Ahoy there me mateys! Though this log’s focus is on sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult, this Captain does have broader reading tastes. So occasionally I will share some novels that I enjoyed that are off the charts (a non sci-fi, fantasy, or young adult novel), as it were. I received an eArc of this nonfiction title through NetGalley in exchange for me honest musings.
Title: vesper flights
Author: Helen Macdonald
Publisher: Grove Press
Publication Date: Available Now!!! (hardcover/e-book)
I loved the author’s naturalist memoir h is for hawk and was gratified to get a copy of this new offering from the publisher. I started reading it and realized that I missed listening to the author read her own work. So I got an audiobook copy and felt that was the best way for me to experience these stories.
Unlike her previous book, this is not one larger narrative but rather a series of essays and snippets on various topics. I listened to this in short bursts and this was both the highlight and the weakness. I would have loved many of the topics to be explored in more depth but also found the majority of the subjects fascinating.
The favorite was the titular story which concerned swifts. I knew nothing about them and was spellbound reading about them and then proceeded to share facts about the birds with every person I came across that day. Other awesome topics included search for life near volcanoes, ostrich farming, and the market for finches. Birds are a central theme to this work.
What makes this collection so wonderful is not just the animal facts but how the author muses on nature, philosophy, history, climate change, politics, etc. It is not heavy handed, even when I don’t agree with the viewpoint, but it is thought-provoking. Macdonald views the world in ways I don’t and that makes this book so worth reading. Arrrr!
So lastly . . .
Thank ye kindly Grove Press!
Goodreads has this to say about the book:
In Vesper Flights Helen Macdonald brings together a collection of her best loved essays, along with new pieces on topics ranging from nostalgia for a vanishing countryside to the tribulations of farming ostriches to her own private vespers while trying to fall asleep. Meditating on notions of captivity and freedom, immigration and flight, Helen invites us into her most intimate experiences: observing songbirds from the Empire State Building as they migrate through the Tribute of Light, watching tens of thousands of cranes in Hungary, seeking the last golden orioles in Suffolk’s poplar forests. She writes with heart-tugging clarity about wild boar, swifts, mushroom hunting, migraines, the strangeness of birds’ nests, and the unexpected guidance and comfort we find when watching wildlife. By one of this century’s most important and insightful nature writers, Vesper Flights is a captivating and foundational book about observation, fascination, time, memory, love and loss and how we make sense of the world around us.
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Previous Log Entries for this Author
h is for hawk (Off the Charts – nonfiction naturalist memoir)