Books on Butterflies and other Reading Material
I absolutely love reading books of any type. So it’s a particular joy to read books about butterflies!
It’s always a good idea, if you are interested in butterflies around your part of the world, to have a reference book or two to help you identify a certain species of butterfly. I have a number of butterfly books that help me confirm the identity of those butterflies that look similar to other species and I often carry a small field guide in my back pack on any walks in butterfly territory.
These books are useful, but they aren’t the sort of books that will fill anyone with passion about butterflies – not normally anyway. No, the sort of butterfly books that I really enjoy are those that have a mission to be informative in a completely different or interesting way.
I suppose some of these books on butterflies fall into the ‘coffee table’ category, but nevertheless I enjoy them immensely and there is often some surprising and wonderful new way of looking at butterflies. You can see some examples of these here such as the Butterflies in Flight book.
The latter is an extraordinary and unique visual book on butterflies – it shows them all on a 40 foot pull-out! Oh, it’s OK. You can still ‘turn the pages’ as you would an ordinary book, you don’t need a 40 foot lounge to view it!
Other types of butterflies books deal not so much with the visual imagery, but with the observation, breeding or habits of butterflies. These can also deal with more specialist subjects such as Photographing Butterflies and Other Insects.
Finally there are historic books on butterflies. In the literal sense, these can include books
such as ‘The Aurelians‘, which is a anthology on all the well-known butterfly collectors over the centuries. That’s a fascinating read in itself. I am also however, referring to old butterfly books. Those books that were written and printed say over a hundred years ago.
Many of these are real gems. Unlike most books these days, they were written in a very personal style, often including many anecdotes and sometimes written in flowery prose! They make references to shops addresses and name their owners. They refer to prices and often offer statements that would be very politically incorrect in these days. Fascinating.
These are my favourite butterfly books. They offer insights into the butterfly world as it was then, sometimes a delightful revelation, sometimes unpleasantly shocking. It’s hard not to be slightly angry at some of the things that went on but I guess that attitudes and knowledge were completely different than they are now. A few of the writings are absolutely hilarious and you can’t help but laugh at some of the things that went on or the way that the author has written his piece.
If you enjoy butterflies and you enjoy books, then I highly recommend you try and obtain one or two old butterfly books. They will give you a real insight into what the butterfly world looked like back then. You need to look at butterfly books ideally witten before 1900. They are not really expensive and I’ve got a number of recommendations you can look at.
Of course, there ARE a few books on butterflies that will cost you a lot of money. Some of these are just old, are first editions and/or have beautiful hand-drawn/coloured plates. You can see a list of some of these too.
I’ll place other interesting books here….. as soon as I come across them. Of course, if you know of an interesting book that is about butterflies, I want to know! Contact Me and I’ll be delighted to add it to my resources – a review would be especially welcome.