Sunday, April 1, 2007

Books that Fly

I like it already. Andrew Blechman's 2006 book, Pigeons, starts with an anonymous quote, "Some days you're the pigeon. Some days you're the statue." I feel like the statue as I pack swiftly for a difficult family trip, so I was happy to find this book at my library. My first rule for picking a book to travel with is to make sure that you've read at least a little so you don't get stuck hauling a turkey (or pigeon) around for 100s of miles.

As I swooped through the library, a few other volumes also looked promising. One is Return of the Condor: The Race to Save Our Largest Bird from Extinction, by John Moir, another 2006 book. I know enough about the condor story to expect that the book tells a fascinating tale, rich in politics and passion, and I love a good fight between scientists over what's the right thing to do in a sticky situation. But I haven't read any reviews of the book, while I've seen a few of extolling Pigeons. I grabbed Return of the Condor, too, but I think I'll add it to the stack to read when I get home.

One other book came close to getting on the plane with me: The Gentle Subversive: Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, and the Rise of the Environmental Movement, by Mark Hamilton Lytle. This succinct volume not only explores the history of Carson's ideas about humanity's place in nature, but it's publication coincides with her 100th birthday this May. But I know enough about Carson's story of personal and political struggles to think she might not be the perfect companion in my statue-like current condition. Again, I think I'll let her stay home for future reading.

So it looks like Pigeons will be on the plane with me. If you'd lilke to hear Blechman talk about his book on my favorite radio program, check the archives of The Diane Rehm Show. And email me quick if you have other suggestions of books to add to my travelling stack, since my second rule of picking a travel book is to make sure you have a back up. Thanks!

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