For the Love

It’s in the air. Here are three books that touch on love. Love of the natural world around us. Love, as in love. And love gone wrong. I shared them on Good Day Alabama on WBRC Fox 6 this month.

Slow Birding:  The Art and Science of Enjoying the Birds in Your Own Backyard

By Joan E. Strassmann

This book, published last fall, is to birding as the slow food movement is to cooking. It’s all about taking what you have, enjoying the process and savoring the opportunity to make the most of it. Lots of birders spend their time, energy and money pursuing that next great sighting, that rare or exotic species. This book ,by evolutionary biologist Joan E. Strassmann, encourages birders of all levels of experience to just slow down and take a look at what’s right outside the window. The book focuses on the most common birds in the United States—birds we see all the time but don’t think about a lot.

Strassmann shares their stories and fun facts. For instance, northern cardinals (they are everywhere!) thrive in the city where they are free from predators. White brows on a male white-throated sparrow indicate that he is likely to be a philanderer. Also, this book serves as an essential guide to common, everyday birds with detailed portraits of individual bird species and the scientists who have discovered and observed them as well as advice and guidance on what to look for when slow birding so you can better notice specific bird behaviors. And there are bird-focused activities to help you in your backyard exploration as you get to know why birds do what they do and how their behaviors change from day to day and season to season.

Now do this:

The Great Backyard Bird Count February 17-20 is happening everywhere! Join the world for the love of birds, which are everywhere, all the time, doing fascinating things. It’s easy. Just spend time in your favorite places watching birds—and then share what you see and hear! Your submissions will help scientists  better understand and protect birds around the world. Learn more here: and there’s an educational Webinar Wednesday, February 15, noon to 1 p.m. central.

Participating is easy: 

Step 1. Decide where you will watch birds.

Step 2. Watch birds for 15 minutes or more, at least once over the four days, February 17-20, 2023.

Step 3. Identify all the birds you see or hear within your planned time/location and sharing your bird sightings:

If you are a beginning bird admirer and new to bird identification, try using the Merlin Bird ID app to identify the birds you are seeing or hearing. If you have participated in the count before and want to record numbers of birds, try the eBird Mobile app or enter your bird list on the eBird website (desktop/laptop).

If you already contribute to Merlin or eBird, continue what you are doing! All entries over the four days count towards GBBC!

8 Rules of Love:  How to Find It, Keep It and Let It Go

By Jay Shetty

This brand-new book became an instant bestseller. The timing is right, of course, but don’t we all want love? Jay Shetty is a former monk from a Hindu ashram. In his post-monk life, he draws on lessons learned then for his work as an influential thinker and spiritual guide now. In this book, Shetty details specific, actionable steps to help you develop the skills to practice and nurture love. He shares insights on how to define love and how to win (or lose) with your partner. And he explains why you don’t break in a break-up. Drawing on Vedic wisdom and modern science, he looks at the entire relationship cycle—from first dates to moving in together to breaking up and starting over. And he offers advice on how to avoid falling for false promises and unfulfilling partners. Ultimately, the book is not only about loving our partners but also loving ourselves and the wider world, too.

The Prisoner

By B.A. Paris

This psychological thriller is about a relationship gone truly wrong. It’s actually about a relationship that never should have happened in the first place. Amelie is making her way in London after losing her parents at an early age in Paris. It’s not easy and Amelie wants nothing more than to go to college and become a lawyer so she can do good for people who need it. A chance encounter leads to a better life surrounded by a group of good female friends. It’s also a glamorous life since two of these friends work for a fancy magazine owned by handsome billionaire Ned Hawthorne. When Ned makes Amelie a strange offer—a quick marriage in return for $100,000 to jumpstart her dream—she says yes. But life with Ned is a waking nightmare. Then it gets worse when Amelie and Ned are kidnapped. Why was she taken? Why was he? Why are their captors keeping them apart? And why does she begin to feel safer as a captive than she felt with her husband? I listened to this book while exercising and highly recommend enjoying the book that way, because the reader is great.

I link to Amazon to show you exactly what book I’m talking about, but I love to shop locally at Church Street Coffee and BooksThe Alabama Booksmith, Little Professor Book Center, and Thank You Books in Crestwood. And I visit my local library often in person and online!

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