10 books like The Parallel Lives of Women and Cows

By Jean O'Malley Halley,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Parallel Lives of Women and Cows. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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When Species Meet

By Donna J. Haraway,

Book cover of When Species Meet

Haraway’s When Species Meet offers a fascinating sociological exploration of human-animal relationships. Haraway’s notion of “companion species” challenges conventional ways of thinking about humans and other animals as two sides of a binary split, with humans/men and rationality on one side, nature (and women), other animals, instincts, and things of the body on the other side. Haraway refuses this dualism and argues that we are all inextricably connected. We are nature, and it is us. And as all things in life (and death) grow and change, forever becoming something else, we grow and change in relationship with all that is around us; we become in the midst of relationships, including relationships with nonhuman animals.

When Species Meet

By Donna J. Haraway,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When Species Meet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"When Species Meet is a breathtaking meditation on the intersection between humankind and dog, philosophy and science, and macro and micro cultures." -Cameron Woo, Publisher of Bark magazine

In 2006, about 69 million U.S. households had pets, giving homes to around 73.9 million dogs, 90.5 million cats, and 16.6 million birds, and spending over $38 billion dollars on companion animals. As never before in history, our pets are truly members of the family. But the notion of "companion species"-knotted from human beings, animals and other organisms, landscapes, and technologies-includes much more than "companion animals."

In When Species Meet, Donna J.…


Song for the Horse Nation

By National Museum of the American Indian,

Book cover of Song for the Horse Nation: Horses in Native American Cultures

A Song for the Horse Nation investigates the role and importance of horses in many Native American cultures historical and today. Most people believe that contemporary horses are not indigenous to the Americas but came with the Spanish literally carrying in the colonizers. In A Song for the Horse Nation, Herman J. Viola writes, “America’s Native peoples have little for which to thank Christopher Columbus except the horse.”

In the beginning, Native Americans were scared of the horses that came carrying white men on their backs. Viola explains, “They had never seen an animal that could carry a person. They called the horses, ‘sky dogs,’ believing that they were monsters or messengers from the heavens." The desire to have horses quickly replaced Native people’s fear. The colonizers, on horseback, stole land and life from the Native Americans whom they encountered. Native Americans stole horses from the colonizers to make…

Song for the Horse Nation

By National Museum of the American Indian,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Song for the Horse Nation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The tradition of horses in Native American culture, depicted through images, essays, and quotes. For many Native Americans, each animal and bird that surrounded them was part of a nation of its own, and none was more vital to both survival and culture than the horse.


Pets in America

By Katherine C. Grier,

Book cover of Pets in America: A History

This book was one of my primary go-to’s when I was writing my own book, Citizen Canine. It’s an in-depth exploration of the changing status of cats and dogs throughout American history, and it’s fascinating. Chock-full of photos and great anecdotes, it’s a must for anyone who wants to take a deep dive into the American history of pets. 

Pets in America

By Katherine C. Grier,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Pets in America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Entertaining and informative, Pets in America is a portrait of Americans' relationships with the cats, dogs, birds, fishes, rodents, and other animals we call our own. More than 60 percent of U.S. households have pets, and America grows more pet-friendly every day. But as Katherine C. Grier demonstrates, the ways we talk about and treat our pets - as companions, as children, and as objects of beauty, status, or pleasure - have their origins long ago.

Grier begins with a natural history of animals as pets, then discusses the changing role of pets in family life, new standards of animal…


Made for Each Other

By Meg Daley Olmert,

Book cover of Made for Each Other: The Biology of the Human-Animal Bond

In this fascinating book, Meg Daley Olmert explores the biological element of human relationships with other animals, and in particular the role of the hormone, oxytocin. Oxytocin helps humans and other animals feel calmer, allowing us to be more curious and friendly. Oxytocin lowers one’s heart rate and reduces stress hormones. Humans who live with or regularly spend time with nonhuman animals live longer and stay healthier. Further, contact with animals can elicit oxytocin in both of those involved, human and nonhuman.

Made for Each Other

By Meg Daley Olmert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Made for Each Other as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nothing turns a baby's head more quickly from nursing or playing than the sight of a dog or any animal. Made for Each Other lays out both sides of this deep mutual connection and the way it has evolved since prehistoric times. Drawing on the fascinating work of scientists in many fields, from neuroscience to zoology and anthropology, as well as her own investigations, Meg Daley Olmert shows the roots of this age-old bond and its great importance to our well being.


Magic Bean

By Matthew Roth,

Book cover of Magic Bean: The Rise of Soy in America

Livestock eat a lot of corn and soy, and Matthew David Roth shares the detailed history of how industry fueled that rise over only a few decades. I found the primary documents and deep research Roth cites to be illuminating. I write about how monoculture like commodity soy has had devastating impacts on the soil and waterways across the U.S. This book was key to my research because it’s so important to understand how we got here.

Magic Bean

By Matthew Roth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Magic Bean as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the turn of the twentieth century, soybeans grew on so little of America's land that nobody bothered to track the total. By the year 2000, they covered upward of 70 million acres, second only to corn, and had become the nation's largest cash crop. How this little-known Chinese transplant, initially grown chiefly for forage, turned into a ubiquitous component of American farming, culture, and cuisine is the story Matthew Roth tells in Magic Bean: The Rise of Soy in America.

The soybean's journey from one continent into the heart of another was by no means assured or predictable. In…


The Art of the Commonplace

By Wendell Berry,

Book cover of The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry

Farmer and author Wendell Berry is a personal hero of mine. From his home in Kentucky, Berry has been writing about regenerative agriculture for decades. The Art of the Commonplace gathers together twenty of his best essays. They articulate a compelling vision for people dissatisfied with the stress, anxiety, disease, and destructiveness of contemporary life. Berry is also the author of numerous works of poetry and fiction.

The Art of the Commonplace

By Wendell Berry,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Art of the Commonplace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Here is a human being speaking with calm and sanity out of the wilderness. We would do well to hear him." ―The Washington Post Book World

The Art of the Commonplace gathers twenty essays by Wendell Berry that offer an agrarian alternative to our dominant urban culture. Grouped around five themes―an agrarian critique of culture, agrarian fundamentals, agrarian economics, agrarian religion, and geobiography―these essays promote a clearly defined and compelling vision important to all people dissatisfied with the stress, anxiety, disease, and destructiveness of contemporary American culture.

Why is agriculture becoming culturally irrelevant, and at what cost? What are the…


The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It

By John Seymour,

Book cover of The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It: The Complete Back-To-Basics Guide

I first got acquainted with John Seymour through the original version of this book, The Self-Sufficient Gardener. I was charmed by his earthy lore and practical tips – an author who truly knew his stuff. A plus was the beautiful illustrations in the book. Its new permutation, The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It was been expanded to cover everything from micro-urban gardens to 5-acre homesteads. While gardening is the focus, the book includes plenty of information on butchering, brewing, canning—even spinning flax. What the book doesn’t include are plans and step-by-step photos for building structures, though it does include rudimentary information on metalworking and carpentry. Most importantly, Seymour has a lifetime of gardening and farming experience to draw upon. The reader reaps the benefit.

The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It

By John Seymour,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Embrace off-grid green living with a new edition of the bestselling classic guide to a more sustainable way of life from the father of self-sufficiency.

For over 40 years, John Seymour has inspired thousands to make more responsible, enriching, and eco-friendly choices with his advice on living sustainably. The Self-Sufficienct Life and How to Live It offers step-by-step instructions on everything from chopping trees to harnessing solar power; from growing fruit and vegetables, and preserving and pickling your harvest, to baking bread, brewing beer, and making cheese. Seymour shows you how to live off the land, running your own smallholding…


Consulting the Genius of the Place

By Wes Jackson,

Book cover of Consulting the Genius of the Place: An Ecological Approach to a New Agriculture

Jackson has devoted his career to reforming agriculture by applying ecological principles garnered from prairie lands of the Bread Basket of North America. Based in Kansas, Jackson has worked toward generating perennial crops that don’t need to be seeded annually, and could be grown in mixtures (a grain, an oil seed, and a legume), to support healthy soils that will sustain food production for many generations. This book lays out the arguments for his approach and challenges the basis of our agricultural systems. 

Consulting the Genius of the Place

By Wes Jackson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Consulting the Genius of the Place as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Locavore leaders such as Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, and Barbara Kingsolver all speak of the need for sweeping changes in how we get our food. A longtime leader of this movement is Wes Jackson, who for decades has taken it upon himself to speak for the land, to speak for the soil itself. Here, he offers a manifesto toward a conceptual revolution: Jackson asks us to look to natural ecosystems—or, if one prefers, nature in general—as the measure against which we judge all of our agricultural practices.

Jackson believes the time is right to do away with annual monoculture grains,…


Get Your Pitchfork On! The Real Dirt on Country Living

By Kristy Athens,

Book cover of Get Your Pitchfork On! The Real Dirt on Country Living

Most of us who took action on our ache to “get back to the land” gave ourselves over to a rustic bucolia we’d created in our minds. And, yes, as it turned out, it was all of that, the harmony of seasons, the deep peace, the night sky, the quail, and deer. It was other things, too, things we hadn’t reckoned on—isolation, endless labor, and the hourly rate of the well man. Readable and entertaining, Get Your Pitchfork On! eases the urban to rural transition with hard-won practical advice. It will infuse your dream, whatever its scale, with a healthy dose of preparedness to assure its best chance of success. 

Get Your Pitchfork On! The Real Dirt on Country Living

By Kristy Athens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Get Your Pitchfork On! The Real Dirt on Country Living as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For hard-working office workers Kristy Athens and husband Michael, farming was a romantic dream. After purchasing farm land in Oregon's beautiful Columbia Gorge, Athens and hubby were surprised to learn that the realities of farming were challenging and unexpected. Get Your Pitchfork On! provides the hard-learned nuts-and-bolts of rural living from city folk who were initially out of their depth. Practical and often hilarious, Get Your Pitchfork On! reads like a twenty-first century Egg and I.

Get Your Pitchfork On! gives urban professionals the practical tools they need to realize their dream, with basics of home, farm, and hearth. It…


The Charity of War

By Melanie S. Tanielian,

Book cover of The Charity of War: Famine, Humanitarian Aid, and World War I in the Middle East

During the war, Beirut and Mount Lebanon were heavily impacted by a famine because of several factors, including the Allied blockade of the Mediterranean, bad harvests, heat waves, shortage of workers, and a destructive locust invasion. As a result, even though the area did not witness any battles on its territory, hundreds of thousands of people died due to famine and disease. Fiction or real, the horrors reached to a degree that “mothers eating their children” stories carved in the collective memory of the war. Drawing on the reality of famine, the book deals with how war relief and welfare activities acted as forces that opened a new political space for civilian provisioning, eventually leading to the emergence of a new political space in the post-war period.

The Charity of War

By Melanie S. Tanielian,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Charity of War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With the exception of a few targeted aerial bombardments of the city's port, Beirut and Mount Lebanon did not see direct combat in World War I. Yet civilian casualties in this part of the Ottoman Empire reached shocking heights, possibly numbering half a million people. No war, in its usual understanding, took place there, but Lebanon was incontestably war-stricken. As a food crisis escalated into famine, it was the bloodless incursion of starvation and the silent assault of fatal disease that defined everyday life.

The Charity of War tells how the Ottoman home front grappled with total war and how…


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