#BookReview: The Social Lives Of Animals by Ashley Ward

Wild Romp. This is a book that takes us on a wild adventure across the planet as we see the societies various animals have built, from the smallest Antarctic krill to the large Orcas and Humpback whales to the largest land animals out there – the African Elephant. Fascinating in breadth (though with a dearth of bibliography, as the Advance copy I read only contained about 9% bibliography compared to 3x that amount being more typical, even in early copies) and often hilarious in approach, this is a book that lovers of any animal great or small are going to want to check out. Though I *would* be careful with younger readers (and apparently there is a children’s edition already being planned), as the primate chapter in particular gets a bit salacious. Apparently you can’t talk about baboon social life without talking about just how promiscuous – and “pansexual”, to put a human label on it – they are. Other than that particular section though, most anything here is about the same as anyone will hear on TV / at work / at school as far as “bad” language goes. Truly a fun tale that never gets too academic and yet manages to present quite a few (presumed, see note about bibliography above) facts that are likely new to most readers. Very much recommended.

This review of The Social Lives Of Animals by Ashley Ward was originally written on February 26, 2022.

#BookReview: Eloquence Of The Sardine by Bill Francois

Poetic Narrative More Memoir Than Hard Science. This is a memoir of a man who was afraid of the sea as a small child and who had one chance encounter that turned his life around… and inspired his life long study of the sea. This book really is as much about the author’s own experiences and thoughts as it is the actual scientific facts he states throughout, which is seen perhaps most glaringly in the extremely short bibliography (at least on this advance copy I read). But truly poetic and beautiful regardless, one is almost inspired to pursue a career (or perhaps second career) in something that gets one out in, on, or under the water just from the sheer awe Francois shows here. All of this noted, I do have a bit of a bone to pick with the actual title: “eloquence” is “a discourse marked by force and persuasiveness”, according to Webster. And while I found quite a bit of beauty, wonder, and awe within this narrative, I found little truly forceful or persuasive. Francois doesn’t seem to be making any major point or trying to persuade anyone to any particular position other than the sheer wonder of all that exists under the seas. Truly an excellent work, even with the quibble over a part of the title. Very much recommended.

This review of Eloquence Of The Sardine by Bill Francois was originally written on April 11, 2021.