Read of the Week

Elephants

Hannah Mumby

Jonathan Ball

Review: Lauren O’Connor-May

This book is a blend of autobiographical ramblings, travel commentary and science.

It is poetically written and has thought-provoking and funny moments.

Despite this, I did not enjoy the book as much as I was hoping to.

I like elephants and in choosing this book, I was expecting there to be only “elephantsy” science in the book but I felt there was too much of the author – her musings, her experiences, her feelings – that watered down the science and made the book less enjoyable for me.

This blend of genres is what makes pop science so … well, popular, and while I’ve enjoyed other pop science books before, this one just didn’t do it for me.

At times, I would just start to really enjoy the science bits when the author would suddenly go off at a different tangent and lose me.

As a result, the somewhat slim book took me forever to read, which my husband noted and commented on.

“Is that book that boring?” he asked.

I replied: “It’s somehow both interesting and boring at the same time.”

But, I do think the book will find an audience. The science in the book is offbeat, touching on subjects that I had not yet found in other books or documentaries, such as elephant menstrual cycles, elephant self-awareness and a whole lot about dung.

I was particularly tickled when
Mumby described a male elephant as if she was introducing a hero in a romance novel.

Later, she lovingly talked about the dung sample he left behind, almost as if it was a gift just for her.

We received 91 entries in our competition for the David Baldacci book hamper and the lucky winner was Vuyo Sangweni of Philippi.