THE MEANING OF BIRDS
Head of Zeus, HB, £16.99, BW Bookshop £14.99 (quote BW121)
This passionate and beautifully written celebration of birds – what they are, exactly, and what they mean to us – ranges far and wide in time, space and subject matter, with Barnes moving smoothly between hard fact, more metaphysical, evocative passages, and personal musings on the act of birdwatching itself. For all that it is a celebration, he doesn’t shy away from hard truths when necessary, such as regarding the persecution of raptors by hunting interests, or just the general harm done to the natural world by mankind. But the book remains inspirational, above all – here, you feel, is a writer who has experienced the same sorts of little birdwatching triumphs and disasters as you, and come out with his enthusiasm undimmed, and it leaves you ready for more of the same.