I've been interested in nature, both past and present, for as long as I can remember. Wild animals, domestic animals, birds, reptiles, flowers, trees, insects, fish -- pretty much anything that walks, jumps, swims, floats, or flies. The "life sciences" is the general term for all the many fields of science that focus on living things and their environment. I have a lot of books about the life sciences. Many of them can be neatly categorized as focusing on one particular animal or group of animals:
- The family Canidae - wolves, dogs, and their relatives - ocupies one shelf. The majority of these are about wolves, with a few more about coyotes and a few about domestic dogs.
- The Felidae - cats of all sizes and colors - are just as interesting as the canids, and in some ways even more so. Cats are the most effective predators among the mammals, and there's something mysterious about them that has caught the attention of many a scientist and many a writer.
- Books about ocean wildlife fill a couple of shelves, from the extraordinary work of Jacques-Yves Cousteau to detailed looks at various fishes and marine mammals.
- As a long-time nature-watcher, I've accumulated a large collection of field guides to wild animals and plants.
- I have many books that look at other particular animals or groups of animals. Some of these survey an entire continent's worth of wildlife, usually Africa or North America. Others focus on particular groups: birds, deer and elk, crocodiles and alligators, other reptiles.
- Finally, I happen to be among those who thinks we should do everything we reasonably can to preserve wilderness and wildlife. So I have a shelf-full of books about ecology and conservation: how wild things live and operate within their environments, and how we as humans can help preserve what's left of the wild.