10 books like Golden Bats and Pink Pigeons

By Gerald Durrell,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Golden Bats and Pink Pigeons. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Teatime Islands

By Ben Fogle,

Book cover of The Teatime Islands: Adventures in Britain's Faraway Outposts

As an Englishman, I’m very taken by books which combine travel with English history. Ben Fogle takes us through the last remnants of the British Empire, tiny islands that have refused independence and resolutely fly the Union Jack. His adventures in Tristan da Cunha, Diego Garcia, and St Helena took me to three places I had never been to. Like me, Fogle is an islandophile and I recommend this for anyone wanting to know about these islands that are in many ways more British than Britain.

The Teatime Islands

By Ben Fogle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Teatime Islands as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcomed with open arms, derided as a pig-ignorant tourist and occasionally mocked mercilessly for his trouble, Ben Fogle visited the last flag-flying outposts of the British Empire. With caution, dignity and a spare pair of pants thrown to the wind, he set out to discover just exactly who would choose to live on islands as remote as these and - more importantly - tried to figure out exactly why. Landing himself on islands so isolated, wind-swept, barren and just damned peculiar that they might have Robinson Crusoe thinking twice, Fogle: almost becomes lunch on the appropriately named Carcass Island; gets…


Island of Dreams

By Tony Williams,

Book cover of Island of Dreams: The True Story of One Family's Quest for Paradise

An incredible motivating story of a man who refused to allow his poverty-stricken working-class life define him. Tony Williams, a school caretaker, had a dream to move to a desert island. His peers in his dead-end town ridiculed him, but he persisted with his ambition. Saving up money by pretending they smoked, and needed to buy cigarettes every day, Tony and his wife managed to travel to and live on uninhabited islands in the South Pacific twice, once with their kids. Anyone who believes their own personal circumstances prevent them from achieving their dreams needs to read this book, as well as anyone interested in the Cook Islands and the South Pacific lifestyle.

Island of Dreams

By Tony Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Island of Dreams as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The true story of a Welsh family who left Swansea to live on a remote Pacific island. Tony Williams was determined to fulfill his lifelong ambition. They would become the Bounty Hunters - he the latter-day Robinson Crusoe, Kathy his girl Friday, and the children his castaway clan. Tony Williams swapped the gloom of recession-hit Britain for a hut on the desert island of Mania, 10,000 miles away in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This is the story of their initial struggle for survival and of their eventual life in paradise.


Last Chance to See

By Douglas Adams, Mark Carwardine,

Book cover of Last Chance to See

Douglas Adams didn’t leave us enough books before he died, and so I find it strange that many Adams fans have somehow overlooked this gem, in which he applies his famously quirky wit to a real-life environmental cause. I’m recommending this one now because it perfectly exemplifies the idea that, in order to be truly sad about the plight of an endangered creature, you first must have a good long laugh at the creature’s expense. Adams makes me feel as if a Komodo Dragon is, not just majestic, but a friend that I’ve gone pub crawling with. 

Last Chance to See

By Douglas Adams, Mark Carwardine,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Last Chance to See as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Descriptive writing of a high order... this is an extremely intelligent book' The Times

Join Douglas Adams, bestselling and beloved author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and zoologist Mark Carwardine on an adventure in search of the world's most endangered and exotic creatures.

In this book, Adams' self-proclaimed favourite of his own works, the pair encounter animals in imminent peril: the giant Komodo dragon of Indonesia, the lovable kakapo of New Zealand, the blind river dolphins of China, the white rhinos of Zaire, the rare birds of Mauritius island in the Indian Ocean and the alien-like aye-aye of…


Transit of Venus

By Julian Evans,

Book cover of Transit of Venus: Travels in the Pacific

Julian Evans takes us on a personal tour through the islands of the South Pacific, a region for which I have my own fondness. As well as places I know and love such as Tonga and Vanuatu, Evans visits harder to reach places: The Marshall islands and the Gilbert and Ellis group. Encountering natives, visitors, political and geographical challenges, his story is told with good humour and adventure.

Transit of Venus

By Julian Evans,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Transit of Venus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Pacific Ocean calls to mind a world of fabulous kingdoms and noble savages, guilt free sex and gin-clear lagoons, and a perfect idleness fed by lush fruits and fish-rich seas. Ever since Captain Cook first went to Tahiti in 1769 to observe the transit of Venus across the sun, this dream of the Pacific has not lost its force. But Julian Evans's journey through the island archipelagos of the Great Ocean was also informed by a quest into our more modern myths - such as Peacekeeper missiles and nuclear bombs being tested by the US Army. With humour and…


The Dodo and its Kindred

By Hugh Edwin Strickland, Alexander Gordon Melville,

Book cover of The Dodo and its Kindred: Or The History, Affinities, and Osteology of the Dodo, Solitaire, and Other Extinct Birds of the Islands Mauritius, ...

This is a beautifully presented antique book and, unfortunately for anyone who wants it, it is fiercely expensive. It is the second of my choices with Dodo in the title, but this one really is about the species.

There have been many books and scientific papers written about the subject but, curiously, most of them are full of erroneous information or are derivative in the extreme. Even my own book Dodo – from Extinction to Icon is limited. I wrote somewhere that all we actually know about the living bird could be written on the back of a postcard. Perhaps because this remark is essentially accurate, many writers on the subject have felt the need to embellish the truth and invent or copy all manner of misinformation.

The book produced by Mr. Strickland and Mr. Melville is of a very different stamp. Although written so long ago, it is a…

The Dodo and its Kindred

By Hugh Edwin Strickland, Alexander Gordon Melville,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dodo and its Kindred as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Well versed in natural history, particularly geology and ornithology, Hugh Edwin Strickland (1811-53) became fascinated by the dodo and mankind's influence on its extinction. Seeking to investigate this flightless bird and other extinct species from islands in the Indian Ocean, he invited the comparative anatomist Alexander Gordon Melville (1819-1901) to help him separate myth from reality. Divided into two sections, this 1848 monograph begins with Strickland's evaluation of the evidence, including historical reports as well as paintings and sketches, many of which are reproduced. Melville then analyses the osteology of the dodo and Rodrigues solitaire, describing his findings from dissections…


Storm and Conquest

By Stephen Taylor,

Book cover of Storm and Conquest: The Clash of Empires in the Eastern Seas, 1809

The battle for Mauritius (Isle de France) is the central conflict in this history, pitting Nelson’s navy against Napoleon’s. At stake is the trade route between Britain and India via the Cape of Good Hope, and the spoils will accrue to whoever gains control of this conduit. A good primer on the behavior of different social classes crammed in proximity over 9-month voyages; on the sea battles involving giant East Indiamen sailing ships and smaller man o’ war frigates: their tactics, the damages suffered, and the fates of the poor sailors whether for insubordination or bravery. Today’s corporate battles do not shed blood, but the imperatives of first mover advantage, competitive might, and greed are still there—colonial business legacieseven if demonstrated now only in a boardroom. 

Storm and Conquest

By Stephen Taylor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Storm and Conquest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Indian Ocean was the final battleground for Nelson's navy and France. At stake was Britain's commercial lifeline to India-and its strategic capacity to wage war in Europe. In one fatal season, the natural order of maritime power since Trafalgar was destroyed. In bringing home Bengali saltpeter for the Peninsular campaign with military and civilian passengers, Britain lost fourteen of her great Indiamen, either sunk or taken by enemy frigates. Many hundreds of lives were lost, and the East India Company was shaken to its foundations. The focus of these disasters, military and meteorological, was a tiny French outpost in…


Caesar's Vast Ghost

By Lawrence Durrell,

Book cover of Caesar's Vast Ghost: Aspects of Provence

Provence has inspired hundreds of books, but Lawrence Durrell captures better than most what he calls its 'real nature'. His book is both personal response (he lived for many years at Sommières, north of Nimes) and historical reflection, particularly on the Roman legacy – a legacy that includes wine and olive oil, perennial staples of the Provençal table. Although Caesar occupied the whole of France, nowhere is the Roman imprint more omnipresent than in Provence; living near Carpentras, we daily dreamed of finding our fortune in an ancient Roman coin, shining through the dust of a lonely track. Durrell's language is poetic, his imagery evocative: the 'Socratic austerity' of a game of boules, the 'felicity and eloquence' of Provençal skies. As a companion to Provence, Durrell is my pick.

Caesar's Vast Ghost

By Lawrence Durrell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Caesar's Vast Ghost as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lose yourself in this classic travelogue evoking the idyllic South of France by the king of travel writing and real-life family member of The Durrells in Corfu.

'Full of stories, landscapes, comedy, history, heresies, animals, food, drink, and songs of the Midi.' Patrick Leigh Fermor

'A richly characteristic bouillabaisse by our last great garlicky master of the vanishing Mediterranean, our old Prospero of the south.' Richard Holmes

Provence, Southern France. Celebrated writer and poet Lawrence Durrell made the Midi his home for more than thirty years: and in his final book, he shares his most evocative, dazzling memories of life…


Prospero's Cell

By Lawrence Durrell,

Book cover of Prospero's Cell: Guide to the Landscape and Manners of the Island of Corfu

When life gets a little too much I’d recommend a visit to Corfu in the 1930s with Lawrence Durrell. It’s a diary, semi-fictionalised, of a year living on the island, both a history and a personal evocation of one corner of the Mediterranean world – Corfu’s people, landscape, and history, woven through Durrell’s island idyll beside the most enchanting sea. Durrell hunts fish at night by lamplight, discusses philosophy in taverns, records the timeless cycles of island life – olive harvesting, grape gathering, village festivals, puppet shows, folklore, and superstitions –and sits by candlelight watching the moon rise over the sea, the night air ‘cool as a breath from the heart of a melon’. It’s bitter sweet.

Prospero's Cell

By Lawrence Durrell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Prospero's Cell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lose yourself in this glorious memoir of the island jewel of Corfu by the king of travel writing and real-life family member of The Durrells in Corfu.

'In its gem-like miniature quality, among the best books ever written.' New York Times

In his youth, before he became a celebrated writer and poet, Lawrence Durrell spent four transformative years on the island jewel of Corfu, fascinated by the idyllic natural beauty and blood-stained ancient history within its rocky shores.

While his brother Gerald collected animals as a budding naturalist - later fictionalised in My Family and Other Animals and filmed as…


The Alexandria Quartet

By Lawrence Durrell,

Book cover of The Alexandria Quartet

Not crime although there are crimes in it. The narrative structure of the quartet was a major influence on structuring my trilogy. The first three present different versions of the same events and characters in Alexandria, Egypt before and during the Second World War. In Book 1, a self-absorbed, pretentious narrator, Darley, presents an account of an intense love affair. In book 2, Balthazar shows how ignorant he was about what was really going on about him. Mountolive widens the political context and shows both earlier narrators were looking through the wrong end of a telescope. Book 4 manages to tease out yet more solutions to mysteries thought resolved.

The Alexandria Quartet

By Lawrence Durrell,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Alexandria Quartet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Rediscover one of the twentieth century's greatest romances in Lawrence Durrell's seductive tale of four tangled lovers in wartime Egypt that is 'stunning' (Andre Aciman) and 'wonderful' (Elif Shafak)

'A masterpiece.' Guardian

'A formidable, glittering achievement.' TLS

'One of the great works of English fiction.' Times

'Dazzlingly exuberant ... Superb.' Observer

'Brave and brazen ... Lush and grandiose.' Independent

'Legendary ... Casts a spell ... Reader, watch out!' Guardian

'Lushly beautiful ... One of the most important works of our time.' NYTBR

Alexandria, Egypt. Trams, palm trees and watermelon stalls lie honey-bathed in sunlight; in darkened bedrooms, sweaty lovers unfurl.…


From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean

By Sebouh Aslanian,

Book cover of From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean: The Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants from New Julfavolume 17

This book by David Aslanian features the Armenian merchants of the New Julfa district of the city of Isfahan in modern-day Iran. They conducted long-distance trade between India and Europe and competed against some of the giant corporations of the day such as the Dutch East India Company. The experts of the old silk road trade competed against the new maritime trades well into the nineteenth century.

From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean

By Sebouh Aslanian,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Drawing on a rich trove of documents, including correspondence not seen for 300 years, this study explores the emergence and growth of a remarkable global trade network operated by Armenian silk merchants from a small outpost in the Persian Empire. Based in New Julfa, Isfahan, in what is now Iran, these merchants operated a network of commercial settlements that stretched from London and Amsterdam to Manila and Acapulco. The New Julfan Armenians were the only Eurasian community that was able to operate simultaneously and successfully in all the major empires of the early modern world--both land-based Asian empires and the…


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