Great Reads

Hale, Benjamin. The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore

Hale’s debut novel is narrated by Bruno, who is not your average chimpanzee.  He was identified early in life as behaving as human-like as many children and as a result was pulled into a University of Chicago study. What truly sets Bruno apart, though, is his ability to learn how to learn and as a result he gains the ability to speak as a human.  In the beginning, only Lydia Littlemore, newly minted primatologist, could understand his attempts.  Lydia, far from the troubled home in which she grew up finds herself way too attached to Bruno and he to her and in this love affair they find their downfall. 

Bruno’s voice is clear and as he educates himself, his reasoning becomes more sophisticated until it’s difficult to remember at times that he is still biologically a chimpanzee.  Bruno does not merely achieve, but rather he exceeds.  He doesn’t just read Shakespeare, he wants to act and direct it.  The line between what Bruno is and what he wants to be is ever in motion, and each time he believes he has found the difference between man and animal, he steps over the line and must entirely rethink the matter.  If the premise grabs you, you’ll find an absorbing and entertaining read containing plenty of food for thought. 

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Casey, Susan. The Wave: In pursuit of the rogues, freaks, and giants of the ocean

Susan Casey is a journalist and author of The Devil’s Teeth, a book about great white sharks.  In her latest, she studies the large waves of tsunamis, rogue waves, and large waves coveted by tow surfers.  She spends much time with giant wave surfer, Laird Hamilton and his friends, as well as with climatologists, wave scientists, and those in shipping to try get a layman’s view of what causes these waves as well as their effects.

Fans of Simon Winchester may be interested in Casey’s book.  Although slightly less caught up in science and slightly more in the human aspects of her subject than Winchester, she makes science understandable and compelling. 

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