Book of the Week #9

By This Wing: Letters by Celia Thaxter to Bradford Torrey About Birds at the Isles of Shoals 1888 to 1894, edited by Donna Marion Titus (Manchester, NH: J. Palmer Publisher, 1999)

Celia Thaxter was an author and poet and was well known for her gardens. She was also an enthusiastic birder and contributed an article for the first issue of Audubon Magazine (Feb. 1887). Bradford Torrey was a writer and naturalist with whom Thaxter maintained a correspondence. Her first letter, written December 7, 1888 and enclosing a bird's wing) was to ask him to identify the birds that had descended upon the Shoals in great numbers and was unknown to the place. (It turns out to be a kildeer plover.) This collection of letters describes the ornithological landscape of the Shoals in the late 1800s in the words of a poet who loved the place

During February 2013 author Mary Robinette Kowal has issued a challenge to anyone willing to take it up: The Month of Letters Challenge. In honor of this challenge, all the books-of-the-week during February will be collections of correspondence. If you enjoy these types of books you may also want to check out the Postal Reading Challenge being hosted by The Indextrious Reader.

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