Being A Beast

Being A Beast

Adventures Across the Species Divide

Downloadable Audiobook - 2016
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How can we ever be sure that we really know the other? To test the limits of our ability to inhabit lives that are not our own, Charles Foster set out to know the ultimate other: the non-humans, the beasts. And to do that, he tried to be like them, choosing a badger, an otter, a fox, a deer, and a swift. He lived alongside badgers for weeks, sleeping in a sett in a Welsh hillside and eating earthworms, learning to sense the landscape through his nose rather than his eyes. He caught fish in his teeth while swimming like an otter; rooted through London garbage cans as an urban fox; was hunted by bloodhounds as a red deer, nearly dying in the snow. And he followed the swifts on their migration route over the Strait of Gibraltar, discovering himself to be strangely connected to the birds.A lyrical, intimate, and completely radical look at the life of animals―human and other―Being a Beast mingles neuroscience and psychology, nature writing and memoir to cross the boundaries separating the species. It is an extraordinary journey full of thrills and surprises, humor and joy. And, ultimately, it is an inquiry into the human experience in our world, carried out by exploring the full range of the life around us.
Publisher: New York : Random House Audio, 2016
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9781524721947
Characteristics: audio file
1 online resource (1 sound file (07 hr., 27 min., 16 sec.)) : digital
Call Number: eAudio

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SPL_Shauna Dec 03, 2016

First, it needs to be said: This book is basically Fear and Loathing in the Natural World. The author is a reformed hunter whose outdoorsman tendencies are now funneled into mindful engagement with the natural world. He takes this very seriously, trying to live as a variety of animals and report back on what it's like to be them. His descriptions of eating worms as a badger nearly did me in.

But, I'm glad I kept on. Weird as his project was, his prose is beautiful, and his observations thought-provoking, if not objectively verifiable. And, he narrates his own book, which is a wonderful thing when done well; it's a beautiful thing here, given the author's wry, dry, British voice. Being a Beast is interesting on its own, but perhaps most interesting when paired with another recent title called Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are, which tackles some of the same questions but with science, and no eating worms or garbage. Recommended for readers who love gonzo journalism, poetic prose, and the outdoor world. Readers who demand normality had best avoid it.


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