The Galapagos: A Natural History by Henry NichollsNonfiction/History
This book is one of those that are so delightful to own and to read. It is a tactile pleasure for the true bibliophile, one of those rare breed who love the feel of a book as much as the words within. The cover illustrations immediately draw the reader to the pages and are reminiscent of John James Audubon's best work. The deckled edges, heavy paper, and cream tone make it feel like a gift book. If you're thinking of purchasing, definitely buy the print version because the physical components are as important as the ideas.
The ideas, though, are quite fascinating, if you're into Darwin. I had been reading a lot of Darwin and happened upon this book. I wanted to read more of his theories without having to delve into his original works, parts of which I've read and found a bit boring. This book did provide a bit more excitement, but it won't make you grit your teeth with thrills. It is, instead, a fascinating and gentle historical read about natural selection as seen upon the Galapagos Islands. I do not claim to be a naturalist and could only name about 15 birds by sight if I were hard-pressed. However, the text and explanations were fascinating to me and I think even a casual reader of natural history would find something in this book to love.