Two nature books have really stood out this year. The Great Soul of Siberia: In Search of the Elusive Siberian Tiger (Collins, £16.99) is by the Korean filmmaker Sooyong Park, who has been on the trail of his totem animal for 20 years and singlehandedly obtained most of the cinematic footage which humankind possesses of this, the largest felid on earth. He has now produced a classic evoking the utterly bleak landscapes of Siberia as well as the grotesque abuse meted out to wildlife by poachers. Yet the book is most memorable for its soaring beauty and for Park’s Franciscan love for his fellow creatures.
Jennifer Ackerman’s The Genius of Birds (Corsair £14.99) is by a journalist, but her command of the latest findings on avian intelligence matches that of any top-notch researcher. This is science writing at its best: a book of knowledge, packed with mind-stretching information, but also steeped in a sense of wonder and written by someone clearly moved by the vast complexities of life.
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