100 books like When Species Meet

By Donna J. Haraway,

Here are 100 books that When Species Meet fans have personally recommended if you like When Species Meet. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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

Jean O'Malley Halley Author Of Horse Crazy: Girls and the Lives of Horses

From my list on human relationships with other animals.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jean Halley is a professor of sociology at the Graduate Center and the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York (CUNY). She earned her doctorate in sociology at the Graduate Center of CUNY, and her master’s degree in theology at Harvard University. Halley's book with the University of Georgia Press about girls who love horses, Horse Crazy: Girls and the Lives of Horses, came out in 2019. She and her horse grew up in the Rocky Mountains. Today she lives in New York City.

Jean's book list on human relationships with other animals

Jean O'Malley Halley Why did Jean love this book?

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…

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.


Book cover of Pets in America: A History

David Grimm Author Of Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs

From my list on for serious thinkers about cats and dogs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am, first and foremost, a lover of cats and dogs. I have been fascinated by these animals ever since I was a child. Where did they come from? Why are we so strongly bonded to them? What is the future of our relationship? These are questions I have asked myself for decades, and which I finally answer in Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs. I bring to this book not only my lifelong love of these animals, but a deep-thinker’s exploration of history, law, and science. 

David's book list on for serious thinkers about cats and dogs

David Grimm Why did David love this book?

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. 

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…


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

Jean O'Malley Halley Author Of Horse Crazy: Girls and the Lives of Horses

From my list on human relationships with other animals.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jean Halley is a professor of sociology at the Graduate Center and the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York (CUNY). She earned her doctorate in sociology at the Graduate Center of CUNY, and her master’s degree in theology at Harvard University. Halley's book with the University of Georgia Press about girls who love horses, Horse Crazy: Girls and the Lives of Horses, came out in 2019. She and her horse grew up in the Rocky Mountains. Today she lives in New York City.

Jean's book list on human relationships with other animals

Jean O'Malley Halley Why did Jean love this book?

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.

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.


Book cover of Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language Among the Western Apache

Michael A. Lange Author Of Meanings of Maple: An Ethnography of Sugaring

From my list on explore how people make meaning and knowledge.

Why am I passionate about this?

I study culture. Ever since I was little, I’ve been fascinated by what people think, feel, believe, have, and do. I’ve always wondered why people need things to be meaningful. Why do people need an explanation for why things happen that puts the meaning outside their own minds? I wanted to get beyond the need for things to be meaningful by themselves, so I began looking into meaning-making as a thing we do. Once I realized the process was infinitely more interesting and valuable, I read books like those on my list. I hope they spark you as much as they have me. 

Michael's book list on explore how people make meaning and knowledge

Michael A. Lange Why did Michael love this book?

I love that Basso can take me so far inside someone's mind that I can begin to understand not just what they think and feel but how and why they think and feel it.

This book contains the very systems and processes that we use to make knowledge and meaning, and I love learning about a way of knowing and making meaning that is very different from mine—entirely logical, purposeful, valid, and different from mine. 

By Keith H. Basso,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Wisdom Sits in Places as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This remarkable book introduces us to four unforgettable Apache people, each of whom offers a different take on the significance of places in their culture. Apache conceptions of wisdom, manners and morals, and of their own history are inextricably intertwined with place, and by allowing us to overhear his conversations with Apaches on these subjects Basso expands our awareness of what place can mean to people.

Most of us use the term sense of place often and rather carelessly when we think of nature or home or literature. Our senses of place, however, come not only from our individual experiences…


Book cover of Birds and Us: A 12,000 Year History, from Cave Art to Conservation

Gísli Pálsson Author Of The Last of Its Kind: The Search for the Great Auk and the Discovery of Extinction

From my list on books that capture life on the edge.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by “nature” since childhood, growing up on an island south of Iceland and spending summers on a farm. As a teenager, I would explore my island in the company of friends, often with a binocular and a camera at hand. There was much to explore: a towering volcano above the local community, ancient lava flows, stormy seas – and an amazing variety of seabirds. I witnessed an island being born nearby during a stunning volcanic eruption. My life and career have been heavily informed by this experience, as an anthropologist and a writer I have always somehow engaged with connections between people and their environments.

Gísli's book list on books that capture life on the edge

Gísli Pálsson Why did Gísli love this book?

This book is truly a tour de force. Reading it, I was greatly impressed by its sweeping take on human relations with birds across countries and continents and throughout human history, sharing at the same time the author’s deep knowledge of birds and their habitats, his lifelong engagement with key field sites, and his unlimited fascination with the avian world.

I was also impressed by his perceptive and original observations of the lives of birds and the practices and politics of humans commenting upon them. Keeping in mind that birds are now increasingly seen as the canaries of the global coalmine, signifying the massive environmental dangers of the current age of extinction, this book, for me, provides a series of warnings, a profound message.

By Tim Birkhead,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Since the dawn of human history, birds have stirred our imagination, inspiring and challenging our ideas about science, faith, art and philosophy.

Looking to the skies above, we have variously worshipped them as gods, hunted them for sustenance, adorned ourselves in their feathers, studied their wings to engineer flight and, more recently, attempted to protect them.

In Birds and Us, award-winning writer and ornithologist Tim Birkhead takes us on an epic and dazzling journey through this mutual history with birds, from the ibises mummified and deified by Ancient Egyptians to Renaissance experiments on woodpecker anatomy, from Victorian obsessions with egg…


Book cover of Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection

Michael A. Lange Author Of Meanings of Maple: An Ethnography of Sugaring

From my list on explore how people make meaning and knowledge.

Why am I passionate about this?

I study culture. Ever since I was little, I’ve been fascinated by what people think, feel, believe, have, and do. I’ve always wondered why people need things to be meaningful. Why do people need an explanation for why things happen that puts the meaning outside their own minds? I wanted to get beyond the need for things to be meaningful by themselves, so I began looking into meaning-making as a thing we do. Once I realized the process was infinitely more interesting and valuable, I read books like those on my list. I hope they spark you as much as they have me. 

Michael's book list on explore how people make meaning and knowledge

Michael A. Lange Why did Michael love this book?

I love this book because Tsing walks me through an increasingly complex, increasingly comprehensive understanding of how people think, feel, and make meaning and how that process is fundamental to understanding who we are as a species.

Each chapter gives me a basic yet profound bit of insight into people as meaning makers, and each chapter flows from the one(s) previous, all building toward the sort of “holy crap, I get it!” culmination that leaves me wanting to go back and read it again and again.

Tsing makes the complicated understandable and the obscure accessible. 

By Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A wheel turns because of its encounter with the surface of the road; spinning in the air it goes nowhere. Rubbing two sticks together produces heat and light; one stick alone is just a stick. In both cases, it is friction that produces movement, action, effect. Challenging the widespread view that globalization invariably signifies a "clash" of cultures, anthropologist Anna Tsing here develops friction in its place as a metaphor for the diverse and conflicting social interactions that make up our contemporary world. She focuses on one particular "zone of awkward engagement"--the rainforests of Indonesia--where in the 1980s and the…


Book cover of Eating in Theory

Michael A. Lange Author Of Meanings of Maple: An Ethnography of Sugaring

From my list on explore how people make meaning and knowledge.

Why am I passionate about this?

I study culture. Ever since I was little, I’ve been fascinated by what people think, feel, believe, have, and do. I’ve always wondered why people need things to be meaningful. Why do people need an explanation for why things happen that puts the meaning outside their own minds? I wanted to get beyond the need for things to be meaningful by themselves, so I began looking into meaning-making as a thing we do. Once I realized the process was infinitely more interesting and valuable, I read books like those on my list. I hope they spark you as much as they have me. 

Michael's book list on explore how people make meaning and knowledge

Michael A. Lange Why did Michael love this book?

I love that Mol weaves together three different narrative voices on the page simultaneously to force me out of my linear perspectives. In the process, I need to explore many of the meanings of food and eating as human activities.

I love gaining a new angle on something that seems so basic, fundamental, and therefore easy—eating. But Mol provides a new set of understandings of eating and all its related processes so that I learn that what I thought was basic and fundamental is instead just a meaning that I make. 

By Annemarie Mol,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eating in Theory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As we taste, chew, swallow, digest, and excrete, our foods transform us, while our eating, in its turn, affects the wider earthly environment. In Eating in Theory Annemarie Mol takes inspiration from these transformative entanglements to rethink what it is to be human. Drawing on fieldwork at food conferences, research labs, health care facilities, restaurants, and her own kitchen table, Mol reassesses the work of authors such as Hannah Arendt, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Hans Jonas, and Emmanuel Levinas. They celebrated the allegedly unique capability of humans to rise above their immediate bodily needs. Mol, by contrast, appreciates that as humans we…


Book cover of Making: Anthropology, Archaeology, Art and Architecture

Michael A. Lange Author Of Meanings of Maple: An Ethnography of Sugaring

From my list on explore how people make meaning and knowledge.

Why am I passionate about this?

I study culture. Ever since I was little, I’ve been fascinated by what people think, feel, believe, have, and do. I’ve always wondered why people need things to be meaningful. Why do people need an explanation for why things happen that puts the meaning outside their own minds? I wanted to get beyond the need for things to be meaningful by themselves, so I began looking into meaning-making as a thing we do. Once I realized the process was infinitely more interesting and valuable, I read books like those on my list. I hope they spark you as much as they have me. 

Michael's book list on explore how people make meaning and knowledge

Michael A. Lange Why did Michael love this book?

I love that Ingold uses the concept of design to explore how people make meaning and things meaningful. By bringing me through lenses such as architecture, archaeology, and art, he shows me that design is not a process of doing but of making.

When we design, we do so by constructing meaning and knowledge. The artifacts that come from my design thinking are secondary effects of the thinking and meaning-making. I love being brought into a larger point of view on the everyday activities of my own life.

By Tim Ingold,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Making creates knowledge, builds environments and transforms lives. Anthropology, archaeology, art and architecture are all ways of making, and all are dedicated to exploring the conditions and potentials of human life. In this exciting book, Tim Ingold ties the four disciplines together in a way that has never been attempted before. In a radical departure from conventional studies that treat art and architecture as compendia of objects for analysis, Ingold proposes an anthropology and archaeology not of but with art and architecture. He advocates a way of thinking through making in which sentient practitioners and active materials continually answer to,…


Book cover of H Is for Hope: Climate Change from A to Z

Gísli Pálsson Author Of The Last of Its Kind: The Search for the Great Auk and the Discovery of Extinction

From my list on books that capture life on the edge.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by “nature” since childhood, growing up on an island south of Iceland and spending summers on a farm. As a teenager, I would explore my island in the company of friends, often with a binocular and a camera at hand. There was much to explore: a towering volcano above the local community, ancient lava flows, stormy seas – and an amazing variety of seabirds. I witnessed an island being born nearby during a stunning volcanic eruption. My life and career have been heavily informed by this experience, as an anthropologist and a writer I have always somehow engaged with connections between people and their environments.

Gísli's book list on books that capture life on the edge

Gísli Pálsson Why did Gísli love this book?

I was thrilled to read this book, with its moving environmental tales (one for a letter of the alphabet), beautifully illustrated by Wesley Allsbrook.

Here, Kolbert – an author who usually dives into science stories focusing on alarming cases – adopts an even more engaging style, still telling good stories but aiming for a broader readership. It seems to me that works of this kind are vital for the current age, providing accessible and authentic accounts of where humanity stands.

While the twenty-six pieces provide a bleak picture of a planet on the brink of collapse, possibly within the lifetime of a generation, I was captivated by the humanitarian tone and the emphasis on hope. For me, the narrative is gripping. I repeatedly get back to it, wishing I had more stories. 

By Elizabeth Kolbert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked H Is for Hope as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In twenty-six essays—one for each letter of the alphabet—the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sixth Extinction takes us on a hauntingly illustrated journey through the history of climate change and the uncertainties of our future.

Climate change resists narrative—and yet some account of what’s happening is needed. Millions of lives are at stake, and upward of a million species. And there are decisions to be made, even though it’s unclear who, exactly, will make them.

In H Is for Hope, Elizabeth Kolbert investigates the landscape of climate change—from “A”, for Svante Arrhenius, who created the world’s first climate model in…


Book cover of Shimmer: Flying Fox Exuberance in Worlds of Peril

Gísli Pálsson Author Of The Last of Its Kind: The Search for the Great Auk and the Discovery of Extinction

From my list on books that capture life on the edge.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by “nature” since childhood, growing up on an island south of Iceland and spending summers on a farm. As a teenager, I would explore my island in the company of friends, often with a binocular and a camera at hand. There was much to explore: a towering volcano above the local community, ancient lava flows, stormy seas – and an amazing variety of seabirds. I witnessed an island being born nearby during a stunning volcanic eruption. My life and career have been heavily informed by this experience, as an anthropologist and a writer I have always somehow engaged with connections between people and their environments.

Gísli's book list on books that capture life on the edge

Gísli Pálsson Why did Gísli love this book?

I was deeply moved reading this book, a treatise about impending species death written by a fellow anthropologist facing her own death. The text freely moves back-and-forth between abstract reflections about life on the edge and observations on the mutual relations between indigenous Australians and flying-foxes (the only flying mammals in existence), now seriously threatened by both global warming and human encroachment.

This is not only a unique near-extinction saga; its language and framing took me straight into some of the biggest issues of our time, of what the author calls deathwork, the living dead, and double death, where death piles up by some domino effect. The book itself, to paraphrase its title, offers a shimmering light into the ethics and politics of species protection and the threat of extinction.

By Deborah Bird Rose,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'I was called to flying-foxes. My research questions led me into multispecies ethnographic work involving wildlife carers and academically trained scientists in eastern Australia. The people I met were at the front line in the work of holding flying-foxes back from the edge of extinction. I continued to visit the north, and I revisited my notebooks from several decades of research with Aboriginal people. The research was exhilarating, and then again at times deeply disheartening. I was to encounter more passion, intimacy, cruelty, horror, complexity, generosity and wild beauty than I could ever have imagined. Living with flying-foxes, I came…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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