Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A new kind of birding book! "The Birding Life—A Passion for Birds at Home and Afield"

I was very excited when Carly from Clarkson Potter Publishers asked me if I'd like to review "The Birding Life—A Passion for Birds at Home and Afield," by Laurence Sheehan. The book sounded unique. It was about birding, but focused on birds as artistic muses and home decor inspiration! Could a description be any better? I couldn't wait for the book to arrive...

The cover alone is mesmerizing. I love vintage bird art...

When I cracked the spine, I knew I was sold. The first page I opened to was "Birds by Design: The Genius of Charley Harper," and a beautiful photo of his flying Northern Cardinal was staring back at me. Charley Harper is known worldwide, but he produced his art in Cincinnati, and to birders and nature lovers here he's something of a folk hero. He was involved in the local nature scene and helped support the Hamilton County parks, the Oxbow, the Cincinnati Zoo, and the Cincinnati Nature Center with his art. So, if Charley was in the book, it had to be good...

We grew up with Charley Harper's art. I was happy to see a chapter devoted to his unique vision.

...if that wasn't enough, I did a quick page flip and landed on "Field Trip, Magee Marsh, Ohio—Warbler Capital of the World." I've been to Magee Marsh and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) and love it there, so I was happy to see a story about Kenn and Kim Kaufman who tirelessly work to bring the phenomenon of spring migration along Lake Erie to the world. Kenn is the author of "Kingbird Highway," one of my favorite birding books, and myriad well-known field guides (I think I have them all), and Kim is the executive director of BSBO. This book just kept getting better and better...

Spring migration at Magee Marsh and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory

...but don't worry. The entire book is not about Ohio birders and their art, although you do get a glimpse of Julie Zickafoose's art studio and Bill Thompson's library—it's about bird lovers all over the United States and how birds enhance their lives and inspire their art and home decor. You'll find a bit of history too, with entries on Alexander Wilson, John James Audubon, and Roger Tory Peterson.

...however, it's not all good. I might have been better off NOT knowing what James Prosek's studio looks like, because now I'm green with envy...

With over 200 photographs and interesting text, "The Birding Life, A Passion for Birds at Home and Afield," by Laurence Sheehan, is sure to be a favorite of birders and avian art lovers...

20 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

oh yeah. that studio just made my stomach turn! {sigh}

Kelly said...

...to top it off...the studio is in a barn! Ack...I love barns. Especially when they look out on woods. Suddenly my studio, which I always loved, seems so bland... :-)

Guy said...

Hi Kelly

Thanks for the post this book looks like something I would love to check out. Maybe it will have to go on a xmas list.

Regards
Guy

Mary said...

Looks like a good book! Love seeing the Charley Harper prints. I love his work and have several hanging in my house and several more that need to be framed and hung. I also have a Charley Harper mug that I like to drink my tea out of :-) His style is so simple and yet so accurate.

Carole Meisenhelter said...

a beautifully presented hard book; coffee-table reference book by the looks of it. Lovely photographs. Wow, yes THAT studio!!

Bob Bushell said...

A lovable book.

KaHolly said...

Great review! I've been a Charlie Harper fan for years and can see I'll enjoy this book very much. Thanks!

Birding is Fun! said...

Dang! That sounds like a cool book. I wasn't on their reviewer list, so I guess I'll have to go buy that one. Nice review!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

What a fabulous book, Kelly... YOU could write a book like that --telling your experiences while birding.. AND --you could include photos and your paintings... Wouldn't that be awesome??? You truly could do it...

Hugs,
Betsy

Dawn Fine said...

Looks like a beautiful book~I will share your blog post link..Great Christmas or Hanukkah gift.

Lisa said...

That looks like a great book. I've always loved birds, but never really thought about going birding. Which is silly, seeing as how I live only a couple miles away from Caesar Creek lake. Time to learn how to do some birdwatching!

Kimberly Kaufman said...

Thank you so much for your kind words about me and Kenn and BSBO, Kelly! I'd also like to say that I totally agree with Betsy's comment. You really *could / should* write and illustrate a book about your birding acventures! I would buy it in a heartbeat!

Diane Cayton-Hakey said...

Great studio, neat artwork.... fabulous book!

Gillian Olson said...

Thanks for the intro to this good lloking book. Like you though I would rather not have seen that great studio, but something to aspire to I guess.

Pedro Lourenço said...

Sounds great! I will be on the lookout for this book.



Birds of the World blog:
www.planetbirds.blogspot.com

Montanagirl said...

Nice Studio! Sounds like a great book.

NCmountainwoman said...

We love Charles Harper as well. We keep "Birds & Words" in our guest bedroom. Invariably the guests will bring it out and tell us how much they liked it.

Hilke Breder said...

Thanks for your review, Kelly. It's going to be on my Christmas list, but no, why wait? I am going to order it now!

Kelly said...

...thanks, everyone. This really is a fun book, and because so many of the birders I know from Ohio are in the book, it's even more special. All the stories are unique and fun...

Kathiesbirds said...

Wow Kelly, what a find! I am so jealous that you got this book! I had not heard of it! Thanks for a wonderful review!