bedside Book of Birds ~

Stevenson remembered the story of a monk who had been distracted from his copy-work by the song of a bird. He went into the garden to listen more closely, and when he returned, after what he thought were only a few minutes, he discovered that a century had gone by, that his fellow monks were dead and his ink had turned to dust. The song of the bird had given him a taste of Paradise, where an instant is as a hundred years of earthly time. Was the same true of time in hell, Stevenson asked himself.

Alberto Manguel

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:14 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Making his selection of the most interesting writing on birds from all cultures and times, Graeme Gibson covers a wide range of topics, from the creation of myths, folk and fairy tales through to the naturalists' observations, symbolism and auspices, and ending with birds as images of the human soul.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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