Book Review– Holdfast

I just finished reading Holdfast, by Kathleen Dean Moore, a philosophy professor and naturalist. What an interesting book! It’s a series of short (that works well for me), very engaging essays that touch on a broad range of topics, with many interesting tidbits thrown in. Two of the tidbits I especially liked were the fact that Chickadee brains actually expand in the fall as they hide seeds for winter eating and that marine mammals sleep with only half their brain at a time. I looked both up (of course) and am filled with awe about the Chickadee brains and their memories and am fascinated to learn about the way dolphins sleep.

I also liked the way the author describes her reaction to and appreciation of simple, everyday nature observations, as well as less pleasant stuff like deforestation and supposedly renewable resources, like forests that are used for logging. I have a feeling her philosophy classes might be understandable to those of us who don’t naturally think in big, philosophical words and concepts.

Interwoven with all of the essays are glimpses into her family life and who she is as a person with likes, dislikes, joys, fears, and questions, which drew me in and kept me wanting to read more and get to know her. I’ll definitely be looking up more of her books.

Kathleen Dean Moore is a presenter at the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College that I’m attending next month, and I’m looking forward to hearing her speak and hope to meet her.