For Small Creatures Such as We: Finding Wonder and Meaning in Our Unlikely World

Sasha Sagan. Putnam, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-0-735-21877-2
Freelance writer Sagan, the daughter of astronomer Carl Sagan and writer and producer Ann Druyan, examines the history of cultural touchstones and traditions through science to offer inclusive yet meaningful rituals and occasions throughout the year in this welcoming and tender book. Part memoir, part guidebook, Sagan's work is intended “to create moments that make us feel united with other Earthlings, without the dogma that divides us.” She describes applying the scientific method to discover truth, details how science has inspired rituals since creation (“Birth, puberty, reproduction, and death are the biological processes of being human”), and examines how rituals help process change (“Like Passover, Easter, or the myth of Persephone, all these rituals are about suffering and heartbreak giving way to joy in the end”). Along the way, she submits direction: suggesting a template for blending vintage traditions with new sensibilities; illuminating how regular, observant practice creates patterns that bring order to life (religions propose that “once a week you must check in with your beliefs, community, and yourself”); extending hope when all seems lost; and pragmatically mapping out a year of celebrations inspired by treasured experiences while merging them with secular tenets. Charming and appealing, this thoughtful work serves as an uplifting, life-honoring celebration of human existence. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/12/2019
Release date: 10/22/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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