Marian Volkman reviews
How to be a bad birdwatcher
by Barnes, Simon
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.