February I read some really excellent books and again it was hard to chose just one, so I didn’t.  Here are my two favourite audio books for this month:

Eating Animals – Jonathan Safran Foer

Eating Animals is a riveting exposé which presents the gut-wrenching truth about the price paid by the environment, the government, the Third World and the animals themselves in order to put meat on our tables more quickly and conveniently than ever before. Interweaving a variety of monologues and balancing humour and suspense with informed rationalism, Eating Animals is as much a novelistic account of an intellectual journey as it is a fresh and open look at the ethical debate around meat-eating. Unlike most other books on the subject, Eating Animals also explores the possibilities for those who do eat meat to do so more responsibly, making this an important book not just for vegetarians, but for anyone who is concerned about the ramifications and significance of their chosen lifestyle.

I was interested in reading this book because it seemed unusual for a fiction writer to switch to non fiction and especially about this subject.  I had no idea he was vegetarian and why should I, since I don’t pay that much close attention to authors, but when I saw it advertised late last year I did put it on my books to look out for list (it’s not yet published in the UK)  I am a vegetarian so I was curious to see what he had to say on the subject, but actually this book is about a whole lot more than just that.  It actually concentrates quite a bit on factory farming and the disgusting cruelty that exists in that system, and offers alternatives to people who still want to eat meat but not support that system.  Being vegetarian makes sense for a lot of reasons including better health, less animal cruelty, better for the environment etc, but even if you don’t want to give up eating animals, you should give up factory farmed meat since it’s the number one cause of climate change and animal agriculture makes a 40% greater contribution to global warming than all transportation in the world combined!

So it was a very good book, full of good information (with references) and interviews with people including a vegan who builds slaughterhouses and a vegetarian rancher!  The reasons that we eat how we eat and what we eat and the traditions and social bonds that surround sharing food and eating together.

I just find it difficult to read about the animal cruelty and not just the slaughter but other abuses that take place just because people think they can do what they want because they’re just animals.  I have read and seen this before but it doesn’t make it any easier for me to read.  Luckily there are other things in the book so it’s not all doom and gloom.  I think it’s definitely worth reading if you care at all about what you are eating and also about the impact it is having on the planet.

Company of Liars – Karen Maitland

The year is 1348. In a world ruled by faith and fear, nine desperate strangers, brought together by chance, attempt to flee the certain death that is rolling inexorably toward them. Each traveler has a hidden gift, a dark secret, and a story to tell….

From Camelot, the relic-seller, to Cygnus, the one-armed storyteller—from the strange, silent child Narigorm to a painter and his pregnant wife, each guards secrets closely. None are as they seem. And one among them conceals the darkest secret of all—propelling these liars to a destiny more perilous than any of them could imagine.

I really enjoyed this one!  I was completely caught up in the story and thoroughly recommend it as a good read.  I’m hoping to get hold of her latest book – The Owl Killers – soon.  I believe there’s a book buddy discussion thread on this book from last year, so I will make any further comments there.

Other honourable mentions include Tony Pollard – The Secrets of the Lazarus Club and Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison.