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Snakebit: Confessions of a Herpetologist
Snakebit traces author Leslie Anthony's journey from a childhood fascination with snakes and amphibians through academic flirtation to professional association with some of the world's greatest herpetologists. In this book, he leads the reader on a rollicking ride through desert, swamp, jungle — and a few laboratories — to reveal the strange world of these cryptic creature ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Greystone Books
(first published October 10th 2008)
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In Leslie Anthony, the world of biology has received a gift from above: a herpetologist, who is actually a journalist, and can therefore write. Usually these kinds of books tell a few good stories badly, and then tempt the reader to skim everywhere else. Anthony, on the other hand, can make a discussion of salamander ploidy interesting, which should probably have its own Pulitzer prize category (seriously, ploidy). If you've every thought about reading a book in this genre, you won't be able to ...more
Here’s a great example of authorial voice – and of how voice can ruin a book. There’s something so irritating, so self-complacent, so alternately geeky and wonky (and neither in the good way) about Anthony’s voice that wading through the text becomes a chore. You’d think he would have an advantage: he’s a life-long “herp” addict and a professionally trained herpetologist who now stands “outside” the field (he left the profession to become a journalist) and, specifically, outside the snake pit (s ...more
I'm ashamed to admit that I stopped reading this half-way through. I generally don't like to do that, but this book really wasn't holding my attention. It totally delivered what it advertised, "confessions of a herpetologist", but it turned out that I wanted less info about the evolution of the author's career and more info about biology and natural history. It was nobodies fault...Well, written with a good amount of humor and the parts that did focus on the science were clear and well explained ...more
If I could, I'd give this book 3.5 stars. It was a pleasant read, but I felt that the narrative jumped around a bit too much for my liking. I also found some sections a lot more interesting than others, but I think that's to be expected. This is not just a book about snakes; it's a book about adventure, exploring and the bizarre things that happen when a person collects snakes. I liked that there were so many Canadian details included in this book. I also appreciated the author's fine sense of h ...more
I was talked into purchasing and reading this book by the author himself and I started reading it with trepidation that he was a "snake oil salesman". I happily report that he isn't. Instead, Leslie Anthony is a cleaver wordsmith who combines his scientific knowledge, hands-on experiences and wit to expose the wondrous and wacky word of herpetology to the unsuspecting public. I highly recommend it to readers interested in creative non-fiction like Orchid Thief and Salt.
Came recommended by the boy, who's more into snakes than I am. Was a bit lost. It's well-written and the anecdotes are funny and really jump out but the jargon around each good story makes it clear this was intended for an audience already familiar with herpetology.