What Am I Reading: Sandy Attia

STIR looks into the reading habits of leading creatives – Sandy Attia of MoDus Architects revisits a children’s book that urges her to think about our relationship with animals.

by STIRworld Published on : Oct 19, 2020

Particularly in this time of the pandemic, global warming, not to mention political upheaval and division, the book offers many things to think about; our attitude towards nature and all the gifts that our world offers, displacement and finding one’s place elsewhere, the balance between adventure and danger, or how greed and self-interest affect others, and much more! - Sandy Attia

What is the name of the book?

Sandy Attia (SA): The Call of the Wild.

Who is the author? 

SA: Jack London.

What is the genre?

SA: Fiction, adventure.

Why this book - could you please highlight its most notable aspects?

SA: I had originally bought the book for my kids, but I decided to revisit it myself—I read it when I was a kid. The main character is a dog named Buck who is stolen from his home and must face much hardship in his new life in Yukon, Canada.

Did you get any significant insights? Did you gain knowledge or did it help you unwind?

SA: It is a book that transports you elsewhere, to the Klondike Gold Rush set in the late 1800s, early 1900s, so it definitely helped me unwind.  The story like many classics, helps us understand our own humanness, in this case through our relationship with animals and mother nature.

Is there any one thing that you would take home from the read?

SA: Particularly in this time of the pandemic, global warming, not to mention political upheaval and division, the book offers many things to think about; our attitude towards nature and all the gifts that our world offers, displacement and finding one’s place elsewhere, the balance between adventure and danger, or how greed and self-interest affect others, and much more!

What is your favourite quote from the book? Why?

SA: “But under it all they were men, penetrating the land of desolation and mockery and silence, puny adventurers bent on colossal adventure, pitting themselves against the might of a world as remote and alien and pulseless as the abysses of space.”

I like this quote because it gives you an external perspective of what we—humans—look like in the midst of our lives, taking on the unknown…that we, are in fact, so small in the grand scheme of things.

When do you read?

SA: I read in the evening before going to bed.

What is your take on the book and one reason why you would recommend it?

SA: The book brought me to think about Joseph Beuys’ I like America and America likes me, where he spent a number of days in a room with a coyote (New York, 1974). It was a performance piece that challenged us to think about the role animals play in legends and myths, the relationship between animals and indigenous populations, and in our engagement as individuals with the animals that surround us.

I would definitely recommend this book to middle schoolers! It is short and action packed.

Look up more such interesting reads from the series ‘What Am I Reading’ and watch out for more.

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