Friday, July 13, 2007

Car Book

Since I am talking about books, I will mention that I am close to finishing my car book, I wonder how many other people do as I do, and keep a book in the car for reading ONLY in or from the car. In other words, this book does not come into my house. I read it standing in lines, in waiting rooms, in restaurants when I am dining alone, and in traffic jams when I am at a standstill. In this manner, I can get through a book though the time that takes can be considerable. What makes a good car book? It needs to be interesting, but not so gripping that I cannot put it down. If I am caught up in the plot, it is going to come inside with me. For that reason, I don't read mysteries for car books. A good choice might be a book with short entries, such as anecdotal chapters, short stories, or poems. It might be a magazine. Texas Monthly might get to be a car magazine, except it usually insists on coming inside with me. My current car book is Carnivorous Nights: On the trail of the Tasmanian Tiger by Margaret Mittlebach, Michael Crewdson, and Alexis Rockman. The wonderful illustrations are by Rockman, whose artistic persona is engagingly accompanied by his bad boy habits

I am not quite finished, but it is pretty clear to me at this point that the determined searchers are not going to find one. Alas. I started out vainly hoping there was a chance, but it seems clear that this elusive creature is just one more humans have wiped from the earth. The book is enhanced by wonderfully whimsical illustrations of the imagined thylacine as well as other fantastic creatures native to Tasmania. This particular book has engaging characters, more than a little humor, fascinating descriptions of Tasmanian animal life, and, of course, that little gleam of hope that they will finally find their quarry. It has more than enough appeal to keep me reading and actually make the prospect of a wait somewhere somewhat appealing. I will be a little sorry when I finish, especially since I am facing the disappointing end to their quest, and at the same time keeping my eye out for another car book. Suggestions, anyone?

BIG P.S.!!! Here is a wonderful website I just found, that expands on the book and offers information about extinction and other related topics. Maybe there IS still hope for the thylacine...

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