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Amanda Vincent, Diving into the World of Words

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Amanda Vincent, Diving into the World of Words

Amanda Vincent, Diving into the World of Words

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Our Summer Reader this week is Dr. Amanda Vincent. She's the director of Project Seahorse at the University of British Columbia. And she joins us on the line from her office in Vancouver, Canada.

Thanks a lot for joining us. And welcome to the program.

Dr. AMANDA VINCENT (University of British Columbia): Well, it's lovely to be invited. Thank you.

HANSEN: What have you been reading this summer?

Dr. VINCENT: Well, I just flew back from Austria and on the flight I read this fantastic book called The Golden Spruce, which is billed as a true story of myth, madness and greed. Sounds pretty good to begin with. And it's about this really quite gorgeous golden Sitka spruce tree that was up in northern British Columbia in an area called Haida Gwaii Islands. And somebody, as an act of protest against the logging industry and really unthinking extraction of timber, decided to cut down this spectacular mutant tree. And this tree actually was really important to the local First Nations people, the aboriginal people called the Haida.

HANSEN: Who is the author?

Dr. VINCENT: It's a man called John Vaillant. And I've not read any of his work before, but I'll certainly be looking to find what else he's written.

HANSEN: You work to conserve seahorse populations around the world. Airplanes are the best place for you to do reading? Do you have much time?

Dr. VINCENT: Well, we work in marine conservation, really using seahorses as great symbols to engage a lot of interest. I don't find reading underwater very easy and I don't find reading at the university so easy. So a lot of my reading is done on transport.

HANSEN: Do you have required reading that you need to do to keep up professionally?

Dr. VINCENT: Well, there's always enormous amounts of required reading, but to be honest, you need to balance that out with things that enable you to fit into the world around you. Oh, we need to look at how people think and what matters to people, as well as the animals themselves.

HANSEN: If you had all the time in the world to yourself, and you could settle in and read one book, what would it be?

Dr. VINCENT: Well, if I could really absorb it thoroughly, I would re-read Daniel Boorstin's book. He was the Librarian of Congress, and he wrote a book called The Discoverers, another one actually called The Creators, which is so full of knowledge in such an accessible way that I think I could read it 10 times and never really remember it all. It's wonderful.

HANSEN: Dr. Amanda Vincent is the director of Project Seahorse and she joined us from her office in Vancouver, Canada.

Thanks so much for your time.

Dr. VINCENT: It's been lovely talking to you.

HANSEN: This summer, we've spoken to a variety of people about what they've been reading lately, and we'd like to know what you've been reading this summer. What's the one book that will stay with you? We also want to know why you liked it. But please be brief. Go to our Web site,, and then click on the Contact Us link. Follow the instructions and in the subject line of your message, please write, What I'm Reading.

And please be sure to include your phone number. We plan to get in touch with some of you to record your comments, which will be broadcast on our show Labor Day weekend.

This is NPR News.

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