Wesley the Owl – Stacey O’Brien (Nature/Science)

Wow. Wow, wow, wow. Several people told me this book was amazing, and I’d even read about it months before that and thought it looked interesting, but nothing, and I do mean nothing, prepared me for how much I would learn and be awed by in this book. Every single page taught me some other incredible thing about barn owls (which I promptly shared with whoever was closest to me – I think my husband is sick of barn owl stories at this point, hah!), and although I don’t entirely buy all of O’Brien’s philosophical speculation in the final chapters, by the end of this book (and Wesley’s life – and that’s not a spoiler, because all animal books have this at the end) I was bawling like a baby: Out of emotional attachment to the owl I’d just read about, out of a deep sense of loss for the author who’d spent 19 years with this remarkable creature, and out of a sense of amazement and wonder toward one of this earth’s creatures that I would have otherwise simply taken for granted.

I strongly believe that many people have lost their sense of connection with animals and nature, and take these things for granted. There is an intelligence and personality in so many animals that we interact with or see from afar, on a daily basis, and we think nothing of their presence in our lives. The story of Wesley the owl, and how he learned – interacted – changed – developed – LOVED – and connected with the world around him is truly stunning. You will never look at birds, owls in particular, the same way again, and I hope that this book will help others reconnect with that childlike sense of amazement of the natural world around us.

Rating: 5 coffees out of 5

Exploring the Old Testament – Volume 1: A Guide to the Pentateuch – Gordon Wenham (Biblical Studies/History)

I had to read this for a course I was taking on the Pentateuch, and for once… it was actually quite an enjoyable textbook! Wenham breaks down the various aspects of each book in the Pentateuch without dwelling on minute details that bog down so many other commentaries & explorations of these first five books. He also included comparative historical detail, with reference to outside ancient literary works, and also made mention of archaeological controversies over various elements found within the text. All in all, an excellent guide to the Pentateuch for someone looking to do an overview of these five important and influential ancient scriptures.

Rating: 3.5 coffees out of 5

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