The birds and the bees

02 August 2018

From an eccentric naturalist to the plight of the bumble bee, via summer visitors and the best and worst of human nature, let your imagination take wing, says Rose Shepherd.



Wordery is now one of the largest online bookshops in the UK. It offers more than 10 million books, round-the-clock access and great prices - not forgetting FREE worldwide delivery! Take a look at our picks for May.

All available to buy online.

Bird Cottage by Eva Meijer

'Birds are filled with air... and light and swiftness.' They have personality, and they flit everywhere in this delightful, poignant first-person tale of the life of 'Len' (Gwendolen) Howard, who opened her Sussex home to wild birds, sharing her wartime rations as she studied them. Her bestselling Birds as individuals and Living with Birds have been largely forgotten. This Dutch author's own Animal Languages will be published here in 2019. Tweet about it!

Available to buy online.

 

Testament by Kim Sherwood

Famous artist Joseph Silk was born a Hungarian Jew, but he has disowned his past and the horrors of the labour camps. When Silk dies, his granddaughter, Eva, finds a letter that sends her on a quest for truth. We are plunged into the stuff of nightmares, come up for air, join Eva as she uncovers the 'lies, lies, lies.' A truly stunning, heartfelt debut.

Available to buy online.

 

So much life left over by Louis de Bernières

In a mood of peacetime ennui, First World War hero Daniel, with wife Rosie, is making a new life as a tea planter in Ceylon. Back in England, Rosie's three sisters are, one way or another, romantically involved. There are children - legitimate and otherwise. Mother is certifiably bonkers. Other wars break out - between Rosie and Daniel, between England and Germany. This book made me laugh, made me mad and made me cry.

Available to buy online.

 

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler

Oh, joy! We're off to Baltimore, where Willa Drake somehow finds herself caring for her son's ex-girlfriend Denise, and Denise's endearing daughter, Cheryl (complete strangers, both). Denise has been shot in the leg. Her neighbours are a bunch of crocks, crackpots and dreamers, described with humour and spaciousness. Life, in Tyler's world, is a series of mishaps. Just like the real world.

Available to buy online.

 

A Long Island Story by Rick Gekoski

1953. It is hot in Washington DC - too hot for lawyer (and communist) Ben, who heads out with his family to spend the summer with his in-laws in their stifling Long Island bungalow. Ben wants to start again here. His wife seethes. Their children are troubled. Can they be reconciled? A vivid evocation of McCarthyite America.

Available to buy online.

 

Buzz by Thor Hanson

Masons, miners, carpenters, leafcutters, woolcarders... bees are industrious and resourceful. They give us honey and beeswax, but their greatest gift is as nature's most prolific pollinators. Some 35% of global crop production, from alfalfa to zucchini, depends heavily upon them. Their decline should concern us all. Biologist and conservationist Hanson opens our eyes to a global task force 20,000- species strong. 

Available to buy online.

RSPB Spotlight Swifts and Swallows by Mike Unwin

There is no bird more filled with air and light than the swift, mating for life, living on the wing. Swifts are more closely related to hummingbirds than to swallows (one of many fascinating facts to glean from this authoritative but engaging book), however both are 'icons of summer', arriving in late spring from sub-Saharan Africa, performing impressive aerobatics, hoovering up 'aerial plankton' and inspiring poetry as they go.

Available to buy online.

 

Gardening Book of the Month

Dahlias by Naomi Slade with photographs by Georgianna Lane

A beautiful record of more than 65 glorious dahlia varieties, from delicate pink and cream pompoms to dramatic explosions of orange and red. They were a food of the Aztecs - who cultivated them for their potato - like roots - and rose in popularity as European garden plants. As well as their history, read how to grow, propagate and care for these show-stopping flowers. A real treat. 

Available to buy online.

 

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