RaveThe Boston GlobeI very much enjoyed Orlean’s perspective in these original, perceptive, and clever essays showcasing the sometimes strange, sometimes sick, sometimes tender relationships between people and animals ... whether Orlean is writing about one couple’s quest to find their lost dog, the lives of working donkeys of the Fez medina in Morocco, or a man who rescues lions (and happily allows even full grown males to gently chew his head), her pages are crammed with quirky characters, telling details, and flabbergasting facts ... Readers will find these pages full of astonishments ... Orlean excels as a reporter...Such thorough reporting made me long for updates on some of these stories ... But even this criticism only testifies to the delight of each of the urbane and vivid stories in this collection. Even though Orlean claims the animals she writes about remain enigmas, she makes us care about their fates. Readers will continue to think about these dogs and donkeys, tigers and lions, chickens and pigeons long after we close the book’s covers. I hope most of them are still well.
PositiveThe New York Time Book ReviewThere’s nothing like senseless violence to prompt a search for meaning, as promised in the subtitle. Through most of the book, though, it doesn’t feel as if Flynn is up to anything so profound ... The writing is often witty, sometimes glorious, and his tales wry and charming. (Though at one point, it seems that Flynn just can’t stop reporting on human barbarity, devoting a chapter to the unsolved torture and murder of peacocks in a suburb of Los Angeles) ... But more is going on here. Something magical happens to this hard-bitten reporter as he gets to know his peacocks ... a fine starting point to finding meaning in a world both cruel and beautiful.
Frans de Waal
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewEven bolder and more important than its companion volume, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, de Waal’s 2016 best seller ... puts these most vivid of mental experiences in evolutionary context, revealing how their richness, power and utility stretch across species and back into deep time ... Though emotions are our constant, intimate companions, de Waal surprises us on almost every page. This book is full of the kind of facts you call up your best friend to share.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewThough it’s less common, 'cannibalism occurs in every class of vertebrates, from fish to mammals,' the affable Schutt reveals, offering one fascinating and bizarre example after another ... Cannibalism is a jolly book, written in a breezy style, but the research behind it is impressive. A biologist with a specialty in the anatomy, evolution and behavior of bats, Schutt draws on scholarly journals and ancient texts, interviews biologists and anthropologists, and ventures into the field himself ... You might think a book on cannibalism would be upsetting, but this one’s not. It’s refreshing. Cannibalism, in fact, restores my faith in humanity: It’s good to know that, as regards this particular behavior, at least, people are no more horrifying than, or as splendidly surprising as, any other species out there.