Thursday, July 9, 2009

Review: A Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Nicholas Drayson

A Guide to the Birds of East Africa
Author: Nicholas Drayson
Published: 2008
Genre: Fiction- for Adults and YA
Pages: 202

From Goodreads: A beguiling novel that does for contemporary Kenya and its 1,000 species of birds what Alexander McCall Smith's Ladies Detective series does for Botswana. Kenya is wildlife heaven and Drayson's descriptions make you long to travel there. But the author also turns an eagle eye on the foibles and follies of the people and politicians who roam the East African landscape. Readers looking for winning fiction that delivers wit and wisdom need look no further than in the pages of this novel.

My Thoughts:
This is an absolutely charming book. It made me wish to be in Kenya to observe these birds first hand. Written with humor and grace, this book is a delightful romp into the lives of Rose Mbikwa, Mr. Malik, and Henry Khan. The story is told from an unknown third party and the style reminded me of Alan Bennett's book ,The Uncommon Reader. It has that dry, quirky British humor feel to it. This was a wonderful way to spend three hours. I totally recommend this little book to anyone out there who loves birds, likes to learn about other countries, and enjoys getting a peek into some interesting characters daily lives.

Here are just some of the birds that were spotted during the reading of this book.

Blacksmith Lapwing

African Emerald Cuckoo

Hadada Ibis

Hartlaub's Turaco

Also reviewed by:
The Book Lady's Blog
Direct quote from review: "In A Guide to the Birds of East Africa, Nicholas Drayson has created a very pleasant light read with well-drawn characters and a charming story."

Fresh Ink Books
Direct quote from review: "It's a good story, told by a somewhat cheeky narrator, laugh out loud funny in places and well worth reading. I enjoyed it very much. Four stars out of five.


  1. U find the best books.....I never would have known about this if it wasn't for U! :) LOVE IT! :):):):)

  2. H, I have eyed this book in the library. Now it's gone so I guess someone picked it up...should not...but ok will borrow it one day. right now I ahve too many

  3. I'm glad to see that someone else enjoyed this book too. That's a lovely touch with the African bird photos, really adds to the review. And thanks for the link and quote.

  4. Oh wow! I want to read this right now! What you said about the style reminding you of The Uncommon Reader completely sold me.

  5. Well, Staci, I saw the title, and thought why in the world did she read a 'bird book' :<) I thought it was like a guide to African birds, and I couldn't imagine reading it all the way through as a book. Thanks a million for the review. It will definitely be bought or borrowed in 2010! Just the kind of book I love.

  6. I was immediately drawn to the cover, and I'm glad to hear it's a good read. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  7. Sounds like it will be a great book. Can't wait to get a hold of a copy.

  8. That's definitely a really different plot! I'm intrigued... and the cover is awesome! I don't think that's a title I'll soon forget, so I'll look for it :)

  9. I loved this book - the birds as well as the quirky people in post-colonial East Africa. Like the pictures you included! Nice touch!

  10. I love your review and the pictures. Thanks!

  11. This sounds like a wonderful book. By the way, I love the way your doing you're linked reviews!

  12. Thanks for including the cool birds!

  13. OK, I just put a hold on this. You got me with "this is an absolutely charming book", but when you mentioned The Uncommon Reader, I clicked right over to my library website!

  14. Great review and pictures! I had been on the lookout for this one since I knew it was coming out. I just loved the cover. Glad that you enjoyed this one.

  15. What an interesting book! Great idea to share some of the photos too. Africa is such a beautiful place - thanks for sharing this book with us.

  16. I'm going to Kenya in November - this sounds like a good field trip book.

  17. How did I not know about this book? I'm looking forward to reading it now. Thank you for drawing it to my attention!

  18. Great review! I've been looking at this one in the library and wondering - now I know to definitely pick it up!


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