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The Backyard Bird Chronicles by Amy Tan
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The Backyard Bird Chronicles (edition 2024)

by Amy Tan (Author)

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703380,568 (4.06)8
"In 2016, author Amy Tan grew overwhelmed by the state of the world: Hatred and misinformation became a daily presence on social media, and the country felt more divisive than ever. In search of peace, Tan turned toward the natural world just beyond her window and, specifically, the birds flocking to the feeders in her yard. But what began as an attempt to find solace turned into something far greater--an opportunity to savor quiet moments during a volatile time, connect to nature in a meaningful way, and imagine the intricate lives of the birds she admired. Tracking the natural beauty that surrounds us, The Backyard Bird Chronicles maps the passage of time--from before the pandemic to the days of quarantine--through daily entries, thoughtful questions, and beautiful original sketches. With boundless charm and wit, Amy Tan charts her foray into birding and the natural wonders of the world"--… (more)
Member:monicaberger
Title:The Backyard Bird Chronicles
Authors:Amy Tan (Author)
Info:Knopf (2024), 320 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:None

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The Backyard Bird Chronicles by Amy Tan

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The Backyard Bird Chronicles by Amy Tan is a delightful illustrated love story dedicated to birds and bird watching. It is very highly recommended. This is an amazing book and I can't wait to buy a hardcover copy.

In 2016 Amy Tan began keeping journals with drawings about the birds she observed in her northern California backyard. The Backyard Bird Chronicles represents material from nine journals full of observations from September 16, 2017 to December 15, 2022. Most of the entries are observations or lighthearted notes, but a few more serious events are also included, like the 2017 salmonellosis outbreak among Pine Siskins. She observes and identifies the many birds, the problems like squirrels, crows, cats, etc. At the end is a list of all the birds she has seen in her backyard as of Dec 2022, and a selected reading list.

This is a spectacular book! I can't even explain how much I adored this book. I loved the charming personal, reflective, humorous observations about the birds, the information, and especially the sketches of the birds she seeing. Tan is the daughter of an ornithologist, which explains some of her knowledge, but she also adores watching the birds.

Her devotion to feeding them, providing water, and creating a welcoming habitat for a wide variety of birds is inspiring. David Allen Sibley, the acclaimed ornithologist, wrote the foreword and writes that this is a "collection of delightfully quirky, thoughtful, and personal observations of birds in sketches and words." Thanks to Knopf Doubleday for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.
http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2024/04/the-backyard-bird-chronicles.html ( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Apr 12, 2024 |
I have enjoyed the author's previous books very much, and I have to commend her for writing this one. What a departure from her other books! And what a talent she has. Wow.
I definitely can relate to Ms. Tan's love of watching birds. It's something I have enjoyed for almost 60 years. From the first birds my father pointed out to me as a boy in Wisconsin (blue jays, chickadees, and grosbeaks), to the first robin of spring, to beautiful Baltimore Orioles, and on and on. I remember the first Indigo Bunting I saw, in a creek bottom while trout fishing as a teen. It absolutely took my breath away. And then on to ducks and geese, and then owls out here in the PNW. I currently have SEVEN feeders in my yard, and spend many moments just watching the birds come in.
The author seems to have the same love for birds. The difference being her absolute incredible ability to describe them, as well as her beautiful drawings of them. What a great artist!
I fell in love with this book. I received it as an ARC from NetGalley, but I will absolutely be buying a hard copy when it is released in April. As well as a copy for my father, who is now 89 years old and still feeding the birds. I'm sure he will love it!
Thanks Ms. Tan for a great experience! ( )
  1Randal | Jan 4, 2024 |
The Backyard Bird Chronicles by Amy Tan was even more enjoyable than I expected. A glimpse into both the life of a wonderful writer and the world of relatively common birds.

I am not a birder. I love when I can watch them close-up, maybe when they don't know I'm just a couple of feet away on the other side of a window or when I am at a park and I notice their activity. But I don't go out specifically to watch birds. So no matter what some may think, this does not require some grounding in birdwatching or even a particularly strong interest in them (outside of loving our fellow creatures).

I found the diary/journal entries to be much more engaging than I expected. I knew the writing would be good I just didn't realize how contagious Tan's curiosity would be. Some entries made me want to pay closer attention to birds I see regularly but more than that I gained a better appreciation for viewing the world around me with a more compassionate type of curiosity.

The drawings are wonderful, even the ones she claims aren't very good. I found that they managed, when coupled with the entries, to make me feel I was looking at a bird with a distinct personality rather than a drawing of a "type."

Recommended for readers who simply enjoy going on a curiosity-fueled journey with a talented writer and artist. You don't have to be an avid birdwatcher as long as you're capable of feeling compassion for both the human and the many birds you take this journey with.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley. ( )
1 vote pomo58 | Dec 28, 2023 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Amy Tanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sibley, David AllenForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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For Bernd Heinrich, John Muir Laws, and Fiona Gillogly.

And, most of all, to my dear editor, Daniel Halpern. This book was entirely your idea, and I am grateful beyond words for reasons only you understand.
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"In 2016, author Amy Tan grew overwhelmed by the state of the world: Hatred and misinformation became a daily presence on social media, and the country felt more divisive than ever. In search of peace, Tan turned toward the natural world just beyond her window and, specifically, the birds flocking to the feeders in her yard. But what began as an attempt to find solace turned into something far greater--an opportunity to savor quiet moments during a volatile time, connect to nature in a meaningful way, and imagine the intricate lives of the birds she admired. Tracking the natural beauty that surrounds us, The Backyard Bird Chronicles maps the passage of time--from before the pandemic to the days of quarantine--through daily entries, thoughtful questions, and beautiful original sketches. With boundless charm and wit, Amy Tan charts her foray into birding and the natural wonders of the world"--

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