Finished this book: Altruistic Armadillos, Zenlike Zebras by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

Cover of Altruistic Armadillos, Zenlike Zebras by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson.

Cover of Altruistic Armadillos, Zenlike Zebras by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson.

Masson has written many books about animals, a few of which I have read. His love for animals shines through everything he writes, as well as his advocacy for their welfare and that of their habitats.

The short sections of this book each discuss a different animal. Any aspect of animals might be discussed in any given segment, from feeding habits to mythology to lovemaking preferences to communication to childrearing to emotional responses. Masson very strongly encourages the reader to think of animals in a relational rather than a functional manner.

I liked how the book was broken up into sections of 3 to 5 pages. It’s a good bathroom book or before-bed book because there is no actual plot, but you can sit and learn something about an animal while you poop or while the sleeping pill kicks in (pro tip: try not to do these at the same time).

Masson laments the destruction of habitats and also the human mindsets that allow us to kill for our own convenience. Once in a while he comes across a little bit preachy, but it is forgivable because his deep interest in and voracious curiosity about all the animals he discusses is so obvious and so beautiful.

Altruistic Armadillos, Zenlike Zebras: A Menagerie of 100 Favorite Animals by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson. 2006. ISBN 9780345478818.

 

 

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