Around the World in 80 Birds

Mike Unwin, Ryuto Miyake. Orion Publishing. (224p) ISBN 9780857828958

Around the World in 80 Birds

Around the World in 80 Birds

I’d already loved ‘Around the World in 80 Trees’ in this loose series from Laurence King Publishing and was really looking forward to this one, so much I popped into work on my holiday to pick it up as soon as I found out it was there.

I was immediately enthralled by the beautifully shining illustrations from Ryuto Mikaye, turning each bird into a masterpiece of flow and movement on the page.

The book follows the formula of the previous two ‘Around the World in 80…’ books and explores a small selection of birds from around the world in the context of their importance, interaction with humans, rarity, or some other factor chosen by the author. Hopefully some just because of how beautiful they are!

A couple of the birds I enjoyed reading about the most are both extremely strange little beasts. The Resplendent Quatzal is such a beautifully colourful bird linked with a lot of South American mythology and I’ve always been fascinated by it. The other is the Crested Caracara which we were told is really intelligent and curious, but has become a pest in certain areas of Central America, raiding houses by going down chimneys and opening doors and windows.

Small chapters make this series a perfect bedside book, dipping into at night for a relaxing read, though it never really works like that as I again devoured this whole book in one sitting.

Always look forward to this series and waiting for the next one.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Vesper Flights

Helen Macdonald. Vintage. (272p) ISBN 9780099575467

Vesper Flights

Vesper Flights

I’ve just returned to work after almost nine months of furlough and decided to use the walk to and from work as an opportunity to listen to audiobooks now that I’m enjoying them.

Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald was the first of my walking books, and I’ve been saving it to be that as I thought a collection of non-fiction essays would be perfect to start this new routine.

Helen read the audiobook which made these personal essays all the more poignant, as though they were about nature there was an aspect of them which were about her personal life and this thread wove through them all so deeply.

Lots of warmth and humour enveloped me as I found out about different animals, habitats, and parts of Helen’s life.

I especially loved the essay about the swiftlets and the cricket match, the waiting, then the applause. But my favourite essay ended with some cattle stalking though I was entranced through every word.

Will have to search out H is for Hawk on audiobook if it exists.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Still Water: The Deep Life of the Pond

John Lewis-Stempel. Transworld. (304p) ISBN 9781784162429

Still Water The Deep Life of the Pond

Still Water The Deep Life of the Pond

I was given Still Water: The Deep Life of the Pond as it is well known that I love a well written book on nature and the idea of rewilding.

I had previously read Meadowland by the same author and really enjoyed the style of John Lewis-Stempel’s writing, so relaxed and almost poetic in his love of the countryside.

This book jumps between a personal biography of John’s relationships with ponds and a pond throughout the year, how ponds have influenced landscape, and how ponds have been used in their relationship with human development.

The descriptive prose really envelops you in John’s world and the world of the flora and fauna of the various ponds and seasons that are described. This really has come home to me this year as one of the touchstones that has helped keep me going this year is a large pond that I stop to say hello to the fish and fowl on my daily walk.

A book that really makes you think about our relationship and the importance of a piece of geography that we often pass by written with such love it makes you want to hug the book.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Urban Arboreal

Michael Jordan. Aurum Press. (160p) ISBN 9781781317419

Urban Arboreal

Urban Arboreal

I absolutely love books about nature, especially about trees, and when the opportunity arose that I could get a review copy of this book I jumped at it.

Last year I had read ‘Around the World in 80 Trees’ and this is a similar concept, though only looking at trees that share our urban environment.

Each tree surveyed in Urban Arboreal has a couple of pages, one for some text and the other for beautiful illustrations. These illustrations aren’t scientific and give a feeling of the tree rather than a pure visual index and are all the better for it.

The text, though brief due to the format, is interesting and informative. Letting you know the history of the tree and whereabout in the city is the best place to still find striking examples of the species.

Overall a lovely little book which has found it’s place onto my shelves with my other nature books.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.