A complicated choice : making space for grief and healing in the pro-choice movement

The decision to end a pregnancy is difficult for many women. Religion or spirituality should provide a place compassion and guidance to anyone facing this choice. Katey Zeh (a Baptist minister) brings compassion and understanding to the pro-choice movement with her 2022 work A Complicated Choice: Making Space for Grief and Healing in the Pro-Choice Movement. Zeh guides the reader through numerous first hand accounts of women: coming to the decision to have an abortion; their experience having and recovering from their abortion; and how their lives were affected by their choice.

I greatly admire how Zeh approached her misunderstanding and personal prejudices with in the prochoice movement. She discusses her time volunteering with a woman’s health clinic where she helped provided emotional support for women receiving care in the clinic. She addressed her preconceived notion about why a woman would seek an abortion and who that woman was. How can we provide support, compassion, and empathy to someone in crisis if we judge their choice on a misguided stereotype?

With the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States, we all need to change our understanding of reproductive health (especially birth control and abortion). We must listen to women and to medical professionals. This book is the perfect first step for those who never think about abortion or think they don’t know anyone who has ever had one. You may find that the women who chose to share their stories in Zeh’s recent book may have very similar experiences to the women in your life today.

Even though I am not a religious person, I can not speak more highly of this book. It’s refreshing to see a religious official speak so compassionately about such a controversial topic. Zeh’s work is the perfect marriage of compassion and spiritual connection. This could be the perfect book for a religious individual struggling with any difficult choice in their reproductive health.

What is a dog

How much do dogs really affect our lives? Chloe Shaw takes us on a heart breaking journey of healing and self discovery in her recent book, What is a dog? After the death of her family’s dog Booker, she recounts the influence every dog in her life since childhood up until the moment of their beloved Bookers death. Shaw describes her journey from birth to adulthood with a canine joining her for each season of life. 

What is a dog? is relatable story for any dog lover. Shaw’s work will cause you to think back on lovingly on the life of every dog you have ever owned and shed a tear for their absence. Shaw calls us to reflect on our four legged friends and release the grief of their passing out into the world. 

I write this review as my dog zooms and runs around my appartment, causing mischief and mayhem. Much like me, this book may cause you to hug your pups a little tighter.  I can only recommend this book if one of your hobbies includes crying over a book from your local library. 

The Last Winter

How many winters will I experience? What about my children or grandchildren? Porter Fox travels across the globe in writing “The Last Winter” to learn why winter as we know it today may cease to exist. From raging forest fires across the pacific north, to the French Alps, and glaciers in the Alaska and Greenland, Potter introduces us to numerous experts in the field who live with and study the catastrophic effects of global warming every day.

Global warming is a difficult topi to write about, its especially difficult to predict may affect our future lives. Long term threats like global warming and disease, much like the pandemic we are experiencing right now are very difficult to conceptualize. Potters‘s  travels and narrative  helps the reader see how global do warming is affecting the planet right now from the perspective of those facing and studying it everyday. 

This is a fantastic first start for someone just bringing their learning journey about climate change and global warming. Potter does an exceptional job, describing how global warming and climate change will: affect the availability  of drinking water, disrupt growing seasons and subsistence hunters, destroy homes, and (as the title suggests) forever change winter as we know it.

One of my biggest complaints about the book is that it is just a beginners course. Fox does provide additional suggested readings at the back of the book but I would have liked to see a little more data and a little less personal side stories from the author.

In all, the “Last winter” is a great preliminary reading for someone wanting  to learn more about climate change. While I loved Fox’s style of narration, I wouldn’t recommend this book for anyone expecting a quick read. The Last Winter requires more thought and attention from the reader, but it is definitely worth the extra time. Keep in mind,  Fox’s work isn’t a call to action but rather a mirror to show us: what was, what is, and what could be. 

Why You Should Read Children’s Books Even Though You Are So Old and Wise

When was the last time that you read a children’s book? Do you think you are too old to read them now? Why You Should Read Children’s Books Even Though You Are So Old and Wise by Katherine Rundell discusses why reading children’s books into adulthood may allow you to become more imaginative, creative, and develop a new perspective of the world around you.

While many would assume that children’s books may not carry as much weight as an adult novel, who is to say that children’s literature can’t have a similar deep and profound message? Rundell argues just that, children’s books are one of the first places we learn about big and profound feelings and emotions like: bravery, kindness, empathy, understanding, and forgiveness. As adults we might benefit from revisiting those old tales to re-learn and experience the lessons from our youth.

Rundell’s work is unapologetically eye opening with a sprinkle of politics. Its not enough that adults re-incorporate children’s books into their reading list. Rundell argues that we need to evolve and change the stories and fairy tales of our youth to make them more enriching, inclusive, understanding, and accessible (through public and school libraries). Students need be able to access and see themselves in the literature that we are providing to them. Because as Rundell states, “Fairy tales are for everyone.”

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law!! (A review)

Mary Roach’s most recent book, Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law describes the ever tenuous relationship between man and nature. Roach draws uses man created laws and ordinances to create a better understanding of our relationship with the wild animals we may encounter in our every day lives, (like breaking and entering bears, theiving sea gulls, or jaywalking deer).

Each chapter Roach journey’s with a biologist, conservationist, or activist to take the reader on a journey to different animal “crime scenes” across the globe to learn how animals are responding to our presence and influence. From bears taking advantage of unlocked trash cans to birds bringing down aircraft mid-flight, Roach breaks down each alleged, “crime,” as a failure on humanities part to create a co-existing enviroment.

I found Roach’s conversational writing style to be an interesting and accessible approach to what is typically a very tedious and overly academic topic. Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law, doesn’t provide a significant amount of data or scientific jargon but presents an engaging narrative for its audience. While I would have preferred a stronger stance on conservation and accountability, Roach weaves a relatable story for an audience who may not have considered how simple changes in their habits can preserve and improve the quality of life of wild life across the globe.