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American Road Narratives: Reimagining Mobility in Literature and Film by Ann Brigham
Author: A True Story by Helen Lester
The Big Roads by Earl Swift
Bull by David Elliott
Chopping Spree by Diane Mott Davidson
The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman
Giant Days, Volume 4 by John Allison, Max Sarin, and Whitney Cogar
Hannah and the Homunculus by Kurt Hassler
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Hilda and the Stone Forest by Luke Pearson
I Am Not Sidney Poitier by Percival Everett
I Say Tomato by Katie Wall
Instructions by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess
Jem and the Holograms, Volume 3: Dark Jem by Kelly Thompson
The Long Cosmos by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran
Lunch Lady and the Field Trip Fiasco by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Mayday by Karen Harrington
The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break by Steven Sherrill
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson
National Audubon Society Guide to Landscape Photography by Tim Fitzharris
Needled to Death by Maggie Sefton
Noragami Volume 03 by Adachitoka
Over the Ocean by Taro Gomi
Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman
Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppel
Ten Things We Did by Sarah Mlynowski
Tip of the Tongue by Patrick Ness
Triangle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen
Tru & Nelle by G. Neri
The White Road of the Moon by Rachel Neumeier

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 03)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 10)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 24)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 31)
June 2017 Reading Report June 2017 Reading Sources

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4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

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Beat the Backlist 2023

Canadian Book Challenge: 2022-2023

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The Genius of Birds: 07/13/17

The Genius of Birds  by Jennifer Ackerman The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman continues my year of the birds. The bird on the cover, though, shows that the book had the unfortunate luck of becoming outdated shortly after its release. That's the nature of covering science — especially one that is still in an active form of discovery.

The cover illustration — and the topic of one of the first essays — is a scrub jay. As of last year, that scrub jay would have been known as a Western scrub jay. This year, though, the Western scrub jay was split into two species — and the larger of the two (which includes the bird on the cover) was given the new common name: California scrub jay. That's no fault of the author or the publisher — and frankly I hope later editions don't change the text, beyond maybe a notation in an afterword or a notes section. It's a good reminder of how much there is to still learn about our avian neighbors.

As the title implies, this book is an exploration of the intelligence of birds — of what makes for a successful bird. It's to set aside the notion of the "bird brain" as a negative connotation. That's not to say all birds are geniuses — but some are very smart in deed.

It's not just big birds (corvids and the like) that are smart. There are some geniuses among the very tiny too. The chickadee with it's oversized head is carrying around a big brain (on a small scale). They can think circles around the house finches they compete with.

The book is fascinating and makes for a good lunch time read. The focus remains on the birds throughout, but it gives just enough info on the scientists involved to appreciate the work they do.

Five stars

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