Read A Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Nicholas Drayson Online


For the past three years, Mr. Malik has been secretly in love with Rose Mbikwa, a woman who leads the weekly bird walks sponsored by the East African Ornithological Society. Just as Malik is getting up the nerve to invite Rose to the Nairobi Hunt Club Ball (the premier social occasion of the Kenyan calendar), Harry Khan, a nemesis from his school days, arrives in town.KhanFor the past three years, Mr. Malik has been secretly in love with Rose Mbikwa, a woman who leads the weekly bird walks sponsored by the East African Ornithological Society. Just as Malik is getting up the nerve to invite Rose to the Nairobi Hunt Club Ball (the premier social occasion of the Kenyan calendar), Harry Khan, a nemesis from his school days, arrives in town.Khan has also become enraptured with Rose and announces his intent to invite her to the Ball. Rather than force Rose to choose between the two men, a clever solution is proposed. Whoever can identify the most species of birds in one week’s time gets the privilege of asking Ms. Mbikwa to the ball....

Title : A Guide to the Birds of East Africa
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780547152585
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 202 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Guide to the Birds of East Africa Reviews

  • Richard Derus
    2018-09-24 21:21

    Rating: 4* of fiveThe Publisher Says: For the past three years, Mr. Malik has been secretly in love with Rose Mbikwa, a woman who leads the weekly bird walks sponsored by the East African Ornithological Society. Just as Malik is getting up the nerve to invite Rose to the Nairobi Hunt Club Ball (the premier social occasion of the Kenyan calendar), Harry Khan, a nemesis from his school days, arrives in town. Khan has also become enraptured with Rose and announces his intent to invite her to the Ball. Rather than force Rose to choose between the two men, a clever solution is proposed. Whoever can identify the most species of birds in one week’s time gets the privilege of asking Ms. Mbikwa to the ball.Drayson's charming descriptions of the Kenyan wildlife and his sharp take on the foibles and follies of the people and politics sketch a rich picture of contemporary life in Nairobi. Fans of Alexander McCall Smith will delight in this transporting and witty novel.My Review: Actuarially, I am past middle age. In fact, more than 90% of the world's population is younger than I am. And that shows in the things I care about, read, and buy. Advertisers, take note: Old folks in America are *not lying down to die*! Pay attention to us!Like the author of this book did. Mr. Malik, a widower and Mrs. Mbikwa, a widow, both of a certain vintage, are the focus of the love story in this book. Each has lost a well-loved spouse, each is living a full, interesting life and each is aware of, an unfilled spot, in life. So what do they do? They go watch birds.God, doesn't that sound dull? It's not. It's just the starting point for a deft, elegantly made meditation on what love means and how love is transmitted, received, and propagated in ever-larger and more complete circles. Drayson creates Rose Mbikwa, nee Macdonald, as that hardest to portray character: the lively, sad, solitary widow of a charismatic man. Her loss and her life are completely, and concisely, and elegantly drawn in less time than lesser prose stylists take to make minor characters. Mr. Malik, a complex and private man, isn't so much drawn as peeled, layer by later, until the things we think we know about him become...well...iceberg-tips of the cold, sad, lonely sea inside him.But...and this is the biggest but I can imagine...he's *never* whiny, self-pitying, self-obsessed, nothing like that oh nay nay! He's a force in his own life and he's working on making it, and as much of the world as he touches, a better place.The spirals Drayson spins as Mr. Malik and Mrs. Mbikwa orbit each other are always tightening and yet never constricting or confining our perceptions...this is good stuff, ladies and gentlemen! Good, good craftsmanship and an excellent storytelling eye.I'd say do yourself a favor and read this book. It's short, only about 200pp, and it's fun, and it's got great substance. Most highly recommended.

  • Lee
    2018-09-09 22:29

    I loved this book. The main protagonist, Mr. Malik is simply adorable. He is a man of unusual integrity living in a city filled with corruption. He is an older man in love with a woman who has no idea of the secrets that lie behind an unassuming facade. The story unfolds over the course of a few weeks and the reader, chapter by chapter, becomes privy to these surprising depths. Mr. Malik is an extremely private person and not even his closest drinking buddies at the club, nor the bird watching kindred spirit he chats with every week, have any idea of the burning passions and personal demons that lie beneath the surface. I was enchanted by this book and if I hadn't been so distracted by other things, I would have easily wanted to read it in one sitting. A really lovely way to pass an afternoon.

  • Chrissie
    2018-09-08 18:04

    NO SPOILERS!!!In conclusion: The ending is cute, but with this final note I haven't given anything away. It is how you get from A to Z that is important. A perfect comfort read, if that is what you are looking for. Please see below for more detailed information. *****************************************AFTER 80%: What I like about GR is that we help each other find books that will fit our own interests. No matter how much effort I put into studying a book before I choose it, each book is always a bit of a surprise. This one too. Please look at the shelves I have put this on: fauna, humorous, kenya and relationships. Yes, those are the central themes. You do learn a bit about Kenyan life and history, but what is given is minimal. Much is related to expat life in Kenya, and quite honestly this isn't my highest interests, but there are native Kenyans too and Iheir presence in the book is a saving point for me. It is humorous and a light, quick read. It helps if you are interested in learning more about birds. Does the following bore you or interest you? Kenyan crested guineafowl are shy and wary birds. They stick to one patch of forest, where they know every twig and track. It is next to impossible to creep up on one to shoot or grab it. But they possess great curiosity, and nothing incites their curiosity more than the colour blue. I have never seen this for myself but I am assured by my friend Kennedy that he has watched a Kenyan crested guineafowl staring at an empty pack of Clear Sky cigarettes for minutes at a time. Should you want to trap one of these birds, therefore, the best bait to use is not grain or fruit or anything that the bird might eat, but simply something blue.(80%)I assume thisinformation is correct.... But what is important is for you to judge if this is interesting or not! One more thing. this is not much about the antics of bird-walkers. This book is more about how one properly conducts a contest. That can be amusing too. And about how people can tackle a contest so very differently. Winning is important, but but how we win is too. *************************************I haven't read more than 9%, and I don't really want to be talking to you. I would rather be reading. It is just that the lines are so funny! I am smiling on most every page. This is the kind of tongue-in-cheek humor I enjoy. Mr. Mali, is currently in Scotland. First his wife dies and his head is rapidly balding and to top it all off he has a heart attack. So his daughter gets him an appointment with a cardiologist, and what does the cardiologist say?'You need a hobby. Something to take your mind off work - it's stress that does it you see. ' The eminent cardiologist savoured the word. Up until only last year he would have said 'overdoing it' and he still wasn't sure whether that phrase was a bit more Harley Street, but everyone seemed to use 'stress' these days and it was good practice to keep up with modern develpments. Patients expected it.Is your appreciation of humor similar to mine? The doctor suggests birding, and with fright Malik thinks he means he has to get a new wife or "revitalize himself through prophylactic prostitution! " No,the doctor is suggesting ornithology. So Malik buys himself some binoculars. ******************************************BEFORE STARTING:My son is an ornithologist. I have been on numerous "bird walks". These walks are quite amusing if you step back and look at yourself and the group. Tongue in cheek humor?! A fun read probably because you remember past experiences? Are these excurions so different if they take place in Nairobi or Sweden? It is not the birds, but we humans who are amusing.

  • Meaghan
    2018-09-23 22:15

    WOWEE! I had never expected I would love his book -- I half expected I wouldn't even like it very much. But instead it was a tour de force, with all the elements of a great story: unrequited love, a protagonist who's brave and sweet-hearted and true behind his shyness, an appropriately dastardly villain whom you just want to smack in the face, a race to the finish line, and a good subplot to move things along. Seriously, I was floored. FLOORED. And no bloodshed or sexual activity for conservative types to object to (though one of the characters has a homosexual son). The use of capitals in this interview should be enough of an indication. I feel like I've just drunk a gallon of chocolate milk.

  • Sarah
    2018-08-26 15:30

    Favorite quote: "There is a distressing but not uncommon condition of presidents and other world leaders known as Worrying about Africa. It is usually picked up overseas as at summit meeting on world poverty or disease, and symptoms include painful twinges of guilt over the discrepancy between First and Third World wealth, uncomfortable feelings somewhere below the stomach that perhaps unfettered capitalism is not the benevolent force for good we are constantly assured it is, and frequent attacks of calling for Something to Be Done. The best remedy is invariably a stiff dose of domestic crisis."

  • Marilyn
    2018-08-30 20:05

    An absolutely delightful about a man in love, the honorable, sweet, stubborn Mr. Malik of Nairobi. It will appeal to Alexander McCall Smith fans, but definitely stands on its own and will beguile any reader who appreciates sharp wit and gentle charm.

  • Hana
    2018-09-01 22:26

    Jeannette told me it's funny and heartwarming--a love story about birds and Kenya--and she was right! A Guide to the Birds of East Africa seems at first a charming but slight book, even a silly one.The plot has more speedy twists and turns than a black mamba but it's much friendlier. I loved the protagonist, Mr. Malik--a truly good and gentle man-- and all the supporting cast were wonderfully alive and drawn with affectionate humor. (I grew particularly fond of the lawyer who loved to drop Latin legal phrases into every conversation.) Every time I found myself thinking "Oh, come now!" at one more preposterous plot twist, I would turn the page and find myself smiling and more than once laughing out loud.In between laughs I learned quite a lot about Kenyan politics, its unchecked crime, stubbornly persistent poverty, and the varied ethnic groups that call this land home. At the center of the story is a community of Indians, the descendants of men who were brought to East Africa to build the railway, came to love the land, and stayed to prosper. Many send their children to Britain to be educated and have adopted British mannerisms, including a great fondness for sporting bets and spending long hours at the club. By the halfway mark, Mr. Malik and his friends had completely won my heart and I was cheering for him to win the birding contest (and the fair lady). We hear too much about the terrible things (in Africa and elsewhere); this is a book about how good and kind people can make their way in a less than perfect world and bring each other comfort, good cheer and even a measure of joy. Perhaps not such a silly book after all!!! Content rating: G.And by the way....Did I mention all the beautiful birds?A spectacled weaver bird spotted by a real birder at Nairobi's National Museum, where our story opens.A footnote for nature fans and bird watchers:Why Kenya and birds? Kenya stretches from the sea level (Indian Ocean) in the east, to 5,199 meters at the peak of the snow-capped Mount Kenya. From the coast, the altitude changes gradually through the coastal belt and plains (below 152 metres above sea level), the dry intermediate low belt to what is known as the Kenya Highlands (over 900 metres above sea level). The Great Rift Valley bisects the Kenya Highlands into east and west. Mount Kenya is on the eastern side. The Highlands are cool and agriculturally rich. Both large and small holder farming is carried out in the highlands. With such varied habitats, Kenya is a birding paradise with over 1,000 species recorded and Nairobi, at the eastern edge of the Rift Valley, has an astonishing number of birding hot spots, despite its dense urban development. Here's a blog post from an avid birder of experiences bird watching in Nairobi.! September read for my Around the World challenge.

  • Mmars
    2018-09-02 22:14

    Years ago I struggled to find books my mother would like. They needed to be devoid of anything that smacked of worldly immorality - just about anything I was reading in the 70s and 80s. Simply put, she was narrow. I was broad. She appreciated good writing. But somehow this made it even harder. I wish I had discovered this then. Not only is the book squeaky clean, there's a clean feeling to his storytelling. It's like laundry flapping behind your neighbor as she tells you the latest news around town. "Mr. Malik asked his taxi driver to wait in the car park. He wasn't planning to go far - just find a bench, sit down and think. He pushed open the green gate, turned left at the big sequoia and headed towards a grove of lemon-scented gums. And blow me down if he didn't see, on the path right in front of him, a hoopoe." The synopsis: Two old childhood adversaries, wishing to ask the same woman to an annual ball, agree to a one week bird-sighting contest. I expected more information on birds and less on the country of Kenya. So my disappointment was balanced out with pleasant surprise. I also was surprised by and appreciated that Mr. Malik and Mr. Kahn were brown (of East Indian descent). The book dwelt in the more well-off ex-pat culture and presented a conflicting picture of contemporary Kenyans (crime-ridden, ineffectual government, the possibility of a good schools). But what will hang with me will be cheerful lilt of the story. As the adorable Mr. Malik stumbles upon heart-wrenching misadventures and the suave Mr. Kahn wheedles himself into a fine position until the very end, the reader believes that everything will end happily because there is nothing like birdsong to lift one's spirits, to give one hope. Even the lowing of the mourning dove makes me smile. Perfect, perfect little summer porch read.

  • Lisa Vegan
    2018-09-19 14:08

    I love the little pen & ink drawings of birds, with their names shown, that are at the start of every chapter. The chapters are extremely short, and this should have been an incredibly quick read, but for some reason it took me some time to slog through, even though I enjoyed it, and as the story went on, it grew on me more and more, though I wasn’t perturbed when I had to put it down.It’s a gentle and slow little story, and I could have done without the fact that the ball in question is at the hunt club; it starts off quiet and simple and innocent but quietly yet surely gets slightly more complicated, though it never loses its gentleness. There definitely ended up being some layers, some darkness in what seemed to be at first a simple lighthearted story, but overall it remained sweet.I’m not sure about this narrator. Those who have read the book: Who is the narrator? Whoever narrates the book, the voice is personable and easy to read. I loved the locales and got a kick out of where and why and how some of the birds were found. I really enjoyed how the storyline and characters evolved.I reveled in the wickedly funny little asides, and the witticisms are not at all limited to observations about birds and birdwatchers, not at all! I wanted to add some quotes but there are just too many and I couldn’t decide which ones to include.Great ending!In a way, I could rate this 5 stars or 3, so I’ll settle for 4, 4 ½ actually.

  • Mark
    2018-09-01 16:07

    It took me forever to finally pluck this one down from the shelf but what a delight it was, plus lots and lots of bird chatter, mixed in with romance and humor. An ideal palate cleanser.

  • Michele
    2018-09-13 20:03

    This book is being compared to #1 Ladies Detective Agency, but it shouldn't be. It's actually so very posh and full of all things British. Yes, it takes place in Africa but I found more similiarities to "Mr. Pettigrew's Last Stand." I found this book nothing short of delightful. If you love nature, good narration and witty word play, this is the book for you. I even enjoyed and giggled over the Bill Clinton jokes. In a word this book is satisfying.If you've ever experienced the beauties of Africa and I think even if you have not, this book will draw you in and you will not leave disappointed. It is very clean as well, which is always refreshing. Mr. Malik is a dreamboat in every way, but looks. An honorable man you delight in as you get to know him. Don't get me wrong either. He understands Africa and you get a fabulous sense of that throughout the book. He does a marvelous job of explaining the beauties and quirks of Africa.Quotes I loved:Lying can get you in an awful mess but it isn't easy being honest. pg. 112.Perhaps it is not up to any of us to judge what should be coming to us, my friend. pg 131

  • Lau
    2018-09-21 17:03

    3.5«There is something about birds, their beauty and freedom, that is good for a man’s soul.»Me acerqué a esta novela porque me llamaron la atención tanto el título como la portada, y tengo que decir que me encontré con un libro muy simpático y con un argumento diferente que me entretuvo mucho.Ésta es la historia del simpático, querible y extremadamente honorable Mr. Malik: un hombre africano de ascendecia hindú que ronda los cincuenta años, y que además de tener un poco de sobrepeso y estarse quedando un tanto calvo, está perdidamente enamorado (en secreto) de Rose, una de sus compañeras de la Sociedad Ornitológica de África del Este, que cada martes por la mañana recorre Nairobi avistando aves.Justo cuando el tímido Mr. Malik está decidido a invitar a Rose al baile anual de su club, aparecerá como salido de la nada –o salido de un avión, en realidad– un viejo rival de la escuela que también pretenderá invitar a Rose al baile.Como caballero que es, y luego de una curiosa disertación entre varios aún más curiosos miembros del club, se decidirá que podrá tener el honor de invitar a Rose aquel de los dos que en el período de una semana logre avistar mayor cantidad de aves diferentes.Así, lo que en principio parece una simple tarea casi placentera, se encontrará con toda una gama de dificultades (algunas muy tercermundistas, con lo que no supe si reir o llorar) que le complicarán la existencia en casi todas las maneras posibles, y a nosotros nos aportarán diversión, humor y un poquito de desesperación.Lo primero que me gustaría destacar de este libro es la forma en que está escrita. Tiene un estilo muy lindo y extremadamente simpático de narrar, aunque nunca supe realmente quién es el narrador y eso creo que es parte de juego.Tardé en darme cuenta de qué era lo que lo volvía distinto de otros relatos –además de ser un estilo muy propio e, insisto, muy simpático– y creo que eso que se me escapaba es que el narrador nos habla con una familiaridad similar a la de los cuentos infantiles (pero sin ser condescendiente ni infantil en absoluto). Es él quien decide el ritmo de la historia y lo que nos va a contar, e incluso nos hace preguntas y nos corrige de nuestros posibles errores de entendimiento.Pero no todo es cómico, hay un momento en que la historia y las divagaciones –que siempre vuelven a su cauce– del narrador se detienen un momento para contarnos un episodio oscuro del pasado de Mr. Malik en el que cometió un error garrafal que le marcó la vida, y con el que de paso nos hace tener presente uno de los grandes problemas de África.Si bien en otras circunstancias podríamos haber señalado a Malik con dedo acusador por lo que hizo y pasar a desagradarnos el resto del libro, el autor logra con mucha habilidad que a los pocos párrafos lo perdonemos y hasta sintamos pena por él. Mr. Malik es realmente querible, y luego de saber lo que sabemos, aún más humano.Algo que no puedo dejar de mencionar es que si les gustan las aves en este libro hay para rato. No en vano se llama "Guía de aves...", porque como al fin y al cabo el principal motivo de la historia es el avistamiento, van a aparecer muchos nombres de pájaros africanos (y dan ganas de buscarlos a todos para ver cómo son). Jamás me hubiera imaginado que había tantas especies de aves distintas... sólo en África del Este.Salvo algún que otro detalle que me pudo haber estorbado momentáneamente –un capítulo y medio discutiendo gases corporales y un personaje que intercala demasiadas frases en latín– realmente fue una lectura que disfruté mucho, porque tuvo mucha más historia de la que esperaba y no le faltaron ciertos mensajes disimulados para hacernos tomar conciencia de la vida dura e injusta que se vive en Kenia.Definitivamente voy a leer el siguiente pronto. Hubo muchas cosas que quedaron –intencionalmente– en el aire que quiero saber cómo concluyen, y además ya le tomé mucho cariño a Mr. Malik.Reseña de Fantasía Mágica

  • Sorento62
    2018-09-16 18:30

    The first 5 chapters or so were slow. But the book progressively revealed more and became more amusing after that point. Not heavy handed and dramatic, but really really good. While there is a lot of talk about birds in the book, it is more about people. The story is very good, mixing a bit of a fairy tale feel in with its insightful realism. One slightly odd style point is that the 3rd person narrator occasionally refers to himself and some experience of his own in the first person (and even to the reader as "you") -- although the narrator/author is not a character in the story. I suppose it gives more a feel of someone telling you the story out loud, but it was a little jarring at first because I am used to the standard 3rd person omniscient narrator who is anonymous and does not inject his/her own experiences into the story in first person language.

  • Jill
    2018-08-29 19:26

    This was such a sweet story set in...where else...Africa! My latest obsession. Anyway, this is a story of Mr Malik, a middle-aged man living in Nairobi Kenya who is in love with his bird-watching guide Rose Mbikawa, but just can't work up the nerve to ask her out. Along comes his old school rival, Harry Khan, and the competition begins. This was a sort of tortoise and hare story and you just can't help but adore Mr Malik by the end.

  • Barbara
    2018-08-29 15:10

    Sweet and charming story set in Kenya. Malik and Harry, two very different men, find themselves pitted in a birdwatching contest whose winner will have the chance to ask Rose to the Nairobi Hunt Club Ball. The story moves slowly but surely to a somewhat predictable ending but that's okay. I'd love to see all those great birds with the wonderful names. Now who was that strange but funny narrator?

  • verbava
    2018-09-09 14:22

    чудова маленька річ, повна сонця, доброго гумору, любові до світу – навіть якщо в цьому світі пахне димом, стріляють із ак-47 і не скрізь є електрика (але не подумайте, що то загальний пейзаж, то тільки окремі деталі, а пейзаж складається ще з купи інших) – і, звісно, неймовірних пташок східної африки. аж хочеться, щоб це була серія і щоб у цих симпатичних і благородних персонажів було більше схожих пригод.користуючись нагодою, вітаю себе із тисячною прочитаною книжкою на гудрідсі.

  • osoi
    2018-09-16 22:30

    У этой книги оказалось одно неоспоримое достоинство – краткость. Благодушное предотпускное настроение и сумасшедшее питерское лето (утром поливающее дождем, вечером прожигающее насквозь) отчасти сгладили разочарование от книги. Но все равно – скучный наивняк + бытовуха + вкрапления птичек.Приличная часть книги представляет собой натуральное соплежуйство главного героя–неудачника. Бесцеремонному противнику-читеру он ответить не может, по даме сердца молча сохнет, отказать сотоварищам не способен, да и вообще не очень быстр на принятие решений. И при каждом удобном случае подставляется и принижает себя, выставляя оппонента в лучшем свете. В какой-то момент даже закрадывается подозрение: а может, он просто боится победить? Симпатизировать этому, мягко говоря, бесхребетному персонажу совсем не хочется.Юмор? Только если легкий абсурд. Двадцатистраничное описание спора про испускание газов – серьезно? Еще в наборе, если не ошибаюсь, инцест. В такой милой и наивной книжечке, пропагандирующей веру в лучшее, встречать подобное – крайне странно. А я все так же не могу переступить через зашкаливающий объем описаний кто как зачесывает волосы и кто что ест на завтрак в отношении скучных или отталкивающих персонажей. Пожалуй, только в отношении скандинавской бытовухи я терпелива, но она в большинстве случаев сопутствует нордической рефлексии высшего порядка и как-то теряется на ее фоне. В «Книге птиц» нет ни одного интересного персонажа, за которым было бы нескучно следить. Никого, кому хотелось бы симпатизировать. И в наличии слащавая концовочка, которая вызывает только фейспалм.Сразу после прочтения синопсиса у нас возникло два варианта концовки:1. В город приезжает красавец-мужчина на байке, главная героиня моментально влюбляется в него и они укатывают в закат, пока двое главных героев устраивают свои дурацкие дуэльки.2. Все трое заинтересованных съезжаются в большую шведскую семью.К сожалению, оба варианта оказались слишком экстремальными для данной истории. На обложке стоит пометка «роман о любви» – верно, только о любви к птичкам, которые в тысячу раз интереснее персонажей, представленных Дрейсоном. Проходная книжица, гораздо больше меня бы порадовал душевный птичий атлас в его исполнении

  • Danny Musgrove
    2018-09-10 17:19

    Just absolutely a sweet little story about a widow and a widower who share an interest in bird watching. Neither is ready to act on their attraction until another man enters the picture. This is a romantic comedy, set among bird watching in an East African community. Malik pines for Rose, a widow who organizes bird watching tours, and wants to finally ask her out to the annual ball at a local country club. Then his rival shows up, with the same intentions. The honorable gentlemen of the club deem the only fair way to decide who can ask her out is to have a bird watching competition, with whomever can spot and list the most different species in a certain amount of time, and the winner awarded the honor of inviting Rose to the ball. Wry English humor, political satire, the depths men will go to win the heart of a woman ( or is it just to win a competition?) and charming characters made this a really enjoyable read.

  • Jess
    2018-09-22 20:19

    I unexpectedly loved this book. While I knew I wanted to read it for the College Students Spring/Summer Challenge this year, when I actually picked it up from the library I actually hesitated before bringing it home. For whatever reason, the font really bugs me in this book, but I got used to it. I also find it can be difficult for me to read books with British spellings, punctuation, and dialogue (because of the punctuation), so I was a bit hesitant.I am so thrilled to have read a book about Africa—specifically Kenya, in this case—that differs from a traditional Orientalist perspective on how different and inherently tribal "their people" are, and how much they suffer economically. This book revealed a political and social elite, while also giving depth to characters of less fortunate backgrounds.The plot was entertaining and interesting, despite the fact that I am hardly at all interested in birds. The feud between Mr. Malik and Harry Khan is funny, and you can almost picture this being a movie with dusty lanes, a fair-skinned red-headed woman, and two South Asian men fighting over her. It's almost Bollywood-esque to imagine! I also found Mr. Malik's ultimate realizations and observations to be quite interesting, and I found him to be a much more intriguing character than I first thought.I also loved the fact that the narrator seems omnipresent yet anonymous.I would highly recommend this book to almost anyone. I found it, in two words, utterly delightful.

  • Allanah Osborn
    2018-08-29 21:10

    For my high-school years I had the opportunity to live in Nairobi, Kenya. So, reading this novel, A Guide to the Birds of East Africa, was quite the experience. It was great to have such a concrete visual in my mind of all the places mentioned in the book. They would go to Naivasha, and in my head, ‘Oh! I’ve been there,’ and the Muthaiga Club, ‘Oh, that’s where we had our senior prom.’ To say the least, I really enjoyed reading this book.Set in Nairobi, Kenya, is this unexpected love story told through the eyes of a birdwatcher. Drayson tells the tale of two rivals, Mr Malik and Harry Khan, who in competing for the opportunity to ask the leader of the Tuesday-morning bird walk, Rose Mbikwa, to the annual Hunt Ball commence in this week long bird watch. Following each man’s successes and downfalls, Drayson creates a story emphasising politics, love and friendship.Nicholas Drayson’s A Guide to the Birds of East Africa is an essential for anyone who has ever been to Kenya. The prose is excellent and the description of Nairobi’s pros and cons expertly translated into the written word. I would recommend this novel to anyone but at the same time, having lived in Kenya, you would get so much more out of it if you had already been to Nairobi.

Thumbs up.Nicholas DraysonA Guide to the Birds of East Africa: A NovelPenguin Viking, 2008202pp. £11.99ISBN 9780670917587

  • Adrienne
    2018-09-03 21:06

    This a charming and delightful story, set in Nairobi, Kenya, about a retired man who has admired the woman who leads his bird-watching group for many years, but has been too shy to do anything about it. He then learns that another man, whom he has known from his younger school days, is also interested in the woman. A competition develops to determine which of the men can be the one to invite the woman to an upcoming ball. Although the story starts off a little slow, it soon becomes very entertaining and I had trouble putting it down. There is humor and adventure and even a little danger. We also learn a lot about Nairobi, with a little of the past as well as the present, and its culture, and, of course, its birds. There are also some great characters to learn more about as the story develops. The narrator is interesting -- sometimes he would tell the story as an omnicient narrator, but other times he would mention his own personal opinions and experiences, even though he was not one of the characters in the story -- it is a different style, but somewhat refreshing. I really enjoyed this book.

  • Jycel
    2018-08-31 18:03

    Lo que me atrajo de este libro, a primer vistazo, fue su portada. Y como el precio era asequible y el resumen que había en la contraportada me gustó, lo compré con bastante ilusión. El título en español es "Un Baile en Nairobi". Ésta es una de esas rarísimas veces en las que estoy de acuerdo con la libre traducción del título, porque le viene más al caso. No me arrepiento de haberlo hecho. No conocía al autor ni nada de su obra, pero fue como uno de esos flechazos que dan de vez en cuando con los libros.La edición es una delicia. Cada capítulo está introducido por un dibujo a mano de una de las especies de pájaros que viven en Kenya. No es que yo esté particularmente interesada en la ornitología kenyata, pero es una de esas rarezas por las que me siento atraída en un momento particular.Destaco la forma en la que está escrito y los personajes. En ellos juega un importante papel la socarronería del "a ver si te atreves" que hay en ciertos grupos de amigos. Todo el libro gira en torno a una apuesta bastante especial que se hacen entre ellos. Si queréis saber más, leedlo, es muy entretenido.

  • Сhristie ♥
    2018-09-23 17:08

    Зараз я вам відкрию невеликий секрет. Навіть два. Вечорами після роботи, я поспішаю додому, щоб зайнятися улюбленою справою: поринути з головою в наступну книгу. Такі ж душевнохворі, як я зрозуміють і підтримають: book lovers never go to bed alone. А як інакше можна без копійки помандрувати, скажімо, в Кенію і закохатися в неї? Ось тут ховається мій другий секрет. "Книга птиц Восточной Африки". Коли знаходиш хорошу книгу, хочеться ділитися нею навіть з незнайомими людьми в трамваї і приставати до друзів з питаннями "А що ви читаєте зараз? Я от нещодавно таку книгу знайшла!". Нехай вас не збиває з пантелику назва, птахів у книзі справді багато і різних, але це аж ніяк не довідник з життя африканської фауни, а легка, авантюрна розповідь з тонким гумором про те, як двоє мужчин виборюють право запросити даму на бал. А ще тепер я знаю, що нікому не потрібна синя птаха щастя, коли існує на світі Одуд! Після цієї книги залишається такий же теплий згусток, як і після "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe". І навіть не кажіть мені, що ви ще не читали "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe"!

  • Sarah
    2018-09-07 18:02

    I'd give this a PG rating due to a couple curse words and mild innuendoes.I thought this book was delightful. I love the story of a couple of old men waging a bet at a club of old men over a woman. The narrator lets the story unfold in a charming and quaint way. To show that the club is a place where men enjoy betting on anything and everything we are first introduced to a bet between two patrons over a study on how often a man farts in a day. I love the idea of a couple of old farts discussing farts- oh, the irony! This bet led to one of my favorite sentences in the book: "There was a moment in which you could have heard a distant flea fart..."Besides the actual plot of the book, it is filled with great observations of Kenya and the birds of Kenya. I learned that Kenya has more bird species than all of North America; that is impressive.This book has comedy, action, adventure, and romance. The characters are interesting and colorful. I love that despite a bet- to document how many birds are seen- that relies on honesty, both men do not cheat. This book shows that honesty, integrity, and humbleness are still admirable traits that can win in the end.

  • Deon Stonehouse
    2018-09-05 17:24

    A Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Nicholas Drayson is a charmer! It is so lively and delightful the words practically sing off the page. Rose Mbikwa has won the heart of Mr. Malik, she is unaware of his devotion. Mr. Malik’s doctor suggested a hobby; he selected bird watching and joined Rose’s weekly bird-walks. For years he has attended the bird-walks with devotion, gazing on Rose from the sidelines. It has taken him a long time but this year he decided to stiffen his resolve and take action. He intends to invite Rose to the Hunt Club Ball. Fortune is going to toss a spanner into his plans. Handsome Harry Kahn has just breezed back into town after being away from Africa for decades. He rather fancies Rose too. A solution is found without putting the lady in the uncomfortable position of choosing between them. They will hold a bird watching contest; the man who spots the most birds wins the right to ask Rose to the ball. Oh boy, does that unleash some unintended consequences! If you are in the mood to enjoy a wry, sweet story, you will not be disappointed.

  • Jeanette
    2018-09-12 17:22

    Some books are like a raging river with lots of twists and bends, white water and breathless near escapes from capsizing - Nicholas Drayson's A Guide to the Birds of East Africa is not one of these. It is more like a meandering river that rolls expansively along the plains though it does begin to pick up a stiff current about halfway through the book. Drayson uses an omniscient point of view - which adds to the whimsical feel of the book - and on occasion breaks in with chummy narratoral comments - which I found distracting. Yet despite these quirks I enjoyed this book with its gentle romantic themes, it's great characterization and it's surprising and satisfying ending. Along the way, I learnt much about Kenya and it's prolific bird life and felt a little bit nostalgic for Zambia where I spent much of my childhood.

  • Adri
    2018-09-05 14:08

    This is not 'high' literature, but it is a beautiful book. I usually take one book from the library which I would classify as 'light reading' for those times when I HAVE to read but do not want to concentrate too much. Upon occasion I thus stumble on a little gem. It is like picking up a scrap of glass because it is shiny only to discover that it is 'THE REAL THING'. This book, in my opinion, is such a find. As another reviewer said, it has everything to make it an excellent story. It is a quick read, but I did not want it to finish. I wanted to get to know some of the main characters, and quite a few of the subsidiary players, better. I wanted to learn to look at life through their eyes and thereby become a better me.I will definitely recommend this book to my friends.Of course I am now rather interested in exploring this author's other offerings.

  • Katerina
    2018-08-25 15:13

    Очень легкое каникулярное чтение, как замечательно выразилась Таня, "о том, как мирные занятия обогащают жизнь". В Me Before You, например, автор настойчиво устами прикованного к коляске авантюриста подстегивает читателя поднять свою задницу и покорить Эверест, и бедный читатель невольно задумывается, дрожащий он или надо идти сегодня на пробежку. "Книга птиц" же говорит, что иногда можно разглядеть редкую птицу на собственном заднем дворе, прийти на бал без подготовки и получить помощь откуда не ждал. Согласитесь, это как-то более утешительно.

  • Roberta
    2018-08-31 15:23

    A Guide to the Birds of East Africa è un romanzo breve ambientato nel Kenya moderno. Anche se la descrizione lo accomuna ai libri di Alexander McCall Smith, credo che condividano solo il gusto per i titoli bizzarri e la profonda dignità e moralità dei loro protagonisti, una caratteristica che non smette di affascinarmi. Spero esistano davvero queste persone semplici che ogni giorno affrontano le piccole scelte della vita con attenzione e rispetto per la realtà che li circonda.

  • Victoria
    2018-08-26 14:11

    A review on the back of the book jacket states "a sort of P.G. Wodehouse meets Alexander McCall Smith." I've got to agree with that. The voice of the narrator threw me at first, because Smith's books are told from the points of view of the characters only. By page 50, I made the switch and couldn't put down the book until the end of the story. I found a certain depth missing, but I think it's because the author touched on so many interesting facets of that world without providing much elaboration. However, I would gladly read a sequel involving these characters.