Way back when I was a Sensitive Species Biologist in Utah, I would record birds with survey transects on trails, roads, in the wildlands, the towns, cities--everywhere. I also kept up my own life list. A life list is a running total of species you've encountered your whole life. Makes perfect sense, right?
When I moved to AZ and had my second kid, I let my birding days and listing lag. Which is sad because Arizona (especially way down south of me) are Western bird Meccas. We have us some great, bright, beautiful, and rare species here.
But my life list of books--books that I read over and over again--is easier to keep. Mostly because I have them in hand (or rather on my shelf) and they give a cheery wave almost every day. Here are a few that are at the top of my life list (My Lifer Books, as I call them):
1. The Lord of the Rings
I spent a lot of years missing out on these books because I thought they were books only real, die-hard fantasy people liked. Like the girls who liked to wear their cloak and wooden sword on their hips to school. Boy was I wrong! I love these books and they appeal to so many people.
2. The Airman by Eoin Colfer
This book has all the elements I love in a good story: action, adventure, a splash of romance, and science--good, fun science. I adore this YA book.
3. The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling
When I first started graduate school in 1999, I contracted mono. A really bad case. And I was too sick to do field work (or at least well) for months. Escaping into these books was the best cure for my frustration at not being able to physically do the things I wanted/needed to.
4. A Reason for Hope by Jane Goodall
Jane is one of my heroes and I love this memoir-style book. She has an amazing outlook on life and the future.
5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I found Jane Austen my freshman year of high school and it's been true love ever since. It seems at least once a year this book calls to me and we become reacquainted. I love her other books as well (I admit I don't like Norhthanger Abbey, though.)
Those are just a few. What's on your life list? And how do you keep track of your list? On actual paper, a goodreads-type website, a spreadsheet, or in your head?
And speaking of animals, here's a feel good reminder that it's the simple things in life that make one happy--whether it's a book that transports you or a sprinkler run with a sibling.