Saturday, 17 December 2011

Unheard of - A publisher on Time!

When the first adverts came out of the Handbook of Birds of the World, to be published in 10 volumes, by a relatively little known (to birders in the UK anyway) publisher from Spain, it aroused a lot of interest and not a little scepticism that the project would ever be finished.

The first volume Ostrich to Ducks was so good that many found it irresistible and optimistically trusted that the series would be completed, at the rate of one every two years as promised. When it came obvious that to do the job properly it would take 16 volume, many of us in more advanced years wondered if we'd see the last books, even if it did get completed. Well, the publishers, Lynx, upped the rate to one a year, and unlike the publishers we are used to in birding literature in the UK, they kept to their time table. This week Volume 16 arrived, to finish the set, and what a fabulous achievement it is. Sixteen fantastic books, with many interesting subjects at the front of the family accounts in each one. Comprehensive studies of each family, with many photographs, and then plates illustrating each species. In all over twelve and a half thousand pages, over 1000 plates and six thousand seven hundred photographs. My only worry is, if ever I get asked onto Desert Island Discs will I be allowed to take the complete set as my book. If I was marooned for just one year I'd have to read and inwardly digest 34 or 35 pages a day to get through the set!

Here a summary of the books
vol Pages Plates photos year published
1 696 50 382 1992
2 640 60 302 1994
3 824 60 384 1996
4 674 70 236 1997
5 760 76 406 1999
6 589 45 385 2001
7 613 70 317 2002
8 845 81 477 2003
9 864 78 440 2004
10 896 81 427 2005
11 800 55 343 2006
12 816 56 436 2007
13 880 60 536 2008
14 896 51 657 2009
15 880 61 495 2010
16 894 81 499 2011
Total 12567 1035 6722

Lastly a warning, beware back ice. Hopefully I'll get my car back before Christmas, and luckily I was only going reasonably slowly when I touched my brake with the intention of moving over into a passing bay on Archers Court Road near the junction with Waldershare Road. I discovered that the road was the slipperiest I've ever known and lost my front bumper on the bank at the side of the road. No other vehicle involved, although the guy in the car coming towards me looked a bit worried as mine pirouetted into the road verge. Luckily no one hurt, but a bloomin' nuisance.

No comments: