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The Bedside Book of Beasts: A Wildlife Miscellany

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  147 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
In a wonderfully diverse selection of writings and gorgeous illustrations, this stunning companion to The Bedside Book of Birds explores the relationship between predators and their prey.

The intricate, complex connection between the hunter and the hunted has defined animal life on earth throughout time. In The Bedside Book of Beasts, Graeme Gibson gathers breathtaking work
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published November 3rd 2009 by Nan A. Talese (first published October 20th 2009)
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Jun 10, 2011 Penelope rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, although I wish it had included more mythology and fairy tale type stories. The writing collected here is nonetheless interesting; I just enjoy mythology, and it seems like there should be plenty of beast-related mythological tales from which Gibson could have selected.

There are lovely illustrations sprinkled throughout, which made this book a fun read.

Overall, I liked how Gibson took various sources from around the world to create a loose "thesis" about humans and th
Feb 18, 2012 Dionisia rated it really liked it
"When you turned from this ideal form of supple beauty--of terrific force in repose--of silent and royal disdain--to the human creatures who were timidly gazing at it, open-eyed and open-mouthed, it was not the human beings who had the superiority over the animal. The latter was so much the superior that the comparison was humiliating."
- Barbery D'Aurevilly (1808-1889), France

"It is the desperate wail of the Cicada, surprised in his quietude by the Green Grasshopper, that ardent nocturnal huntr
Apr 11, 2014 Kallie rated it really liked it
Shelves: natural-history
This book is exactly what it purports to be, and as such is really good before-bedtime (or during insomnia), full of short pieces on lions, tigers and bears (and other predators big and small) for people who find animals fascinating. More than that, the book offers an excellent anthology of nature writers I had never heard of and certainly would like to read at length. The illustrations are also beautiful, and representative of man's fascination with animals since the first cave paintings. This ...more
Alison C
May 19, 2016 Alison C rated it it was amazing
"The Bedside Book of Beasts: A Wildlife Miscellany," by Graeme Gibson, is a compendium of writing about animals ranging from the ancient Greek writer Aelian to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to Barry Lopez and beyond, along with occasional commentary by the author. It is arranged in a series of chapters concerning the relationships between predator and prey, animals and environment, mythology and animals, creatures and humans. Most gloriously, it is generously supplied with illustrations going back as f ...more
The Bedside Book of Beasts is simply a compilation of stories, anecdotes and essays centering around alpha predators and the human relationship with, fascination and fear of them. Graeme Gibson seems to have a few main themes that he wants to focus on throughout the book. These include the need to keep the wild "wild"; the pointlessness and cruelty of sport hunting; how domestication and industrialization changed our relationship with wild animals; humanity's separation from nature; and others. ...more
Apr 24, 2014 Conner rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a collection of essays from outside sources with a bunch of really pretty full-color artwork. If I'm going to be honest, the illustrations were my favorite part; the essays were very numerous and even though none ran over the length of 3 pages, a lot of them were very boring. However there were a few excerpts by some fabulous authors such as Franz Kafka, George Orwell, Haruki Murakami, Herman Hesse, Leo Tolstoy, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Stumbling upon these were pleasant surprises, as ...more
May 27, 2012 Shishir rated it it was ok
Birds give impression of free flight (no gravity) freedom creative imagination soul and spirit

Connection and comparisons with animal kingdom
Beasts are wild predate for food / scavenge
Animals can be domesticated.

Civilization after Agri-society became more violent and possessive and “killers”. (Stopped being hunter gatherers)
Humans became domesticated (civilized?) but examine this…
• Hunt for pleasure!!! (kill for fun) * (animals cannot be allowed to eat a human! Fear based)
• Nature became a threat
Zena Casteel
Aug 04, 2014 Zena Casteel rated it liked it
Shelves: natural-sciences
An interesting book, I found the artwork much more interesting than the reading selections. While many important points were raised, I found the text often lacking in either scientific detail or creative appeal. Not a book I regret reading, but it did not meet my expectations.
Jun 06, 2010 Lisa rated it liked it
Shelves: animals
A beautifully produced book, but much more gruesome than I realized when I bought it--sorry Mom!!! The selections are fascinating and well written and the illustrations are lovely and unusual, but the singular focus on the carnivorous nature of "beast" is just too much for me. I would expect that to be part of such a book, but it's really the central theme and because I don't have any affinity with the spiritual nature the author seems to ascribe to the taking and "offering" of life, it makes fo ...more
Jan 09, 2016 Idyll rated it it was amazing
Everyday, I took to bed, a head full of stories of fierce, magnanimous beasts. They held me captive, led my dreams, gnawed at my conscience, filled my soul, offered me comfort, lulled me to sleep. I can see this book routinely inhabit my bedside and inspire awe, wonder and humility. Each piece is a page or two long, which makes it a very gratifying light-read even during intervening times throughout the day. What I liked about the photographs is that they weren't always engaging on their own, bu ...more
May 08, 2012 Debs rated it really liked it
Shelves: visual-treats, 2012
Exquisite, masterfully executed compendium. I thoroughly enjoyed every page. It's a beautiful book that is laid out according to a clear aesthetic which celebrates the wildness and spontaneity of the natural world in a thoughtful, fluid way. I know, a lot of adjectives, but I feel that descriptive language is the only way to talk about this work or art.

Along with being beautiful, it has also given me more books to search out.
Jan 28, 2010 Gracia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating read suitable, as title suggests, for beside, it includes the fine words of Leo Tolstoy, Franz Kafka, Arthur Conan Doyle, Herman Hesse and more, some familiar, some less so. Yes, a fascinating read it most certainly is. Including bears, wolves, owls, lions, those who hunt and those who are hunted, the visuals are little short of wonderful.

Next stop, Gibson's The Bedside Book of Birds.
This is a wonderful collection of classical and modern verse, art, and short stories about the relationship between predator and prey. The book itself is absolutely gorgeous. It is full of colorful illustrations. I spent just as much time looking at the pictures as I did reading through the text. It would make a great coffee table book - and I don't mean that as an insult.
Aug 15, 2012 Tamara rated it it was ok
I thought this book was an interesting collection of poetry, excerpts, and quotes that all related to predators, but it just wasn't my thing. Maybe a little too long-winded? I do believe that there is something beautiful and majestic about animals and predators in particular, but this really beat me over the head with it. Just a bit too much I guess.
Sep 11, 2013 Violetta rated it really liked it
This is titled as a bedside book, and that's just how I read it. I took my leisurely read every other night and took time to admire each piece of art. In fact, instead of returning the volume to the shelf, I may just keep it near my bed, for when next the mood strikes me to look and wonder at themes presented within about the natural world.
Jul 25, 2011 Stacie rated it it was ok
This book reads like a colletion of things from an encyclopedia. Brief stories some from great literature that never gets noticed that often. I loved the illustrations in this book. I loved the premise behind the idea for the book, but it's just something I'll look at briefly if I am stuck on inspiration or bored in the toilet.
Cassandra Kay Silva
Jul 17, 2013 Cassandra Kay Silva rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
If you have any fascination with the nature of death, or the life/death cycle of the beast of prey this is fantastic if morbid! It is swimming with classical excerpts and personal stories from behind the eyes of some of the greatest beasts this world has to offer. I kind of want to die by getting mauled now.
Jan 24, 2011 Liz rated it liked it
Even though this compendium of short stories, poems, and anecdotes took me awhile to read I did enjoy it. Some of the excerpts were familiar and others were things I had never seen before. I loved the artwork placed throughout the book. I'm not sure I am all for reading the Bedside Book of Birds... but maybe someday.
Nov 15, 2010 Rachael rated it really liked it
Truly a bedside book. This is a collection of pieces (poetry, stories, historical essays) on predators. It has nice pictures, and by no means needs to be read straight through. You can open to any page and find an interesting piece on the nature of predators, most not longer than a page or two.
Feb 26, 2011 Iris rated it liked it
Love the illustrations, but it was definitely more gruesome than expected, and I was hoping for more fables and myths rather than excerpts from journals and people's personal stories.
Jul 07, 2011 Susan rated it liked it
A hodgepodge of myths and stories from various writers, living and dead, about the relationship of humans and wild animals. The illustrations in this book are fantastic.
Sep 09, 2010 Jane rated it liked it
I'm actually reading a different book that the library had.

The bedside book of birds : an avian miscellany / [compiled by:] Graeme
May 03, 2011 Megan rated it liked it
I didn't enjoy this as much as the Bedside Book of Birds but it was a worthwhile read, and the art was worth the price of the book.
Ughh ... this was terrible. I only read about 50 pages and couldn't read any more.
Apr 03, 2015 Joyce rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite
Thought provoking and revealing of nature's beauty
Jan 24, 2016 Storyheart rated it really liked it
Shelves: animals, canlit, nature, art
Gorgeous and thought-provoking.
Elsa María
Elsa María marked it as to-read
Aug 23, 2016
Rebecca Foster
Rebecca Foster is currently reading it
Aug 22, 2016
Mary marked it as to-read
Aug 18, 2016
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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
More about Graeme Gibson...

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