1) Alderfer, Jonathan and Jon L. Dunn. National Geographic Birding Essentials. 2007. National Geographic Society. Paperback: 224 pages. Price: $15.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: For beginning and intermediate enthusiasts, National Geographic Birding Essentials is a must. Comprehensive and authoritative, yet engaging and user-friendly, it teaches readers how to begin and improve their birding: what to look and listen for and how to make sense of what they see and hear. A unique visual component shows actual field guide pages and how to read them, while another compares the same bird in photography versus artwork and explains how to use both for species identification. National Geographic's quality photography is a major highlight of the book, supplemented by pencil drawings and full-color maps to give birders a full range of visual information.
RECOMMENDATION: A useful book for beginning and intermediate birders.
2) Brinkley, Douglas. The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America. 2009. Harper Perennial. Paperback: 940 pages. Price: $19.99 U.S.
SUMMARY: From New York Times bestselling historian Douglas Brinkley comes a sweeping historical narrative and eye-opening look at the pioneering environmental policies of President Theodore Roosevelt, avid bird-watcher, naturalist, and the founding father of America’s conservation movement—now approaching its 100th anniversary.
RECOMMENDATION: Now available in paperback.
3) Reid, Fiona A. et al. The Wildlife of Costa Rica: A Field Guide. 2010. Cornell University Press. Paperback: 267 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
SUMMARY:This full-color field guide is an indispensable companion to the most popular neotropical ecotourism destination: Costa Rica. Featuring all the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and arthropods that one is likely to see on a trip to the rainforest (as well as those secretive creatures such as the jaguar that are difficult to glimpse), The Wildlife of Costa Rica is the guide to have when encountering trogons, tapirs, and tarantulas. In addition to providing details for identifying animals along with interesting facts about their natural history, this guide offers tips for seeing them in the wild.
RECOMMENDATION: For naturalists visting or living in Costa Rica.
4) Wallace, Alfred Russel. The Malay Archipelago. 2008. Periplus. Paperback: 488 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
SUMMARY:The Malay Archipelago is an extraordinarily accessible book written by noted British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace. A century and a half after it was published, this book remains one of the great classics of natural history and travel, on par with Charles Darwin's work. Full of a wealth of detail about pre-modern life in the Indonesian archipelago, The Malay Archipelago is a fascinating look at natural selection.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in Victorian era science and travel writing.