Join BLT (Books and Lunch on Tuesdays), Howe Library's book group. We meet the second Tuesday of each month at noon. Bring your lunch and a healthy appetite for good discussion.

Tuesday, August 13th
The Feather Thief

by Kirk Wallace Johnson


In the middle of the eighteenth century, naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace collected hundreds of specimens of birds in pursuit of proof of his theory of natural selection. Later, many of those specimens made their way to the natural-history museum in the town of Tring, England. In 2009, Edwin Rist, a young American flautist and expert in the art of fly tying, broke into the museum and made off with hundreds of rare bird specimens, including many collected by Wallace himself, which Rist intended to sell to fellow fly-tying enthusiasts. He was eventually apprehended, and a number of the stolen specimens were recovered, but a mystery lingered: What happened to the rest of the specimens? The author's relentless pursuit of a solution to that mystery not only breaks down the crime itself but also follows the eccentric histories of "feather fever"--the Victorian fad that turned bird feathers into the height of fashion accessories--and fly tying (which dates back at least to the Macedonians of the third century AD). Way more interesting than you'd think a book about a guy who stole some dead birds could possibly be, this is a remarkably compelling story of obsession and history and a man who so loved his art that he would break the law for it.- Booklist (starred review)

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Where: Howe Library
Room: Rotary Room
Time: 12:00 - 1:00