Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Close to Birds: An Intimate Look at Our Feathered Friends

Close to Birds is an interesting survey of some of the more common Eurasian bird species. Originally published in 2017 in Swedish, this English translation was released 22nd Oct 2019 by Roost books, it's 272 pages and available in hardcover format.

This is a beautiful, meticulously researched and written book by naturist Mats Ottosson. The birds which are included in the book are often accompanied by an essay including the authors' anecdotes or stories or personal encounters. The real stars of the book are the incredibly detailed close-up photos. You can easily see the individual feathers, features of the birds' anatomy, everything. This is a true coffee-table book but additionally it's a beautifully presented and very interesting book.

It was odd to me that the book doesn't include the Linnaean classifications in the essays for each bird. It's not a glaring deficiency by any means, a simple internet search will provide the information. There's also no index or bibliography, although there is a short (one page) citations list for the chapter headings (most are translated from Swedish, with a couple of exceptions).

This would make a superlative gift for the nature enthusiast or bird-watcher.  It's an amazing display of the photographer's art. It should probably be noted that the photos are not taken in situ but in a light tent. This makes them all the more stark and almost startling in their detail, but some readers will find the style distracting or unnatural. I found them enchanting and magical.

Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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