Tickling the Bear: How to Stay Safe in the Universe

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In David Wann’s Tickling the Bear: How to Stay Safe in the Universe, anthropology professor Marcus Blake chooses to make the most of his limited time after being diagnosed with the Q virus and learning he may only have a year to live. He then begins to give his relationships more thought and embark on new journeys that he never had time for. He also has conversations with friends and family about nature preservation, consumerism, organic food, climate change, unity, racism, health, and politics, among other topics. Why were fossil fuel subsidies costing ten times more than funding for education? Do the daily twitches and tremors of the stock market indicate production or destruction? Join Marc and his fascinating companions in Tickling the Bear as they discuss these and other issues, appraise contemporary society’s flaws, and offer solutions.

Throughout, the book balances contrasting notions such as optimism and despair, life and death, and materialism and simplicity, offering a realistic and poetic perspective on life. David Wann’s illuminating and thought-provoking book is full of fascinating world statistics and wise comments that will make the reader think deeply and see the world in a new way. “Don’t just watch your life go by, be in it,” is one piece of advice from the book I hope to never forget.

Marc’s humanity and thoughtfulness shine through as he faces new obstacles and takes us on an educational and philosophical journey. I thought it particularly motivating that despite the threat of death, he maintains his sense of humor and sense of adventure as he does daring feats like skydiving and giving love another chance. The reader will be compelled to look deeper into their motivations, reevaluate their objectives, and consider whether they could have the same positive outlook if they were confronted with death as Marc.

Unfortunately, Tickling the Bear seemed overly sluggish and burdensome in some sections. The storyline appeared to lack focus, as it veered off into many personalities and areas such as Marc’s niece’s love life, his struggle with the disease, his love life, meaningful debates, and new adventures. The narrative would have definitely appealed to me more if it had been more consistent.

Stories like this remind us that life should be lived fully and that stopping to smell the roses and share happy memories with loved ones is what makes life worthwhile. The mix of the narrative’s leisurely pace, distinctive characters, and meaningful debates creates a tranquil experience that echoes the book’s primary themes of consciousness and serenity. Despite its limitations, I learned a lot from it and wholeheartedly support its messages.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 279 pages
Publisher Chokecherry Press
Publish Date 20-Jul-2021
ISBN 9781736839102
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue October 2022
Category Modern Literature