"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Thursday, August 24, 2023


The Loneliest Polar Bear: A True Story of Survival and Peril on the Edge of a Warming World by Kale Williams

Book Beginnings quote: 
Abandoned: She weighed scarcely more than a pound, roughly the size of a squirrel. Her eyes and ears are fused shut. Her only sense of the world around her came from smell, and her nose led her in one direction: toward the gravity and heat of her mother, a six-hundred-pound polar bear named Aurora.
Friday56 quote:
Until the winter of 1918, when death came to Wales on a dogsled.
The heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of an abandoned polar bear cub named Nora and the humans working tirelessly to save her and her species, whose uncertain future in the accelerating climate crisis is closely tied to our own.

Six days after giving birth, a polar bear named Aurora got up and left her den at the Columbus Zoo, leaving her tiny, squealing cub to fend for herself. Zookeepers entrusted with her care felt they had no choice: They would have to raise one of the most dangerous predators in the world themselves, by hand. Over the next few weeks, a group of veterinarians and zookeepers would work around the clock to save the cub, whom they called Nora.

Three decades before Nora's birth, her father, Nanuq, was orphaned when an Inupiat hunter killed his mother, leaving Nanuq to be sent to a zoo. That hunter, Gene Agnaboogok, now faces some of the same threats as the wild bears near his Alaskan village of Wales, on the westernmost tip of the North American continent. As sea ice diminishes and temperatures creep up year-after-year, Gene and the polar bears--and everyone and everything else living in the far north--are being forced to adapt. Not all of them will succeed.

The Loneliest Polar Bear explores the fraught relationship humans have with the natural world, the exploitative and sinister causes of the environmental mess we find ourselves in, and how the fate of polar bears is not theirs alone. (Publisher)
Review: I honestly only read this book because it was a book club selection but I found it to be a very compelling and alarming account of what is happening in our world due to our climate crisis. The story of Nora, the abandoned polar bear, and her survival is the hook to pull the other details along. Her story is interspersed with information of what is happening in the arctic area where polar bears live and the historic home of the Inupiat people whose traditional way of life is also in peril. Author Kale Williams, a Oregon journalist looks at the history of climate change, with an eye to what is happening in Alaska.

Initially I liked Nora's story but found the information about our climate crisis to be a bit heavy handed and I often felt scolded. But as I read on it became apparent to me that Kale Williams was actually doing a masterful job of consolidating a lot of points of information into a cohesive story of how we got to where we are today with our climate crisis. The book isn't very long, just a bit over 200 pages so it quite digestible. I know we will have a good discussion during book club, too. 

Polar bears make good ambassadors to make us care about what is happening to their territory and our world. I've fallen in love with Nora and want to go visit her in the Oregon Zoo in Portland! See her in action below.

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City Reader. First Line Friday is hosted by Reading is My Super Power. Share the opening quote from current book.The Friday56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56 to share. Visit these two websites to participate. Click on links to read quotes from books other people are reading. It is a great way to make blog friends and to get suggestions for new reading material.

A SOTH Book Club selection for September, 2023.

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