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Featured New York Times Bestsellers Selection
Click to search this book in our catalog H Is For Hawk
by Helen Macdonald

Library Journal After the sudden death of her beloved father, Macdonald (history and philosophy of science, Cambridge Univ., England), an experienced falconer, acquired, raised, and trained a goshawk-a bird that is found in North America and Eurasia-as a means of coping with her loss. The author had been captivated by hawks since childhood and upon caring for Mabel, she saw the goshawk's fierce and feral anger mirrored in herself. Using T.H. White's The Goshawk as guidance, Macdonald introduces readers to the craft of falconry, chronicling the patience required to successfully raise and train a hawk. The author's descriptions of Mabel's powerful beauty, along with observations of the natural countryside near Cambridge, are very lovely, but readers might find the British vocabulary too unfamiliar. Also the constant references to White's book and analysis of his life, though they are obviously important to Macdonald, feel superfluous and detract from the focus of the work-the relationship between Mabel and Macdonald. VERDICT Overall, this unsatisfying mishmash of memoir, nature writing, and commentary might be of interest to falconers but will be of limited appeal to armchair naturalists.-Eva Lautemann, formerly with Georgia Perimeter Coll. Lib., Clarkston (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly In this elegant synthesis of memoir and literary sleuthing, an English academic finds that training a young goshawk helps her through her grief over the death of her father. With her three-year fellowship at the University of Cambridge nearly over, Macdonald, a trained falconer, rediscovers a favorite book of her childhood, T.H. White's The Goshawk (1951), in which White, author of The Once and Future King, recounts his mostly failed but illuminating attempts at training a goshawk, one of the most magnificent and deadly raptors. Macdonald secures her own goshawk, which she names Mabel, and the fierce wildness of the young bird soothes her sense of being broken by her father's untimely death. The book moves from White's frustration at training his bird to Macdonald's sure, deliberate efforts to get Mabel to fly to her. She identifies so strongly with her goshawk that she feels at one with the creature. Macdonald writes, "I shared, too, [White's] desire to escape to the wild, a desire that can rip away all human softness and leave you stranded in a world of savage, courteous despair." The author plunges into the archaic terminology of falconry and examines its alleged gendered biases; she finds comfort in the "invisibility" of being the trainer, a role she undertook as a child obsessed with watching birds and animals in nature. Macdonald describes in beautiful, thoughtful prose how she comes to terms with death in new and startling ways as a result of her experiences with the goshawk. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


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Special Events
Lions Club Large Print Collection
  • Check out the new books in the Lions Club Large Print Collection. Stop at the service desk for information.
  • Wednesday DVD Frenzy
  • Every Wednesday DVD/VIDEO Frenzy. It's out the R-O-O-F! Rent One One Free. Normal checkout limits and fines apply. Check with the Library Staff for information.
  • Teen Book Club
  • Tuesday, Apr. 21 @ 6 pm in the Conference Room at Roanoke Rapids Public Library. Teens from grades 9-12 discuss books they are currently reading. New students as well as our current members are welcomed.
  • Storytime
  • Preschool Storytime on Wednesdays at 10:30 am.
  • E-Book Program
  • Roanoke Rapids Public Library now has a collection of e-books for its patrons through NC LIVE. The NC LIVE Homegrown E-book Collection has over 1,200 titles to chose and are provided with the cooperation of varied NC publishers. While these titles are not many of the current best sellers, the Library is hoping eventually to expand our e-book collection. Take a look by clicking the link on the home page in the lower right corner. You must have a RRPL card to access the collection. Contact the Library for more information.
  • NC Knows
  • Roanoke Rapids Public Library announces participation in a virtual reference service offered through the State Library of North Carolina called NC Knows. Please click on the NC Knows tab above to learn more about this service and how to use it.
  • Library Card Required to Use Computers
  • As of July 1, 2012, a Roanoke Rapids Public Library card is required for use of public access computers. Only one courtesy visit is permitted per year going by the date of the last courtesy visit. Call the Library or stop by the service desk for more information.
  • Join the Friends
  • Join the Friends of Roanoke Rapids Public Library where you can be a part of a vital organization. The Friends volunteer with the Nifty Thrifty Third Thursday Book Sale, assist with fundraisers, and support the Library in the community. Stop at the Circulation Desk for an application and information. Come be a part and "Read. Learn. Live."

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