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Look out of the window. See a bird. Enjoy it. Congratulations. You are now a bad birdwatcher. Anyone who has ever gazed up at the sky or stared out of the window knows something about birds. In this funny, inspiring, eye-opening book, Simon Barnes paints a riveting picture of how bird-watching has framed his life and can help us all to a better understanding of our place on this planet. How to be a bad birdwatcher shows why birdwatching is not the preserve of twitchers, but one of the simplest, cheapest and most rewarding pastimes around.
As anyone who has patted a dog, smelled a rose, taken a walk, or even had a drink in the garden well knows, humans have a soul-deep need for non-human forms of life. This book is about pushing our birthright of wildness just that little bit further. In How to be Wild, Simon Barnes takes us on a breath-taking journey through a year, from one raucous spring to the next, with elephants and mosquitoes, dolphins and flying squirrels, giraffes and butterflies as his companions. And again and again, he helps us realise an essential truth: that by enjoying the wild world, and by seeking to understand the wild world, our own lives become infinitely richer and more satisfying.
Few books are more intimidating than a conventional field guide. There are simply too many birds in them. This book introduces the reader to Britain's most obvious birds. But it does more than that: it also explains them. It explains the way different birds do different things, eat different food, sing different songs and live different lives, and it explains why they are different. If you are a would-be birdwatcher but don't know where to start, A bad birdwatcher's companion is for you. It will help you understand birdwatching; but, far more important, it will help you begin to understand birds.
For most of human history, we have lived our daily lives in a close relationship with the land. Yet now, for the first time, more people are living in urban rather than rural areas, bringing about an estrangement. This book, by acclaimed author Jules Pretty, is fundamentally about our relationship with nature, animals and places. A series of interlinked essays leads readers on a voyage that weaves through the themes of connection and estrangement between humans and nature. The journey shows how our modern lifestyles and economies would need six or eight Earths if the entire worlds population adopted our profligate ways. Pretty shows that we are rendering our own world inhospitable and so risk losing what it means to be human: unless we make substantial changes, Gaia threatens to become Grendel. Ultimately, however, the book offers glimpses of an optimistic future for humanity, in the very face of climate change and pending global environmental catastrophe.
One of our most eloquent nature writers offers a passionate and informative celebration of birds and their ability to help us understand the world we live in. As well as exploring how birds achieve the miracle of flight;why birds sing;what they tell us about the seasons of the year and what their presence tells us about the places they inhabit, The Wisdom of Birds muses on the uses of feathers, the drama of raptors, the slaughter of pheasants, the infidelities of geese, and the strangeness of feeling sentimental about blue tits while enjoying a chicken sandwich. From the mocking-birds of the Galapagos who guided Charles Darwin toward his evolutionary theory, to the changing patterns of migration that alert us to the reality of contemporary climate change, Simon Barnes explores both the intrinsic wonder of what it is to be a bird – and the myriad ways in which birds can help us understand the meaning of life.
'Such a simple, clever book.' Rosemary Goring, The Herald We're not just losing the wild world. We're forgetting it. We're no longer noticing it. We've lost the habit of looking and seeing and listening and hearing. But we can make hidden things visible, and this book features 23 spellbinding ways to bring the magic of nature much closer to home. Mammals you never knew existed will enter your world. Birds hidden in treetops will shed their cloak of anonymity. With a single movement of your hand you can make reptiles appear before you. Butterflies you never saw before will bring joy to every sunny day. Creatures of the darkness will enter your consciousness. And as you take on new techniques and a little new equipment, you will discover new creatures and, with them, new areas of yourself that had gone dormant. Once put to use, they wake up and start working again. You become wilder in your mind and in your heart. Once you know the tricks, the wild world begins to appear before you. For anyone who wants to get closer to the nature all around them and bring it back into focus, this is the perfect read.
Christians and Muslims together make up about 57% of the world's population today, and by the end of the century they will constitute about 66% of the world's population. More than any other single factor, the wellbeing of our children and grandchildren may depend on how well Christians learn to relate to Muslims - and Hindus, the next largest faith, not to mention Buddhists, Jews, people of indigenous faiths, and the nonreligious. We know how to have a strong Christian identity that is intolerant of or belligerent towards other faiths, and we know how to have a weak Christian identity that is tolerant and benevolent. But is there a third alternative? How do we discover, live, teach, and practise a Christian identity that is both strong and benevolent towards other faiths?In this provocative and inspiring book, author Brian McLaren tackles some of the hardest questions around the issue of interfaith relations, and shares a hopeful vision of the reconciliation that Jesus offers to our multi-faith world.

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