Alex Preston and Neil Gower - As Kingfishers Catch Fire - Little, Brown Book Group

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • E-Book £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9781472152251
    • Publication date:13 Jul 2017

As Kingfishers Catch Fire

Birds & Books

By Alex Preston and Neil Gower

  • Hardback
  • £25.00

As Kingfishers Catch Fire: Birds and Books is an illustrated and visually stunning exploration of birds in literature, from Ovid to Ted Hughes.

'A magical book: an inimitable fusion of ornithology, literary anthology and autobiography' Tom Holland

'Delightful . . . an original look at the literature inspired by Britain's birdlife' the Guardian, Best Nature Books of 2017

When Alex Preston was 15, he stopped being a birdwatcher. Adolescence and the scorn of his peers made him put away his binoculars, leave behind the hides and the nature reserves and the quiet companionship of his fellow birders. His love of birds didn't disappear though. Rather, it went underground, and he began birdwatching in the books that he read, creating his own personal anthology of nature writing that brought the birds of his childhood back to brilliant life.

Looking for moments 'when heart and bird are one', Preston weaves the very best writing about birds into a personal and eccentric narrative that is as much about the joy of reading and writing as it is about the thrill of wildlife. Moving from the 'high requiem' of Keats's nightingale to the crow-strewn sky at the end of Alan Garner's The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, from Ted Hughes's brooding 'Hawk in the Rain' to the giddy anthropomorphism of Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, this is a book that will make you look at birds, at the world, in a newer, richer light.

Beautifully illustrated and illuminated by the celebrated graphic artist Neil Gower, As Kingfishers Catch Fire is a book to love and to hold, to return to again and again, to marvel at the way that authors across the centuries have captured the endless grace and variety of birds.

'As Kingfishers Catch Fire is a memoir/gallimaufry of ornithological obsession by Alex Preston. He watches birds in the sky and on the page darting between myths, stories and memoir like a swift. The characterful illustrations by Neil Gower add a whole new dimension to this gorgeous book' Damian Barr, Guardian Best Books of 2017

Biographical Notes

Alex Preston (Author)
Alex Preston is a bestselling and award-winning novelist, most recently of the critically-acclaimed In Love and War. He appears regularly on BBC television and radio. He writes for GQ, Harper's Bazaar and Town & Country Magazine as well as monthly fiction reviews for the Observer. He is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Kent.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781472152244
  • Publication date: 13 Jul 2017
  • Page count: 208
  • Imprint: Corsair
As Kingfishers Catch Fire is a memoir/gallimaufry of ornithological obsession by Alex Preston. He watches birds in the sky and on the page darting between myths, stories and memoir like a swift. The characterful illustrations by Neil Gower add a whole new dimension to this gorgeous book. — Damian Barr, Guardian Best Books of 2017
Alex Preston, better known for his novels, joined forces with artist Neil Gower to produce the delightful As Kingfishers Catch Fire, an original look at the literature inspired by Britain's birdlife. — Guardian Best Nature Books of 2017
A magical book: an inimitable fusion of ornithology, literary anthology and autobiography. — Tom Holland
Neil Gower is a genius. It's as simple as that. — Bill Bryson
It's a luminous book. The glow will stay with me. I cried. The book is worthy of birds, and I know no higher praise. — Charles Foster
As Kingfishers Catch Fire is both a joyful and a wondrous book, one that successfully captures the otherness of birds, while celebrating our yearning to transcend our lot, our yearning to touch the unknowable . . . Each bird illustrated by Gower in a mixture of gouache and watercolour that brings to mind both William Morris and Eric Ravilious — Katharine Norbury, the Observer
His pages light up with feathered magic — Evening Standard
Preston's book is less a polemic on conservation than a plea for close looking and close listening. He believes, with Gerard Manley Hopkins (from whom he takes his title), that the world is charged with grandeur - the world of birds especially - and that our lives are the richer when we attend to that grandeur. "What thou art we know not," Shelley tells his skylark, but some of the greatest poems in the language have come from the effort to find out. — the Guardian
The cover, in the colours of a kingfisher's breast and wing, and endpapers are gorgeous, and Neil Gower's illustrations are bright and chirping. I can see it under the Christmas tree of every family with a bird feeder and a copy of the RSPB Handbook . . . Preston captures his birds beautifully. — The Times
Preston enlivens his narrative with anecdotes that persistently make you want to find out more — Sunday Times
Each of his 21 chapters is devoted to one species - beautifully illustrated by Neil Gower - which is helpful for those with a limited knowledge of ornithology . . . If a memorable line has been written about a bird, it is probably in this book. — the Economist
Gower's illustrations are a thing of a beauty. — the Independent
Preston weaves together his own birdwatching experience with some of the finest avian-inspired literature . . . Illustrations by the acclaimed graphic artist Neil Gower add vivid colour and verve, while dainty miniature line drawings ensure there is beauty even in the margins of this handsome book. — The Lady
I loved As Kingfishers Catch Fire. I read it the way I drink single malt whisky: slowly, reflectively, contemplatively - even prayerfully. Alex Preston and Neil Gower have made an important contribution to what I think of as open, secular spirituality. It's a book that will enrich and move all who read it. — Richard Holloway, author of Leaving Alexandria
Da Capo Lifelong Books

Life Is a Marathon

Matt Fitzgerald
Authors:
Matt Fitzgerald

Constable

The Modern Shepherd

AlBaraa H. Taibah
Authors:
AlBaraa H. Taibah

Piatkus

Beyond the Footpath

Clare Gogerty
Authors:
Clare Gogerty
Hachette Audio

My Life with Murderers

David Wilson
Authors:
David Wilson
Constable

I Talk Too Much

Francis Rossi
Authors:
Francis Rossi
Fleet

Stubborn Archivist

Yara Rodrigues Fowler
Authors:
Yara Rodrigues Fowler
Constable

Record Play Pause

Stephen Morris
Authors:
Stephen Morris
Da Capo Press

Forever Nerdy

Brian Posehn
Authors:
Brian Posehn
Da Capo Press

This Is Not Fame

Drew Pinsky, Doug Stanhope, Dr. Drew Pinsky
Authors:
Drew Pinsky, Doug Stanhope, Dr. Drew Pinsky
Da Capo Lifelong Books

Shadow Daughter

Harriet Brown
Authors:
Harriet Brown

Sphere

This Will Only Hurt a Little

Busy Philipps
Authors:
Busy Philipps

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 'Busy is a legit writer with a voice as clear as a bell' Tina Fey 'Funny, refreshingly candid memoir about Hollywood, motherhood and BFFhood' Cosmopolitan'Judy Blume meets Karl Ove Knausgaard meets one brave woman from Arizona' Miranda JulyA memoir by the beloved comedic actress known for her roles on Freaks and Geeks, Dawson's Creek, and Cougartown who has become 'the breakout star on Instagram stories . . . imagine I Love Lucy mixed with a modern lifestyle guru' (New Yorker).Busy Philipps's autobiographical book offers the same unfiltered and candid storytelling that her Instagram followers have come to know and love, from growing up in Scottsdale, Arizona and her painful and painfully funny teen years, to her life as a working actress, mother, and famous best friend.Busy is the rare entertainer whose impressive arsenal of talents as an actress is equally matched by her storytelling ability, sense of humor, and sharp observations about life, love, and motherhood. Her conversational writing reminds us what we love about her on screens large and small. From film to television to Instagram, Busy delightfully showcases her wry humor and her willingness to bare it all.'I've been waiting my whole life to write this book. I'm just so grateful someone asked. Otherwise, what was the point of any of it??''Candid, painful and extremely wryly funny' Stylist'Like most women, famous or not, bad things have happened to Busy Philipps - as well as weird stuff, jawdropping stuff and heartwarming stuff' Refinery29'This Will Only Hurt a Little has stopped me in my tracks completely' Sophie Heawood, Observer

Constable

Heads Up

Alan Smith
Authors:
Alan Smith
Virago

The Only Girl

Robin Green
Authors:
Robin Green
Constable

Sonic Youth Slept On My Floor

Dave Haslam
Authors:
Dave Haslam

'Beautifully judged account of the Manchester scene . . . There is something of the fairy tale about Dave Haslam's sage joyful testament to the kind of life that nobody could ever plan, a happy aligning of a cultural moment and a young man who instinctively knew that it was his once upon a time' Victoria Segal, Sunday Times'Witty, sometimes dark, revealing, insightful, everything one could hope for from one of those folk without whom independent music simply wouldn't exist' Classic RockSonic Youth Slept on My Floor is writer and DJ Dave Haslam's wonderfully evocative memoir. It is a masterful insider account of the Hacienda, the rise of Madchester and birth of the rave era, and how music has sound-tracked a life and a generation.In the late 1970s Dave Haslam was a teenage John Peel listener and Joy Division fan, his face pressed against a 'window', looking in at a world of music, books and ideas. Four decades later, he finds himself in the middle of that world, collaborating with New Order on a series of five shows in Manchester. Into the story of those intervening decades, Haslam weaves a definitive portrait of Manchester as a music city and the impact of a number of life-changing events, such as the nightmare of the Yorkshire Ripper to the shock of the Manchester Arena terror attack.The cast of Haslam's life reads like a who's who of '70s, '80s and '90s popular culture: Tony Wilson, Nile Rodgers, Terry Hall, Neneh Cherry, Tracey Thorn, John Lydon, Johnny Marr, Ian Brown, Laurent Garnier and David Byrne. From having Morrissey to tea and meeting writers such as Raymond Carver and Jonathan Franzen to discussing masturbation with Viv Albertine and ecstasy with Roisin Murphy, via having a gun pulled on him at the Hacienda and a drug dealer threatening to slit his throat, this is not your usual memoir.

Corsair

The Shadow in the Garden

James Atlas
Authors:
James Atlas
Abacus

Forty Autumns

Nina Willner
Authors:
Nina Willner

In Forty Autumns, Nina Willner recounts the history of three generations of her family - mothers, sisters, daughters and cousins - separated by forty years of Soviet rule, and reunited after the fall of the Berlin Wall.Shortly after the end of the Second World War, as the Soviets took control of the eastern part of Germany, Hanna, a schoolteacher's daughter, escaped with nothing more than a small suitcase and the clothes on her back. As Hanna built a new life in the West, her relatives (her mother, father and eight siblings) remained in the East. The construction of the Berlin Wall severed all hope of any future reunion. Hanna fell in love and moved to America. She made many attempts to establish contact with her family, but most were unsuccessful. Her father was under close observation; her mother, younger sister Heidi and the others struggled to adjust to life under a bizarre and brutal regime that kept its citizens cut off from the outside world. A few years later, Hanna had a daughter - Nina - who grew up to become the first female US Army intelligence officer to lead sensitive intelligence collection operations in East Berlin at the height of the Cold War. At the same time, Heidi's daughter, Cordula, was training to become a member of the East German Olympic cycling team. Though separated by only a few miles, Nina and her relatives led entirely different lives. Once the Berlin Wall came down, and the families were reunited, Nina Willner discovered an extraordinary story. In Forty Autumns she vividly brings to life many accounts of courage and survival, set against the backdrop of four decades that divided a nation and the world.

Piatkus

Woman in the Wilderness

Miriam Lancewood
Authors:
Miriam Lancewood

My life is free, random and spontaneous. This in itself creates enormous energy and clarity in body and mind - Miriam LancewoodMiriam Lancewood is a young Dutch woman living a primitive, nomadic life in the heart of the mountains with her New Zealand husband. She lives simply in a tent or hut and survives by hunting wild animals, foraging edible plants and using minimal supplies. For the last six years she has lived this way, through all seasons, often cold, hungry and isolated in the bush. She loves her life and feels free, connected to the land and happy.This book tells her story, including the very practical aspects of such a life: her difficulties learning to hunt with a bow and arrow, struggles to create a warm environment in which to live, attempts to cross raging rivers safely and find ways through the rugged mountains and dense bush. This is interwoven with her adjustment to a very slow pace of life, her relationship with her much older husband, her interactions with the few other people they encounter, and her growing awareness of a strong spiritual connection to the natural world.

Piatkus

Becoming Myself

Irvin D. Yalom
Authors:
Irvin D. Yalom

'When Yalom publishes something - anything - I buy it, and he never disappoints. He's an amazing storyteller, a gorgeous writer, a great, generous, compassionate thinker, and - quite rightly - one of the world's most influential mental healthcare practitioners' Nicola Barker, Guardian Best Books of 2017'Wonderful, compelling and as insightful about its subject and about the times he lived in as you could hope for. A fabulous read' Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for StoneIrvin D. Yalom has made a career of investigating the lives of others. In Becoming Myself, his long-awaited memoir, he turns his therapeutic eye on himself, delving into the relationships that shaped him and the groundbreaking work that made him famous.The first-generation child of immigrant Russian Jews, Yalom grew up in a lower-class neighbourhood in Washington DC. Determined to escape its confines, he set his sights on becoming a doctor. An incredible ascent followed: we witness his start at Stanford Medical School amid the cultural upheavals of the 1960s, his turn to writing fiction as a means of furthering his exploration of the human psyche and his rise to international prominence.Yalom recounts his revolutionary work in group psychotherapy and how he became the foremost practitioner of existential psychotherapy, a method that draws on the wisdom of great thinkers over the ages. He reveals the inspiration for his many seminal books, including Love's Executioner and When Nietzche Wept, which meld psychology and philosophy to arrive at arresting new insights into the human condition. Interweaving the stories of his most memorable patients with personal tales of love and regret, Becoming Myself brings readers close to Yalom's therapeutic technique, his writing process and his family life.

Constable

Rodigan

David Rodigan
Authors:
David Rodigan

'THE BOOK THAT EVERY REGGAE FAN SHOULD READ' John Masouri, Echoes'Rodigan can still claim a currency few presenters of his vintage can match. Perhaps it's because while his wider musical and professional milieu has been in constant change, his boundless enthusiasm has been constant. Reggae's been lucky to have him' Ian Harrison, MOJO'Rodigan was a major part of my childhood, he played the hottest tunes and in a style that just resonated with me and millions like me. Being able to contribute anything to a man that filled my life with such joy is an honour, respect, David Rodigan' Ian Wright'David is a pioneer in Reggae music. As a selector and radio personality, his vast knowledge of Jamaican music and its culture has helped to educate and fascinate music lovers around the world; he's an amazing son of the music, and an icon. We couldn't have made it this far without him' ShaggyThis is the unlikely story of David Rodigan: an Army sergeant's son from the English countryside who has become the man who has taught the world about Reggae. As the sound of Jamaica has morphed over five decades through a succession of different genres - from Ska and Rock Steady, to Dub, Roots and Dancehall - Rodigan has remained its constant champion, winning the respect of generation after generation of Reggae followers across the globe.Today, at the age of 63, he is a headline performer at almost all the UK's big music festivals, as well as events across the world. Young people revere him and he is a leading presenter on the BBC's youth network 1Xtra as well as a regular fixture at leading nightclubs such as London's Fabric and at student unions throughout the land. And he continues to go into the heartlands of Reggae, to the downtown dancehalls of Kingston and Montego Bay in Jamaica to compete in tournaments against the greatest sound systems. And yet, for all of this, David Rodigan is the antithesis of the stereotype of an international dance music DJ. 'I look like an accountant or a dentist,' he admitted to The Independent a decade ago. A man of impeccable manners, Rodigan prepares for a big sound clash by retiring to his hotel bed with a Thomas Hardy novel before taking a nap and then a cup of espresso before heading to the club. Rodigan is the inside story of this apparent paradox. It tells how a boy from Kidlington has become an admired international ambassador for a music form that remains as proud as ever of its African roots, a sound that emanates from and fiercely represents the ghetto poor. He now reaches across the age groups, from teens through to those of his own vintage. At the pinnacle of his career, Rodigan has become the DJ for all generations.'David Rodigan is a force of nature. His spirit and passion are a rare and wonderful thing. He has dedicated his life to carrying the torch for Reggae music and is hugely respected all over the world for his knowledge and talent as a broadcaster and a DJ. Long may he reign on our stages and on our airwaves' Annie Mac

Hachette Australia

Hack in a Flak Jacket

Peter Stefanovic
Authors:
Peter Stefanovic