by Richard Mabey.
Short monograph on the role of nightingales in western culture.
The Book of Nightingales is a strange, yet entertaining book dealing with the nightingale in western culture - especially poetry. Interspersed with his cultural analyses are Mabey's personal reminiscences of encounters with these drab yet remarkable birds.
Living outside the nightingale's natural (and declining) British range, I have never had the fortune to hear a nightingale in the flesh. This book made it abundantly clear that my life is the poorer for this.