About Me

I am a professor of Earth Science specializing in environmental contamination studies (so I teach and do research). For this reason I tend to read a lot of nonfiction works on environmental issues. This can get very depressing, so I also read fun nonfiction and whatever fiction catches my eye. I have always been a reader and generally tend to walk from place to place carrying a book or article that I am reading - I have good peripheral vision and am way less of a hazard than the people walking around looking at their cell phones. I have never walked into anyone or run into a stationary object because I was reading. I have been run over by a squirrel - OUCH they have sharp nails! - but that wasn't my fault. 

I have a tendency toward sarcasm - you might have noticed if you looked around this site. Sorry, but it is an occupational hazard.

I am usually so ridiculously busy at work (that's me under that rock up there) that I have no idea what is currently popular on TV and the only movies I have seen in years have been children's movies. Our favorite movies are Hayao Miyazaki films like My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, Spirited Away and Kiki's Delivery Service (and The Cat Returns!) - I think I better stop now.

As you might have guessed, I have kids and when work gets too depressing I read lots of children's books. My children love books too. The original plan for this site was for me to do reviews of nonfiction books mostly and for the kids to provide some commentary on what they have been reading. Well - I have been reading fiction and the kids have also, but not commenting  ... so at this point I have just been writing for fun and hope eventually to convince the kids to add some things too. I am also using the site for writing posts about environmental issues that catch my attention.

I have read something from pretty much every genera (I go through phases), but at the moment I tend to like classics, mysteries (the puzzle style not the thriller style), science fiction, and fantasy. I have to say that neither romance nor young adult tends to interest me, though I have found a few exceptions. My encounters with best sellers and literary fiction occasionally make me fear for the state of literary tradition in our nation (sorry).

I don't read books that are supposed to "teach me about life" - I have been to busy living and in many cases have done things that are much more interesting than whatever the author trying to sell me a book has done. I read for joy, when I am not reading for work. 

I am not a reading snob for the most part (just look at my list), because I believe that reading is better than not reading, but I do have personal standards for grammar, structure, plot, internal coherence and a general joie de vivre that have to be met for me to enjoy a book.

Some of my favorite books, in no particular order and off the top of my head, are:

Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

The series that starts with Murder with Peacocks by Donna Andrews

Carola Dunn's Daisy Dalrymple mysteries 

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Jane Austen - I liked most of them

Shakespeare (I read the comedies and histories for fun)

Umberto Eco's Name of the Rose 

I just realized these last few sound awfully pretentious, but I really enjoy them and have read these books/plays more than once (well except for Mansfield Park - Fanny Price made me want to scream.)

And I have read, and vastly enjoyed, the majority of the books by Terry Pratchett, including Truckers, Diggers, Wings, the Johnny books, Strata and almost all of the Discworld books (missing out the short stories, the graphic novels, the 'companion' books and a couple of the science of books).

I never had a problem with reading order, since there were only eight books when I started reading them. I have just read them in publication order since I started, with the exception of Eric - that one was really hard to find for some reason. I have also read Good Omens but not many of his other collaborations (like Long Earth).

I will attempt to add some books with a more coherent discussion when I have time (ha!).

Review Policy

The reviews posted here represent my own views or those of my children. I review books for fun, not profit, and the material will range from children's picture books, to adult fiction and even occasionally to posts about nonfiction books that I am reading for work. The reviews represent my (or my child's) honest and unvarnished (perhaps too unvarnished on occasion) feelings about the work in question. This stands true whether the book was purchased or received for review from an external source. To comply with FCC regulations all review posts disclose where I got the book. Non-review posts, like those done for Book Beginnings and The Friday 56, will also include a statement if the book is not from my personal library.

I read a variety of genres, but focus mostly on science fiction, fantasy, mystery (not thrillers - cozy or puzzlers), children’s books, and nonfiction. I do not read horror or erotica, and don't read much romance either. Feel free to contact me if you think you have a book that would be a good fit for me to review.

Contact Me

If you would like to contact me you can email me at dnaplremediation (AT) gmail (DOT) com. I am sometimes forgetful about checking non-work email, so you might also post a comment to let me know that you have sent email. I typically check for comments on a daily basis.


All content on Leopards and Dragons is copyrighted (by me) as of the date of writing, unless otherwise stated. All pictures, book covers, interviews, guest posts, and videos are property of the original authors, artists, and/or publishers unless otherwise stated.

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Hi! I do read all of the comments and want to let you know that I really appreciate your stopping by and taking the time to leave a note. Work has fallen in on me and I have not had enough time to reply coherently lately so I apologize preemptively but still want to assure you that your comments are valued. I am using comment moderation to avoid using more annoying spam avoidance. Thanks for your patience.