Gods of the Morning
A celebration of birds that reflects a year in the wild, revealing how these amazing creatures embody our changing world, by one of Britain's foremost naturalists.Gods of the Morning follows the year through the turning of the seasons at Aigas, the Highlands estate John Lister-Kaye has transformed into a world-renowned wildlife center. John's affection, wisdom and lyricism sings off every page, bringing the natural world around him to life: from the rookery filled with twenty-nine nests and distinct bird calls to descriptions of the winter morning light, from the wood mice and the squirrels preparing for winter to tracking a fox's path through the snow. In particular it brings John's lifelong love of birds—his gods of the morning—to the fore.In the Highland glens, bird numbers plummet as their food supplies—natural fruits and every kind of creeping, crawling, slithering or flying bug—begin to disappear. Not just the swallows and house martins have vanished from round the houses. Gone are the insect snatching wheatears, whinchats and stonechats from the hills, and redstarts and flycatchers have fled the woods. Pied wagtails no longer flicker across the lawns and sandpipers and grey wagtails have deserted the river banks. Farmland and hedgerow species have vanished in the night: the linnets, yellowhammers, and all the warblers have decamped from the thickets.By the first frosts the hills will have emptied down to a few hardy stalwarts such as the golden eagles, the raven and the irrepressible hooded crows. Silence settles across the land. The few species that are left frequent a changed world. Soon only the buzzards and wood pigeons will hang on in the woods and the coniferous forests will be host to flocks of chaffinches, tits, siskins, and crossbills passing through.

Gods of the Morning Details

TitleGods of the Morning
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 15th, 2015
PublisherPegasus Books
ISBN-139781605987965
Rating
GenreEnvironment, Nature, Animals, Birds, Science, Natural History, Nonfiction, Cultural, Scotland

Gods of the Morning Review

  • Deborah Ideiosepius
    January 1, 1970
    This was an absolutely magical book.In this year of following the seasons through Aigas in the Scottish Highlands the author, with breath taking beauty and wry affection describes the inhabitants of the wildlife in glen, garden, moor and mountain. Birds are his main focus - The Gods of the Morning - and I was enthralled by the complicated avian seasonal coming and goings, the author knows them so well that he can with the most deft and delicate literary stroke describe their appearance and more, This was an absolutely magical book.In this year of following the seasons through Aigas in the Scottish Highlands the author, with breath taking beauty and wry affection describes the inhabitants of the wildlife in glen, garden, moor and mountain. Birds are his main focus - The Gods of the Morning - and I was enthralled by the complicated avian seasonal coming and goings, the author knows them so well that he can with the most deft and delicate literary stroke describe their appearance and more, the small magic of connecting with a creature of another species.Also, this a most beautifully written and edited book. There is nothing hasty or superficial about the writing, it is rich and gorgeously tactile to read. Each chapter is prefaced with quotes relevant to the coming chapter and I was charmed to find one of my favourite poets, Ted Hughes, appears often.I think John Lister-Kaye's writing is very similar to Hughes, in that both can come right to the essence of a creature and communicate it so effectively as to pull the reader under the spell.Since I am not that familiar with Scottish or English wildlife, I read with google beside me to bring up images of the birds and beasts, the locations and plants that I was reading about. It was very effective.As well as beautiful descriptions of the location and the plants. As well as it's native inhabitants, owls and buzzards, chiffinches and pine matins we get glimpses into the life of the author. We meet his dogs and see snippets of his life that revolves around the Highland Field Center at Aigas. According to the book leaf, it is world famous though I had never heard of it. Previously, in fact, Scotland has never been terribly high on my to-do list so I don't know too much about it in general. Now however, I am filled with longing to visit Aigas myself, to walk some of the (smaller) hills I read about and see the environment that has been brought so magically to life for me by this book.Now, while this is an evocative description of a place that the author knows and loves deeply, it is also a description of how the place is changing. How the erratic seasons, the unpredictable temperatures and rainfall affect the complex ecology that balances on such a thin edge due to the intense cold and the need to use resources to best affect. Humans are changing the world and these changes are to our benefit, rarely to the benefit of the environment or the other species who dwell in it. It is an irony that as civilization gives us more time and money to spend on leisure, we spend more time looking for the magical 'natural' places that we have stamped out in order to build our civilization to what it is. At Aigas it sounds like one can find a place in which some of this magic lives on. I would love to see it, unlikely as that is for now, I might have to just concentrate on getting the other books by this author.
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  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    Even though the Highlands of Scotland feel like our last wilderness, they have still been shaped by man. One man who has been fortunate to experience the wildlife and seasons at their most dramatic is John Lister-Kaye at his home and Highlands field centre, Aigas. He doesn’t really need to go looking for the natural world; it is just there. The long hours that he has spent there have permeated deeply into his soul, he knows the best seasons to see the deer, the place to the spot the pine martens Even though the Highlands of Scotland feel like our last wilderness, they have still been shaped by man. One man who has been fortunate to experience the wildlife and seasons at their most dramatic is John Lister-Kaye at his home and Highlands field centre, Aigas. He doesn’t really need to go looking for the natural world; it is just there. The long hours that he has spent there have permeated deeply into his soul, he knows the best seasons to see the deer, the place to the spot the pine martens, the fleeting visitors who come for the summers and who have headed south from the Arctic winters. In this book, Lister-Kaye talks us through the events that have taken place over a year, but rather than being written as a diary, it is a series of observations on some of his favourite wildlife and feathered friends, in particular, interwoven with musings over the changing climate where they live. Like molten gold from a crucible, the first touch of sun spilled from the eastThis is the first of Lister-Kaye’s books that I have ever read and I have been meaning to get to it for ages. He writes in a careful and considered way, drawing out the detail of the things he is seeing around him as they happen, and quite often what he writes is just quite beautiful. The field centre that he runs provides him with inspiration and a deep rooting in the natural world and is the font of his knowledge and understanding of what happens as the seasons roll around. He manages not to make it a polemical rant over the state of the climate, but you get a sense of his grave concerns over the future. Will definitely be reading more of his books, as I have just got his newest!
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  • Martina
    January 1, 1970
    On a day when the world of politics is dismal and dreary, I opened this book and was transported into a world of abundance and grace bestowed by Lister-Kaye's masterful writing and soulful observing. This book provides a much needed time-out, or really a time-in -- allowing me to step into something restorative and palpably real. A poignant reminder that life is so much more than what's on CNN these days.
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  • Leah
    January 1, 1970
    A Highland year... In 1976, John Lister-Kaye bought an estate in the northern central Highlands of Scotland, and set up what is now Scotland's premier field study centre, Aigas. Although a wide range of wildlife lives and is studied there, Lister-Kaye's own main fascination is with the many varieties of birds that make their home there – his gods of the morning. In this book, he takes the reader through a year, showing the changes that come with each season, as different birds arrive, nest, bree A Highland year... In 1976, John Lister-Kaye bought an estate in the northern central Highlands of Scotland, and set up what is now Scotland's premier field study centre, Aigas. Although a wide range of wildlife lives and is studied there, Lister-Kaye's own main fascination is with the many varieties of birds that make their home there – his gods of the morning. In this book, he takes the reader through a year, showing the changes that come with each season, as different birds arrive, nest, breed and leave again. In the introduction, he talks about how he has noticed changes to nesting and breeding patterns over the years. He declares his reluctance to put the blame for these changes wholly at the door of climate change, but points to the growing unpredictability of weather patterns in recent years. His stated intention in this book is not to provide answers but rather, based on his personal observations, to pose some questions of his own.Lister-Kaye is an established and respected nature writer and on the basis of this book it's easy to see why. His knowledge of the natural world that surrounds him is matched by his passion for it, and his easy style and fine writing allow both to come through clearly to the reader. In truth, there isn't much in here that adds to the debate on climate change and I wondered if perhaps nature writers currently feel they have to be seen to be talking about that, or be accused of burying their heads in the sand. In fact, the book is a fairly simple nature diary in structure, allowing Lister-Kaye to select topics that represent for him the progress of a natural year. For me, the suggestion of the climate change angle was something of a minor annoyance, since I kept waiting for it to be raised and, except for occasional references to changing migratory and breeding patterns, it really isn't much. He makes much of the adverse impact of an early false spring followed by a big freeze in his chosen year, 2012/3, but points out himself that such anomalies have always happened. ...to do justice to nature, the nature of this mystical land of hills and glens, forests, lochs and rushing rivers, and to the confused seasons of what has proved to be a discomfiting and bizarre year, I need to start at a real transition, in late September when fidgets of swallows were gathering on telephone wires like chittering clothes-pegs; when the first tug of departure was fizzing in the blackcaps' tiny brains; before moonlit frosts cantered rust through the bracken; before the chlorophyll finally bled from blushing leaves; even before the last osprey lifted and wheeled into its migration to Senegal or the Zambia. I need to start when the word was fresh on our lips, in the incipient, not-quite-sure-if-it's-happened-yet autumn of 2012. However, read purely for its description of the natural world of this fairly rugged part of the British Isles, the book is both informative and hugely enjoyable. The prose often heads towards lyrical without ever getting too overblown and, though he tells us a lot about the 'science' of nature, it's done very lightly in passing, making it easy to absorb. The tone is personal, based on his own observations rather than textbook stuff, and is often interspersed with anecdotes about life in the field study centre or his own childhood. Like most naturalists, he combines a real passion for the creatures he observes with a hard-headed, non-sentimental approach, recognising that nature is indeed 'red in tooth and claw'. But occasionally we see a bit of anger seep through at man's behaviour towards nature, when for instance he describes the on-going poisoning of protected birds of prey, or the battery farming of thousands upon thousands of game birds, destined for slaughter by rich men (I considered saying 'people' but I think I'll stick with 'men' in this case) who prefer to have the game fixed to ensure them a good 'bag'. Most of the book, though, is filled with delightfully told observations of the minutiae of life around the estate. His year runs from autumn 2012, and really gets underway in the second chapter as he shows the birds and animals preparing for winter – the red squirrels hiding their nuts, the woodmice moving indoors and making nests, the arrival of the geese, moving south from their Arctic summer. (I particularly enjoyed the bit about the geese, since my house happens to be beneath one of their migratory routes and twice a year for one or two days, the sky is dark with them passing and the noise could drown out a passing jumbo jet, except that happily no jumbo jets pass by here – it's always one of the highlights of my own year, when I can be found standing in the garden gazing upwards in fascination at their squadron-like manoeuvres.) Also at this time of year, many birds are migrating away, and Lister-Kaye combines lovely descriptive writing with information on what triggers migrations, how they have been scientifically observed and some of the myths that have surrounded them in the past. No sound in the world, not even the rough old music of the rooks, etches more deeply into my soul than the near-hysterical 'wink-winking' of pink-footed geese all crying together high overhead. It is a sound like none other. Sad, evocative, stirring and, for me, quintessentially wild, it arouses in me a yearning that seems to tug at the leash of our long separation from the natural world. And this pattern of information and description continues as the long, harsh Highland winter rolls in with its short days, and we see the struggle for survival of those birds and animals that stay; then the welcome shortening of the nights bringing in the late spring, and moving on to the long days of summer when, this far north, darkness falls only briefly before the sun rises again. There's almost nothing I enjoy more than reading or listening to a knowledgeable enthusiast telling of their passion, whatever it might be, and that's what this book is. Whether telling us of the swan that couldn't manage to take-off, or tales of his own beloved pet dogs, or of the nesting rooks he can see through the window while lying in his bath, this is a man talking about the things that bring him joy, and allowing the reader to share that joy with him. He doesn't prettify nature but, even when its at its cruellest, he sees the glory in it. A most enjoyable trip to the Highlands with an expert guide. 4½ stars for me, so rounded up.NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Canongate Books.www.fictionfanblog.wordpress.com
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  • Niall Sclater
    January 1, 1970
    This is a beautifully written book containing Lister-Kaye's reflections on the birds and other wildlife on his Highland estate at Aigas, near Beauly. The author has spent a lifetime observing wildlife; his commentary on the changing nature of the birds visiting his area is fascinating, as are the reminiscences from his childhood. I learnt a lot about individual species, such as the incredible resilience of the mallard duck, which has led to its impressive breeding success. Like any serious natur This is a beautifully written book containing Lister-Kaye's reflections on the birds and other wildlife on his Highland estate at Aigas, near Beauly. The author has spent a lifetime observing wildlife; his commentary on the changing nature of the birds visiting his area is fascinating, as are the reminiscences from his childhood. I learnt a lot about individual species, such as the incredible resilience of the mallard duck, which has led to its impressive breeding success. Like any serious naturalist today, Lister-Kaye's observations have led to grave concerns about the current environmental turmoil and reduction in species and populations we're witnessing.
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  • Stephen
    January 1, 1970
    At times, it had a nice poetry to it driven by close observation of small secrets revealed in a fairly ordinary environment. At times, it had the infuriating "this, too, shall pass" view of current planet threatening problems characteristic of a philosophical aging Boomer.
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  • Carie Steele
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. Parts of this were outstanding. The author's descriptions of flora and fauna on the Scottish highlands is excellent. Parts of this were baffling --- I don't have much patience for scientists who demand respect for their position as experts in their own field but refuse to acknowledge the expertise of scientists in other fields.
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  • Chris
    January 1, 1970
    The stars of Gods of the Morning are the host of wild animals whose dramatic lives are played out against a Scottish Highlands backdrop, beautifully described by the author. From a raven in a snowstorm to a lingering whooper swan via cheeky pine martens, a mass dispersal of ballooning spiderlings and the neighborly chattering of rooks, Lister-Kaye’s memories become almost as fresh to the reader as they must have been to him. All in all, Gods of the Morning is a refreshingly old-fashioned book of The stars of Gods of the Morning are the host of wild animals whose dramatic lives are played out against a Scottish Highlands backdrop, beautifully described by the author. From a raven in a snowstorm to a lingering whooper swan via cheeky pine martens, a mass dispersal of ballooning spiderlings and the neighborly chattering of rooks, Lister-Kaye’s memories become almost as fresh to the reader as they must have been to him. All in all, Gods of the Morning is a refreshingly old-fashioned book of nature writing. Though he does indulge in the odd childhood reminiscence –in any case, never superfluous to the point he’s making – Lister-Kaye is more concerned with celebrating the natural history of his home at the Aigas field center than he is with experimenting with form or philosophy.That’s not to say there is nothing original here. There are intriguing musings on the possibilities of animal consciousness, and many observations which will surprise even the most knowledgeable of readers. I was particularly entranced by his description of treecreeper roost-hollows in the bark of a giant redwood. Lister-Kaye is a great naturalist, one whose delight in nature and heartfelt compassion for wildlife have undoubtedly been clear throughout his career. It is lovely to discover (belatedly, after 9 books!) that he is a great writer too, his clear prose the perfect vehicle for sharing the intimate natural secrets of Aigas with those not fortunate enough to be able to visit for themselves.
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  • Sffaulkner
    January 1, 1970
    Sir John Lister-Kaye is a consummate conservationist, eloquent voice for living in balance with nature, and dedicated proponent of reclaimation ecology. This beautifully written book takes you to Aigas Field Centre in the Scottish highlands, which is his home/estate, work center, and conservation education center. I recently stayed there -- which was the reason I read the book -- and found myself immersed in the efforts to restore the highly damaged Scottish and English ecosystem, an onging prog Sir John Lister-Kaye is a consummate conservationist, eloquent voice for living in balance with nature, and dedicated proponent of reclaimation ecology. This beautifully written book takes you to Aigas Field Centre in the Scottish highlands, which is his home/estate, work center, and conservation education center. I recently stayed there -- which was the reason I read the book -- and found myself immersed in the efforts to restore the highly damaged Scottish and English ecosystem, an onging program for captive breeding and restoration of the endangered Scottish wildcat, and the myriad species found at Aigas and the surrounding highland countryside. Especially the birds, whihc are the primary subject of the book. The book is fascinating, engaging, and profoundly motivating to ensure that we work now, hard, to save our natural world before it is too late. Sir John's optimism and call to action are compelling. Moreover, the book is a joy to read as I found myself reveling in the joy of birds in nature, as does Sir John.
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  • Paulette
    January 1, 1970
    I love reading books by naturalists. While I try to get out into the woods as often as I can locally, there is nothing like a nature book that can take you to other countries and share in the author's impressions of the world he or she observes. John Lister-Kaye clearly loves the birds he encounters in his Scottish countryside, from the rooks to the treecreepers. Even his chapter about spiders will leave you awestruck as he describes witnessing the marvel of millions of tiny spiders being disper I love reading books by naturalists. While I try to get out into the woods as often as I can locally, there is nothing like a nature book that can take you to other countries and share in the author's impressions of the world he or she observes. John Lister-Kaye clearly loves the birds he encounters in his Scottish countryside, from the rooks to the treecreepers. Even his chapter about spiders will leave you awestruck as he describes witnessing the marvel of millions of tiny spiders being dispersed into the world on gossamer threads of web (a process called "ballooning." His easy-to-read writing draws you in and stokes your curiosity toward nature. Highly recommend.
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  • Leif
    January 1, 1970
    A brambling ramble through memory with someone who knows his environment and his birds. The text is organized by the months and so moves through seasonal patterns of investigations into the natural world, its creatures, and Lister-Kaye's own personal history. Not too many revelations here, but a supremely comfortable book with wonderful restoration powers. Also, I bought this in Ullapool while driving north through the Highlands, and it was comforting to see reflected around me some of the thing A brambling ramble through memory with someone who knows his environment and his birds. The text is organized by the months and so moves through seasonal patterns of investigations into the natural world, its creatures, and Lister-Kaye's own personal history. Not too many revelations here, but a supremely comfortable book with wonderful restoration powers. Also, I bought this in Ullapool while driving north through the Highlands, and it was comforting to see reflected around me some of the things I was reading about.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 STARS. I don't know how I ended up buying this book because I'm not a naturalist by any means and had never heard of the man. Nevertheless, he writes beautifully and I was captivated by his prose. I took off a half-star because sometimes the prose was too purple and long for me, and I thought the book should have at least had a few photos for being a hardcover and what the subject demanded. I will be checking out more books from this writer.
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  • Ginni
    January 1, 1970
    My new favourite natural history writer (after the lovely Patrick Barkham.) This is a description of a year at Aigas, the field centre in the Highlands of Scotland, that was founded by John Lister-Kaye, and is now run by his son, Warwick. The book particularly concentrates on the bird life in the glen, and also discusses the effects of climate change on that environment. Beautifully written, and also fascinating.
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  • Deborah-Ruth
    January 1, 1970
    What a great introduction to a proper highland year featuring two of my greatest passions - Scotland and birding! I loved the lyrical descriptions of the different birds and it brought a new understanding and awareness to the natural world around me. The only thing is, that at times this book strayed from its original purpose about birds, but it still always encompassed the main theme of nature.
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  • Howard
    January 1, 1970
    John Lister-Kaye writes fluid and beautiful prose, and his descriptive powers are quite exceptional. In Gods of the Morning, whether he is observing animal behaviour, describing the landscape in which he lives, or telling a practical tale about estate management, his words just flow off the page to create a mesmerizing picture in my mind. For the first time in years, he made me miss the island of my birth.
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  • Joseph Carrabis
    January 1, 1970
    Can I give this book ten stars?Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant! Did I mention Brilliant? Breathtaking in its prose, I often thought I was reading tone-poems rather than paragraphs. Gods of the Morning should be required reading for writers looking to up their "writing of the natural world" game. I highlighted the heck out of my copy and practice Lister-Kaye's use of metaphor. This book is a must.
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  • Joan Morin
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this. Nature writing at its finest. The natural world seen through the eyes of an ornithologist/naturalist at his home in the Scottish Highlands. I would like to read more of his work.
  • Lesley
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book. It has everything. An abundance of knowledge, humour and sadness. Few books make me laugh or cry, this one provoked both.
  • Desertbird
    January 1, 1970
    Well written natural history essays - highly recommended, especially the chapter called The Gods of High Places.
  • Kristi Richardson
    January 1, 1970
    "Nature takes no prisoners; it renders no quarter to the unprepared." I have not read any previous books by John Lister-Kaye but will be looking into the ones he has written because he writes so heart-wrenching and poetically of the world of nature and my favorites, the birds. This book is about a year in the life of Aigas the Highland wildlife center where he lives. We start in winter with the preparation of harsh weather by the wildlife and especially the birds. Each chapter is another treasur "Nature takes no prisoners; it renders no quarter to the unprepared." I have not read any previous books by John Lister-Kaye but will be looking into the ones he has written because he writes so heart-wrenching and poetically of the world of nature and my favorites, the birds. This book is about a year in the life of Aigas the Highland wildlife center where he lives. We start in winter with the preparation of harsh weather by the wildlife and especially the birds. Each chapter is another treasure in nature reading. Whether on a wildfire, the rooks lives, the buzzards problems, or the sight of a pine marten in a tree, each essay brings us closer to the wonder of stepping outside and letting nature consume us. I loved the summer solstice chapter on spending the night outdoors only to wake up to be within feet of a merlin and staring/glaring each other down. He says when he closes his eyes he can still recapture that moment and thanks to his writing I can also. Mr. Lister-Kaye touches upon the changes in the environment of the last thirty years he has lived at Aigas. He shows us how tiny changes in temperature can effect insects and birds survival and how important a loss of a single insect species can be if others depend on it for survival. He doesn't bother to say whether it's man-made or cyclical, the main thing is to do what we can to help other species survive. I was gifted this book by the publisher for an honest review. If you love animals or the outdoors this book will touch you and stay with you just as Walden by Henry David Thoreau has always been with me.
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  • Danny Daley
    January 1, 1970
    A very interesting book, full of solid prose and insightful reflections on the wild life of the Scottish Highlands. The book was a tad repetitive at points. Some of the authors interactions with the animals he meets sound a tad too similar - his surprise at their presence, the look in their eyes, the brevity of their stay, the speed of their exit, and the mark the interaction left on him - all on repeat.I met the author in Edinburgh, and asked about about the balance of writing evocative prose a A very interesting book, full of solid prose and insightful reflections on the wild life of the Scottish Highlands. The book was a tad repetitive at points. Some of the authors interactions with the animals he meets sound a tad too similar - his surprise at their presence, the look in their eyes, the brevity of their stay, the speed of their exit, and the mark the interaction left on him - all on repeat.I met the author in Edinburgh, and asked about about the balance of writing evocative prose and disseminating information - he denied he did the latter. Despite this denial, I see quite a bit of information for information's sake in the book, and this is not at all a bad thing. However, despite the effectiveness of the book, it was a tad overlong.The final 50 pages or so are the best, so the middle could stand some editing down. The story of the spiders was fantastic. I read it to my wife and she was creeped out for days.Overall a very good read.
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  • Tehila
    January 1, 1970
    I received a prepublication copy of this book for review purposes.The book is well-written, informational, and very entertaining. Birds are such fascinating creatures and I never have sufficient time to sit and watch them. Gods of the Morning is a nice window into their lives.I hope the published book will have full-color plates &/or a cd with photos and songs.I have been taking my time reading this book, picking it up to read a chapter or more when I want a sweet change from my normal fare I received a prepublication copy of this book for review purposes.The book is well-written, informational, and very entertaining. Birds are such fascinating creatures and I never have sufficient time to sit and watch them. Gods of the Morning is a nice window into their lives.I hope the published book will have full-color plates &/or a cd with photos and songs.I have been taking my time reading this book, picking it up to read a chapter or more when I want a sweet change from my normal fare of murder and mayhem. Finishing the book is bittersweet; I would love my time in Scotland with the author to continue, and am looking forward to reading more of his work.I hope everyone who is interested in nature, even if not specifically birds, gets a chance to enjoy this book.
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  • Kenny
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a big fan of John lister Kate's writing. He strikes a mix balance between informative, educational even, evocative without being mawkish and genuine warmth. He'll politely remind the reader of the challenges of his lifestyle in running the aigas centre, but impress how much he enjoys what he's done and doing. There's both a familiarity and a joy in following him round his gowns in an easy reading, and often memorable of anecdotes. He doesn't slip into the lecturing that he sometimes has else I'm a big fan of John lister Kate's writing. He strikes a mix balance between informative, educational even, evocative without being mawkish and genuine warmth. He'll politely remind the reader of the challenges of his lifestyle in running the aigas centre, but impress how much he enjoys what he's done and doing. There's both a familiarity and a joy in following him round his gowns in an easy reading, and often memorable of anecdotes. He doesn't slip into the lecturing that he sometimes has elsewhere. The subjects aren't limited to birds, and stories often meander happily and entertainingly. A book you finish and feel you've spent time with a clever, gentle and warm soul, and I look forward to the next one now
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  • Edith
    January 1, 1970
    3 1/2 stars. A naturalist's year in the Scottish highlands. A somewhat rambling and random account of the weather and wildlife over the author's many years there, which gradually reveals his concerns about the results of changes in the weather. Some of Lister Kaye's writing is very good, but much of it seems to be self-consciously reaching for the lyrical. The humble brag recurs, and the author is nothing if not confident of the correctness of his opinions. The book would have been improved by s 3 1/2 stars. A naturalist's year in the Scottish highlands. A somewhat rambling and random account of the weather and wildlife over the author's many years there, which gradually reveals his concerns about the results of changes in the weather. Some of Lister Kaye's writing is very good, but much of it seems to be self-consciously reaching for the lyrical. The humble brag recurs, and the author is nothing if not confident of the correctness of his opinions. The book would have been improved by some illustrations of the British birds he describes for those of us who are not familiar with them. But the book is worth reading nonetheless for its description of this wild place which despite its remoteness has been altered by climate change. It engages despite its flaws.
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  • Luke Phillips
    January 1, 1970
    This is the third of Lister-Kaye's books that I have read, and just with those, this was an absolute delight. At times, I felt I had joined him on his morning strolls and mountain hikes as he shows us the natural sprawling of a year in the Highlands. As we walk with him, he ponders climate change, raptor and predator persecution and many other threats to the natural world. But they never overwhelm his sense of wonder. My only criticism, is that John shows his age a little when discussing things This is the third of Lister-Kaye's books that I have read, and just with those, this was an absolute delight. At times, I felt I had joined him on his morning strolls and mountain hikes as he shows us the natural sprawling of a year in the Highlands. As we walk with him, he ponders climate change, raptor and predator persecution and many other threats to the natural world. But they never overwhelm his sense of wonder. My only criticism, is that John shows his age a little when discussing things like climate change, for instance, finding it difficult to dismiss the opinion of an elderly scientist friend who is dismissive of it. We encounter merlins, martens and some of the great wildlife our country and John's estate have to offer. Definitely recommended!
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  • Chris Thorley
    January 1, 1970
    beautifully poetical and informative
  • Catherine Boardman
    January 1, 1970
    Gods of the Morning is simply one of the best books I have ever read. John Lister -Kaye meditates on the changes to bird and animal life over the course of year on his Highland estate. His observations are literary and full of love. A beautiful book.
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  • Linda Leafloor
    January 1, 1970
    A great summer read. I wish there were pictures of the birds named in the book for those readers who aren't familiar with birds of Great Britain, but the author's descriptive language is wonderful.
  • Grandmaz
    January 1, 1970
    Lyrical. Wonderful anecdotes about birds animals and nature in general
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