Ending our first year, we are looking forward to a new website, easier shopping experience, and more accessible information and reviews for new titles. We will also have audio and video interviews with authors, book chats, and virtual events. Our new site will go live mid-January.
My mission in starting this online bookstore in 2014 was to offer books about animals that will entertain, educate and enlighten. The more entertaining a read, the more likely folks will turn off the digital distractions and absorb the story. Of all the outstanding books I read this year, I think War of the Whales met the mission statement the best. It reads like a political thriller, and yet deals with a very real and very current disaster. No matter if you know about marine mammals or naval exercises or the work of the Natural Resources Defense Council (I certainly did not), this fine book will sweep you up into the battle to save the rapidly disappearing species of whales, and will open your eyes to the myriad issues surrounding the difficult balance between security and conservation.
Another outstanding book I read this year (although it was published previously) was Part Wild. The memoir about raising a wolf dog was not only highly entertaining, but also courageous. Ceiridwen Terrill received loads of hate mail after writing about her efforts to bridge the world between wolves and dogs. I found her honest portrayal not only riveting but admirable. Wolves seem to invite controversy on both sides of the fence, but this book certainly deserves a spot on the shelf next to Never Cry Wolf and other rallies to protect this maligned creature.
The stories about rescues I read this year, including Last Chain on Billie, Saving Baby, and Saving Simon, opened doors to worlds I knew little about. Although it is painful to read of human cruelty to animals (and to each other), it is reality and needs to stay front and center in our collective conscience. That is the only way to rise above it and perhaps someday make inroads into obliterating the ignorance and hatred that fuel such actions. Humans being what they are will never be completely compassionate, and even the concept of compassion has different interpretations. But every changed heart will result in a restored or even saved life.
The only way I know of to become truly cognizant of the world around us and to attempt to understand where we are and where we are apparently heading is to read. Books, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, etc., are overflowing with information that can seem overwhelming or too painful at times to consume. But it is only through literate sharing of ideas and histories that we have any hope of saving the animals we are losing, and the earth we are destroying. I hope that folks who are reluctant to reading anything where the animal dies in the end of the book, or that will be too upsetting, will think again. It can be tough to read graphic accounts of cruelty, but it was tougher (I'm thinking of The Rescue at Dead Dog Beach) to live through it and to come out the other side a better person and the force behind a triumph of compassion over cruelty.
As I add new titles this year, I will be including more about conservation, extinction, and front lines of rescue work. These are such crucial topics that need to be discussed in more depth than simply through social media. I hope that readers everywhere will join in the conversations by adding comments to titles offered, or sharing books with me that have been particularly entertaining, educational, and enlightening.
Happy New Year!