They are endlessly entertaining (pets), fascinating (octopi), sometimes terrifying (cockroaches!), and occasionally delicious (does tofurky count?) — Animals are an integral part of our human lives, and Mechanics’ Institute Library has many books which will allow you to consider our creaturely kin in a new light. My colleagues have picked some interesting books this month. I can’t wait to read every one of them! Here’s a sampling of what’s on display:
Timbuktu by Paul Auster
A homeless poet and his dog travel from New York City to Baltimore, hoping to find their long lost friend. Narrated by Mr. Bones, a loyal and deeply thinking dog, Timbuktu is a short and touching story about life on the fringes and the comforts of companionship.
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
Wherein a philosophical gorilla telepathically offers an ecologically sustainable worldview and life-approach to a questioning student. Harsh but hopeful, this should appeal to Jared Diamond fans as much as young environmentalists.
A Feathered River Across the Sky by Joel Greenberg
A depressing account of animal extinction -- read it and help change the world!
The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods
This is only going to confirm what you already suspect - your dog is smarter than you are.
Knit Your Own Zoo by Sally Muir
Make your own menagerie! Adorable knittable animals!
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
This harrowing and extremely persuasive book starts with a simple premise: the author has had his first child and sets out to investigate whether or not he should raise the child as a meat eater. Along the way we encounter irreparable ecological devastation, apocalyptic contagions, the utter perfidiousness and moral bankruptcy of an entire industry and the regulatory bodies created to monitor it, and feces lagoons. Even if you hold absolutely zero empathy for the animals that we slaughter and consume, the sheer vileness of the process that gets them into our stomachs is as revolting and terrifying as anything you are likely to read in last month’s Horror Recommendations. And that applies doubly to absolute devastation on the communities that shoulder the burden of industrial meat processing plants (did I already mention the feces lagoons?). As an avid meat eater prior to reading this book four years ago, I can now fully attest to the reality that the ONLY viable reason to eat meat is this: it tastes good. But it's what we're not tasting that will chill your blood (spoiler alert: it's feces, urine, fear sweat, and chilled blood that we're not tasting). Happy Thanksgiving!