Being a Beast

Adventures Across the Species Divide

Author: Charles Foster

Publisher: Metropolitan Books

ISBN: 1627796347

Category: Nature

Page: 272

View: 3186

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A passionate naturalist explores what it’s really like to be an animal—by living like them How can we ever be sure that we really know the other? To test the limits of our ability to inhabit lives that are not our own, Charles Foster set out to know the ultimate other: the non-humans, the beasts. And to do that, he tried to be like them, choosing a badger, an otter, a fox, a deer, and a swift. He lived alongside badgers for weeks, sleeping in a sett in a Welsh hillside and eating earthworms, learning to sense the landscape through his nose rather than his eyes. He caught fish in his teeth while swimming like an otter; rooted through London garbage cans as an urban fox; was hunted by bloodhounds as a red deer, nearly dying in the snow. And he followed the swifts on their migration route over the Strait of Gibraltar, discovering himself to be strangely connected to the birds. A lyrical, intimate, and completely radical look at the life of animals—human and other—Being a Beast mingles neuroscience and psychology, nature writing and memoir to cross the boundaries separating the species. It is an extraordinary journey full of thrills and surprises, humor and joy. And, ultimately, it is an inquiry into the human experience in our world, carried out by exploring the full range of the life around us.

Being a Beast

Adventures Across the Species Divide

Author: Charles Foster

Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: 1627796339

Category: Nature

Page: 256

View: 5005

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A passionate naturalist explores what it’s really like to be an animal—by living like them How can we ever be sure that we really know the other? To test the limits of our ability to inhabit lives that are not our own, Charles Foster set out to know the ultimate other: the non-humans, the beasts. And to do that, he tried to be like them, choosing a badger, an otter, a fox, a deer, and a swift. He lived alongside badgers for weeks, sleeping in a sett in a Welsh hillside and eating earthworms, learning to sense the landscape through his nose rather than his eyes. He caught fish in his teeth while swimming like an otter; rooted through London garbage cans as an urban fox; was hunted by bloodhounds as a red deer, nearly dying in the snow. And he followed the swifts on their migration route over the Strait of Gibraltar, discovering himself to be strangely connected to the birds. A lyrical, intimate, and completely radical look at the life of animals—human and other—Being a Beast mingles neuroscience and psychology, nature writing and memoir to cross the boundaries separating the species. It is an extraordinary journey full of thrills and surprises, humor and joy. And, ultimately, it is an inquiry into the human experience in our world, carried out by exploring the full range of the life around us.

Being a Beast

Author: Charles Foster

Publisher: Profile Books

ISBN: 1782831991

Category: Nature

Page: 218

View: 1978

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LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE 2016 Charles Foster wanted to know what it was like to be a beast: a badger, an otter, a deer, a fox, a swift. What it was really like. And through knowing what it was like he wanted to get down and grapple with the beast in us all. So he tried it out; he lived life as a badger for six weeks, sleeping in a dirt hole and eating earthworms, he came face to face with shrimps as he lived like an otter and he spent hours curled up in a back garden in East London and rooting in bins like an urban fox. A passionate naturalist, Foster realises that every creature creates a different world in its brain and lives in that world. As humans, we share sensory outputs, lights, smells and sound, but trying to explore what it is actually like to live in another of these worlds, belonging to another species, is a fascinating and unique neuro-scientific challenge. For Foster it is also a literary challenge. Looking at what science can tell us about what happens in a fox's or badger's brain when it picks up a scent, he then uses this to imagine their world for us, to write it through their eyes or rather through the eyes of Charles the beast. An intimate look at the life of animals, neuroscience, psychology, nature writing, memoir and more, it is a journey of extraordinary thrills and surprises, containing wonderful moments of humour and joy, but also providing important lessons for all of us who share life on this precious planet.

GoatMan

How I Took a Holiday from Being Human

Author: Thomas Thwaites

Publisher: Chronicle Books

ISBN: 1616894938

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 208

View: 7252

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The dazzling success of The Toaster Project, including TV appearances and an international book tour, leaves Thomas Thwaites in a slump. His friends increasingly behave like adults, while Thwaites still lives at home, "stuck in a big, dark hole." Luckily, a research grant offers the perfect out: a chance to take a holiday from the complications of being human—by transforming himself into a goat. What ensues is a hilarious and surreal journey through engineering, design, and psychology, as Thwaites interviews neuroscientists, animal behaviorists, prosthetists, goat sanctuary workers, and goatherds. From this, he builds a goat exoskeleton—artificial legs, helmet, chest protector, raincoat from his mum, and a prosthetic goat stomach to digest grass (with help from a pressure cooker and campfire)—before setting off across the Alps on four legs with a herd of his fellow creatures. Will he make it? Do Thwaites and his readers discover what it truly means to be human? GoatMan tells all in Thwaites's inimitable style, which NPR extols as "a laugh-out- loud-funny but thoughtful guide through his own adventures."

Wired For God?

The biology of spiritual experience

Author: Charles Foster

Publisher: Hodder

ISBN: 1444722050

Category: Religion

Page: 352

View: 6896

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Human religious experiences are remarkably uniform; many can be pharmacologically induced. Recent research into the neurology of religious experience has shown that, when worshipping or praying, a certain part of the brain, apparently dormant during other activities, becomes active. What does all this mean for those of faith and those with none? In this fascinating book barrister Charles Foster takes a survey of the evidence - from shamans to medieval mystics, to out-of-body experiences and epilepsy, via Jerusalem and middle-class Christianity - and assesses its significance. Written in short, accessible chapters, this is a fascinating tour of religious and mystical experiences and their relation to human physiology.

Me, Who Dove into the Heart of the World

A Novel

Author: Sabina Berman

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

ISBN: 142997432X

Category: Fiction

Page: 256

View: 6976

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A transporting and brilliant comic novel narrated by an unforgettable woman: Karen Nieto, an autistic savant whose idiosyncrasies prove her greatest gifts As intimate as it is profound, and as clear-eyed as it is warmhearted, Me, Who Dove into the Heart of the World marks an extraordinary debut by the award-winning Mexican playwright, journalist, and poet Sabina Berman. Karen Nieto passed her earliest years as a feral child, left alone to wander the vast beach property near her family's failing tuna cannery. But when her aunt Isabelle comes to Mexico to take over the family business, she discovers a real girl amidst the squalor. So begins a miraculous journey for autistic savant Karen, who finds freedom not only in the love and patient instruction of her aunt but eventually at the bottom of the ocean swimming among the creatures of the sea. Despite how far she's come, Karen remains defined by the things she can't do—until her gifts with animals are finally put to good use at the family's fishery. Her plan is brilliant: Consolation Tuna will be the first humane tuna fishery on the planet. Greenpeace approves, fame and fortune follow, and Karen is swept on a global journey that explores how we live, what we eat, and how our lives can defy even our own wildest expectations.

We Could Be Beautiful

Author: Swan Huntley

Publisher: Anchor

ISBN: 1101912189

Category: Fiction

Page: 400

View: 8404

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Catherine West has spent her entire life surrounded by beautiful things. She owns an immaculate Manhattan apartment, she buys exquisite handbags and clothing, and she's constantly redecorating. And yet, despite all this, she still feels empty. After two broken engagements and boyfriends who wanted only her money, she is haunted by the fear that she'll never have a family of her own. One night, at an art opening, Catherine meets William Stockton, a handsome man who shares her impeccable taste and whose parents even shared a personal connection with Catherine's family years ago. But as he and Catherine grow closer, she begins to encounter strange signs. Her mother, now suffering lapses in memory, seems to hate William on sight, and cryptic entries in her diary warn that no one is to be trusted. Is William lying about his past? And if so, is Catherine willing to sacrifice their beautiful life in order to find the truth?

Timekeepers

How the World Became Obsessed With Time

Author: Simon Garfield

Publisher: Canongate Books

ISBN: 1782113207

Category: Social Science

Page: 368

View: 3144

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Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana. The Beatles learn to be brilliant in an hour and a half. An Englishman arrives back from Calcutta but refuses to adjust his watch. Beethoven has his symphonic wishes ignored. A US Senator begins a speech that will last for 25 hours. The horrors of war are frozen at the click of a camera. A woman designs a ten-hour clock and reinvents the calendar. Roger Bannister lives out the same four minutes over a lifetime. And a prince attempts to stop time in its tracks. Timekeepers is a book about our obsession with time and our desire to measure it, control it, sell it, film it, perform it, immortalise it and make it meaningful. It has two simple intentions: to tell some illuminating stories, and to ask whether we have all gone completely nuts.

One Wild Bird at a Time

Portraits of Individual Lives

Author: Bernd Heinrich

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

ISBN: 054438640X

Category: Nature

Page: 224

View: 5061

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The acclaimed scientist's encounters with individual wild birds, yielding “marvelous, mind-altering” (Los Angeles Times) insights and discoveries In his modern classics One Man’s Owl and Mind of the Raven, Bernd Heinrich has written memorably about his relationships with wild ravens and a great horned owl. In One Wild Bird at a Time, Heinrich returns to his great love: close, day-to-day observations of individual wild birds. There are countless books on bird behavior, but Heinrich argues that some of the most amazing bird behaviors fall below the radar of what most birds do in aggregate. Heinrich’s “passionate observations [that] superbly mix memoir and science” (New York Times Book Review) lead to fascinating questions — and sometimes startling discoveries. A great crested flycatcher, while bringing food to the young in their nest, is attacked by the other flycatcher nearby. Why? A pair of Northern flickers hammering their nest-hole into the side of Heinrich’s cabin deliver the opportunity to observe the feeding competition between siblings, and to make a related discovery about nest-cleaning. One of a clutch of redstart warbler babies fledges out of the nest from twenty feet above the ground, and lands on the grass below. It can’t fly. What will happen next? Heinrich “looks closely, with his trademark ‘hands-and-knees science’ at its most engaging, [delivering] what can only be called psychological marvels of knowing” (Boston Globe). An eminent biologist shares the joys of bird-watching and how observing the anomalous behaviors of individual birds has guided his research. Heinrich (Emeritus, Biology/Univ. of Vermont; The Homing Instinct: Meaning and Mystery in Animal Migration, 2014, etc.) smoothly describes how studying the daily lives of birds in their natural environments allows him to experience their world vicariously. Now retired and living in a cabin in the Maine woods, he devotes himself to closely observing “his avian neighbors, visitors, and vagrants, and keep[ing] daily records throughout spring, summer, fall, and winter.” Every year, he welcomes a pair of broad-wing hawks who feast at a vernal pond populated by frogs, spring peepers, and salamanders while refurbishing their old nest. Unusually, they provide a fern cover on the nest, which they update on a daily basis after their chicks hatch. Heinrich also includes anecdotes from an earlier time when he still lived in Vermont. Awakened one morning by the loud drumming of a male woodpecker on a nearby apple tree, the author wondered if perhaps he was seeking to attract a female. Surprisingly, when a female was drawn to the sound, he stopped drumming and flew away. The same behavior was repeated the following day. The author’s observations led him to conclude that the bird's drumming was not part of a mating ritual but rather a noisy advertisement of his nest-building skills. Vireos nesting near his cabin allowed him to observe how they deliberately reduced the number of eggs they were hatching to accommodate the reduced food supply after an unseasonal freeze. Heinrich explains that bird-watching has been an important part of his life since he was a boy on his family's farm. When he was 6, they moved from Germany to Maine. Finding familiar birds nesting “immediately made this place our home,” he writes. An engaging memoir of the opportunities for doing scientific research without leaving one's own backyard. (Kirkus)

Clabbered Dirt, Sweet Grass

Author: Gary Paulsen

Publisher: Harvest Books

ISBN: 9780156000529

Category: Social Science

Page: 120

View: 4998

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The author shares his memories of growing up on a farm and looks at the hard life of farming through each of the four seasons

Common Ground

Encounters with Nature at the Edges of Life

Author: Rob Cowen

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022642443X

Category: Nature

Page: 352

View: 6060

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All too often, we think of nature as something distinct from ourselves, something to go and see, a place that’s separate from the ordinary modern world in which we live and work. But if we take the time to look, we soon find that’s not how nature works. Even in our parceled-out, paved-over urban environs, nature is all around us; it is in us. It is us. That’s what Rob Cowen discovered after moving to a new home in northern England. After ten years in London he was suddenly adrift, searching for a sense of connection. He found himself drawn to a square-mile patch of waste ground at the edge of town. Scrappy, weed-filled, this heart-shaped tangle of land was the very definition of overlooked—a thoroughly in-between place that capitalism no longer had any use for, leaving nature to take its course. Wandering its meadows, woods, hedges, and fields, Cowen found it was also a magical, mysterious place, haunted and haunting, abandoned but wildly alive—and he fell in fascinated love. Common Ground is a true account of that place and Cowen’s transformative journey through its layers and lives, but it’s much more too. As the land’s stories intertwine with events in his own life—and he learns he is to become a father for the first time—the divisions between human and nature begin to blur and shift. The place turns out to be a mirror, revealing what we are, what we’re not and how those two things are ultimately inseparable. This is a book about discovering a new world, a forgotten world on the fringes of our daily lives, and the richness that comes from uncovering the stories and lives—animal and human—contained within. It is an unforgettable piece of nature writing, part of a brilliant tradition that stretches from Gilbert White to Robert Macfarlane and Helen Macdonald. “I am dreaming of the edge-land again,” Cowen writes. Read Common Ground, and you, too, will be dreaming of the spaces in between, and what—including us—thrives there.

The Toaster Project

Or A Heroic Attempt to Build a Simple Electric Appliance from Scratch

Author: Thomas Thwaites

Publisher: Chronicle Books

ISBN: 161689119X

Category: Art

Page: 192

View: 7948

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"Hello, my name is Thomas Thwaites, and I have made a toaster." So begins The Toaster Project, the author's nine-month-long journey from his local appliance store to remote mines in the UK to his mother's backyard, where he creates a crude foundry. Along the way, he learns that an ordinary toaster is made up of 404 separate parts, that the best way to smelt metal at home is by using a method found in a fifteenth-century treatise, and that plastic is almost impossible to make from scratch. In the end, Thwaites's homemade toaster—a haunting and strangely beautiful object—cost 250 times more than the toaster he bought at the store and involved close to two thousand miles of travel to some of Britain's remotest locations. The Toaster Project may seem foolish, even insane. Yet, Thwaites's quixotic tale, told with self-deprecating wit, helps us reflect on the costs and perils of our cheap consumer culture, and in so doing reveals much about the organization of the modern world.

Coyote at the Kitchen Door

Living with Wildlife in Suburbia

Author: Stephen DeStefano

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674035560

Category: Nature

Page: 196

View: 8316

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A moose frustrates commuters by wandering onto the highway; a cougar stalks his prey through suburban backyards; an alligator suns himself in a strip mall parking lot. Such stories, which regularly make headline news, highlight the blurred divide that now exists between civilization and wilderness. In Coyote at the Kitchen Door, Stephen DeStefano draws on decades of experience as a biologist and conservationist to examine the interplay between urban sprawl and wayward wildlife. As he explores what our insatiable appetite for real estate means for the health and wellbeing of animals and ourselves, he highlights growing concerns, such as the loss of darkness at night because of light pollution. DeStefano writes movingly about the contrasts between constructed and natural environments and about the sometimes cherished, sometimes feared place that nature holds in our modern lives, as we cluster into cities yet show an increasing interest in the natural world. Woven throughout the book is the story of one of the most successful species in North America: the coyote. Once restricted to the prairies of the West, this adaptable animal now inhabits most of North Americaâe"urban and wild alike. DeStefano traces a female coyoteâe(tm)s movements along a winding path between landscapes in which her species learned to survive and flourish. Coyote at the Kitchen Door asks us to rethink the meaning of progress and create a new suburban wildlife ethic.

Foxes Unearthed

A Story of Love and Loathing in Modern Britain

Author: Lucy Jones

Publisher: Elliott & Thompson

ISBN: 9781783961498

Category: Nature

Page: 256

View: 7298

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The British people have a unique relationship with the fox; no other animal attracts such controversy, has provoked more column inches or been so deeply woven into our culture over the centuries. But as well as being the most ubiquitous of British animals, it is also the least understood. In Foxes Unearthed, Lucy Jones investigates the truth about foxes in a media landscape that often carries complex agendas, holding perceived wisdom and myths up to the microscope of modern science. There is a vivid story to be told, exploring the cultural history alongside the modern-day fables that we tell ourselves about this curious animal. Using extensive archival research to explore historical perceptions of the fox in folklore, literature and social history, Lucy also travels the length of Britain to find out first-hand why the animal is so ambiguously perceived in modern society: one family might feed the foxes in their backyard while another might pay to have them shot. This beautifully designed, compelling narrative adds a depth to the often contentious debate on foxes, asking what the British attitudes towards the Red Fox say about us - and, ultimately, our wider relationship with the natural world.

Spirit Tracker

The Trackers Book 4

Author: Jenna Kernan

Publisher: Snow Raven

ISBN: 1947268082

Category: Fiction

Page: 283

View: 1372

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"Kernan’s creative descriptions and interesting mythology — loosely based on Native American Lakota myth — will keep readers hooked from start to finish." RT Book Reviews When Native American Skinwalker Samantha Proud saves the life of a human boy, she accidentally reveals the location of her family to their deadly enemy, Nagi, the Ruler of Ghosts. He hunts them because, as the last Seers of Souls, they are the only ones who might foil his evil plans. But the Thunderbirds come to their rescue, scattering her family to the four directions. They drop Samantha at the feet of a powerful Halfling, Alon Garza. The danger of Alon's ominous powers have kept him from ever loving a woman but protecting Samantha is a temptation he cannot resist. To give in to his desires will expose his darkest secrets and may prove as deadly to her as her enemies. But deserting her will leave her defenseless against Nagi. Now he must choose which course is the greater risk to the only woman he has ever loved.

Part of the Pride

My Life Among the Big Cats of Africa

Author: Kevin Richardson,Tony Park

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 142996460X

Category: Nature

Page: 256

View: 6694

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About a year ago, film started to circulate on YouTube® of a remarkable man named Kevin Richardson, an animal custodian in a South African animal park. The film showed Richardson in his day-to-day work, looking some of the world's most dangerous animals directly in the eye, crouching down at their level, playing with them and, sometimes, even kissing them on the nose--all without ever being attacked or injured. The films' popularity skyrocketed and Richardson became an international sensation. In "Part of the Pride", Kevin Richardson tells the story of his life and work, how he grew from a young boy who cared for so many animals that he was called "The Bird Man of Orange Grove" to an adolescent who ran wild and, finally, to a man who is able to cross the divide between humans and predators. As a self-taught animal behaviorist, Richardson has broken every safety rule known to humans when working with these wild animals. Flouting common misconceptions that breaking an animal's spirit with sticks and chains is the best way to subdue them, he uses love, understanding and trust to develop personal bonds with them. His unique method of getting to know their individual personalities, what makes each of them angry, happy, upset, or irritated—just like a mother understands a child—has caused them to accept him like one of their own into their fold. Like anyone else who truly loves animals, Richardson allows their own stories to share center stage as he tells readers about Napoleon and Tau, the two male lions he calls his "brothers"; the amazing Meg, a lioness Richardson taught to swim; the fierce Tsavo who savagely attacked him; and the heartbreaking little hyena called Homer who didn't live to see his first birthday. Richardson also chronicles his work on the feature film "The White Lion" and has a lot to say about the state of lion farming and hunting in South Africa today. In "Part of the Pride", Richardson, with novelist Tony Park, delves into the mind of the big cats and their world to show readers a different way of understanding the dangerous big cats of Africa.

Breaking the Dams

The Story of Dambuster David Maltby and His Crew

Author: Charles Foster

Publisher: Pen & Sword

ISBN: 9781844156863

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 208

View: 522

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The story of the author's uncle, David Maltby, and the crew with whom he flew on the famous dam raid in 1943. Just five months later, on their return from an aborted mission to bomb the Dortmund Ems Canal, they all died when their aircraft went down in the North Sea.

From Old Hollywood to New Brunswick

Memories of a Wonderful Life

Author: Charles Foster

Publisher: Nimbus Pub Limited

ISBN: 9781771080729

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 216

View: 3457

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Imagine receiving a mysterious invitation from Charlie Chaplin, doing jigsaw puzzles with Marilyn Monroe, having a heart-to-heart with Jack Kennedy, or being kissed by Greta Garbo. All of these and more are the sensational memories of UK-born, honorary Maritimer Charles Foster. After an unlikely childhood, his adventurous spirit brought him in 1943 to RAF pilot training school in Calgary. Through a series of incredible circumstances and fortunate friendships, Foster went on to become a Hollywood writer and publicist. Now writing from New Brunswick as a regular columnist for Senior s Advocate, Foster shares his most tantalizing stories as a collection for the first time. With tales from the golden age of film, radio, theatre, and music, including international adventures from Moscow to Berlin and beyond, From Old Hollywood to New Brunswick shows just how far an RAF uniform, a little bit of luck, and whole lot of charm could take you in mid-twentieth century show business. Includes a 20-page insert of original photographs."

The Third Policeman

A Novel

Author: Flann O'Brien

Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press

ISBN: 9781564782144

Category: Fiction

Page: 200

View: 8655

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With the publication of The Third Policeman, Dalkey Archive Press now has all of O'Brien's fiction back in print.

The Carbon Cycle

Crossing the Great Divide

Author: Kate Rawles

Publisher: Rocky Mountain Books Ltd

ISBN: 1927330785

Category: Science

Page: 328

View: 4908

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In 2006 “outdoor philosopher” Kate Rawles cycled 4553 miles from Texas to Alaska, following the spine of the Rocky Mountains as closely as possible. Cycling across unforgiving but starkly beautiful landscapes in both the United States and Canada – deserts, high mountain passes, glaciers and eventually down to the sea – she encountered bears, wolves, moose, cliff-swallows, aspens and a single, astonishing lynx. Along the way, she talked to North Americans about climate change – from truck drivers to politicians – to find out what they knew about it, whether they cared, and if they did, what they thought they could do. Kate tells the story of a trip in which she has to deal with the rigours of cycling for ten hours a day in temperatures often in excess of 100° F, fighting punctures, endless repairs and inescapable, grinding fatigue. But in recounting the physical struggle of such a journey, she also does constant battle with her own ideas and assumptions, helping us to cross the great divide between where we are on climate change and where we need to be. Can we tackle climate change while still keeping our modern Western lifestyles intact? Should we put biofuel in our camper vans and RVs? Or do we need much deeper shifts in lifestyles, values and worldviews?