The argument is that morality is a biological evolution rather than a learned social idea—an evolution that was selected long ago—meaning that we aren’t the only species capable of moral reasoning. The reader is introduced to dolphins who respect the catches of other dolphins, vampire bats who share regurgitated blood with deserving fellow bats, and egalitarian female lions who hunt cooperatively. Throughout the book, the author employs Herman Melville’s Starbuck and Ahab to illustrate the division in our view of animals: are they commodities or thinking creatures? The Moral Lives of Animals is an intelligent appeal to reconsider the way we think about animals. –Pamela
Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout by Philip Connors (Ecco)
Between April and August for the past eight years, Philip Connors has been a fire-watcher in the remote New Mexican wilderness of Gila National Forest. Like Kerouac, Snyder and Abbey before him, Connors experiences and observes a vast array of raw nature from his perch high above the forest floor. As Fire Season tracks the changing Gila life cycle, the reader is educated about the evolution of wilderness management and the constant challenge of being responsible stewards of this forest tinder box. These field notes will leave you yearning for the solitude required to live and reflect in such a lucid fashion. –Jamie
BOOKNOTES, the book review of THE ELLIOTT BAY BOOK COMPANY, is written entirely by bookstore staff. It represents a sampling of recently published and forthcoming books that we have enjoyed reading. We appreciate every opportunity to assist in finding books to meet your interests.