Birds of the Masai Mara book cover
In 2010, after arriving in the Masai Mara, Kenya’s famed national reserve, Adam Scott Kennedy, a private safari guide, discovered information and photos about birds in the area were hard to come by. He began taking photos of birds he saw daily to share with guides and before he realized it a book was born, Birds of the Masai Mara (Princeton University Pres, $27.95), this year.
“The biggest challenge in producing this book was completing the species accounts while running a busy luxury camp in the Mara (Naibor), but thankfully my wife Vicki offered to take on the lion’s share of the office work during that period which freed several hours of time for me each day to write,” said Kennedy who already had an extensive image library before the concept of this book came about, from Kenya. “That image library contains around 25,000 images (offline) and our website has around 3,000 images that can be perused at leisure. When we refined the species list for the book, I realised I was missing a few species so had to put myself ‘on assignment’ to get the images required.”
The 176-page softcover book full of color photos mostly taken by Kennedy (some of the photos are from WorldWildlifeImages.com) is divided into Birds of the Plains; Birds of the Marsh and Water; Birds of Woodland, Scrub and Garden; Birds of Acacia Scrub; Village Birds; Forest Birds; Birds of the Air; and Night Birds.
“I began birding at the age of 4 so I guess the biggest reward for me is the response from my friends and family, who are seeing me achieve, what I guess, they always expected me to do with my life,” said Kennedy.
Each bird listing is accompanied by at least one photo and a description. The book lists 300 bird photos and 200 bird species in the area known widely for its wildebeest migration.
Kennedy, also author of Animals of the Masai Mara, and his wife Vicki specialize in photographic and wildlife safaris. According to his website bio, he has seen a third of the world’s 10,000 known bird species.
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Unquenchable book cover
Following the success of her book Red, White and Drunk All Over Natalie MacLean, a sommelier and writer, set about finding well priced wines in several countries. Five years later, the results of her travels and research were outlined in Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines (Penguin USA, $15.99) first published last year in hard cover and most recently in paperback just in time for the end of year holidays. In the 344-page book, written in a conversational style MacLean insists good wine can be found at affordable prices.
She shares wine appreciation and food pairing tips and favorite value wines and wineries from eight regions: North America, Germany, Australia, southern Italy, the Mediterranean, Argentina, Chile and South Africa. She also includes a list of resources for the regions and a list of her notes, wine picks and top value producers in the back of the chapters. In each region she visited between 30 and 40 wineries and tasted thousands of wines. Wine can be complex without being complicated, she says in the book.
Natalie MacLean, author, Unquenchable
“I’ve spent the past several years traipsing around the world, visiting wineries, tasting their offerings, and searching for the world’s best inexpensive wines,” said MacLean in promotional materials. “The narrative is as familiar as Arthur’s quest for the grail and as naïve as the little bird’s plaintive search for the affirmative in Are You My Mother?”
MacLean, named the World’s Best Drinks Writer at the World Food Media Awards in Australia, won the M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award from the James Beard Foundation and the M.F.K. Fisher Award for Excellence in Culinary Writing from Les Dames d’Escoffier International. Her wine columns in print reach 5.1 million readers, her complimentary wine e-newsletter has a following of 145,000. For 15 years she was a competitive Highland dancer.
Author photo courtesy of Natalie MacLean, book cover photo courtesy of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.
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Fierce Beauty book cover
There was a time not long ago in the history of our planet when one hundred thousand tigers roamed the Earth. Today, less than three thousand remain. Other wild cats are threatened with extinction including the famous King of the Jungle and of course the fast cheetahs because of man’s encroachment on their ancestral homelands. Hoping to draw attention to the plight of these beautiful animals and the link between their and our lives a group of caring individuals pooled their efforts to showcase some animals in photos and draw attention to their South Carolina organization.
Fierce Beauty Preserving the World of Wild Cats (Earth Aware Editions, $50), a 246-page hardcover book published this year, is filled with striking full color photos of many of the large cats that make their home at The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S) in South Carolina, described in promotional materials as a wildlife education organization, dedicated to promoting global conservation with informative, educational and entertaining interactive programs.
The photos, by Barry Bland and Tim Flach, in outdoor and studio like settings take up a large part of the book which also includes articles by conservation and wild cat advocates, quotes by famous people and biographies of the Institute staff. The book was published in China.
Many of the photos take up a full page or two pages. Tigers, leopards, ocelots, lynx, ligers, cheetahs, panthers and lions in varied colors and ages appear in the photos individually and in groups, alone and with the staff.
The contributors, listed in the back of the book with their photos, are Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, David Barron, founder, International Conservation Caucus Foundation; Lynn Culver, executive director, Feline Conservation Federation; Jim Fowler, zoologist and former host of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom; Terry Lincoln, director, Dakota Zoo; Stephen O’Brien, chief, Laboratory of Genomic Diversity at the National Cancer Institute; and Jim Sanderson, founder Small Cat Conservation Alliance. The Foreword is by Robert Duvall.
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