The Animal Dialogues


Craig Childs seems to be some kind of crazy mountain man who goes hiking alone through deserts and mountains for no apparent reason, lives in a tepee in Colorado, and writes essays about the animals he encounters.  It makes for a really interesting read if you’re into that sort of thing.  If you’re not, it will get boring real fast.  I really loved this book, I was able to loose myself in Child’s writing.  He really makes you feel like you’re traveling alongside him through his hikes.  While walking through the lower Rocky Mountains, Childs gets stalked by a mountain lion.  The lion has him cornered against a lake and Childs is trying to play mind games with the big cat to keep it from attacking him.  I’m reading this on subway, and all of a suddenly the train stops short with a loud screech that scared me so badly I nearly fell out of my seat.    

Childs has a lot of respect and reverence for wild places and wildlife.  He seems to detest cities.  My only criticism if this book, the one thing that bugged me, is that he never writes about the wildlife in cities.  He writes essays about coyotes, mice, raccoons, peregrine falcons and hawks, all which live and thrive in cities around the country.  Just because cities are not wild places doesn’t mean they can’t support forms of wildlife.  I would love if Childs came to New York to write about our wildlife.  Our rats, roaches, mice, red tailed hawks, owls, chipmunks, peregrine falcons, horseshoe crabs, raccoons, pigeons, snakes, and the hundreds of bird species that use our parks as their migratory pit stops.  New York is a really wild place, in terms of both wildlife and people. 

I got a bookstore gift card for my birthday last week and treated myself to a hardcover copy of Urrea’s new novel, Into the Beautiful North.  Buying hardcovers is such a splurge, it feels so luxurious to carry one around instead of a library book or paperback.  The sad news is I started my summer school classes yesterday and for the next 5 weeks I won’t be able to do much of anything besides eat, sleep (if I’m lucky) and homework.  I might have to give up my subway reading time for physics or chemistry reading instead, which makes me really sad.  We’ll see how it goes.

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