All Things Wise and Wonderful

 

 

Had my doubts when picking this up such along time after reading the others however I loved it; gentleness coupled with reserved mode of story-telling had me in its grips right from the get-go. The inclusion of RAF training and the birth of his son in this volume were absolutely lovely.

4* – All Creatures Great and Small (1972)
4* – All Things Bright and Beautiful (1973)

4* – All Things Wise and Wonderful (1977)
4* – The Lord God Made Them All (1981)
4* – James Herriot’s Dog Stories (1986)

The Birds of Pandemonium by Michele Raffin

bookshelves: spring-2014, nonfiction, published-2014, cover-love, environmental-issues, zoology, net-galley, e-book

Recommended for: Jeanette
Read from May 12 to 15, 2014

 

Algonquin Books

16 pages of full-color photos in the book, however they were not included in this ARC.

Description: Each morning at first light, Michele Raffin steps outside to the bewitching bird music that heralds another day at Pandemonium Aviaries–a full symphony that swells from the most vocal of over three hundred avian throats representing over forty species. “It knocks me out, every day,” she admits.

Pandemonium Aviaries, the home and bird sanctuary that she shares with some of the world’s most remarkable birds, is a conservation organization dedicated to saving and breeding birds at the edge of extinction, including some of the largest populations of rare species in the world. And their behavior is even more fascinating than their glorious plumage or their songs. They fall in love, they mourn, they rejoice, they sacrifice, they have a sense of humor, they feel jealous, they invent, plot, cope, and sometimes they murder each other. As Michele says, “They teach us volumes about the interrelationships of humans and animals.”

Their amazing stories make up the heart of this book. There’s Sweetie, a tiny quail with an outsize personality; the inspiring Oscar, a disabled Lady Gouldian finch who can’t fly but finds a brilliant way to climb to the highest perches of his aviary to roost. The ecstatic reunion of sibling Victoria crowned pigeons, Wing and Coffee, is as wondrous as the silent kinship that develops between Amadeus, a one-legged Turaco, and an autistic young visitor. Michele shares with us the challenges of caring for such an extraordinary menagerie and the precarious fate of the birds themselves.

Ultimately, The Birds of Pandemonium is about one woman’s crusade to save precious lives, bird by bird, and offers a rare insight into how rescuing others, regardless of species, can lead to true happiness.

Dedication: To Ross, Jason, and Nick

Opening: Morning at Pandemonium: I rise every morning a 4:00 a.m. – gladly on most days – and pad as silently as possible across the terra-cotta-tiled floors of our home. If I make the smallest sound as I pass by the dining room, they might hear. I don’t want to set off our resident clown posse – not yet.

In the foothills of Santa Cruz range, Michell Raffin lives with her family, two donkeys, a pair of goats, a collie, a sheepdog, a cat and some birds in ‘Pandemonium Aviaries’.

Pandemonium Averies is a party house that also serves as a protected birds’ paradise.

This is a joyful book full of music and dance and birds. Who knew African grey parrots will form a conga line to the beat of hip-hop. You like birds, rare ones or not, you will love this.

“Michele Raffin has made an important contribution to saving endangered birds, and her book is a fascinating and rarely seen glimpse behind the scenes. The joy she gets from her close relationships with these amazing animals and her outsized commitment to them comes through loud and clear in this engaging and joyful book.” —Dominick Dorsa, Curator of Birds, San Francisco Zoo

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Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus

bookshelves: spring-2014, dog-steals-the-show, e-book, environmental-issues, boo-scary, ipad, lifestyles-deathstyles, medical-eew, newtome-author, nonfiction, ouch, plague-disease, published-2012, tbr-busting-2014, zoology, sciences, bedside

Recommended for: GeeVee, Pat, Susanna, and all other disease lovers
Read from April 15 to May 01, 2014

 

Description: An engrossing, lively history of a fearsome and misunderstood virus that binds man and dog The most fatal virus known to science, rabies—a disease that spreads avidly from animals to humans—kills nearly one hundred percent of its victims once the infection takes root in the brain. In this critically acclaimed exploration, journalist Bill Wasik and veterinarian Monica Murphy chart four thousand years of the history, science, and cultural mythology of rabies. From Greek myths to zombie flicks, from the laboratory heroics of Louis Pasteur to the contemporary search for a lifesaving treatment, Rabid is a fresh and often wildly entertaining look at one of humankind’s oldest and most fearsome foes.

If you can believe this, it IS my bedside read. Rabies has a better (i.e. worse) hit rate than bubolic plague: almost 100% death rate. Brrrr.

I have turned into a hydropochondriac – just how close did those pipstrelles come to the patio in the gloaming last night? And when Linnea’s microwave-ably small lap dog sneezed did some globules of spittle come my way?

I always wonder why those people who want horror stories never reach for non-fiction, because every chill the mind could possibly want is out there in reality.

3.5*

Penguin Lost by Andrey Kurkov

Kiev

Description: When last we saw Viktor, in the final pages of Death and the Penguin, he was taking his seat aboard the Expedition to Antarctica plane, fearing for his life. Meanwhile, Penguin Misha was left abandoned in a clinic recovering from a heart transplant. Now, in Penguin Lost, we join Viktor for his brief stay in and escape from Antarctica to discover that, characteristically, he has fallen on his feet. Visiting, on his return to Kiev, Penguinologist Pidpaly’s grave, Viktor mistakes an elusive child in white shirt and black shorts for Misha on funeral duty. He is first interrogated and then befriended by a Mafia boss who, while burying his contract-killed son-in-law, is also running for election as People’s Deputy. Viktor helps in his campaign, and is rewarded with introductions to those able to further his desperate search for Misha, said to be in the zoo of the murderous Chechen Khachayev. For Viktor, it is both a quest and an odyssey of atonement; for the reader, an experience as rich, topical and black-humouredly illuminating as Death and the Penguin.

Opening: It took Viktor three days to recover from the four spent crossing Drake Passage. In which time, the scientists who had sailed with him from Ushaia in the Horizon were already acclimatized and working fast to complete measurements and analyses before the onset of the polar night.

As you can see, this book starts off where the first one finished. Neat!

Vernadsky Base: (page 7)[..]after losing 16 men and two supply aircraft, the British had presented it [the base] to Ukraine.

Chechnya

Vernadsky Station, a Ukrainian base which was formerly the British ‘Faraday’ base.

3.5* Death and the Penguin
CR   Penguin Lost

SUPPORT UKRAINE

Turning Crimea into ‘Putinland’?
From Andrey Kurkov, Special for CNN
April 9, 2014 — Updated 0311 GMT (1111 HKT)

“Under pressure from the Kremlin, Russian airlines — the only ones now flying to the peninsula — have slashed prices on flights. I think Russian oligarchs will soon receive an order from the Kremlin to buy holiday packages to Crimean sanitoriums and resorts for their employees.”

Read more

Kiev Zoo Under Fire For Shocking Number Of Animal Deaths And Disappearances

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists

bookshelves: pirates-smugglers-wreckers, philosophy, zoology, seven-seas, winter-20112012

Read from January 02 to 03, 2012

Dedication – To Sophie, who has a quarter of a million pounds

Opening – ‘The best bit about being a pirate,’ said the pirate with gout, ‘is the looting.’

There be footnotes and a map – what more do you need to add to a humourous script about Darwin and pirates and Mr Bobo

Funniest moment – page 82. Luckily they were not having their climactic fight in the Prague Natural History Museum which is full of trilobites and not much else

*nods*

4* for me – others (not needing a humorous palate cleanser) will have to be guided by a 3*

The Blackhouse

bookshelves: published-2009, tbr-busting-2014, series, winter-20132014, mystery-thriller, e-book, britain-scotland, gr-library, contemporary, first-in-series, medical-eew, religion, glbt, bullies, bedside, hebridean, zoology, teh-demon-booze, revenge

Read from June 19, 2013 to March 05, 2014

Here we go: They are just kids. Sixteen years old. Emboldened by alcohol. and hastened by the approaching Sabbath, they embrace the dark in search of love and find only death.

Excellent; looking forward to the next.

The Guga Hunt, Sula Sgeir. The chute used to drop the guga down to the boat.

3.5* The Blackhouse
TR The Lewis Man (Lewis Trilogy, #2)
TR The Chessmen (Lewis Trilogy, #3)

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Lady of the Butterflies

one-penny-wonder, paper-read, currently-reading, winter-20132014, published-1999, tbr-busting-2014, somerset, civil-war-english, britain-england, sciences, historical-fiction, under-1000-ratings, plague-disease, floods, zoology, lifestyles-deathstyles, philosophy, politics, restoration, religion, love, cover-love

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Jae
Read from June 13, 2013 to February 16, 2014
Dedication: For Tim, Daniel, Gabriel and Kezia.
Also in memory of my mother, Muriel Swinburn

Opening quotes from Sir Francis Bacon and John Ray

From the description: On the ancient marshlands of Somerset — a place of mists and magic — a girl grows up in the shadow of the English Civil War, knowing that one day she will inherit the rich estate which belonged to her late mother. Her father, a stern but loving Puritan, once a distinguished soldier in Cromwell’s army, fears for his daughter in the poisonous aftermath of the war, and for her vulnerability as an heiress. But above all he fears and misunderstands her scientific passion for butterflies. Eleanor Glanville was in fact destined to become one of the most famous entomologists in history, bequeathing her name to the rare butterfly which she discovered, the Glanville Fritillary. But not before she had endured a life of quite extraordinary vicissitude. Two marriages and an all-consuming love, which proved her undoing, a deep friendship with one of the great scientists of the day and finally, a trial for lunacy (on the grounds that no sane person would pursue butterflies) are all played out against the violent events of the Monmouth Rebellion and the vicious controversy over whether or not to drain the Somerset marshes. Now, if you drive down the M5, you will cross Kings Sedgemoor Drain — one of the first great ditches which reclaimed the land for farming and destroyed the precious habitat of the Glanville Fritillary.

Glanville Fritillary is what I know as Meadow Butterfly.

Discarded from Tower Hamlets Libraries

Prologue opening: November 1695: They say I am mad and perhaps it’s true.

(view spoiler)[Oh dear, the wearisome has blurbed on the front cover ‘One of the best historical novels I have read in ages’ – let’s hope this Alison Weir endorsement is not the kiss of death! (hide spoiler)]

Part I opens up in the year 1662; Christmas Day in a Puritan household and it is a tough day for a nine year old girl who has to fast and not join in the fun.

Charles II is on the throne: ‘We had a merry King on the throne of England now, a King who had thrown open the doors of the theatres again and restored the maypoles, much to father’s disgust.

Tickenham is a wealthy village and civil parish near Clevedon and Nailsea, North Somerset, England. Looking SW at Tickenham Court with the church tower of St Quiricus & St Juliet in the background. The buildings are now a farm but parts date from the 14th Century

Eleanor Glanville is the daughter of Major William Goodricke ‘of the Parliamentarian army, Cromwell’s formidable warrior.’ (page 14) Her mother and sister are dead.

Book Trailer

A major part of this story is about reclaiming land, the Somerset Levels, and today 28.1.2014, the talk is of the flooding there and the impact of rising temeratures and increased rains upon those very marshes.

David Cameron – Somerset Levels

(page 74) The lone mound of Cadbury Camp floated above the greyness like a galleon, the only easily distinguishable natural feaure for miles.

This was a comfortable ramble for 400 pages; a book that I could pick up, place down and not lose a ha’p’worth of interest… and then came the action.

I had to sit up, back straight, be alert to take in what I was reading. Fan Me Fast!

Both comfy then exciting modes hit at the right times, which makes for a very enjoyable conclusion.

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White Beech: The Rainforest Years by Germaine Greer

bookshelves: published-2013, radio-4, zoology, winter-20132014, those-autumn-years, nonfiction, fradio, forest, environmental-issues, australia

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from January 27 to 31, 2014

 

R4 BOTW

BBC description: Germaine Greer is in search of ‘heart’s ease’. She longs to find a patch of her native Australia to make good, to restore after years of misguided exploitation. And she has just the person to help her with her project – her sister who is ‘a properly trained Australian botanist’. But finding the right patch of land turns out to be far more difficult than she ever imagined.

Read by Germaine Greer Abridged and produced by Jane Marshall A Jane Marshall production for BBC Radio 4.

1. Overview and reasons why. GG finds herself an Eco Warrior in her mid-life

2. After a two-year search, Germaine Greer has almost given up her quest for a piece of land to heal. But then she goes to see an abandoned dairy farm on the Gold Coast.

3. Germaine Greer has bought a piece of battered rainforest on the Gold Coast and the task of restoring it seems overwhelming. Now she has to admit to her sister what she’s done.

4. The hero of Germaine Greer’s rainforest is the rare white beech tree. She discovers it is neither white nor a beech, but it is one of the most endangered species of the forest.

5. Germaine Greer returns from a six-month stay in England to find some exciting plantlings in her propagation unit in the rainforest – a discovery that makes all her work worthwhile.

Gondwana Rainforest

Soo good I shall look at deals on the paper book.

5* Poems for Gardeners
5* White Beech