One drawback of riding the bus to work each day is that it takes longer than if I were to drive my own vehicle.
Listening to music on my mp3 player helps me pass the time but I can only listen to so much music before I need a break from it. I also like to read, but reading in a moving vehicle gives me motion sickness. That wouldn't be fair to the person sitting in front of me. I don't read as much as I would like to at home either. If I have free time on my hands, I would rather be outdoors doing something active like hiking or birding, for example. When I do finally find time to read, I'm usually tired and reading makes me even more tired...zzzzzz.
Recently, I've started to listen to books on CD while riding the bus. It's a great way to make use of my traveling time. On average, I'm able to go through about two books a week.
Last week as I was searching through our local library's audio books, I came across an audio book titled "To See Every Bird On Earth" by Ted Koeppel.
This is the story about Richard Koeppel as told by his son, Dan Koeppel. Richard's life ambition was to become an ornithologist but he ended up becoming a doctor in order to satisfy his parent's expectations. Richard went on to get married and raise a family but he never lost interest in birds. Much of the book is about the personal experiences of the Koeppel family. Dan writes about the family's Jewish heritage, his father's disappointments in life, his mother's infidelities, his parent's divorce and Dan's desire to have a closer relationship with his father. All of this is woven in between the birding-related portions of the book which follows Richard from the time he saw his first Brown Thrasher to the moment he reached -(and exceeded)- his 7,000th species.
The reading is done by John Mcdonough whose voice reminds me John Houseman or David Attenborough. He enunciates each word clearly, making it easy to hear him even if there is a lot of background noise on the bus. His scholarly reading style works well when he is describing circumstances surrounding the sighting of notable species as well as colorful details about the birds themselves. I thought the most interesting part of the book was reading about the personalities of the big listers-(birders who are obsessed with seeing and listing as many species as possible)- and the intricate rules that they have to follow.
I would have preferred that this book would have focused a little bit more on the birding. The portions which dealt with the family gave the book an overall somber tone. Still, I don't imagine that it's easy to write this type of book and it did keep my interest throughout. If I wasn't interested in birding, I'd probably rate this book about 5 out of 10. Since I am interested in birding, I'll give it a 7.5 rating.