Archive for the 'Reviews' Category

New field guide to birds of Australia

Simpson and Day Field Guide to the Birds of Australia 8th edition

Simpson and Day Field Guide to the Birds of Australia 8th edition

From time to time I feature birds on this travel blog. Birding is one of my major interests and I write about my sightings on Trevor’s Birding blog.

Many people carry a bird identification guide book with them on their travels. I make sure I always have one with me to help work out what I am seeing.

If you are a traveller – and interested in birds – I’d suggest that you find room for a bird field guide too. Most of them are compact enough to fit easily into a day pack or even a handbag.

Today sees the publication of a new field guide of Australian birds. The Simpson and Day field guide has been around since 1984 and has sold over half a million copies. Today the fully revised and updated 8th edition is published.

The publicist at Penguin Books Australia sent me a review copy a few weeks ago. I’ve written an extensive review of this exciting new book here on my birding blog.

Book Review: Against a Peacock Sky

Against a Peacock Sky written by Monica Connell. Published by Penguin Books (Viking) in 1991.

Monica Connell grew up in Northern Ireland and is an anthropologist who went to live in a rural village in Nepal. She lived and worked for two years with a Nepali family, sharing their celebrations, their hardships, their food and their hard labour in the fields to provide a subsistence living. One family took her in, sharing their everyday lives on a very personal level with her, allowing her to virtually become one of the family.

Monica witnessed first hand the villagers’ way of life. She learned how to care for the animals, how to plant and harvest rice and the best way to hunt a boar. She relates the significance of their many religious ceremonies, beliefs and festivals. She relates – without any hint of being judgmental – the importance of various customs employed to appease the local gods in order to have a successful crop or produce healthy animals.

This is a fascinating account of life in rural Nepal as it has been for many centuries and had remained largely untouched by outside influences. Here and there in her narrative, however, there are hints of change in their somewhat cloistered existence. Outside pressures were beginning to show. For example, one young man finds work building roads in nearby India, and he leaves permanently. The old ways were beginning to change, and I suspect if the author returned to that village today there would be many more changes apparent.

I would suspect that this book is now out of print. I bought mine via the internet as a used copy after I had experienced a touch of Nepali life when I went to visit there in 2006. To read more of my impressions of life in Nepal, go to the Contents on the sidebar, or click on several of the Categories, also on the sidebar.