A heartwarming tale of rescue and redemption.

SAVING SIMON

HOW A RESCUE DONKEY TAUGHT ME THE MEANING OF COMPASSION

Another chapter in the life of Bedlam Farm.

Well-known for his stories about his dogs, Katz (Who Speaks for the Carriage Horses: The Future of Animals in Our World, 2014, etc.) now writes about a new animal who unexpectedly entered his life, Simon the donkey. A victim of animal abuse, Simon was rescued from certain death by animal control officers and the local police. Harbored in an old hog pen, with wooden pallets his only protection from the rain and snow, Simon was stuck up to his shoulders in mud and his own manure, covered in rat bites and lice, and not expected to live through the night. Delivered to Bedlam Farm, Katz and his wife, Maria, poured their love and kindness into the donkey and administered to his wounds on a daily basis. In return, "Simon came to life in stages, slowly, unfurling like one of those slow-motion videos of buds opening in the spring." The invaluable lesson Simon taught Katz was compassion, for not only the animals he encountered, but also for the men and women in his life, including the farmer who abandoned Simon to his fate in the hog pen and Katz's mother, who had emotionally abandoned Katz during his childhood. Full of reflections on the interactions, both physical and emotional, between animals and humans, Katz's story revolves around Simon and includes the moments when old dogs die, the arrival of a new border collie and the slow integration of a blind pony into life at Bedlam Farm. More introspective than previous stories, perhaps reflecting his desire for a slower pace in life, this book handles the emotional highs and lows of living with animals with empathy and thoughtfulness, forcing readers to re-examine their own meanings of compassion and mercy.

A heartwarming tale of rescue and redemption.

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0345531193

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

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NO ONE IS TOO SMALL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

A collection of articulate, forceful speeches made from September 2018 to September 2019 by the Swedish climate activist who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking in such venues as the European and British Parliaments, the French National Assembly, the Austrian World Summit, and the U.N. General Assembly, Thunberg has always been refreshingly—and necessarily—blunt in her demands for action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change. With clarity and unbridled passion, she presents her message that climate change is an emergency that must be addressed immediately, and she fills her speeches with punchy sound bites delivered in her characteristic pull-no-punches style: “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.” In speech after speech, to persuade her listeners, she cites uncomfortable, even alarming statistics about global temperature rise and carbon dioxide emissions. Although this inevitably makes the text rather repetitive, the repetition itself has an impact, driving home her point so that no one can fail to understand its importance. Thunberg varies her style for different audiences. Sometimes it is the rousing “our house is on fire” approach; other times she speaks more quietly about herself and her hopes and her dreams. When addressing the U.S. Congress, she knowingly calls to mind the words and deeds of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. The last speech in the book ends on a note that is both challenging and upbeat: “We are the change and change is coming.” The edition published in Britain earlier this year contained 11 speeches; this updated edition has 16, all worth reading.

A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-14-313356-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2019

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A quirky wonder of a book.

WHY FISH DON'T EXIST

A STORY OF LOSS, LOVE, AND THE HIDDEN ORDER OF LIFE

A Peabody Award–winning NPR science reporter chronicles the life of a turn-of-the-century scientist and how her quest led to significant revelations about the meaning of order, chaos, and her own existence.

Miller began doing research on David Starr Jordan (1851-1931) to understand how he had managed to carry on after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed his work. A taxonomist who is credited with discovering “a full fifth of fish known to man in his day,” Jordan had amassed an unparalleled collection of ichthyological specimens. Gathering up all the fish he could save, Jordan sewed the nameplates that had been on the destroyed jars directly onto the fish. His perseverance intrigued the author, who also discusses the struggles she underwent after her affair with a woman ended a heterosexual relationship. Born into an upstate New York farm family, Jordan attended Cornell and then became an itinerant scholar and field researcher until he landed at Indiana University, where his first ichthyological collection was destroyed by lightning. In between this catastrophe and others involving family members’ deaths, he reconstructed his collection. Later, he was appointed as the founding president of Stanford, where he evolved into a Machiavellian figure who trampled on colleagues and sang the praises of eugenics. Miller concludes that Jordan displayed the characteristics of someone who relied on “positive illusions” to rebound from disaster and that his stand on eugenics came from a belief in “a divine hierarchy from bacteria to humans that point[ed]…toward better.” Considering recent research that negates biological hierarchies, the author then suggests that Jordan’s beloved taxonomic category—fish—does not exist. Part biography, part science report, and part meditation on how the chaos that caused Miller’s existential misery could also bring self-acceptance and a loving wife, this unique book is an ingenious celebration of diversity and the mysterious order that underlies all existence.

A quirky wonder of a book.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6027-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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