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Best Books of 2010

Publisher Joseph Connelly offers his Top 10 list of 2010's most influential non-cookbook books.

This year proved outstanding for intelligently designed and thought-provoking additions to the growing body of literature that point us in the direction of a vegan ideal, while further blurring the line between “us” and “them.” The following 10 books, published between November 2009 and October 2010, made the biggest splash, touching on subjects from factory farming and food politics to both the emotions and morals of companion and wild animals. Of course your opinions may vary. If the book that most opened your eyes in the past 12 months is missing, leave a comment below with the title and author.

Animal Camp by Kathy Stevens
The second book by Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s founder is a stocking stuffer for sure, a light read that still packs punch with wonderfully heartwarming and entertaining stories of the lucky animals who found refuge in Upstate New York.

Gristle edited by Moby and Miyun Park
Ten essays deal with 10 problems of factory farming. An eye-opener, Gristle expands the argument for a veg planet beyond ethics, health, and global warming.

Meat is for Pussies by John Joseph
This testosterone-filled version of Skinny Bitch is the male meatless manifesto. In the year of the vegan man, Joseph pushed the envelope further than any.

The New Good Life by John Robbins
The acclaimed author offers a semi-autobiographical account of his financial losses due to the Bernie Madoff scandal, then segues into a how-to guide to living better with less during the current global economic downturn—or anytime.

On a Dollar a Day: One Couple’s Unexpected Adventures in Eating in America by Christopher Greenslate and Kerri Leonard
A young San Diego couple experiments with nourishing themselves each day on far less than a cup o’ Starbucks. An interesting and informative quick read.

Second Nature by Jonathan Balcombe, PhD
Along with Wild Justice (below), Balcombe’s Second Nature adds to the building tsunami of scholarly science which leaves those who insist that animals don’t possess emotions in the same club as those of think evolution is a theory.

The Sexual Politics of Meat (20th Anniversary Edition) by Carol J. Adams
Since it turned 20 in 2010, and was re-released, this book belongs on any Top 10 list. Adams’ magnum opus not only ages well, it gets better and more relevant with the passage of time.

Whitewash: The Disturbing Truth About Cow’s Milk and Your Health by Joseph Keon
Whitewash is by far the best book written on the subject of dairy. It's as convincing as Diet for a New America or The China Study, and should be required reading for all.

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows by Melanie Joy, PhD
Joy coins a new word, “carnism,” that roughly translates as “the hidden ideology that both hides yet reinforces that eating some animals is OK.” Why We Love Pigs proposes that giving a name to an aberrant behavior is the first step toward dismantling it. 

Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals by Marc Bekoff, PhD and Jessica Pierce
Bekoff and Pierce offer convincing science that shows morality in undomesticated animals, removing from the ever-shrinking list yet another “human-only behavior” for our increasingly non-anthropomorphic world. See also Second Nature.

Extra! Extra! Two recently published books were just received in the VN offices that I have barely been able to glance through at press time. Given the prowess of their authors, both could very well warrant inclusion on this list. Tom Regan and Andrew Linzey edited Other Nations, a collection of fiction from mostly renowned authors (Orwell, Hemingway) that “illuminates our moral relationship with animals.”  Gary Francione and Robert Garner have written The Animal Rights Debate, which tackles the “rights” vs. “welfare” argument in the US and elsewhere from legal and philosophical perspectives.

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