Friday, October 28, 2005

Birthday Books


So I had the perfect excuse for guiltless book-buying yesterday, plus a 20% voucher from Times - it being my birthday month and all.

Had been eyeing Jane Smiley's 13 ways at Looking at the Novel for weeks. Smiley, herself a highly successful novelist, bases the book on a list of 100 novels which she felt "would illuminate the whole concept of the novel". It's a pretty eclectic list - covering the wide sweep of the novel's history and taking into account literature in translation. (This time I've read 28 and a half of the books on this list! Even more bookguilt!). Several of my favourite books of all time are listed there, but I don't always see eye to eye about them with Ms. Smiley (which is how it should be!)

I'm going to start reading on Chapter 10 A Novel of Your Own, and am looking forward to learning about her struggles with her own novel in Chapter 12 .


Then another book just flew into my hands. I tell you I was powerless.

See, I'm a birdwatcher.

A sometimes birdwatcher. An appaulingly bad birdwatcher. An incredibly lazy birdwatcher. A birdwatcher who prefers to sit in my favourite chair on the verandah and let the birds come to me. (But don't knock that - I had a pair of southern pied hornbills in my garden yesterday!)

But I've hung out with some of the best and most addicted guys in the country and have learned at first hand just how thrilling it can be, particularly when you spot a bird that's a first for you and work out for yourself precisely what it is from the field-guide.

In To See Every Bird on Earth: A Father, A Son and a Lifetime Obsession Dan Koeppel describes his father's quest to compile his 'life list'. Richard Koeppel is an obsessive birdwatcher and has travelled to over 60 countries to spot over 7,000 species (The world total is somewhere around 10,000) at great personal and financial cost. It's an obession I understand and can sympathise with, having spent some joyous Sunday mornings in the wilds with members of MNS.

So, some happy reading to do, once I get past the "have to's" on my shelf. During the Nanowrimo month I think I'd rather not have someone else's fiction in my head anyway ...

6 comments:

Kak Teh said...

sharon!!! I nearly sms u yesterday to ask what book u want from here cos I know its very difficult to get u one that you have not read. But i got you something from waterstones and hope that u have not read it yet. it is a birthday gift u have yet to receive.

bibliobibuli said...

whaaa thanks kaka teh! ;-D

Caving Liz said...

Birthday girl says she likes watching birds in her garden..... very apt piece in today's (Fri) SUN .......

Tip 6 : Using eggshells to attract birds

One of the lesser known ways of attracting birds is with eggshells. Rinse the shells and bake lightly at 250C until dry but not brown. This helps sterilise them & make them brittle. Crumble them into bits & spread them at the spot to which you want the birds to come.

Conclusion : eggshells provide calcium for the birds. This aids in the digestion of food because birds need grit in their gizzard to help break down food.

bibliobibuli said...

Goodness Liz - must try it now.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you have to wonder.. are you watching them, or are they watching you ? what are the chances of a bird somewhere looking at someone and thinking "wow, there's an interesting human.. just look at that plumage.. woo !" :)

bibliobibuli said...

Anon - I think hornbills do that for sure. Remember having one come and sit next to me and steal my chips at the bird park ...