Friday, June 03, 2016

What is Jessica Pierce reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Jessica Pierce, author of Run, Spot, Run: The Ethics of Keeping Pets.

Her entry begins:
I always have at least one fiction and one nonfiction book going at all times. On the fiction side, I am currently reading The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey. The story is set in Alaska in the 1920s, and centers around a middle-aged couple named Mabel and Jack. Unable to resolve their grief over a miscarriage and a childless future, the couple decides to homestead on the Alaska frontier. In a rare carefree moment, they build a snowman in the form of a little girl, outfitted with bright scarf and mittens. The snow-child becomes animate and begins haunting the woods around their cabin, bringing them small gifts. She seems to be the answer to their deepest desire, but is she even real? And what will the little snow child cost Mabel and Jack in the end? Based on a Russian fairy tale called The Snow Maiden, the narrative blurs the line between the real and the magical. And, as in many fairy tales, the...[read on]
About Run, Spot, Run, from the publisher:
A life shared with pets brings many emotions. We feel love for our companions, certainly, and happiness at the thought that we’re providing them with a safe, healthy life. But there’s another emotion, less often acknowledged, that can be nearly as powerful: guilt. When we see our cats gazing wistfully out the window, or watch a goldfish swim lazy circles in a bowl, we can’t help but wonder: are we doing the right thing, keeping these independent beings locked up, subject to our control? Is keeping pets actually good for the pets themselves?

That’s the question that animates Jessica Pierce’s powerful Run, Spot, Run. A lover of pets herself (including, over the years, dogs, cats, fish, rats, hermit crabs, and more), Pierce understands the joys that pets bring us. But she also refuses to deny the ambiguous ethics at the heart of the relationship, and through a mix of personal stories, philosophical reflections, and scientifically informed analyses of animal behavior and natural history, she puts pet-keeping to the test. Is it ethical to keep pets at all? Are some species more suited to the relationship than others? Are there species one should never attempt to own? And are there ways that we can improve our pets’ lives, so that we can be confident that we are giving them as much as they give us?

Deeply empathetic, yet rigorous and unflinching in her thinking, Pierce has written a book that is sure to help any pet owner, unsettling assumptions but also giving them the knowledge to build deeper, better relationships with the animals with whom they’ve chosen to share their lives.
Visit Jessica Pierce's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Jessica Pierce and Maya.

The Page 99 Test: The Last Walk.

Writers Read: Jessica Pierce.

--Marshal Zeringue