Is there a book you want to write?

Writing a book is overwhelming to contemplate and enormously satisfying to complete. How did I find the time? First, it was a book I have been wanting to write for more than 20 years, so the time it took was a pleasure, mostly. I decided that I was writing a book as a side project and that my students should always come first.

I use a productivity app sometimes. On it I put the book for an hour a day. Every day. Some days I missed, but one hour felt like an appropriate goal if I did it every day. Some days, especially towards the rushed end, I did many more hours. I decided to put it there for every day because it is a side project, something fun I do, like cooking, or yoga, or hiking, so I did not feel guilty if I worked on the weekends.

Writing a book is really many different tasks, from reading about the subject matter to interviewing people to actually writing. And then there is editing. Even in a field you know well, there will be things you don’t know and want to learn.

The goal of my book is to bring the joy and the science of birds to all. I hope I achieved it. I chose birds and not the microbes, wasps, or bees I have actually worked on because I thought I could reach more people this way and still get across the same things, the love of nature, of being outside, and of learning about the natural world. More people dream of birds than dream of wasps, though I dream of both.

Here is more about my book in case you want to pre-order it!

Slow Birding: The Art and Science of Enjoying the Birds in Your Own Backyard

A one-of-a-kind guide to birding locally that encourages readers to slow down and notice the spectacular birds all around them.

A Great Egret in Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri

Many birders travel far and wide to popular birding destinations to catch sight of rare or “exotic” birds. In Slow Birding, evolutionary biologist Joan E. Strassmann introduces readers to the joys of birding right where they are.
In this inspiring guide to the art of slow birding, Strassmann tells colorful stories of the most common birds to be found in the United States—birds we often see but might not have considered deeply before. For example, northern cardinals thrive in the city, where they are free from predators. White brows on a male white-throated sparrow indicate that he is likely to be a philanderer. This essential guide to the fascinating world of common, everyday birds features:

  • detailed portraits of individual bird species and the scientists who have discovered and observed them
  • advice and guidance on what to look for when slow birding, so that you can uncover clues to the reasons behind specific bird behaviors
  • bird-focused activities that will open your eyes more to the fascinating world of birds

Slow Birding is the perfect guide for the birder looking to appreciate the beauty of the birds right in their own backyard, observing keenly how their behaviors change from day to day and season to season.



Barnes & Noble:



About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
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