Bookshelf: Adventurous Animal Tales


Animals can help your mental health in many ways, from birdwatching or petting a cat to walking your dog. Explore these selections to learn more about our animal friends (and enemies).

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law
Photo c/o W. Norton & Company

“Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law”
by Mary Roach

Mary Roach is certainly the most dynamic science writer around. Her career started with “Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers” (W. W. Norton & Company, 2004) and continued with “Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War” (W. W. Norton & Company, 2016). In her latest work, “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law,” she shares stories about how animals interact with humans but follow the code of “bird law” rather than human law.

In upscale Aspen, Colorado, wildlife experts have to figure out how to keep bears out of homes built in beautiful wooded areas without harming bear or person. In India, gangs of mischievous monkeys and marauding elephants roam about. How do you get rid of birds that swarm around airport bases or the gulls that bomb around St. Peter’s Basilica? The answer is not as straightforward as you (or scientists) might guess. Roach also talks about the ethics around what animals can be destroyed, even asking the Vatican officials to describe their feelings on the issue.

Anytime you read a book by Mary Roach, you’ll come away knowing amazing answers to questions you’d never thought about asking and think that she has the dreamiest job
ever—traveling the world to find the answers to her wackiest curiosity questions.

Other New Reads

A Most Remarkable Creature
Photo c/o Penguin Random House

“A Most Remarkable Creature: The Hidden Life of the World’s Smartest Birds of Prey” by Jonathan Meiburg

In South America, a rare falcon-like bird called a caracaras has puzzled naturalists since Darwin. Meiburg picks up the tale and allows us to “watch” the birds from the page with his fascinating prose.

On Animals
Photo c/o Simon & Schuster

“On Animals” by Susan Orlean

Orlean’s collection of animal-focused essays from throughout her career has a similar tone to Roach—a combination of the personal, scientific and humorous.



Shop Cats of China
Photo c/o Thames & Hudson

“Shop Cats of China” by Marcel Heijnen
Marcel Heijnen, a Dutch photographer, works his magic in the latest in a series of books about cats “working” retail. This book makes a perfect gift for the cat lover.

Jamie L. Watson is the collection development manager for the Baltimore County Public Library.

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