Book Reviews

Book Reviews


Meadowlands (Week 1)


Reading about Robert Sullivan’s experiences in the Meadowlands was a very interesting introduction into the class. He discussed the area and culture, essentially describing it as a once culturally rich area that now has turned into a place where things die. He discusses the wild life and how it has changed over time due to human pollution and other impacts that we have on the area.


Overall I enjoyed this read. It was an interesting time for me to read the book because I had just finished watching the Sopranos, an area that shares a lot of parallels with the story we read. I culturally rich and wildlife induced area turned into a “dump”. It was interesting to see how essentially the only thing keeping it alive was the fact that humans could not physically live there. It made me think about our impact on nature as a whole.


Desert Solitaire (Week 2)


This store reflects on a man’s experiences working at a national park over a couple of months. I am someone who appreciates nature, but rarely ever goes to visit national parks or explores through camping trips. For this reason, I couldn’t really connect on a personal level to this book, but I do feel Abbey brought forth some interesting things to think about. He talks about how these preserved nature parks are actually in fact being destroyed by humans who interact with the land from touring and camping. Essentially he is trying to convey that humans, although we think we do; do not know what is best for nature.
This made me think about the question of “is everything that humans touch doomed.” It made me think that the best way to save nature was to completely leave it alone entirely. I found this to be an interesting concept to try and grasp. Although we do things to try and preserve and save nature, we end up still having negative effects.


Bruckner (Week 3)


Bruckner harshly criticizes our ways of life and culture and links it to our effect on the earth’s natural state as a whole. He wants human kind to go back to a simpler way of life because he feels that ultimately our complex ways of living have more negative effects than positive ones. Something I found kind of interesting was his talk about carbon and how great of an effect it has had on our world. Carbon concentration is out of control and the damage is so deep that we are at a point where solving it would take hundreds of lifetimes, if we were to stop using carbon. His overall tone of the reading is a sense of doomedness and lack of confidence in our earths future.


Western Attitudes (Week 4)


Ultimately, I found this to be a little bit more boring than any of the other reads this semester. It was less of a story and more informational, but we had been warned that was the case. Despite this books semi-boring tone, I do think the content was interesting. I enjoyed how the booked talked about us as humans destroying nature. That was an old theory we had already heard, but what I thought was interesting is how he brought forth the point of saying it could be some sort of natural selection. This was a very different and interesting way to think about our destruction of nature. Maybe we are that “meteor” that wiped out the dinosaurs. History has shown that when extinctions do happen, they often show some biological purpose, it was interesting to think of us as not actually doing things wrong and viewing us as just a biological fate. I thought this was something that is rarely mentioned and a very interesting outlook on the matter


Eating Animals (Week 5)

  • In this book the narrator takes us on a dietary journey and lays out the timeline of his thoughts and reasoning’s behind supporting a vegetarian life style. He discusses the meat industries and the horrors behind it as well as slaughter houses and humans self interested reasons for eating meat. This book I found very interesting, yet conflicting. I have been on both sides of the meat/non-meat eating spectrum and have evaluated my stance on eating very firmly. After being a vegetarian for 8 years I decided that meat was the way to go. There were 3 things that I thought about when going through this process.
  • The first was, social reasons for eating meat
    • Wrong, apart of pop culture, inhumane
    • In high school I became a vegetarian more times than I can now remember, most often as an effort to claim some identity in a world of people whose identities seemed to come effortlessly
  • The second was how far in terms of eating meat
    • ways they are killed
    • what animals would you eat versus not eat
      • where is the line drawn
    • Lastly is eating meat an important part of the human diet
    • Job loss-expensive
      • “for every $1 billion in beef exports [from America] 12,700 jobs are created; for every $1 billion in pork exports [from America] 13,333 jobs are created; and for every $1 billion in exports [from America] 11,853 jobs are created” (Free Trade Agreements).

Over 15% of the work force in meat industry (roughly 21 million)


Placing Animals (Week 7)


Overall, I enjoyed this book. I was able to draw similarities from my presentation about eating animals. It was more about the actual animals and their role in our society, but if felt like it spoke from the side of the animals. Reading these stories, I never realized how much I take the role of animals in our daily life for granted. It made me think about how we view animals and how little care we really show for them. As I talked about in my presentation the role they play in the animal products industry is beyond excessive. When she talked about the slaughtering of the animals and the amount of killing that we do in comparison to what you think we really need, the skew is hard to believe. It makes me think about an earlier time when we used to hunt for what we ate, therefore we only took what we needed. Were there just less animals at that time or was there an overpopulation?

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