Tag Archives: Buddha

A Furry and Feathered Giveaway

Thanks to Diane S., Munchy has two copies of a new book to give away!   This is Being with Animals: Why We Are Obsessed with the Furry, Scaly, Feathered Creatures Who Populate Our World by Barbara J. King.   This hardbound release from Doubleday has a value of $24.99 ($29.99 in Canada).

Here is a synopsis of the book:

We surround ourselves with animals, and yet rarely do we truly stop to think about the pull they have on us.   Animals have dominated our lives for tens of thousands of years and continue to rule our existence, but why?   Why do people the world over respond to a cartoon mouse named Mickey?   Why do sports teams name themselves the Bears and the Eagles?   Why does the pet industry thrive even in difficult economic times?   Why are we compelled to share our lives with cats, dogs, fish, snakes, turtles, or any other kind of domesticated creature?

In Being with Animals, King offers answers to these questions and more.   She looks at this phenomenon, from the most obvious animal connections in daily life and culture and over the whole of human history, to show the various roles animals have played in all civilizations.   She digs deeply into the importance of the human-animal bond as key to our evolution, as a signficant aspect of understanding what truly makes us human, and looks ahead to explore how our further technological development may affect these important ties.

King’s fresh look at the human-animal relationship will resonate deeply with animal lovers, the environmentally minded, and the armchair scientist.

Barbara J. King is a biological anthropologist and Chancellor Professor of Anthropology at the College of William and Mary.   She has studied monkeys in Kenya and great apes in various captive settings.   Together with her husband, she cares for and arranges to spay and neuter homeless cats in Virginia.  (To this, Munchy says Yeowk!)

To enter our giveaway contest to win one of two copies of Being with Animals, you can either post a comment here or send an e-mail with your name and e-mail address to Josephsreviews@gmail.com .   This will count as a first entry.   For a second entry, answer this question, “How is it that an animal has added value to your life and/or to the lives of your loved ones?”  

Munchy will pick the 2 winners at random.   In order to be eligible for this giveaway, you must live in the United States or Canada and have a residential mailing address.   Books will not be shipped to a P. O. box or to a business-related address.   You have until Monday, February 28, 2011 at Midnight PST to submit your entry or entries.

This is it for the “complex” contest rules.   Good luck and good reading!

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Breakfast with Buddha

These days there are many books advertised as “laugh out load” funny (the back cover of Breakfast with Buddha makes this claim), which simply fail to meet that promise.   “Slightly amusing” would be the most favorable term this reader would come up with for this intended-to-be-funny tale of an intended-to-be-life-changing trip.   The storyline is quite similar to that of Greetings from Somewhere Else by Monica McInerney, in which a person must take a long journey to settle a family’s affairs after someone has died.   But where McInerney’s tale was charming, Roland Merullo’s story seems forced.  

In Somewhere Else, the main character was traveling to a tumbledown bed and breakfast outside of Belfast, Ireland; in Breakfast, we’re asked to join in a six-day ride along from New York to North Dakota.   Fun?   Well, not so much.

Merullo is known for subtly inserting “spiritual lessons” within everyday narratives, but without the humor, this seemed like Bob Greene-light (with apologies to Mr. Greene).   If you’ve ever stood in a restaurant’s kitchen while food was being prepared, you know that it takes the magic out of the dining experience.   Reading this novel was like standing in a writer’s kitchen.

Algonquin, $13.95, 334 pages

Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Revew.   A trade paperback review copy was provided by the publisher.

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