Featured in the vast majority of mythologies and religions, birds are generally associated with creativity and the human spirit. From the Christian dove to Quetzalcoatl (the Aztec plumed serpent), and from Raven Man to Plato's description of the soul growing wings and feathers, birds have represented the soul in contrast to the body, the spiritual as opposed to the earthly.The Bedside Book of Birds is an unexpected and fascinating treasure trove of paintings, drawings, essays and scientific observations: it marvellously conveys the hope, the longing and the enchantment that birds have evoked in humans in all cultures and all times.Beautifully produced, the book contains more than one hundred illustrations, ranging from early cave paintings through works by Audubon, Morris and Gould, to Inuit and other works created in the twentieth century. There are writings by naturalists like W.H. Hudson, Laurens van der Post, Peter Matthiessen and Barry Lopez, and by classical authors such as Shakespeare, Coleridge, Melville and Poe. There is also a rich seam of contemporary work by Jorge Luis Borges, Ted Hughes, Italo Calvino, Bruce Chatwin and Haruki Murakami, among many others.The Bedside Book of Birds is a book to explore, to savour, and to learn from - a book for the winged soul in all of us.