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Zooburbia: Meditations on the Wild Animals Among Us

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4.2  ·  Rating details ·  102 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
To be alienated from animals is to live a life that is not quite whole, contends nature writer Tai Moses in Zooburbia. Urban and suburban residents share our environments with many types of wildlife: squirrels, birds, spiders, and increasingly lizards, deer, and coyote. Many of us crave more contact with wild creatures, and recognize the small and large ways animals enrich ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 20th 2014 by Parallax Press (first published May 13th 2014)
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Sherry
Mar 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. Of course, I love all books about animals but this one was different. I loved the author's attitude that you can find wildlife no matter where you are.

She doesn't sugar coat them but tells it like it is about the furry ones she encounters. l laughed a lot during her telling about her foray into chicken keeping. I'm in that stage right now and can relate to how destructive the little creeps can be.

I have passed this along to a dear, animal-loving friend who just lost her husban
...more
Sheana
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In our imbalanced modern world of technology, productivity, consumerism and waste, Tai Moses’ "Zooburbia" poetically and poignantly propels the reader into a sanctuary where compassion, mindfulness and nature rule the roost. Each chapter is a spiritual story lesson, crafted and yet subtly mobilizing. I read the book in the midst of a self-made work overload and a family crisis, and it literally became my security blanket. It’s digestible stories woven with such honesty, humor and grace allowed m ...more
Tracey
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
nonfiction. "meditations" is a pretty accurate word to describe these essays; they are gentle thoughts and observations (and not the engaging narratives I was hoping for). The writing was not bad, and if I had nothing else to read I'd gladly pick this up, but I do (have tons other stuff I want to read), so I returned this to the library early.
Jason Strayer
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Whether we know it or not, whether they live in our houses as our companions, we are surrounded by wild animals. Though our shopping malls are built over their burrows and flatten the trees they nest in, they liv on, often in the abandoned lots and alleyways where we live but do not frequent. Like a part of our soul we've forgotten, they continue on their for survival at the edges, picking at our trash or making purchase in the dark corners of our gardens, and when we chance upon them, we re-enc ...more
Rob
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Meh. I picked this up at the library, hoping for some hilarious anecdotes about encounters with wildlife in the city. For example, little bits about getting sprayed by skunks, fighting squirrels in the garden, etc. Unfortunately I got a super hippie dippy lady trying to save all the wild creatures around her home in Oakland. Ok, great, glad you like animals. I do too. But her writing is way too "buddha-karma-hippy-vegan" nonsense for me. Not funny enough. I did laugh at the goat caught in the fe ...more
Abby
Sep 23, 2014 rated it liked it
As someone who fancies herself an “urban farmer” and tires of “making salad for deer,” this book was instantly interesting to me. I am animal-obsessed and always take note of the wildlife who creep in and around our home, yard, and city. Tai Moses shares this predilection, but takes it a step further, by quitting her garden and chicken-rearing and instead focusing on serving the wildlife around her home in Oakland. I disagreed with some of her tactics (putting out food to lure larger wildlife, f ...more
Rift Vegan
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: animal lovers everywhere!
A very quick read, I finished it in two sittings. But really wonderful stories here, sad and funny and odd and interesting. I was very impressed at how many animal issues Tai Moses touches on. This is also a "jumping off" book... every few pages, she mentions a book to read in the footnotes, or a web site to check out. I love that!
Tony Bogar
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Who else enjoyed this book as much as I did? Almost every story touched me. Funny. Poignant. Thought provoking. I definitely related to this.
Emmy
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
An excellent read! Fun, informative, and surprisingly relaxing, I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys animals, or who is curious about the critters living in their neighborhoods. It's clear that Moses really loves animals, and any animal lovers out there will surely enjoy her book.
Batgirl13
Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
50 Book Reading Challenge 2015: A book of short stories

This was another of the categories I don't usually reach for when I read. Often, I feel that collections of short stories are too disjointed. This book was slow going at first for me and it took a while to draw me in. Once I was in, however, it grabbed me quick. As someone who grew up in cities and has lived in them for most of her life, I related to her stories of urban wildlife. I found myself agreeing with a lot of her observations and ev
...more
Tim Weakley
Reading this book had me fighting off the will to judge the author. She seemed naive, and childlike when it came to her views on the animals around her. She had this overwhelming desire to save everything, while at the same time telling the reader that animals are not like humans, and we shouldn't view them in the same way. During the summation of the book she made her point, that what she does to help the wildlife is her devotion. This is her way of saluting the sacred around us. While I'm not ...more
Kim
I discovered this book because it was on the Staff Recommendation shelf at the University Bookstore. I went into reading it expecting to gets lots of amusing anecdotes and uplifting facts about wild urban animals. Turns out that Moses does have some heart warming stories about her interactions with animals in her not-so-urban Eastbay backyard and nearby hills. But most of the book was more about conservation and awareness of the plight of animals in our ever encroaching shared environment. Her m ...more
Bianca
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In the opening essay of this collection, Tai Moses explains, "Instead of looking for those treasured qualities of beauty, peace, and wilderness in a distant and idealized wilderness, I try to carry them with me wherever I go" (19). Thus begins a collection of essays about the kinds of everyday encounters that will be familiar to readers mindful of the animals they share their living spaces with. Not only a deeply thoughtful meditation on human-animal relationships, this collection is also a wond ...more
Sandy D.
Interesting collection of short essays on the author's interactions with animals - mostly around her house and yard in suburban Oakland, California. There was a bit less science (though some interesting animal facts backed up by footnotes - I had no ideas that moles stockpiled poisoned worms!) and more philosophy and Buddhism than I expected, but the ideas presented were gracefully described, even when I didn't agree with them.

I really liked the woodcut illustrations, but the cover unfortunatel
...more
Miz Lizzie
These short meditative pieces about the author's personal interactions with wildlife, expected and unexpected, in our cities and suburbs are like koans or prose poetry that provide reflective food for thought. The essays inspire the reader to slow down and be attentive to the wildness present at our very doorstep. It is also a beautifully crafted book that was a pleasure to hold in one's hand.

Book Pairings: Though shorter and more influenced by Buddhism than science, the writing reminded me some
...more
Kathryn Lee
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I think a large part of that was the fact that I too live in the Bay Area and could identify with the author's experience. There is something about living here that opens your eyes to the nature and wildlife around you that I have not experienced anywhere else, so I felt like I had finally found someone who had given a voice to that awakening. It is an awakening that I hope to carry with me from now and pass to others.
Gretchen Lida
Jul 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my new favorite books. I loved the writing, the science and the compassion that flows through Moses' words. I can't decide if I love the story about the octopus or the story where she skips school to be with the old horse.
Roseann
Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love nature books, but often they speak about animals I will only see at a zoo. This one speaks for those animals who live among us daily and gives a broader perspective of their place in society among the animals call human. Anyone who loves animals should read this book.
Heather Mize
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was the perfect book for me to read right now. I love stories like this. It was just a really enjoyable read and Moses writes in a way that makes you feel like you are sitting across the kitchen table from a friend.
Josh
Sep 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: WIldlife lovers and those that should do more
Recommended to Josh by: Shelf @ UAPL
A decent collection of vignettes from the author's life and times as a lover of all wildlife and nature. How to live with the flora and fauna that surround us. Mindfulness, compassionate / conscientious living, awareness ~ whatever, it's all the same thing.
Lori
Nov 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
Meh. The writing is fine but the writer seems to be in the animals yeah people boo camp - and I am not simplifying.
Susan
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What an inspirational, gentle, positive book. Highly recommended. It truly lifts one's spirit and offers gentle advice and perceptions about the urban world of animals.
Markie
May 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2014
Loved it!!!
Cornholio
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
An entertaining and inspiring read!
Rachel Neumann
rated it it was amazing
Oct 28, 2014
Mary
rated it really liked it
Jul 03, 2014
Lainie
rated it it was amazing
Sep 30, 2016
Marian
rated it it was amazing
Jul 27, 2015
Maryjo
rated it it was amazing
Aug 08, 2017
tami schein
rated it it was amazing
Jan 22, 2015
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A journalist for more than two decades, Tai Moses has edited alternative newsweeklies in Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Silicon Valley, and she is the former senior editor of AlterNet, an online progressive news magazine. She was a speaker at World Press Freedom Day in Barcelona in 2003, and a panelist at UNESCO's 2004 Universal Forum of Cultures, also in Barcelona. Her articles, essays and reviews hav ...more
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“So often we blunder in the dark, not sure if we are helping others or harming them, while the truth remains as elusive and curtained as the heart of a wild bird.” 0 likes
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