Last month, I browsing the sale shelf at McNally Robinson Grant Park, and I was excited to find Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals. Years ago, I read Animals in Translation by the same authors which—as far as I remember—was somewhat dryer than this book. But I enjoyed that first book very much and was surprised and pleased to see how much work Dr. Grandin has done to improve the lives of factory-farm animals. Continue reading
It’s true. I am wildly in love with my pets.
Tonight I’ve been working on my sets for an upcoming gig. This is a kitchen job, since the gear all fits nicely on the kitchen table and the cables reach the speakers (and yes, I have a subwoofer in my kitchen—don’t judge me!). I try to practice earlier in the evenings, before my tenant gets home from their shift, so my pounding bass doesn’t disturb others.
The Brindle Dog was stretched out on her side beside me, fully relaxed, sound asleep. I had to be careful not to dance onto her (I work the music with my whole body, feet and hips for the beat, arms and head for other bits I’m tracking, like melody or special effects), but I kept stopping to look at her with a full heart. Continue reading
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.