I'm listening to the latest Bird Watch Radio. The host, Steve Moore is in the above photo in the burgundy shirt (no doubt scouting for potential interviewees for future podcasts). I ran into him at Birdwatch America and he told me that on the current BWR you can hear me and one of my favorite people Mike Bergin of 10,000 Birds talking about bird and nature blogging. Steve also talks to John Robinson who wrote Birding for Everyone.
I've received a review copy of Birding for Everyone and I've kept mum on it. Generally, with books, if I don't like it, I keep it out of the blog. I know how much work can go into a book and just because I don't like it doesn't mean it's a bad book, it may just isn't my cup of tea. Also, if I've met the author ahead of time and really like them as a person, I really don't want be too harsh about my thoughts on their work. I think the subject of this book has great potential, I just wanted a bit more from this book.
The author states, "The purpose of Birding for Everyone is to explore the lack of minorities among birdwatchers, reasons for the relative absence of minorities among birders, effective solutions as part of outreach and recruitment programs."
However, the book goes all over the place, and tries to be three separate books in one. It's a little bit memoir and touches on the surface of why there are a lack of minorities, but then suddenly shifts to how to identify birds with 10 tips for becoming a better birder. What does that have to do with the purpose of the book?
It's worth reading, but is a bit all over the place, he seems to have several audiences in mind when writing. The book is a good first draft and need of a good editor. One thing for sure is that it is a needed starting point for some great conversation about the future direction of birding in North America.
My hope is that some publisher will see this book and ask Mr. Robinson to do two separate books: one addressing more in depth what the issues are facing birders of color in North America and teach birders like myself how to welcome them into the world of nature watching. And a second book for people of color on how to start watching nature.