Marian Volkman reviews

How to be a bad birdwatcher
by Barnes, Simon
ISBN: 0375423559

This very fine short book, published in London, is one of the most delightful books I have read in a long time. A dear friend of mine heard Simon Barnes himself reading from it on BBC radio and got the book for me, knowing that I'd love it. One cannot fail at being a bad bird watcher, really. There is no wrong way to do it.

Since many of us are indeed closet bad birdwatchers (and probably bad lots-of-other-things), we may be thankful to Barnes for legitimizing our practice. The subtitle: "To the greater glory of life" kind of says it all. A person with a passion for life and a good sense of humor - what more could one ask? He and I have somewhat different ideas about the nature of things perhaps. (For instance he is scornful of various new age-y things that I love; he seems to feel that we should appreciate the wonder of other living things without feeling that we can communication with them, while I well, you know.) In any case we agree completely on the need for conservation. I am very appreciative of this marvelous book.

He's written other books, both fiction and non-fiction. I can't wait.


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