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The Bedside Book Of Birds: An Avian Miscellany
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The Bedside Book Of Birds: An Avian Miscellany

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  317 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
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.
Paperback, 369 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Bloomsbury UK (first published October 18th 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,040)
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Richard
Everything about this book is of interest. There was the selection of passages included, which ranged from ancient to modern. Many kinds of birds were discussed, from the extinct passenger pigeon to common birds, from the small lecherous sparrow to the giant dangerous cassowary. A variety of genres were covered: travelogues, literature, poetry, religious and mythological writings, natural history. The whole breadth of history was looked at, from prehistoric times to the present. Last but definit ...more
Rachelckelly
Jan 18, 2009 Rachelckelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is gorgeous. When I get around to it, I will purchase a second copy to dissect for its art. Gibson covers the bird as inspiration for writing, art, travel, study...across centuries. The publishing job is fantastic. The weight of the paper, colors and typeface are all as gorgeous as the images and writing he selected.
drozda
Oct 18, 2008 drozda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bird and art lovers
Recommended to drozda by: s. fiori
this spendid and magnificently illustrated collection has kept me captivated for months now....and actually inspired me to begin a new series of paintings based upon my decades as an avid bird watcher. some evenings i just browse the rich color plates and other evenings i read a story or two...always calms me by providing yet another glimpse into the winged ones ways of natural rhythms plus i so enjoy the tremendously diverse writing styles and as mentioned... the art throughout.
christie
Oct 06, 2011 christie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Husband of Margaret Atwood (didn't realize this until I had finished all of the stories!) Yes, this book is sad, but the extermination of birds is real and happens all too often. I think it is a very brilliant collection of stories and artwork. Being aware isn't always cheery. I found it inspiring to learn more about the birds among us now...
Mortalform
I love this book, tidbits of bird trivia mixed richly with myths from every corner of the globe. Birds and myths, what more could I desire? However I never seem to be able to finish this one when I get it from the library. It sprouts scrappy bookmarks like mushrooms after the rain marking quotes to record, images to track down and books to add to the ever growing stack.


One of the rewards of birdwatching is the brief escape it affords from our ancient and compelling need to make Nature useful. Th
...more
Florence Lyon
Dec 14, 2012 Florence Lyon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a collection of stories, mythology, poems and illustrations all about ... birds. Some were entertaining; some were sad in describing man's cruelty to these creatures, the closest to angels on earth. I was shocked to learn that James Audubon killed thousands of birds in order to get just the right poses for his drawings! This was before photography and high-resolution binoculars provided a more-humane method.

Other entries were too long or not of interest to me so I did not feel guilt
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Katie
Jan 17, 2012 Katie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is meant to be read in snippets, all cozied up in bed each night, per its name, so I have to confess that cover-to-cover does not work quite so well. Suddenly, a whole section on how humans kill, eat, and use birds for their own purposes becomes incredibly depressing when read all in one go. In fact, the book as a whole focuses primarily on humanity's relationship with birds, not simply birds themselves. It's a key distinction, and ultimately I found myself wishing the book offered mor ...more
Jane
Mar 10, 2011 Jane marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I wanted to like this book, I really did. I borrowed it from the library to consider purchasing it for my own bird book collection. I love books and bird books. However, I ended up not being able to read this book (which is why there are no stars).

It is a collection of readings about birds, so I skimmed through, reading some of them, but there were too many sad passages about birds slaughtered by the thousands and one awful story about a bird being plucked alive (by a Saint, no less). I enjoyed
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Barb
Jan 24, 2016 Barb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
great
Christian
Oct 26, 2007 Christian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: orna- ... ornita-- ... birdwatchers
Excellent assemblage of poems, prose snippets, and (especially) pictures of birds collected by the author. Some minor quibbles: The little intros by the author weren't necessary; the division of the book into themes detracts from the ability to just randomly pick a page and start reading; and there should've been some identification as to whether a prose snippet was from a fiction or non-fiction work. Other than that, very well done.
Maura
May 15, 2011 Maura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful book with wonderful illustrations from all aspects of the art world. The stories, poems and essays, however, seemed to deal mostly with the extermination of birds - not much on enjoying and preserving their beauty. Maybe because animal rights and appreciation of the species is a relatively new thing and most of continents of this book were gathered from history rather than present day.
Tina
May 18, 2008 Tina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: birds
This book, though nice-looking, was not what I expected, and I ended up not liking it very much. I thought the illustrations, especially the photos of ancient bird art, were the best part of the book. The author's selection of written entries about birds tended heavily toward negative and dastardly encounters with them. I guess anyone whose favorite movie was Hitchcock's "The Birds" would love this book.
Tammy
Feb 09, 2014 Tammy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Interesting, beautifully illustrated.
Airi
Nov 26, 2010 Airi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Airi by: my uncle
Random stories and poems about birds. ..with pretty pictures. I don't have much of an attention span for the poems, but there are some pretty interesting folklore concerning birds in here, and just little anecdotes, and it's fascinating to see how birds have played a role in the collective human subconscious.
..Can you tell I like birds? :)
David R.
Jun 13, 2011 David R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful anthology of writings related to birds, even if tangentially. Gibson groups the material in nine topics (or "kingdoms" from birds in myths to birds as sources of danger. Definitely for the reader with a taste for beautiful language, and even of interest to serious birders.
Emily Crow
This really is a good book for the bedside, containing short excerpts to dip into, all on the topic of birds. I especially like the poetry, and the illustrations are lovely. Not something to sit down and read straight through, though. Recommended for artistic types who like birds.
Megan
Jan 13, 2011 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this. It's full of interesting texts from all over the world and beautiful artwork, and the groupings of the texts flow well one to the next. I appreciated the last section being full of texts about hope.
R.Joseph
Aug 30, 2007 R.Joseph rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is wonderfully illustrated and is not a stuffy birdwatchers guide. The book is full of imaginative stories revolving around birds and the types of representation we afford them.
Joyce
Apr 03, 2015 Joyce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
A wonderful collection of writings. At times funny, others shocking, and still others fascinating and beautiful. I learned a lot about birds, history and folklore as well.
Wendolyn Aragon
May 17, 2008 Wendolyn Aragon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is seriously nursing my long standing obsession with orinthology. maybe if i wasn't so terrible at stupid science it could of been my life's work.
Debbie
Aug 09, 2011 Debbie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous book. The illustrations are fantastic. The Miscellany of the title I find is also the downfall, too much going on for a higher rating.
Abby
May 25, 2009 Abby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
bird folklore and beautiful pictures. forever picking this book up to read little snippets and look at the strange art.
Michelle
Nov 21, 2007 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A charming bedside book, filled with beautiful illustrations, interesting facts and whimsical anecdotes about birds.
Sabrina
Feb 06, 2008 Sabrina marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read this book yet, but I really enjoy the pictures. I have a small obsession with birds though.
Bri
Apr 06, 2010 Bri marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
It looks awesome, can't wait to read it! Birds and bedside reading, two of my favorite things!
Tanzi
Mar 30, 2010 Tanzi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The absolute best thing about this book is the beautiful pictures. They are gorgeous!
Laura
May 31, 2014 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written book to be consumed in small doses
MaryWeatherwell
You know, four of my top five favorite animals are birds...
Megan C
Sep 04, 2009 Megan C rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A beautiful anthology with wonderful illustrations.
Kim
Mar 08, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy ornithology
Recommended to Kim by: No one
A great read for the avian lover.
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Graeme C. Gibson, CM (born 9 August 1934) is a Canadian novelist who lives in Toronto, Ontario. He is a Member of the Order of Canada (1992) and was one of the organizers of the Writer's Union of Canada (chair, 1974–75). He is also a founder of the Writers' Trust of Canada, a non-profit literary organization that seeks to encourage Canada's writing community.

He is generally best known for his 1973
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