A Field Guide to Spiders of Australia
Robert Whyte and Greg Anderson
CSIRO publishing, 2017
Paperback $49.95; e-books also available.
As regular readers will be aware, I like spiders as well as butterflies and birds. I was very pleased when I heard the first hints that a new guide to them might be on the way, the more so since the author-to-be was my regular mentor in all things arachnological through his site Arachne.org and the Spiders of Australia flickr group. When he asked whether he could use a couple of my photos Continue reading “A Field Guide to Spiders of Australia”
Five years ago I wrote a post celebrating our backyard bananas and lamenting the vulnerability of the commercial crop. Several more posts since then have touched on the dangerous lack of genetic diversity of the endlessly-cloned Cavendish (especially Wild bananas) and a book I picked up in our Balinese guesthouse recently refocused my attention on the issue.
Banana: the Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World by Dan Koeppel (2007) does for our favourite fruit what Longitude and Krakatoa do for navigation and our favourite volcano Continue reading “The Fruit that Changed the World”
The Complete Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia
Second edition, April 2016,
400 pp., pbk, $49.95
The publisher’s blurb for this book is so accurate and informative Continue reading “Naturalist’s Bookshelf 2: Braby’s Butterflies”
Several new, or merely new-to-us, natural history books arrived in this house a couple of months ago – mostly around December 25, actually – and I’ve been meaning to write about them ever since. Here are those which focus on plants.
Visions of a Rainforest – a year in Australia’s tropical rainforest
Text by Stanley Breeden, illustrations by William T. Cooper.
Simon and Schuster, 1992
As The Australian Rainforest Foundation website notes, Queensland’s Wet Tropics region contains the oldest continually surviving tropical rainforest on earth Continue reading “Naturalists’ Bookshelf 1: Plants”
Ursula Le Guin
Always Coming Home
1985, republished by SF Masterworks in 2016
Always Coming Home is a wonderful book but it challenges easy categorisation. Like most of Le Guin’s work, it belongs somewhere in the ‘science fiction and fantasy’ area, but there’s very little science in it and even less fantasy. It is not even a novel, nor a collection of short stories, but an anthology including short stories, poems, play-scripts, an excerpt from a novel, myths and (the longest item) an autobiography.
Between them, they give us a richly textured introduction to an exotic culture – much as an anthology of Kazakh folk tales and literature might do. But which culture?
Continue reading “Ursula Le Guin: Always Coming Home”