Extra Extraordinary Chickens, by Stephen Green-Armytage
While I was sitting in the waiting room of my doctor’s office waiting for an appointment about my cellulitis problem , I managed to read an entire book about chickens. Now, I do not mean to imply that my wait was by any means long. The book itself was a bit more than 100 pages but is mainly a book of photography, so I was able to read the book very quickly. That said, one might wonder why I decided to read such a book. After all, a photography book about chickens does not make for particularly demanding reading. That said, I was not in a position to want a demanding read–since I only had a few minutes to spend. It should also be noted that I am extremely fond of chickens . I am, of course, very fond of eating them, but I also find them to be genuinely quirky and interesting animals in their own right. My predatory instincts toward them include a fair amount of fondness and curiosity in them as beings apart from my desire to eat them at nearly every meal. Perhaps your own feelings may be a bit different.
The book itself, as I said, is very straightforward. The opening section of the book discusses how the author had written a previous book chickens and then a host of books on other similar types of birds like turkeys and pheasants, only to have received so many requests and so much information about chickens that he had missed in his first volume that he decided to write a second one. That is as good a reason as any to write about chickens in another book as he did. Most of the book consists of various themed sets of photographs about chickens. There are different breeds of chickens like frizzles and so on. There are pictures of chicks with parents, of loving roosters and hens together in matrimonial (?) bliss, and the author shows himself to be a skilled photographer at getting the right kind of setup to make his photographs work. This is a gorgeous book to look at, and the chickens here show the right kind of personality. Chickens may not be very bright animals, to be sure, but they can mug for the camera and one can get a sense of them as beings in their own right.
What kind of audience is this book for? Well, if you are in the waiting room of a doctor’s office like I am, this is certainly an enjoyable book to read. It is also a fine book to read if you like chickens or keep chickens of your own. I see the ideal place for this book as being something similar to the place I found it, as a waiting room or coffee table read. The reason for this, of course, is that the book has gorgeous pictures and is not too demanding of a read. These are qualities that are best enjoyed by people that are trying to pass the time in a place where they do not have much time to spend and also where there are likely other things that will be doing of great interest to them, such as eating chicken. Nevertheless, whether you keep chickens or simply love to eat them, this is a book that does a good job at showing the personality of chickens when their pictures are taken by a skilled photographer, and that is as good a reason as any to celebrate an animal that we make much use of in our contemporary world.
 See, for example: