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November 16, 2010

Reading Roundup: Six New Book Recommendations

There has been a remarkable surge in publishing about animals within the last decade. They range from the practical to the awe-inspiring, and I’d like to tell you today about just a few of the books that I’ve scanned or read recently.

Tamar Geller 30 Days to a Well-Mannered DogIf you’re looking for information on training your dog, there is no shortage of experts who can help you teach your dog to sit. Our friend Tamar Geller wants to do more—to empower you and your dog to work together as a team. Her new book, “30 Days to a Well-Mannered Dog: the Loved Dog™ Method”, is a day-by-day guide for coaching your dog and building a strong bond with your best friend.

Gotham Chopra ranks the influence of his dogs on his life second only to that of his famous father, Deepak. In “Walking Wisdom,” Gotham relates musings, memories, and meditations about life, families, relationships, and dogs—wisdom often shared while walking with his father, his toddler and his dog, Cleo. It’s a book that is both spiritual and humorous, that honors the importance of the people and animals in our lives.

“Finding Danny,” by Linzi Glass, is a work of fiction for young people. But this tale of a young girl who finds a purpose through the loss of her dog is rooted in Linzi’s experience as an author, and an animal rescuer. The main character’s dedication to helping animals in shelters is reinforced by information at the end of the book from The HSUS about how children and teens can help animals in real life.

Sometimes, important messages about animals are found in unlikely places. Nigel Barker, photographer and judge on America’s Next Top Model, has authored “Beauty Equation.” The book is generally a guide to beauty. Nigel’s idea of beauty, however, isn’t all about cheekbones and skin tone. His message is also about inner beauty, which includes helping others. Among the “others” for Nigel are the harp seals in Canada, victims of an annual slaughter for their fur. Nigel has been a tireless spokesperson for our Protect Seals campaign, traveling to the ice to document the seals, and producing a documentary on their plight. Now, he’s introducing his many fans and readers to the issue and The HSUS through his book.

I Dreamed of Flying Like a Bird” is a book of remarkable photos taken by National Geographic photographer, Robert B. Haas. Soaring in a helicopter, Robert captures the awesome beauty of wild animals on land and in the sea, from Africa to Brazil. You may remember Robert Haas as the photographer/author of another stunning book about wildlife, “African Critters.”

Hal Herzog Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We EatFinally, I just finished Hal Herzog’s “Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat.” It’s a fascinating and intelligent examination of the contradictory attitudes we hold in society toward animals. Herzog, who is a professor of psychology at Western Carolina University, has not just mined the literature on human attitudes and behavior toward animals, but he’s also gotten his hands dirty and talked to people involved in some of the animal-use practices under increasing scrutiny today.

Working and living in the southern Appalachians, he’s sat shoulder-to-shoulder with cockfighters, been on farms and in slaughter plants, and talked to all manner of people on both sides of the animal protection divide. He’s an ethnographer of sorts, and his book provides an accounting of forward progress in animal protection, but also a sobering argument about the cultural and sociological complexities of major reforms in a society with such conflicting emotions about animals.

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