A Life Gone to the Birds by Al Batt | Paperback | 208 pages | ISBN: 9781880241288
Publisher’s View: Audiences around the globe have fallen in love with Al’s nature stories through his newspaper columns, radio shows, and magazine articles. A Life Gone to the Birds brings together the best of those stories in a delightful collection.
Featuring original illustrations from artist Kevin Pope, the book takes readers back to Al’s fledgling years on a dairy farm in Minnesota and follows his many misadventures with skunks, “ghost owls,” honey-and-sugar sandwiches, and, of course, birds. As Al grows older, the stories only get more interesting. Each anecdote is served in Al’s signature folksy style, lightly seasoned with wit and wisdom.
Anyone who loves birds or just loves to laugh will enjoy this collection of stories.
The Author: Al Batt of rural Hartland, Minnesota is a writer, speaker, storyteller and humorist. Al writes four weekly humor and nature columns for many newspapers, and does a show three times per week about nature on a number of radio stations. He writes a number of popular cartoon strips that are syndicated nationally. He has written for a number of magazines and books, including the Chicken Soup For the Soul series. He is a columnist for Bird Watcher’s Digest and is a trustee of the American Bald Eagle Foundation in Haines, Alaska. He has written for the movies. He speaks at various festivals, conferences and conventions all over the United States and Canada. Al provides clean humor with a message. He has received the Ed Franey Conservation Media Award from the Izaak Walton League, was named birder of the year by WildBird magazine, was honored with the National Eagle Center’s Hero Award, received an award from Bluebirds Across Nebraska for outstanding contributions to wildlife conservation, is a member of Ray Brown’s Talkin’ Birds Hall of Fame, is the Official Staff Ornithologist for the Bulletin Board in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, was honored by Modern Woodman for conscientious and dedicated community service, is a member of the Freeborn County Softball Hall of Fame, serves on the board of the Environment for the Americas, is on the board of the Albert Lea Public Library Foundation, and was given the Thomas Sadler Roberts Award by the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union. Al speaks to anyone who will listen. His mother thinks he is special.
Fatbirder View: Al Batt is not my favourite writer of humour, nor is he my favourite writer on birds. Al Batt is my favourite writer. I recon I can tell a good story and weave a picture in words that can make you laugh or want to throttle me and I genuflect to this man. What is so annoying is that he could take my three-page story and tell it as well in a paragraph. He writes 10 cent words as if they are five dollar ones, he understands verbal economy like no other writer in English. If Al were Japanese he would find fame in composing Haicu. Every one of these pieces could stand alone and proud anywhere and each one has at least one sentence that I wish I had written. He takes a commonplace that we only notice when he points it out so pithily that they could be quotes from a modern Shakespeare, so apposite that no other way of saying it would ever work as well. His dad saying “Someday you’ll appreciate not having to make decisions” is a great example… its funny on the face but carries timeless wisdom, and who could put it better than saying “In our house flashlights were just homes for dead batteries”. This is a book you could read on one visit to the ancient family outhouse, or savour over months. The only negative thing I can say is that the publisher is doing Al no service by also being the sole outlet, Mr Batt deserves a worldwide general audience not just North American birders.
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