Not really a book review – Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham


Chris Packham is a great guy – I admire his toughness and his persistence. But he gets an awful lot of very nasty flak from the shooters.  Remember the Countryside Alliance called for the BBC to drop their best wildlife presenter a couple of years ago – well,  don’t think that has gone away, the nasty brigade haven’t turned over a new leaf.

Chris seems remarkably unconcerned by these attacks, but he deserves our support even if he might shrug them off anyway.

So when you see him at the Bird Fair this weekend shout out  ‘Hello Chris – well done mate!’ every time you see him.

And do something more concrete too – buy this book (and Chris has authored many other books too).  You can’t lose – it’s an amazing book of honesty, pain, wildlife, awkwardness and a love of nature. This is one of the bravest and most honest memoirs I’ve ever read. I’d like to tell you that you will enjoy it – you might, but I am sure you will be moved by it and get a lot out of it. And you’ll put a few pence in Chris’s pocket too.

This was my review of the book but I recommend that you read Dara MacAnulty’s much better review instead.



10 Replies to “Not really a book review – Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham”

  1. Dara’s review was just as touching as the book itself. Thanks to you Mark, we are now enjoying his blog. It gives us hope for the future that there are people like this around to take over from Chris etc.
    Three great kids in the same family! Must be good water over there.

  2. Loved Dara’s review and the book itself bits of it were hard to read but it was well worth the effort Chris laid a lot of himself bare for all to see in this book and it is all the better for it, not sure though that I could do that, not in written form anyway.
    All I can say is great book read it.
    I know you both get lots of flack from the dark side, since our filming I have been banished from the one moor where I thought we could make real progress, so perhaps the owner wasn’t really on board. Not at the Bird fair again— So say to Chris for me.

    1. Sorry. To hear that Paul, but it just proves what we all know, they are all against us really.

  3. I have been waiting, patiently, for this to arrive in the charity shop but to no avail – This is not meant as an insult. It’s just that over the many years of browsing charity shops and second hand markets since my teens, I’ve come accross and kept some special gems. Be they victorian glass vases, 1930’s tea pots, art deco brooches to a nice Vivienne Westwood jacket. Just a couple of pounds each. But something I always look forward to ‘accidentally finding’ is a nice book. I’m hoping to have this one to place alongside my beloved David Attenborough books. But as good books are getting harder to find these days, like David’s, I have broken tradition and started to get ‘proper’ shop bought. So I think, and as you have in only a few words sold it so well Mark, I may finally go buy it for the weekend read.
    Sadly I face the annual frustrating of not being at the Bird Fair. Just too far an expensive for public transport for me. But hope it’s a good one. Enjoy it – and (as I was too ridiculously awkward and shy to do so at the march) – say Hi to Chris for me !

    1. … I’ll make an extra special proper shop buying effort and have a gander for Remarkable Birds and Inglorious too, of course !

      1. Dear Mark
        Just felt the need to update you and, to apologies.
        I also have to sadly delay the book buys as I’m a bit ill at present. In fact to be honest I’ve been ‘a bit ill’ for a couple of weeks – and on such occasions when I start being ill, one of the bizzare symptoms is that I suddenly decide that it would be a great idea, to either Talk or Tweet incessantly, make my way through dozens of wildlife blogs or articles, make potentially annoying, embarrassing and daft entries on some poor unsuspecting persons blog. I also go out and take umpteen photos & endeavour to try perfect them for hours, or I garden or clean the house until I can’t move my limbs… All this on often very little sleep. I basically get stuck in a ‘hypomania mode’ and when it’s done, if I don’t return to ‘normal mode’ there is sometimes an eventual lapse and fall to the frustrating depths, of severe depression mode.
        I wish more than anyone, I had full control but, even after living with this type of bipolar (II) which first started in my late teens, I don’t always realise I’m having episodes immediately and it can take someone to ‘point it out’ to me. Which happened recently. I’ve lost a few friends and missed out on making them over the years because they didn’t know I was ill and I didn’t understand, and accept, the illness until some 30 yrs down the line.
        And so I suppose I’m asking, that you forgive any potential nonsense I may inadvertently type, on what I do appreciate to be a brilliant, serious and sensible blog. I do ultimately aim to just read or comment appropriately but then, like this – I just go on one instead ! I’m a bloody nightmare. Although the hyper mode can come in handy for campaigning and shouting loudly at protest marches.
        However Mark. I will try harder to curb my uncurbable , but otherwise well intended enthusiasm.
        And when I’m better, will post a controlled, Brief comment, on how I find the eventual books.

        Thanks for your patience.

  4. As Paul’s remarks suggest (to me) the issue is now well and truly in the public domain and let’s keep that spotlight on it, we need to expose the true nature of the ‘sport’ which is practicised/indulged or however you wish to define it.

    Both Chris and indeed Mark have done an amazing job (not least in trying to encourage the next generation of conservation champions), as have others and we must all help them however we can as conservation is a broad community and I sense a collective determination that will persevere and deliver a ban. OK Licensing might be introduced but many know that will not work and the corporate carnage will continue and then eventually the reasonable folk prepared to compromise (which would have been many of us until we woke up to the real reality) will see the light and sense will prevail through democracy (we are led to believe that we live in a democracy)?

    I bought Chris’s book and he was kind enough to sign it at last years Birdfair, he certainly does deserve our support for the stance he has taken (DGS, Cyprus & Malta etc.)

    I’m looking forward to this years Birdfair as well. Some excellent talks, debates etc. That it’s now more than just optics, holiday companies, clothing (nothing wrong with those aspects) it continues to go from strength to strength. I especially enjoy the debates and the Authors Forum talks. Excellent value for money, IMHO.

    Carry on campaigning ….

  5. I bought this book as soon as it was published and he signed it for me when I went to see his ‘tadpoles’ talk last year. Knowing that the camera on my phone wasn’t working I still got my other half to pretend to take a picture of Chris and me, so I could get right up close to him! Chris Packham is great! Wildlife and conservation need more people like him.

  6. An talented piece of writing putting the reader in a position to almost see through the authors eyes. Chris Packham is a true champion for wildlife and his love for nature is delightfully obvious when you read his book. Brought back my own child hood memories.

    Top book by a top bloke!

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