The Book of Barely Imagined Beings by Caspar Henderson

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews

This could have been a list of incomplete and unrelated facts...for animal aficionados only and without an overarching theme. It's to Henderson's credit that he avoids all those things and presents us with something that stays in the memory long after the book is put back on the shelf...
-Guardian

Synopsis

From medieval bestiaries to Borges’s Book of Imaginary Beings, we’ve long been enchanted by extraordinary animals, be they terrifying three-headed dogs or asps impervious to a snake charmer’s song. But bestiaries are more than just zany zoology—they are artful attempts to convey broader beliefs about human beings and the natural order. Today, we no longer fear sea monsters or banshees. But from the infamous honey badger to the giant squid, animals continue to captivate us with the things they can do and the things they cannot, what we know about them and what we don’t.



With The Book of Barely Imagined Beings, Caspar Henderson offers readers a fascinating, beautifully produced modern-day menagerie. But whereas medieval bestiaries were often based on folklore and myth, the creatures that abound in Henderson’s book—from the axolotl to the zebrafish—are, with one exception, very much with us, albeit sometimes in depleted numbers. The Book of Barely Imagined Beings transports readers to a world of real creatures that seem as if they should be made up—that are somehow more astonishing than anything we might have imagined. The yeti crab, for example, uses its furry claws to farm the bacteria on which it feeds. The waterbear, meanwhile, is among nature’s “extreme survivors,” able to withstand a week unprotected in outer space. These and other strange and surprising species invite readers to reflect on what we value—or fail to value—and what we might change.



A powerful combination of wit, cutting-edge natural history, and philosophical meditation, The Book of Barely Imagined Beings is an infectious and inspiring celebration of the sheer ingenuity and variety of life in a time of crisis and change.
 

About Caspar Henderson

See more books from this Author
Caspar Henderson has been a journalist and editor with various publications and broadcasters, including BBC Radio 4, the Financial Times, the Independent, Nature, New Scientist and openDemocracy (where he was senior editor for three years). He is a past recipient of an IUCN-Reuters award for best environmental reporting in Western Europe. He co-authored Our Fragile Earth (2005, New Internationalist) and was the commissioning editor for Debating Globalization (2005, Polity).
 
Published May 2, 2013 by University of Chicago Press. 448 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Arts & Photography, Professional & Technical, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for The Book of Barely Imagined Beings
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Alok Jha on Nov 23 2013

This could have been a list of incomplete and unrelated facts...for animal aficionados only and without an overarching theme. It's to Henderson's credit that he avoids all those things and presents us with something that stays in the memory long after the book is put back on the shelf...

Read Full Review of The Book of Barely Imagined B... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Gavin Francis on Dec 25 2012

In what he modestly calls a "stab" at a 21st-century bestiary, he fuses zoology, literature, mythology, history, paleontology, anecdote and art through 27 brilliantly executed essays – one creature for each letter of the alphabet...

Read Full Review of The Book of Barely Imagined B... | See more reviews from Guardian

Reader Rating for The Book of Barely Imagined Beings
82%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 44 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×