Thursday, September 28, 2006

Book Meme

Laura from Somewhere in NJ posted this meme. I really like it and I'll do my best to answer it. I'm a slow reader, so my library of nature books that I've read isn't emense. I might have to intersperse some non-nature books in here.

1. One book that changed your life: Strangely, it's the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Birds. While notably not the best field guide in the world, this book was always on my parents' shelf when I was growing up. My dad took us birding sometimes when we were young. He would put a black "X" next to every bird he saw. I remember thumbing through this book a lot when I was young and wondering, "I wonder where could I see a warbler?" or "I hope I can see a Great Gray Owl someday." The photos of the birds still stand out in my mind. They stand out so much that I recognize them when they're used in other publications. This book is by no means a good field guide, but it was my introduction to birds and the first one that I really used while birding.

2. One book that you've read more than once: I'm sorry to say that there is no book that I've read more than once. There are just too many books in the world to read. Ask me again in 20 years.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island: This one.

4. One book that made you laugh: Most nature books arent very funny. Pete Dunne has some funny moments, but Down and Dirty Birding by Joey Slinger is really funny.

5. One book that made you cry: No nature-related book has made me cry, yet. But Tuesdays with Morrie really gets me...

6. One book that you wish had been written: Another tough one... how about a book about environmental protection that really appeals to the masses. I'd like one that everyone would talk about and read. It seems that many great books about our environment are only read by people who already know the deal.

7. One book that you wish had never been written: I'm going to go out on a limb here and say The Big Year. I actually enjoyed the book and I'm a "lister" myself at times. My problem was that it really left a bad taste in my mouth about birders who have the resources to go anywhere at anytime. It kind of took the fun out of the adventures of the players in the book and added to the questionable public image that birders have. To me, birding is like a treasure hunt where you're rewarded once in a while with a new treasure. This book took the "hunt" aspect out of it.

8. One book you're currently reading: Wild America by Peterson and Fisher - FINALLY! It's great.

9. One book you've been meaning to read: To See Every Bird on Earth - the story of a father and son relationship where the father is an emphatic world lister.

10. Now tag five people: Whoever wants to join in can do so! It's a great way to learn about great books.


John said...

I already did one of these a month or two back. I have been meaning to read 'Wild America' for a while now. Actually when I was young I regularly watched a PBS program called 'Wild America' (by a different narrator). I think that is one reason I became so interested in nature later on.

LauraHinNJ said...

Glad you did this, Patrick.

I don't think it's odd at all that you listed a field guide as a life-changer - you're a birder, after all. An interesting question might be to ask, "how many field guides do you own?" LOL!

BTW, do you have a great gray?

Clever choice on the desert island book.

Tuesdays with Morrie - haven't read it, but wonder if you read *The Five People You Meet in Heaven* yet? Mitch Albom just had a 3rd book out this week that I keep hearing about.

Have you noticed that there have been so many new *birding* books out the last few years? It used to be that I would buy and read every new one, but lately most of them are crap!

A nice way to preview nature books is during the long lonely hours at SHBO - I've read quite a few that way!

Patrick Belardo said...


I used to watch that "Wild America" too. It was with Marty Stouffer. It looks like he's still around:

I did get the my great gray in Minnesota in 2005! It was during the big invasion and I saw about 30! I read "Five People". I liked it, but I like "Tuesdays" better. I just heard about his new book too. I'll try to check it out soon.

And SHBO is definitely a place to preview all the bird books. It's one of the perks of the job. And you're right, there are SO MANY new books lately.

And to answer your first question... too many. I counted that I own 16 books from the Peterson field guide series alone. That covers more than just birds of course.

LauraHinNJ said...

Just a little jealous about the Great Grey - 30 no less! I need to travel and stop expecting the birds to come to me!

Don't think I have nearly as many field guides as you, but not as many life birds, either.