Book makes state award list, finishes work of instructor's friend
In 2012 when James Harding helped finish and publish his friend’s book more than half a decade after his death, he did it for one reason: to finish what his friend Alan Holman had started.
Harding, a specialist in the Department of Zoology, didn’t pursue the book for anything more.
So when the book titled, “The Amphibians and Reptiles of Michigan,” was named to the 2013 list of Michigan Notable Books, Harding said Holman, formerly an MSU geology and zoology professor and MSU Museum curator of vertebrate paleontology, would have been happy about the recognition.
“Al would have been very pleased to have a book on amphibians and reptiles, which people … don’t like, or mostly ignore,” he said. “It’s an honor to have the book recognized as an honorable book in Michigan.”
The list includes 20 books from Michigan authors about Michigan topics highlighting state events.
Harding said he collaborated with other professors across the state to finish the book, which is comprised of the original manuscript written by Holman.
He said Holman’s book is influenced by his love for paleontology history and fossil records.
“Within probably six months of his passing, we realized that (the book) still needed some editing and we added some photos,” Harding said. “In any scientific literature, as time passes, you get more recent sources, so we updated the literature so that it would be a little more current.”
Harding said he and his colleagues kept the information about the herpetology and the biology of the animals up to date, correcting a few things.
The turn-around time of this type of science is very short, he said.