Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Review #2: Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and Mark Cawardine

Douglas Adams is most commonly known as the author of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, a science-fiction/humor novel that is probably one of the funniest books I've ever read. But not only did Mr. Adams write science-fiction, he wrote about some science fact as well.
Last Chance to See is the compilation of several expeditions Douglas Adams went on to look for the world's most endangered animals, led by zoologist Mark Cawardine. The book is written in a hilarious, witty style, but still manages to teach you important facts about the lives and situations of all of the animals.
Each chapter recounts an expedition, to anywhere from Madagascar to the Yangtze River in China. I enjoyed every one of them, but I especially liked the chapters titled "Heartbeats in the Night", about kakapos in New Zealand, and "Rare, or Medium Rare?", about fruit bats on Mauritius Island.
I particularly liked the way Mr. Adams described the animals--on kakapos: "It has a look of serenely innocent incomprehension that makes you want to hug it and tell it that everything will be all right, though you know that it probably won't be." On Komodo dragons: "One is over twelve feet long and stands about a yard high, which you can't help but feel is entirely the wrong size for a lizard to be, particularly if it's a man-eater and you're about to go and share an island with it."
Just as entertaining is the way he described the scientists he met on his travels; for example, an ornithologist on Mauritius: "One of the things you need to know about him, indeed the thing you need to know about him, is that he's an ornithologist. Once you know that, everything else more or less falls into place."

I would give Last Chance to See 5 out of 5 stars!

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