It’s not exactly a secret around here, but I’ll go ahead and confess anyway: I have a real issue with Bird Books.

What exactly is the huge connection between birds and books? Why do so many books have birds in the title, on the cover, masquerading as hybrids of people? Okay fine that last one was just like, one book, but I won’t pretend I am okay with it.

  1. Birds in books are usually assholes. Look, none of these birds are some kind of pretty pet parrot or something. Did you see what those ridiculous Jabberjays did to Katniss and Finnick!?! Tip of the iceberg, friends. Okay, maybe the Mockingjays weren’t terrible, and we’ll get to that. But as a rule, these birds are garbage. Absolute trash.
  2. They’re basically a harbinger of death, yeah? You see those creepyass ones, ravens and vultures and junk, and it does not mean that your main character is due for a spa day or a nice vacation. It means shit’s hitting the fan.
  3. They’re just not fun, okay? Look, think about all the animals in books you’ve loved. It’s the dog, the cat, the panda for all I know, but I promise, it’s never the bird. No one’s sobbing and sending threatening tweets at your (former) favorite author because they offed the bird. No one’s cuddling the bird, no one calls the bird their trusted companion. He’s just not man’s best friend, and I’m sorry but I didn’t make the rules.
  4. Bird-people hybrids give me the heebie-jeebies. We aren’t even the same classification of animal. I mean, I guess you can throw mermaids at me here, but I feel like it’s different. Because I said so, mostly. Mermaids at least could have derived from an aquatic mammalian species, yeah? With birds, there’s no argument. There’s just a beak with legs.
  5. I just find them kind of boring and unappealing, frankly. I mean, no one chooses which animals they like, right? The animals choose you! Or… something. But for whatever reason, I just have less than no interest in birds. I can’t help it, and I guess deep down I don’t really want to.
Bird Books I Ought Have Avoided

But here’s the problem. Like the aforementioned Mockingjays…. I often fall completely in love with books with birds integrated into them. And I think I may know why, after a lot of introspection.

  1. The birds aren’t really the focus of most bird-titled or bird-covered booksMockingjay wasn’t about the mockingjays, and most of the other books I’ve read aren’t either.
  2. No bird people. I have honestly only found one book where I haven’t screamed in bird-person-related rage. If there’s bird people, I am likely getting stabby.
  3. The birds are just like… used either symbolically, or as actual animals. In one book I read, birds dying off were symbols of a larger problem, and yeah, I’m here for it! (Also, I will be reviewing this book soon and I loved it, yay!)
  4. It’s really a cool parrot-type. I don’t think I’ve read about this, but the point is, I would.
  5. The book is good enough that I overlook the bird stuff. That speaks for itself, like the book is great so birds-schmirds 🤷‍♀️
Books Worth Bearing the Birds

Do you have any weird book hangups? Do birds ever bother you? We really do need to discuss! 

Posted December 21, 2019 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Discussion, Discussion Challenge, Funsies / 28 Comments


28 responses to “Of Birds and Books

  1. I was thinking of you the other day, and actually took a picture, of the birds swarming at the train station. You would have been horrified. Oh, and this post is hilarious. I don’t see birds as negatives in the books I read, since I read mostly contemporaries, but yeah, they are definitely type cast as a bad omen type of thing, and parrots do tend to be fun and wonderful (see There’s Something About Sweetie, I think they were parrots)

  2. My very serious question: Were you traumatized by a bird as a child? Maybe your subconscious brain added 2 and 2 together and ended up with disliking birds? I personally like them in real life and in books. Raven’s are my favorite (I have a favorite, therefore, you can tell how much thought I put into this LOL). I find them fascinating in stories because they’re usually a sign of something going very very wrong but I also wouldn’t shy away from one if I were to see one in a tree near my house. I also don’t have a probably with bird shifters in books, considering one of my favorite series (Crossbreed Series By Dannika Dark) has a very useful character that can transform into one. I don’t think I have any particularly weird book hangups. My hangups are all pretty stereotypical 😀

    • I didn’t THINK I was, but my mom told a story about how she had a pet bird (a parakeet I guess) and my dad lost his shit and threw his cage across the room and it was awful (he acknowledges that this was wrong) and my mom sobbed. The bird was okay, eventually died of cancer go figure. But otherwise, no! Dogs, yes. But that’s a whole other post 😂

      I am glad you like birds in books, especially since they seem to be a quite popular theme!

  3. I DNFed one bird-person book and should have DNFed another. I am also not enthused with the bird-people. I’m not enthused with real birds either. I guess chickens are okay because they’re delicious, but I don’t love the others. A parrot in a pet store attacked my sister once. It was hilarious and a little scary.

  4. OMG an entire post dedicated to the asshole birds. LMAO Love it! Were you forced to watch Hitchcock’s The Birds as a child? Maybe that scarred you for life? Thank goodness the mockingjay was only a symbol and there wasn’t an actual bird. Bahaha!

    • AW I am glad you love birds. I mean, I wouldn’t like, shoot one like Phoebe’s cop boyfriend on Friends, but. I’m not adopting one either 😂

      And DUDE no I mean ACTUAL hybrids, like EXACTLY humans with wings and a beak! So maybe now you can understand my trauma! 😂

  5. OH I LOVE this post ahah, this is indeed a little weird book hangup, I’m definitely curious to see if I have any, I’ll have to think of it, ahah. I’m happy to see Faster Stronger and more beautiful on this as a good one, though, I’ve been so curious about this book 🙂

    • RIGHT!? It is SUCH a weird hangup bwhaha. I mean, I can handle it if it’s done well, as evidenced by the above books that I loved! I really hope you enjoy Stronger, Faster. It’s one of my faves, and people either seem to love it or hate it, so I hope you’re in the former category!

  6. Haha, I’ve never thought about it like this, but bird books are not my favorites. I mean, I didn’t read The Raven Boys because, for the longest time, I thought it was about boys… who turn into birds. (Talk about a misleading cover and title.) On top of that, I have to agree about The Raven’s Tale – I should have skipped it. I love everything else by Cat Winters, however, this was, for me, unreadable. Great post, Shannon! 🙂

    • Omg YES YES ME TOO! That was me 100%, no THANK you to Bird Boys! GOSH I feel the exact same way about Raven’s Tale! Cat Winters is an auto-buy author for me, so this was shockingly disappointing- especially because it was clear that she did her research and everything!

  7. This is so interesting, I never really thought about birds and their roles in YA! I have to disagree with a couple of points, though, because I have two cute & savage pet birds. But I think birds should definitely be better represented in YA, because they aren’t seen as fun companions, as you said. Great post :).

  8. This was a fun post to read! You have some good points on why birds and books don’t go together. I confess that I was more a fan of the Hunger Games films than the books, but the story (as far as know from the films) is definitely worth a read/watch.

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