Hello, all! I hope everyone is having a wonderful week! Yesterday was my mom’s birthday which was nice! I am still slogging through The Grapes of Wrath; it’s taken me a little more then 200 pages to get in the groove of this book- I still wouldn’t say that I ‘like’ it but I am feeling better about the book as a whole. I’m hoping to be done with it in a day or two.
But enough with all that! Today’s topic is … animals! Let’s start off with fiction. Most of these books are, understandably, children’s books.
Aesop’s Fables by Aesop
Classics; 269 pages
As legend has it, the storyteller Aesop was a slave who lived in ancient Greece during the sixth century B.C. His memorable, recountable fables have brought amusing characters to life and driven home thought-provoking morals for generations of listeners and modern-day readers. Translated into countless languages and familiar to people around the world, Aesop’s fables never tarnish despite being told again and again.
This collection presents nearly 300 of Aesop’s most entertaining and enduring stories from The Hare and the Tortoise and The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse to The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs and The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. Populated by a colorful array of animal characters who personify every imaginable human type from fiddling grasshoppers and diligent ants to sly foxes, wicked wolves, brave mice, and grateful lions;these timeless tales are as fresh and relevant today as when they were first created.
Full of humor, insight, and wit, the tales in Aesop’s Fables champion the value of hard work and perseverance, compassion for others, and honesty. They are age-old wisdom in a delicious form, for the consumption of adults and children alike. (from Goodreads)
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Children’s Classics; 288 pages
Black Beauty is handsome and spirited, with a sweet temper. When he is four years old he is sold to a new owner who gently breaks him in. He is no longer free to gallop around the fields yet there is happiness and adventure among the hardship as his station changes from being a carriage horse on a country estate to a cab horse in town. At the same time he is aware that his well-being and future depend very much on the kindness or cruelty of his various masters.
The author’s only book, Black Beauty was a huge success when it was first published in 1877. Its exposure of the ill-treatment of horses at the hands of their owners’ led to a change in people’s attitudes towards horses and domestic animals in general. (from Goodreads)
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Children’s Classics; 240 pages
Saved from the jaws of the evil tiger Shere Khan, young Mowgli is adopted by a wolf pack and taught the law of the jungle by lovable old Baloo the bear and Bhageera the panther. The adventures of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi the snake-fighting mongoose, little Toomai and the elephant’s secret dance, and Kotick the white seal are all part of Mowgli’s extraordinary journey with his animal friends. (from Goodreads)
The Whole Hog: Exploring the Extraordinary Potential of Pigs by Lyall Watson
Nature; 256 pages
Not all animals are created equal. For a start, pigs have it, sheep don’t; that is, that special quality of intelligence, a sense of play, and a gregariousness that make these tragically misunderstood—yet no less endearing—creatures more like us than any other animal. Best-selling author Lyall Watson takes a delightful look at the occasionally amusing, often instructive, and completely admirable qualities of pigs in this indispensable book, not only for everyone interested in natural history but also for fans of Babe, lovers of Piglet, readers of Charlotte’s Web and Animal Farm, gourmands and truffle hunters, folklorists, and, of course, believers in meaningful interspecies communication.
The book is filled with both realistic and wonderfully fanciful illustrations of pigs that illuminate everything you could possibly want to know about the extraordinary family of Suids, from their origins and evolution, rich social lives, and combat strategies, to their special relationship with truffles, popularity in art and literature, and increasing use today in cutting-edge medical transplant technology. (from Goodreads)
Crow Country by Mark Cocker
Nature; 224 pages
One night Mark Cocker followed the roiling, deafening flock of rooks and jackdaws which regularly passed over his Norfolk home on their way to roost in the Yare valley. From the moment he watched the multitudes blossom as a mysterious dark flower above the night woods, these gloriously commonplace birds were unsheathed entirely from their ordinariness. They became for Cocker a fixation and a way of life. Cocker goes in search of them, journeying from the cavernous, deadened heartland of South England to the hills of Dumfriesshire, experiencing spectacular failures alongside magical successes and epiphanies. Step by step he uncovers the complexities of the birds’ inner lives, the unforeseen richness hidden in the raucous crow song he calls ‘our landscape made audible’. Crow Country is a prose poem in a long tradition of English pastoral writing. It is also a reminder that ‘Crow Country’ is not ‘ours’: it is a landscape which we cohabit with thousands of other species, and these richly complex fellowships cannot be valued too highly. (from Goodreads)
Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival by Bernd Heinrich
Nature; 368 pages
From award-winning writer and biologist Bernd Heinrich, an intimate, accessible and eloquent illumination of animal survival in Winter.
From flying squirrels to grizzly bears, torpid turtles to insects with antifreeze, the animal kingdom relies on some staggering evolutionary innovations to survive winter. Unlike their human counterparts, who must alter their environment to accommodate our physical limitations, animals are adaptable to an amazing range of conditions–i.e., radical changes in a creature’s physiology take place to match the demands of the environment. Winter provides an especially remarkable situation, because of how drastically it affects the most elemental component of all life: water.
Examining everything from food sources in the extremely barren winter landscape to the chemical composition that allows certain creatures to survive, Heinrich’s “Winter World” awakens the largely undiscovered mysteries by which nature sustains herself through the harsh, cruel exigencies of winters. (from Goodreads)
A Gap in Nature: Discovering the World’s Extinct Animals by Tim Flannery
Nature; 192 pages
“Since humanity first wandered from its African birthplace over fifty millennia ago, it has radically altered the environment everywhere it has settled, often at the cost of the creatures that ruled the wild before its arrival. As our prehistoric ancestors spread throughout the globe, they began the most deadly epoch the planet’s fauna have experienced since the demise of the dinosaurs. And following the dawn of the age of exploration five hundred years ago, the rate of extinction has accelerated ever more rapidly.” In A Gap in Nature, scientist and historian Tim Flannery, in collaboration with internationally acclaimed wildlife artist Peter Schouten, catalogues 103 creatures that have vanished from the face of the earth since Columbus first set foot in the New World. From the colorful Carolina parakeet to the gigantic Steller’s sea cow, Flannery evocatively tells the story of each animal and its habitat, how it lived and how it succumbed to its terrible destiny. Accompanying every entry is a beautifully rendered color representation by Schouten, who has devoted years of his life to this project. His portraits – life size in their original form – are exquisitely reproduced in this extraordinary book and include animals from every continent: American passenger pigeons, Tasmanian thylacines, Mauritian dodos, African bluebucks, and dozens more. (from Goodreads)