Owls Of The Eastern Ice - [PDF] Full eBook Download

Owls of the Eastern Ice

Author : Jonathan C. Slaght

ISBN10 : 0374718091

Publisher : Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Number of Pages : 368

Category : Nature

Viewed : 1624

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Book Summary: A field scientist and conservationist tracks the elusive Blakiston's Fish Owl in the forbidding reaches of eastern Russia I saw my first Blakiston’s fish owl in the Russian province of Primorye, a coastal talon of land hooking south into the belly of Northeast Asia . . . No scientist had seen a Blakiston’s fish owl so far south in a hundred years . . . When he was just a fledgling birdwatcher, Jonathan C. Slaght had a chance encounter with one of the most mysterious birds on Earth. Bigger than any owl he knew, it looked like a small bear with decorative feathers. He snapped a quick photo and shared it with experts. Soon he was on a five-year journey, searching for this enormous, enigmatic creature in the lush, remote forests of eastern Russia. That first sighting set his calling as a scientist. Despite a wingspan of six feet and a height of over two feet, the Blakiston’s fish owl is highly elusive. They are easiest to find in winter, when their tracks mark the snowy banks of the rivers where they feed. They are also endangered. And so, as Slaght and his devoted team set out to locate the owls, they aim to craft a conservation plan that helps ensure the species’ survival. This quest sends them on all-night monitoring missions in freezing tents, mad dashes across thawing rivers, and free-climbs up rotting trees to check nests for precious eggs. They use cutting-edge tracking technology and improvise ingenious traps. And all along, they must keep watch against a run-in with a bear or an Amur tiger. At the heart of Slaght’s story are the fish owls themselves: cunning hunters, devoted parents, singers of eerie duets, and survivors in a harsh and shrinking habitat. Through this rare glimpse into the everyday life of a field scientist and conservationist, Owls of the Eastern Ice testifies to the determination and creativity essential to scientific advancement and serves as a powerful reminder of the beauty, strength, and vulnerability of the natural world.

Across the Ussuri Kray

Author : Vladimir K. Arsenyev

ISBN10 : 0253022193

Publisher : Indiana University Press

Number of Pages : 488

Category : History

Viewed : 330

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Book Summary: In Russia’s Far East sits the wild Ussuri Kray, a region known for its remote highlands and rugged mountain passes where tigers and bears roam the cliffs, and salmon and lenok navigate the rivers. In this collection of travel writing by famed Russian explorer and naturalist Vladimir K. Arsenyev (1872-1930), readers are shuttled back to the turn of the 20th century when the Russian Empire was reeling from its defeat in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) and vulnerable to its Far Eastern neighbors. What began as an expedition to survey the region’s infrastructure for the Russian military turned into an adventure through a territory rich in ethnic and ecological diversity. Encountering the disappearing indigenous cultures of the Nanai and Udege, engaging the help of Korean farmers and Chinese hunters, and witnessing the beginning of indomitable Russian settlement, Arsenyev documents the lives and customs of the region’s inhabitants and their surroundings. Originally written as "a popular scientific description of the Kray," this unabridged edition includes photographs largely unseen for nearly a century and is annotated by Jonathan C. Slaght, a biologist working in the same forests Arsenyev explored. Across the Ussuri Kray is a classic of northeast Asian cultural and natural history.

Mill Town

Author : Kerri Arsenault

ISBN10 : 1250155959

Publisher : St. Martin\'s Press

Number of Pages : 384

Category : Biography & Autobiography

Viewed : 1989

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Book Summary: A galvanizing and powerful debut, Mill Town is an American story, a human predicament, and a moral wake-up call that asks: what are we willing to tolerate and whose lives are we willing to sacrifice for our own survival? Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. For over 100 years the community orbited around a paper mill that employs most townspeople, including three generations of Arsenault’s own family. Years after she moved away, Arsenault realized the price she paid for her seemingly secure childhood. The mill, while providing livelihoods for nearly everyone, also contributed to the destruction of the environment and the decline of the town’s economic, physical, and emotional health in a slow-moving catastrophe, earning the area the nickname “Cancer Valley.” Mill Town is an personal investigation, where Arsenault sifts through historical archives and scientific reports, talks to family and neighbors, and examines her own childhood to illuminate the rise and collapse of the working-class, the hazards of loving and leaving home, and the ambiguous nature of toxics and disease. Mill Town is a moral wake-up call that asks, Whose lives are we willing to sacrifice for our own survival?

Lost Pianos of Siberia

Author : Sophy Roberts

ISBN10 : 0802149308

Publisher : Grove Press

Number of Pages : N.A

Category : History

Viewed : 884

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Book Summary: From acclaimed journalist Sophy Roberts, a journey through one of the harshest landscapes on earth—where music reveals the deep humanity and the rich history of Siberia Siberia’s story is traditionally one of exiles, penal colonies and unmarked graves. Yet there is another tale to tell. Dotted throughout this remote land are pianos—grand instruments created during the boom years of the nineteenth century, as well as humble, Soviet-made uprights that found their way into equally modest homes. They tell the story of how, ever since entering Russian culture under the westernizing influence of Catherine the Great, piano music has run through the country like blood. How these pianos traveled into this snow-bound wilderness in the first place is testament to noble acts of fortitude by governors, adventurers and exiles. Siberian pianos have accomplished extraordinary feats, from the instrument that Maria Volkonsky, wife of an exiled Decembrist revolutionary, used to spread music east of the Urals, to those that brought reprieve to the Soviet Gulag. That these instruments might still exist in such a hostile landscape is remarkable. That they are still capable of making music in far-flung villages is nothing less than a miracle. The Lost Pianos of Siberia is largely a story of music in this fascinating place, fol-lowing Roberts on a three-year adventure as she tracks a number of different instruments to find one whose history is definitively Siberian. Her journey reveals a desolate land inhabited by wild tigers and deeply shaped by its dark history, yet one that is also profoundly beautiful—and peppered with pianos.

Owls of the World - A Photographic Guide

Author : Heimo Mikkola

ISBN10 : 147290592X

Publisher : A&C Black

Number of Pages : 536

Category : Business & Economics

Viewed : 1455

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Book Summary: Having trouble separating your scops from your screech owls, Tengmalm's from Tawny Owl or Collared and Spotted Owlets? Then this is the book for you. Owls of the World is the ultimate resource dedicated to the identification of these charismatic, largely nocturnal birds of prey. This enhanced fixed-format of the book contains crisp, fully zoomable photography from dozens of the world's finest natural history photographers, covering all of the world's 268 species of owls. The lavish photos are accompanied by concise text on the identification, habitat, food, distribution and voice of these birds, along with accurate range maps. What makes this e-book indispensible, however, is the inclusion of a definitive and truly comprehensive sound archive – more than 500 songs and calls, covering 90% of all the world's species and including as much subspecific variation as possible. Optimised for tablets, this epic collection of images and sounds represent the definitive work on owls – no birder should be without it!

The House of Owls

Author : Tony Angell

ISBN10 : 0300213743

Publisher : Yale University Press

Number of Pages : 203

Category : Science

Viewed : 360

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Book Summary: “A charming personal account, accompanied by nearly 100 illustrations, that underscores how owls and other birds enrich our lives.”—Kirkus Reviews Winner of the National Outdoor Book Award For a quarter of a century, Tony Angell and his family shared the remarkable experience of closely observing pairs of western screech owls that occupied a nesting box outside the window of their forest home. The journals in which the author recorded his observations, and the captivating drawings he created, form the heart of this compelling book—a personal account of an artist-naturalist’s life with owls. Angell’s extensive illustrations show owls engaged in what owls do—hunting, courting, raising families, and exercising their inquisitive natures—and reveal his immeasurable respect for their secret lives and daunting challenges. Angell discusses the unique characteristics that distinguish owls from other bird species and provides a fascinating overview of the impact owls have had on human culture and thought. He also offers detailed scientific descriptions of the nineteen species of owls found in North America, as well as their close relatives elsewhere. Always emphasizing the interaction of humans and owls, the author affirms the power of these birds to both beguile and inspire. “Endearing…provides a lot of fascinating information about these reclusive creatures.”—The New York Times Book Review “Angell writes (and draws) with the absolute authority of one who has studied, rehabilitated, lived with and loved the animals his whole life.”—The Wall Street Journal “Steeped in the tradition of Alexander Wilson and John James Audubon, it blends taxonomy, ornithology, biogeography and autobiography.”—Times Literary Supplement

The Hidden Lives of Owls

Author : Leigh Calvez

ISBN10 : 1632170264

Publisher : Sasquatch Books

Number of Pages : 224

Category : Nature

Viewed : 1329

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Book Summary: In this New York Times bestseller that will appeal to readers of H is for Hawk, a naturalist probes the forest to comprehend the secret lives of owls. Join Leigh Calvez on adventures into the world of owls: owl-watching, avian science, and the deep forest—often in the dead of night. These birds are a bit mysterious, and that’s part of what makes them so fascinating. Calvez makes the science entertaining and accessible while exploring the questions about the human-animal connection, owl obsession, habitat, owl calls, social behavior, and mythology. From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Secret History of Kindness: Learning from How Dogs Learn

Author : Melissa Holbrook Pierson

ISBN10 : 0393247236

Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company

Number of Pages : 256

Category : Pets

Viewed : 1657

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Book Summary: An intimate, surprising look at man’s best friend and what the leading philosophies of dog training teach us about ourselves. Years back, Melissa Holbrook Pierson brought home a border collie named Mercy, without a clue of how to get her to behave. Stunned after hiring a trainer whose immediate rapport with Mercy seemed magical, Pierson began delving into the techniques of positive reinforcement. She made her way to B. F. Skinner, the behavioral psychologist who started it all, the man who could train a pigeon to dance in minutes and whose research on how behavior is acquired has ramifications for military dolphin trainers, athletes, dancers, and, as he originally conceived, society at large. To learn more, Pierson met with a host of fascinating animal behaviorists, going behind the scenes to witness the relationships between trainers and animals at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, and to the in-depth seminars at a Clicker Expo where all the dogs but hers seemed to be learning new tricks. The often startling story of what became of a pathbreaking scientist’s work is interwoven with a more personal tale of how to understand the foreign species with whom we are privileged to live. Pierson draws surprising connections in her exploration of how kindness works to motivate all animals, including the human one.

Birds in a Cage

Author : Derek Niemann

ISBN10 : 1780720947

Publisher : Short Books

Number of Pages : 320

Category : Biography & Autobiography

Viewed : 1675

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Book Summary: Derek Niemann draws on original diaries, letters and drawings, to show how Conder, Barrett, Waterston and Buxton were forged by their wartime experience into the giants of postwar wildlife conservation. Their legacy lives on.

Field Notes from an Unintentional Birder

Author : Julia Zarankin

ISBN10 : 1771622490

Publisher : Douglas & McIntyre

Number of Pages : N.A

Category : Biography & Autobiography

Viewed : 1203

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Book Summary: When Julia Zarankin saw her first red-winged blackbird at the age of thirty-five, she didn’t expect that it would change her life. Recently divorced and auditioning hobbies during a stressful career transition, she stumbled on birdwatching, initially out of curiosity for the strange breed of humans who wear multi-pocketed vests, carry spotting scopes and discuss the finer points of optics with disturbing fervour. What she never could have predicted was that she would become one of them. Not only would she come to identify proudly as a birder, but birding would ultimately lead her to find love, uncover a new language and lay down her roots. Field Notes from an Unintentional Birder tells the story of finding meaning in midlife through birds. The book follows the peregrinations of a narrator who learns more from birds than she ever anticipated, as she begins to realize that she herself is a migratory species: born in the former Soviet Union, growing up in Vancouver and Toronto, studying and working in the United States and living in Paris. Coming from a Russian immigrant family of concert pianists who believed that the outdoors were for “other people,” Julia Zarankin recounts the challenges and joys of unexpectedly discovering one’s wild side and finding one’s tribe in the unlikeliest of places. Zarankin’s thoughtful and witty anecdotes illuminate the joyful experience of a new discovery and the surprising pleasure to be found while standing still on the edge of a lake at six a.m. In addition to confirmed nature enthusiasts, this book will appeal to readers of literary memoir, offering keen insight on what it takes to find one’s place in the world.

Being a Beast

Author : Charles Foster

ISBN10 : 1627796347

Publisher : Metropolitan Books

Number of Pages : 272

Category : Nature

Viewed : 1251

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Book Summary: A passionate naturalist explores what it’s really like to be an animal—by living like them How can we ever be sure that we really know the other? To test the limits of our ability to inhabit lives that are not our own, Charles Foster set out to know the ultimate other: the non-humans, the beasts. And to do that, he tried to be like them, choosing a badger, an otter, a fox, a deer, and a swift. He lived alongside badgers for weeks, sleeping in a sett in a Welsh hillside and eating earthworms, learning to sense the landscape through his nose rather than his eyes. He caught fish in his teeth while swimming like an otter; rooted through London garbage cans as an urban fox; was hunted by bloodhounds as a red deer, nearly dying in the snow. And he followed the swifts on their migration route over the Strait of Gibraltar, discovering himself to be strangely connected to the birds. A lyrical, intimate, and completely radical look at the life of animals—human and other—Being a Beast mingles neuroscience and psychology, nature writing and memoir to cross the boundaries separating the species. It is an extraordinary journey full of thrills and surprises, humor and joy. And, ultimately, it is an inquiry into the human experience in our world, carried out by exploring the full range of the life around us.

The Book of Unconformities

Author : Hugh Raffles

ISBN10 : 0804198012

Publisher : Pantheon

Number of Pages : 400

Category : Science

Viewed : 456

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Book Summary: From the author of the acclaimed Insectopedia, a powerful exploration of loss, endurance, and the absences that permeate the present When Hugh Raffles’s two sisters died suddenly within a few weeks of each other, he reached for rocks, stones, and other seemingly solid objects as anchors in a world unmoored, as ways to make sense of these events through stories far larger than his own. A moving, profound, and affirming meditation, The Book of Unconformities is grounded in stories of stones: Neolithic stone circles, Icelandic lava, mica from a Nazi concentration camp, petrified whale blubber in Svalbard, the marble prized by Manhattan’s Lenape, and a huge Greenlandic meteorite that arrived with six Inuit adventurers in the exuberant but fractious New York City of 1897. As Raffles follows these fundamental objects, unearthing the events they’ve engendered, he finds them losing their solidity and becoming as capricious, indifferent, and willful as time itself.

The Goshawk

Author : T. H. White

ISBN10 : 1551998041

Publisher : McClelland & Stewart

Number of Pages : 131

Category : Fiction

Viewed : 1512

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Book Summary: The Goshawk is a non-fiction memoir by T. H. White, the author of The Once and Future King, chronicalling multiple attempts, with various degrees of success, to acquire and train a Goshawk, a large bird of prey. White is a novice at the start of the book, and he brings the reader along with him as he slowly learns how to tame the fierce, fearless predators. Training goshawks was also the subject of English author Helen Macdonald’s award-winning 2014 novel H is for Hawk. Penguin Random House Canada is proud to bring you classic works of literature in e-book form, with the highest quality production values. Find more today and rediscover books you never knew you loved.

Around the World in 80 Trees

Author : Jonathan Drori

ISBN10 : 1786275422

Publisher : Laurence King Publishing

Number of Pages : 416

Category : Nature

Viewed : 982

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Book Summary: “An arboreal odyssey†– NATURE “One of the most quietly beautiful books of the year†– DAILY MAIL Discover the secretive world of trees in Jonathan Drori’s number one bestseller... Bestselling author and environmentalist Jonathan Drori follows in the footsteps of Phileas Fogg as he tells the stories of 80 magnificent trees from all over the globe. In Around the World in 80 Trees, Jonathan Drori uses plant science to illuminate how trees play a role in every part of human life, from the romantic to the regrettable. From the trees of Britain (this is a top search term), to India's sacred banyan tree, they offer us sanctuary and inspiration – not to mention the raw materials for everything from aspirin to maple syrup. Stops on the trip include the lime trees of Berlin's Unter den Linden boulevard, which intoxicate amorous Germans and hungry bees alike, the swankiest streets in nineteenth-century London, which were paved with Australian eucalyptus wood, and the redwood forests of California, where the secret to the trees' soaring heights can be found in the properties of the tiniest drops of water. Each of these strange and true tales – populated by self-mummifying monks, tree-climbing goats and ever-so-slightly radioactive nuts – is illustrated by Lucille Clerc, taking the reader on a journey that is as informative as it is beautiful. The book combines history, science and a wealth of quirky detail - there should be surprises for everyone. Perfect for fans of Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees, this new book will certainly whet the appetite of any tree lover to take an around-the-world trip, or simply visit your local botanic garden. The perfect travel guide for nature enthusiasts.

Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice

Author : Mark J. Plotkin

ISBN10 : 1101644699

Publisher : Penguin

Number of Pages : 352

Category : Biography & Autobiography

Viewed : 1981

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Book Summary: The fascinating account of a pioneering ethnobotanist’s travels in the Amazon—at once a gripping adventure story, a passionate argument for conservationism, and an investigation into the healing power of plants, by the author of The Amazon: What Everyone Needs to Know For thousands of years, healers have used plants to cure illness. Aspirin, the world's most widely used drug, is based on compounds originally extracted from the bark of a willow tree, and more than a quarter of medicines found on pharmacy shelves contain plant compounds. Now Western medicine, faced with health crises such as AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer, has begun to look to the healing plants used by indigenous peoples to develop powerful new medicines. Nowhere is the search more promising than in the Amazon, the world's largest tropical forest, home to a quarter of all botanical species on this planet—as well as hundreds of Indian tribes whose medicinal plants have never been studied by Western scientists. In Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice, ethnobotanist Mark J. Plotkin recounts his travels and studies with some of the most powerful Amazonian shamans, who taught him the plant lore their tribes have spent thousands of years gleaning from the rain forest. For more than a decade, Dr. Plotkin raced against time to harvest and record new plants before the rain forests' fragile ecosystems succumb to overdevelopment—and before the Indians abandon their own culture and learning for the seductive appeal of Western material culture. Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice relates nine of the author's quests, taking the reader along on a wild odyssey as he participates in healing rituals; discovers the secret of curare, the lethal arrow poison that kills in minutes; tries the hallucinogenic snuff epena that enables the Indians to speak with their spirit world; and earns the respect and fellowship of the mysterious shamans as he proves that he shares both their endurance and their reverence for the rain forest.

Travels in Siberia

Author : Ian Frazier

ISBN10 : 9781429964319

Publisher : Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Number of Pages : 544

Category : Travel

Viewed : 987

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Book Summary: A Dazzling Russian travelogue from the bestselling author of Great Plains In his astonishing new work, Ian Frazier, one of our greatest and most entertaining storytellers, trains his perceptive, generous eye on Siberia, the storied expanse of Asiatic Russia whose grim renown is but one explanation among hundreds for the region's fascinating, enduring appeal. In Travels in Siberia, Frazier reveals Siberia's role in history—its science, economics, and politics—with great passion and enthusiasm, ensuring that we'll never think about it in the same way again. With great empathy and epic sweep, Frazier tells the stories of Siberia's most famous exiles, from the well-known—Dostoyevsky, Lenin (twice), Stalin (numerous times)—to the lesser known (like Natalie Lopukhin, banished by the empress for copying her dresses) to those who experienced unimaginable suffering in Siberian camps under the Soviet regime, forever immortalized by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago. Travels in Siberia is also a unique chronicle of Russia since the end of the Soviet Union, a personal account of adventures among Russian friends and acquaintances, and, above all, a unique, captivating, totally Frazierian take on what he calls the "amazingness" of Russia—a country that, for all its tragic history, somehow still manages to be funny. Travels in Siberia will undoubtedly take its place as one of the twenty-first century's indispensable contributions to the travel-writing genre.

Self-Portrait with Russian Piano

Author : Wolf Wondratschek

ISBN10 : 0374720274

Publisher : Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Number of Pages : 224

Category : Fiction

Viewed : 1153

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Book Summary: A legendary literary figure who initiated a one-man Beat Generation in his native Germany, Wolf Wondratschek “is eccentric, monomaniacal, romantic—his texts are imbued with a wonderful, reckless nonchalance.”* Now, he tells a story of a man looking back on his life in an honest Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man. Vienna is an uncanny, magical, and sometimes brutally alienating city. The past lives on in the cafes where lost souls come to kill time and hash over the bygone glories of the twentieth century—or maybe just a recent love affair. Here, in one of these cafes, an anonymous narrator meets a strange character, “like someone out of a novel”: a decrepit old Russian named Suvorin. A Soviet pianist of international renown, Suvorin committed career suicide when he developed a violent distaste for the sound of applause. This eccentric gentleman—sometimes charming, sometimes sulky, sometimes disconcertingly frank—knows the end of his life is approaching, and allows himself to be convinced to tell his life story. Over a series of coffee dates, punctuated by confessions, anecdotes, and rages—and by the narrator’s schemes to keep his quarry talking—a strained friendship develops between the two men, and it soon becomes difficult to tell who is more dependent on whom. Rhapsodic and melancholic, with shades of Vladimir Nabokov, W. G. Sebald, Hans Keilson, and Thomas Bernhard, Wolf Wondratschek's Self-Portrait with Russian Piano is a literary sonata circling the eternal question of whether beauty, music, and passion are worth the sacrifices some people are compelled to make for them. “A romantic in a madhouse. To let Wondratschek’s voice be drowned in the babble of today’s literature would be a colossal mistake.” —*Patrick Süskind, international bestselling author of Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

My Life as a Villainess

Author : Laura Lippman

ISBN10 : 0062997343

Publisher : HarperCollins

Number of Pages : 288

Category : Biography & Autobiography

Viewed : 726

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Book Summary: New York Times bestselling author Laura Lippman, a journalist for many years, collects here her recent essays exploring motherhood as an older mom, her life as a reader, her relationships with her parents, friendship, and other topics that will resonate with a large audience. Her voice is wry and relatable, her takes often surprising. Meet the Woman Behind the Books… In this collection of new and previously published essays, New York Times bestselling author Laura Lippman offers her take on a woman's life across the decades. Her childhood and school years, her newspaper career, her experiences as a novelist—Lippman finds universal touchstones in an unusual life that has as many twists as her award-winning crime fiction. Essays include: · Men Explain The Wire to Me · Game of Crones · My Life as a Villainess · My Father’s Bar · The 31st Stocking These candid essays offer long-time readers insight into the experiences that helped Lippman become one of the most successful crime novelists of her generation.

My Penguin Year

Author : Lindsay McCrae

ISBN10 : 0062971387

Publisher : HarperCollins

Number of Pages : 304

Category : Nature

Viewed : 1524

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Book Summary: A "remarkable memoir" (Nature) of life with an emperor penguin colony, gorgeously illustrated with 32 pages of exclusive photography For 337 days, award-winning wildlife cameraman Lindsay McCrae intimately followed 11,000 emperor penguins amid the singular beauty of Antarctica. This is his masterful chronicle of one penguin colony’s astonishing journey of life, death, and rebirth—and of the extraordinary human experience of living amongst them in the planet’s harshest environment. A miracle occurs each winter in Antarctica. As temperatures plummet 60° below zero and the sea around the remote southern continent freezes, emperors—the largest of all penguins—begin marching up to 100 miles over solid ice to reach their breeding grounds. They are the only animals to breed in the depths of this, the worst winter on the planet; and in an unusual role reversal, the males incubate the eggs, fasting for over 100 days to ensure they introduce their chicks safely into their new frozen world. My Penguin Year recounts McCrae's remarkable adventure to the end of the Earth. He observed every aspect of a breeding emperor's life, facing the inevitable sacrifices that came with living his childhood dream, and grappling with the personal obstacles that, being over 15,000km away from the comforts of home, almost proved too much. Out of that experience, he has written an unprecedented portrait of Antarctica’s most extraordinary residents.

The Book of Eels

Author : Patrik Svensson

ISBN10 : 0062968831

Publisher : HarperCollins

Number of Pages : 256

Category : Science

Viewed : 1239

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Book Summary: National Bestseller Winner of the National Outdoor Book Award Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction A New York Times Notable Book One of TIME’s 100 Must Read Books of the Year One of The Washington Post’s 50 Notable Nonfiction Books of the Year One of Smithsonian Magazine’s 10 Best Science Books of the Year One of Publishers Weekly’s Best Nonfiction Books of the Year A New York Times Editor’s Choice Part H Is for Hawk, part The Soul of an Octopus, The Book of Eels is both a meditation on the world’s most elusive fish—the eel—and a reflection on the human condition Remarkably little is known about the European eel, Anguilla anguilla. So little, in fact, that scientists and philosophers have, for centuries, been obsessed with what has become known as the “eel question”: Where do eels come from? What are they? Are they fish or some other kind of creature altogether? Even today, in an age of advanced science, no one has ever seen eels mating or giving birth, and we still don’t understand what drives them, after living for decades in freshwater, to swim great distances back to the ocean at the end of their lives. They remain a mystery. Drawing on a breadth of research about eels in literature, history, and modern marine biology, as well as his own experience fishing for eels with his father, Patrik Svensson crafts a mesmerizing portrait of an unusual, utterly misunderstood, and completely captivating animal. In The Book of Eels, we meet renowned historical thinkers, from Aristotle to Sigmund Freud to Rachel Carson, for whom the eel was a singular obsession. And we meet the scientists who spearheaded the search for the eel’s point of origin, including Danish marine biologist Johannes Schmidt, who led research efforts in the early twentieth century, catching thousands upon thousands of eels, in the hopes of proving their birthing grounds in the Sargasso Sea. Blending memoir and nature writing at its best, Svensson’s journey to understand the eel becomes an exploration of the human condition that delves into overarching issues about our roots and destiny, both as humans and as animals, and, ultimately, how to handle the biggest question of all: death. The result is a gripping and slippery narrative that will surprise and enchant.