Here are books I have read and would recommend, not all about the title of this blog!
Frankensteins Cat by Emily Anthes Bioengineering/genetic engineering/animals
Fox by Martin Wallen
This is the second book I’ve read of the animal series. Wasn’t as good as the Owl that I reviewed recently. A lot about how the fox has been and still is perceived in various cultures and how it has been treated in literature, which I personally found a bit boring. The bit about hunting and farming had me boiling with rage. I just don’t understand hunting in this day and age. However, it is probably worth a read.
THE PEREGRINE BY J.A. BAKER ****
This book is an account of one mans year, tracking peregrines across eastern England. It’s a strange book – nothing really happens, it’s just an account of all he sees; yet it draws you in. His language is poetic and his style prose. His use of language is unusual but apt.
You feel him almost becoming “one” with the peregrine.
OWL BY DESMOND MORRIS ****
First published by Reaktion Books Ltd in 2009 and reprinted in 2011, it is part of a series of animal books.
Desmond Morris is a writer, broadcaster and zoologist. he seems to me to have been around forever. He presented a zoo programme when I was little, but he is probably best known for his groundbreaking book “The Naked Ape” published in 1967. It caused quite a stir as Desmond wrote about his studies of the human ape. In some parts of the world this book was banned and some copies were burned by the church. It really is a MUST read.
“OWL” will cause no such stir but it is a highly recommended read. It is about the human/owl relationship and our cultural histories. It’s fascinating to learn that owls have existed for at least 60 million years, that drawings of them were found in prehistoric caves in France from 30,000 years ago and how an owl has represented different things in different cultures at different times.
There are approximately 200 species of owls alive today and Desmond describes some of these and the incredibly different ways that they live.
I shall be reading more of this series of books. Any books by Desmond are recommended reading.
SILENT SPRING – RACHEL CARSON *****
This landmark book is one I’ve been meaning to read for some time and have just finished! Published in 1962, it has been reprinted a number of times, the last being in 2000. Although mainly about industrial chemical pesticide spraying in the USA in the 50’s and 60’s, there is a lot more to it and lots that is still relevant today, to any population the world over. The book received widespread condemnation at the time and the chemical companies tried to have it banned.
It is not excessive to say this book changed the course of history – thank goodness. I found the scale and ignorance of the consequences of wholesale spraying by air, over cities as well as country, overwhelmingly, breathtakingly ignorant and irresponsible!
You could say that Rachel Carson was the founder of the ecological movement. She brought to public consciousness the way that nature balances itself and that we interfere with it at our peril!
She presents the evidence of the harm to the wildlife and humans that come into contact with pesticides and the immense amount of death and destruction it caused.
A MUST READ.
ZEITOUIN – DAVE EGGERS. *****
This book is a gob smacker! I was in constant dismay at the treatment handed out to certain individuals by officials in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The book is a true story about Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitouin and the nightmare they went through. He stayed in New Orleans during and after the hurricane. He had an old canoe and went round the city helping residents and animals who were trapped and in need of help or rescue. He ends up being arrested and imprisoned in a Guantanamo Bay sort of prison. It is a damming and shaming account of the USA’s judicial and governmental handling of affairs. Unbelievable in what is supposedly a “free” democratic society!!
EVEN SILENCE HAS AN END – INGRID BETANCOURT *****
Ingrid Betancourt was a Columbian national politician brought up in France and had dual nationality. She was abducted by the Columbian FARC guerillas, who make a habit of taking high profile hostages that they can barter with to gain release of their own prisoners or advantages in territory.
This is the story of her six years in captivity, deep in the Colombian jungle. Denied dignity and often chained by the neck to a tree, she tells her story in detail that never becomes boring, even though her days must have been mind numbing tedious. Along with other hostages she was constantly forced to abandon camps and trek for miles through the jungle and endure cramped journeys for days and weeks on boats. She made several attempted escapes but was recaptured.
She exposes the human condition in captivity and is honest in her appraisal of her own behaviour. However, you are constantly in awe of her spirit which although broken regularly is always regained and grows stronger in order to defy her captors only to be broken down again.
She is eventually rescued by the Colombian army. She had missed 6 and a half years of her children’s lives. An amazing story, which made me want to contact her to wish her well!
RAGE TO SURVIVE: THE ETTA JAMES STORY – ETTA JAMES AND DAVID RITZ *****
I just couldn’t put this book down! The life she lead and the pace she lived it at left me breathless!! Another whole world away from my life and it left me wondering how people cope with the life they’ve been given! By heck, I’ve had it easy but still get depressed! She is brutally honest and tells riveting stories about her life. She left her stamp all over the blues and soul world and leaves an amazing musical legacy.