Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.
Hope, as Emily Dickinson famously wrote, is the thing with feathers. Erik Anderson, on the other hand, regards our obsession with birds as too sentimental, too precious or romantic. Birds don't express hope. They express themselves. But this tension between the versions of nature that lodge in our minds and the realities that surround us is the central concern of Bird.
This is no field guide. It's something far quirkier and more idiosyncratic, balancing science with story, anatomy with metaphor, habitat with history. Anderson illuminates the dark underbelly of our bird fetish and offers a fresh, alternative vision of one of nature's most beloved objects.
Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in the The Atlantic.
1 Put a Bird on It
2 The Hater's Guide to Birds
3 The Buoy Bird
4 The Hater's Guide to Birds
5 What a Name Can Do
6 The Hater's Guide to Birds
7 There Never was a Bird
Erik Anderson is the author of three previous books of nonfiction: The Poetics of Trespass (2010), Estranger (2016), and Flutter Point: Essays (2017).