Monday, 12 January 2015

Back with a . . . . . . Book Review

Look people, ignore that last post, I was just a bit down in the dumps, and despite the lack of popular demand I've decided to get me arse in gear again :-)

Yip, now I'm over my annual bout of S.A.D. and xmas humbug, I'm starting to look forward to the spring again and the first batch of damselflies. By the time the new season arrives I hope to have a new super-macro camera and a pair of specialist entomologist binoculars with close focussing 8.5 x zoom down to 50 cms. :-O
Both of these 'new toys' will give me the incentive to get out there again, observe my favourite creatures with new 'bionic' eyes and search out better photo opportunities using the knowledge and fieldcraft I've learned over the last four years of this blog.

Like a re-marketed chocolate bar I'm coming back bigger and better than ever.

Meantime I've been whetting my appetite with this book entitled Dragonfly (what else?) by David Chandler and Steve Cham.

. . . it's a right rivvetin' read . . .

It's an entertaining read, full of facts, figures and fotos to interest both the newbie and the long-time enthusiast, giving a run-down of all aspects of the dragonfly life-cycle using examples from all over the planet to show how diverse and adaptable our favourite creatures are. It's all written out in layman's terms, with any dragonfly jargon explained fully, so nothing to baffle the uninitiated.

I suppose readers with different levels of prior knowledge will all take something different from this book. Personally (as someone who prides himself in knowing a bit on the subject) I found it a good summary and reminder of what I already knew about British species, with the odd 'I didn't know that' gem of information thrown in, and I enjoyed reading about (and seeing the excellent photographs of) the different species (given as examples) from other parts of the world.
But this was also a bit of a downside as it flitted around a bit trying to cram every diverse example in, so was a bit too brief on some subjects. Nor is it a particularly lengthy read; 120 pages with a good percentage of space taken up by photos (excellent as they are) and set out in well-spaced, headed paragraphs, (good for my tired old eyes) so I found myself a bit disappointed to reach the end, a bit like an entertaining movie with a good plot but a crap ending, as I found myself wanting more information and more explanation, but I don't know if that's necessarily a good thing or a bad thing.

Its a beautiful looking book with strong content overall and I recommend it as a bit of light reading on what can be a hard-going subject with all the Latin and jargon which is usually bandied about. The headed paragraphs make it easy to reference parts you want to re-read, and better still I picked it up for under a tenner (rrp £14.99) from so happy with the price as well. Plus it's also where I got the information on those close-focussing binoculars I mentioned at the start :-)

Four Star Rating ****

Right, may as well get some birding done, and by the time all the spring migrants are in, it'll be time for a bit of dragonhunting :-)


  1. Your review gets a ..........five ***** star rating.

    1. Only you would review a review John :-/ I'll be putting a link on twitter for other interested parties.