Tag Archives: dogs

Ryan Reynolds Hears The Voices, Anna Kendrick Is Adorable

I’ve honestly lost track of all the ways I learn about movies that I want to see.


“My arms are getting tired from all this rowing.”
“Shut up, Kyle. I’m looking for a movie that isn’t a remake, a reboot or a sequel.”

With that said, I won’t bore you with how I came to be interested in The Voices, directed by Marjane Satrapi (of Persepolis and Chicken with Plums fame) and starring Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton and Anna Kendrick. My thought process was probably started and ended with:  Anna Kendrick is adorable.

Reynolds plays Jerry, a man who hears voices—and not the kind that tell him to build a baseball field. These voices are in his head, but he believes they’re coming from his dog, Bosco, and his cat, Mr. Whiskers. Besides that, though, everything is normal. He works in a bathtub factory and regularly checks in with his court-appointed psychotherapist (his mother died when he was twelve). When things take an accidentally deathly and sinister turn, Jerry has to rely on the advice of Bosco and Mr. Whiskers. Should he do the right thing, as Bosco suggests, or listen to Mr. Whiskers and give in to his killer urges?

It’s not a film for everyone. The film’s tone is all over the place and not always in a bad way. It flips between broad comedy to very dark comedy to something akin to a drama to a crime thriller—often in the span of a few scenes. It’s not surprising that a multi-genre film like this is having trouble finding its audience; such a varied tone can give a viewer whiplash. At one point we go from a savagely grisly flashback where we learn how Jerry’s mother died to a tender implied sex scene and its corresponding morning after. It was a jarring transition, to say the least.

It was at this point that I thought the film was going to end very differently. Jerry isn’t a bad guy; he’s just sick. He clearly needs help and even though I hate the idea that “finding love” can completely heal a person, I was hoping the love of Lisa (Kendrick) would have been enough to help him. It’s even one of the most brightly-lit scenes in the film and there’s even a vague hinting that she’s just as crazy as he is. Maybe their love would be enough to heal each other.

Sadly, the microscopic romantic (micromantic?) in me was let down, but only for a moment.


Image from Indiewire – all rights reserved to the same – click through for a blurb on the film

There is an interesting subtext of psychopharmacology and how patients with mental disorders are diagnosed and treated that runs throughout the film (I told you it was all over the place). When Jerry is off his meds, everything is brighter—his apartment above an abandoned bowling alley is clean, Bosco runs to greet him when he comes in the door, the forklifts at work perform a synchronized dance.  But when he starts taking the pills again, we finally see reality. Pizza boxes and discarded microwave dinner trays stack up to the ceiling of his dimly-lit apartment, his pets sit morosely in a lump in the corner while their defecation is everywhere. I really liked the distinction Satrapi made between reality and the life inside Jerry’s mind. This might be her best work since Chicken with Plums.

Reynolds has never been a draw for me (anyone who breaks up with Scarlett Johansson deserves to be shunned), but I liked what he did here. Often fidgeting, he imbues Jerry with an easy-going awkward shyness that makes him instantly likable. Some of the film’s laughs come from just how awkward he is (he scarfs down a slice of pizza with a heart-shaped piece of pepperoni on it in one bite, he sings The O’Jays’ “Sing a Happy Song” a little too loudly for his coworker). I liked that Reynolds did the voices for all the animals in the movie; it makes sense seeing as how the voices originate in his mind.

There’s a very good chance that you will hate this movie. I’d say it’s like American Psycho meets 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag meets Undertaking Betty. Or as Brad Wheeler said in his review, “A meeting of Psycho, Dexter and Dr. Doolittle.” If you can make it through to the very end, though, you’re in for a truly head-scratching surprise. I thought I was watching a Bollywood musical for a second. It’s weird, it’s offbeat, it’s quirky and it might be one of my favorites of the year, so far.


“Huzzah! I’ve found an original movie!”
“Yeah, but my arms are still tired.”
“I wish your mouth would get tired, Kyle.”

Even if you see The Voices and hate it, just pretend it’s the sequel to Kendrick’s The Last Five Years or the prequel to 2016’s Deadpool. That’ll make it fun.

If you’ve seen it, what are your thoughts? Do you talk to your pets? Let us know in the comments below!



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It’s Called Gratitude (And That’s Right)!

I can’t wait for Thanksgiving to express my gratitude, and I’m not organized to keep up with the Facebook post-of-thankfulness every day in November, though I do enjoy reading them – so keep it up, people! So I thought I might share a little of my thankfulness here.  Without further ado, and in absolutely no particular order…

Book Cover 1. Missy Elliot – If it weren’t for Missy Elliot, my work days would have considerably less glee.  I sit down at my desk, get my ear buds ready, and load up The Cookbook, Supa Dupa Fly, or a Missy-produced track like Let it Go and I breeze my way through emails, projects, and reports.  If you are walking by my office and see me grooving in my chair, don’t judge.  It’s science.

2. Library Staff.  The coolest people work at the library.  They make mustache displays, plant chalkboards with interesting questions, recommend books online and in the library, answer ridiculously difficult questions in the Reference Department, visit you where you work, play and belong.  This is an inspiring place to work everyday, and I’ll never tire of blubbering over the myriad ways my colleagues engage the community in literacy and learning.

After Hours @ the Library: Happy Hour 3. After Hours – Speaking of engaging the community, I am thankful to work at a library that throws such cool events.  After Hours is a chance for you to party at the library after we close!  The next one is this Friday, 6-9, at our Squirrel Hill location.  It is with much regret that I admit that I will be out of town for this weekend, because I’ve had a blast volunteering at previous After Hours.  I’ve dressed up as Grandma Nut from Candyland, and was one of many Waldos, all for your enjoyment.  The night always includes libations, tasty food, fun games and mildly educational activities!

http://vufindplus2.einetwork.net/bookcover.php?id=.b28331618&isn=067973743X&size=large&upc=&oclc=35840728&category=&format=4. Bury Me Standing – This is the book I read before bed each night, recommended by a colleague with excellent taste.  I am learning so much about Eastern Europe and the Roma people. It’s quite topical if you’ve been keeping up with the political issues in Europe this fall, specifically of the Roma in France, or the recent scandals with children in gypsy encampments in Ireland and Greece.


5. The Medieval Kitchen,by Hannele Klemettilä, is the book I have just finished.  I’ve been on a nerdy nonfiction kick lately.  There is a longstanding obsession with medieval times, spurred on in part by my literary crush on Chaucer and my affinity for anything written by the Gies, a husband and wife duo who wrote extensively about the period.  I recommend Life in a Medieval City and Women in the Middle Ages : both will enlighten you!  The Medieval Kitchen also discounts some myths around how medieval folks lived and ate.  Their diets were rich in herbs, vegetables, and seasonal fruits.  The poor unintentionally lucked out by missing gout, as that disease was preserved for the meat-gorging rich.  This book is filled with fascinating little tidbits, such as:  almond milk helped everyone get through fasting periods, when dairy and meat were prohibited by the church.

6. Dogs – It’s been well-documented that I’m a sucker for a big slobbery dog – so much so that we now have not one but two big slobbery shelter dogs (see above, MCA joined Frida in January).  And I am in good company, as other librarians have written of the joys of dog companionship.  No, we are not all cat people!  And yes, I do talk about my dogs all the time. Maybe I am a little obsessed.

Where is your gratitude going these days, Pittsburgh?  Please do share in the comments!



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Dog Days of Summer*


I became a dog person the moment I saw my dog at a family picnic. I loved everything about her; her happy swishy tail, her sweet personality, her beautiful amber eyes and tiny little nose. I liked her foot fringe and her bounciness and her curly ears. Then I found out that she was an abused shelter dog, rescued by my boyfriend’s cousin (thanks, Dan!) from being euthanized. So, despite the fact that I’d only been dating this guy for a few months, that I never owned a dog, that I wasn’t even allowed to have a dog in my apartment, and knew nothing about caring for a dog, I got a dog.


Ozzy Girl

That was 13 years ago. The boy and the dog are still the same.

It goes without saying that librarians love cats. But we love our dogs, too!

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Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Pets!

My Favorite Books About Dogs

GoDogGoGo Dog Go!, P.D. Eastman

This was my all-time favorite when I was a kid. My parents probably have horrible flashbacks just looking at the cover. To this day, my heart lifts when I see the cover.  Basically, it’s a bunch of colorful dogs doing things like racing cars and bicycles and  partying in trees. Exactly what you think it would be.

ZorroZorro Series, Carter Goodrich

This children’s series is unbearably sweet and so funny. The illustrations are gorgeous, too. Anyone who has brought another dog home will be able to relate to the disgust Mister Bud feels when Zorro, a little pug with a big attitude, shows up on the scene. Mister Bud has a schedule and he sticks to it. He doesn’t want to share anything, ever and is grumpy about this new mutt. Then one day Mister Bud realizes that Zorro has the same schedule! Suddenly nap time is more comfortable and walks are more fun and even though Mister Bud could still be grumpy, they become best friends.

DogBoyDog Boy, Eva Hornug

In 1998, the end of the Cold War and the breakdown of the Russian economy created over 2 million homeless children. Many parents simply packed up and left, leaving children as young as two years old to fend for themselves. Dog Boy was inspired by the true story of Ivan Mishukov, a four-year old who lived with a pack of wild dogs for two years until he was “rescued.” If you are interested in the real story, it is included in Savage Girls and Wild Boys: A History of Feral Children by Michael Newton. Dog Boy is a work of fiction (and one of my favorite books), and it is so beautifully and realistically rendered that I found it so easy to imagine to sleeping in a pile of smelly wild dogs, burying my face in their warm bellies to escape the harsh Moscow cold and sharing scraps of food with them. Four-year-old Romochka and the dogs work together to survive and that includes preying on other people. Eventually they earn the notice of the “authorities” and Romochka is “rescued” from the dogs. I honestly don’t know what I expected, but I found the ending heart-breaking. This book stayed with me for a long time.

CujoCujo, Stephen King

Cujo is the reason every kid who grew up in the 80s has an unnatural fear of rabies. Do you know how many people in Pennsylvania contracted rabies last year? 450. Out of a population of 12.76 million. Dudes, you’re not getting rabies. I read the book and saw the movie. Believe it or not, the book is sympathetic to the poor dog. Cujo didn’t want to get sick; in fact, there are chapters from his point of view that are downright heartrending. He is simply a dog with a hurt nose and can’t figure out why he wants to hurt “his” boy. According to King, he wrote this novel while he was drinking heavily and barely remembers writing it it all and in fact, wishes he could remember writing the good parts.

WaltertheFartingDogWalter the Farting Dog Series,  William Kotzwinkle

I’m married to a guy named Walt, so obviously I find these books extra-hilarious (and the stuffed animal!) Walter is an apologetic-looking dog who passes gas morning, noon and night, which causes him to be banned from all kinds of places. However, he also foils burglars with his smelly farts! Yet poor Walter isn’t allowed at the beach, on a cruise ship or yard sales. Interestingly, Walter is based off of a real dog whose owner fed him beer and doughnuts.

DogStoriesDog Stories, Diana Secker Tesdell, Editor

Mark Twain, Tobias Wolff, Jonathan Lethem and Anton Chekhov are only a few of the authors featured in this Everyman’s Library Pocket Classic, Dog Stories. In “Her Dog” by Tobias Wolff, a man talks to his dead wife’s dog to assauge his grief. But Victor the dog will have none of it, saying, “…I loved her more than you. I loved her with all my heart.” There are humorous tales from a dog’s point of view, including tales from P.G. Wodehouse and O. Henry and many more touching portraits about man’s best friend and his ability to amuse us, touch our hearts, and drive us crazy.

Also, if you feel like crying your eyes out, read the prologue to Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin. It’s written from the point of view of a dog who is grieving his lost owner.

Now go cuddle with your pooch-

*From the Columbia Encyclopedia:

Dog Days is the name for the most sultry period of summer, from about July 3 to Aug. 11. Named in early times by observers in countries bordering the Mediterranean, the period was reckoned as extending from 20 days before to 20 days after the conjunction of Sirius (the dog star) and the sun.


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“If You Eat Your Bed, Where Will You Sleep?!?!” Notes on Adjusting to Life with a New Dog

The newest member of my household is a sinewy, energetic, pit/lab/mystery mutt from the Animal Rescue League.* Frida Sweet-a Face, or Frida for short, has been a handful. But the love, joy and health that a dog brings into the home  is worth far more than every toy shredded during puppyhood. She’s been with us for only about four months, and with plenty of patience and advice from various dog training books, Frida is slowly becoming a well-mannered young lady.

Skinny Frida

The day Frida came home – she was a bag of bones then.

She had been surrendered to ARL at about age one, because her previous owners believed she was “too much to handle.” Many dogs of Frida’s age are given over to shelters. I learned in Bruce Fogle’s Dog that this is the canine stage of development most closely related to human adolescence. “Dog body, puppy brain,” is what I apologetically say to strangers in the street when she jumps on them. (Jumping happens less often these days, I promise!)  These dogs learned the rules as young pups. However,  in their adolescence, they question authority, i.e. chew up their beds and steal cheese from the counter. Adolescent dogs can be gangly, awkward and clumsy. They don’t realize that their bodies are wielding more power than before. A ten pound puppy jumping in your lap is adorable.  A sixty pound adolescent doing the same is a little painful.  Many owners just give up on these dog-hooligans.

“I can do this,” I thought. I worked with teens for a long time, and the age group is very close to my heart. “I’m a very patient person,” I thought. Despite all of that, there was an extended adjustment/figure-this-whole-energetic-dog-thing-out period. She lunged at cars, people, birds, cats. She crashed into tables; she attacked shoes. One day she sneaked out of the fence and ran next door, where our two year old neighbor Charlie was playing with his mom.  Frida kissed him on the cheek, and sneaked back under the fence, quite proud of herself. Charlie giggled. (Charlie’s family has dogs of their own and so his mother was most gracious about the whole incident.)

What baby-kissing dog is all bad? We just needed to help her get good.  We read piles of dog books; we signed her up for classes at ARL. We learned the hard way that if Frida doesn’t expend enough energy, she goes a little, shall we say, nuts. All dogs are working dogs, so every dog needs a challenging job, whether the job be walking, running, playing, fetching, or another activity. Two forty-five minute walks a day weren’t quite enough for Frida’s “work ethic.” So I started running with her, building up her endurance a little bit at a time, and that seems to keep her shenanigans to a minimum.

In addition to expending energy, she must also practice her manners. New dog owners are encouraged to introduce their pet to as many new situations, people, and animals as possible. So we’ve traveled with Frida all over Western PA: hiking, walking, dog parking, and visiting family and friends.  Dogs are not born with instincts that tell them to interact with other beings; they must be taught.  Frida used to greet everyone with  a hearty jump, a bump/crash,  and a maybe a few bats of the paw.  These days, she is a more mellow greeter, and all the dogs, cats and humans on our block are rejoicing.

Some folks swear by a specific dog trainer or book to train their dog, but we use a hybrid of different techniques.  I definitely recommend reviewing more than one source of dog advice. We go over the commands we learned at ARL’s basic training class at least once a day. We use Cesar Millan’s methods in some cases, but “calm assertive energy” is tougher than it looks on TV. I’m currently examining the presidential route by reading Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz; she trained Obama’s dog. My father swears by the Monks of New Skete; they’ve been successfully raising German Shepherds at their monastery for decades.  If you are interested in pursuing a homeopathic, herbal approach to dog wellness, then I highly recommend reading all of Juliette de Bairacli Levy; she learned from the Roma. Bruce Fogle is my favorite.  He has written extensively on dog health, dog psychology and dog breeds.

Frida in a healthier place

Frida with some meat on her bones

Best of luck in all of your doggie endeavors!


*A note on shelters –  Animal Rescue League is not the only game in town, there are plenty of other good shelters and organizations dedicated to dog adoption, such as Animal Friends and the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society.


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Caffeine, Monsters, and Dead Dogs: A “1,001 Movies” Update

My quest to watch 1,001 movies in 2012 is off to a good start, with a total of 206 films under my belt.  I credit my success thus far to an iron will and a never-ending flow of coffee, both of which have transformed me from a meditative morning lark to a wide-eyed, popcorn-chomping night owl. It’s a small price to pay for the amount of fun I’m having, though.

A great deal of the amusement value of this project derives from seeing how various themes and motifs play out across films and genres. For some reason, this particular crop of movies–chosen randomly from the master list–skewed to films that depicted violence and/or horror.  I’m not too keen on guts and gore, but I do love a good scare or disturbing thrill, so I was very interested in the depiction of monsters and the monstrous in films like Heavenly Creatures, The War Game, A Clockwork Orange, and (naturally) Monsters.  Packing film to the gills with gore is easy–I’m talking to you, Mel Gibson–but it’s far more difficult to psychologically disturb your audience with subtly-composed shots and well-written dialogue.  Monsters, we learn from watching films, do not necessarily have pointy teeth or tentacles, and the most monstrous acts are frequently committed by the externally beautiful.

The best example of this phenomenon from this round of movie-watching is, hands down, Takashi Miike’s Audition.  The story, which is based on fiction by Ryu Murakami, revolves around Aoyama, a lonely widower who wants companionship, but isn’t sure how to get back into the dating game.  A movie-mogul friend, who is currently casting for a project, suggests Aoyama sit in on the auditions and use them as a search for the perfect bride. Though skeptical at first, Aoyama slowly comes around to his friend’s point of view and falls in love with one of the young women who auditions.

What happens next is a surreal blend of psychological horror and non-linear narrative that will have even the most careful viewer blinking with confusion.  There is some gore involved, but it is used both sparingly and skillfully, so that by the time you get to the really icky parts, you’re already frightened out of your mind.  Clearly the villain of the piece is monstrous…but then again, so are the cultural attitudes that created her.  No easy answers, but definitely plenty of sitting on the edge of your chair, shouting at the screen, and covering your eyes.

All that being said, the hardest part of the film for me was watching the cute little beagle run around Aoyama’s house, knowing that when the camera keeps cutting to the adorable dog in a horror movie, something bad is bound to happen sooner or later.  In fact, the number of dogs–and I’m including werewolves here–who don’t fare very well in this batch of film made me a little nervous.  Do filmmakers genuinely not like our four-footed friends?  Or is it just an easy way to tug an audience’s heartstrings?  Making me care about a critter, and then subjecting it to a horrible demise, isn’t very nice.  But, as I am learning, the point of some films isn’t to highlight the “nice” – the focus is on probing our darker sides and selves, and bringing that hidden darkness to light for analysis and discussion.

I still don’t like it, but I suppose I’ll just have to soldier on.  Here’s a complete list of films from round 2 of the project:

  1. Monsters
  2. Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror
  3. Withnail and I
  4. An American Werewolf in London
  5. Un Chien Andalou
  6. Heavenly Creatures
  7. Wild Reeds
  8. Anvil: The Story of Anvil
  9. Apocalypto
  10. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  11. The Wedding Banquet
  12. A Clockwork Orange
  13. The War Game
  14. Audition
  15. Barren Lives*
  16. The Third Man
  17. Hour of the Wolf
  18. Cabaret
  19. Talk to Her
  20. Alphaville
  21. Gabbeh

Do you like horror movies? Why or why not? If you’ve seen any of the films above, which ones strike you as “monstrous,” and why?

Leigh Anne

who also managed to finish reading A Storm of Swords, and has eagerly dived into A Feast for Crows.

*available via Netflix streaming


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Non-fiction fix: Books Where the Darned Animals (Mostly) Don’t Die

Spoiler alert:  this post will reveal the endings of several books.

Why would I do that to you? Because I don’t want you to suffer as I have!

With apologies to Dewey, whose story really is quite charming, I don’t have the stomach for any more books where the beloved animal companion dies somewhere during the narrative. It’s bad enough at the end, after you’ve invested several hours of your life in the happiness and well-being of the cute little fuzz-face. But when the demise comes in the middle, as it does in the case of Darwin, well, it’s almost too much for my tenderhearted sensibilities to handle (sometimes I have to sneak off to the stacks with a box of tissues to get over it–don’t tell my boss). Contrary to stereotype, librarians don’t get to sit around reading books all day:  we squeeze it into our breaks and lunch like everybody else, and I really don’t want to spend that time getting attached to a cute little kittycat only to have my heart broken in the end!

I suppose you could make the argument that such books teach us about the intrinsic worth of life, and the gentling effect a companion animal can have on one’s personal growth. By acknowledging the presence of death, you might protest, we more deeply appreciate how precious life is for all creatures on earth, the great and the small.

To which I would probably respond, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever. Bring on the happy endings! And try to find a story with a llama in it.”

If, like me, you’re tired of books where the dog, cat, or marmoset meets his/her maker, you might enjoy these true-life tales of people and their pets.

An increase of geese

An increase of geese

When scientist and nature writer Bern Heinrich finds and fosters a gosling near his rural Vermont home, he paves the way for this chronicle of the life and times of a handful of Canada geese.  After discovering the bird he called Peep in the bog, Henrich endured all sorts of weather to gain her trust and access to her goosey world.   The result is a meticulous record of the adventures of Peep, her mate Pap, and their compatriots in The Geese of Beaver Bog.  The entries are written in journal format, so it’s easy to pick up and put down this volume at will.  Conversely, you can completely immerse yourself in the soap opera-ish antics of the birds who engage in behaviors that seem, at times, uncannily human.  Given that Henrich’s prose is both witty and clear, and that his respect for nature shines through every line, this is remarkably easy to do.

Full disclosure:  A number of gosling eggs do not, regrettably, make it to maturity.

A not-so-secret squirrel

A not-so-secret squirrel

If tough-love inspirational hilarity is more your style, you might enjoy Bill Goss’s memoir, There’s A Flying Squirrel In My Coffee.  A Naval pilot, Lt. Commander Goss was diagnosed with a rare form of skin cancer at the height of his professional success.  Into this grim landscape came Rocky the flying squirrel, who turned the Goss household upside down with his antics, and gave the fighter pilot a reason to keep on battling.  Filled with action-packed sentences, amusing anecdotes, family values and medical minutiae, this book will appeal to readers who like their animal tales with a bit of a rough-and-tumble edge.

Full disclosure: Although the book is cruelty-free, I’m forced to admit that Goss’s webpage contains additional information on Rocky and his mate, Bitsy.  Don’t read the entry for July 4, 2007.  Trust me.

Those of you who thought I was kidding a few paragraphs ago will want to pick up Rosana Hart’s Living With Llamas, the story of the author’s experiences raising, breeding, and selling llamas during the 70s and 80s.  Loaded with pictures and complete with a resource guide at the end, this book is a great start for anyone curious about llamas (more up-to-date info and contacts can be found here).  However, the real selling point of this tome is its up-close-and-personal peek at all aspects of llama life, including birth, communication, feeding habits, and personality quirks.  Like Goss, Hart relies on amusing anecdotes to tell her tale; her style, however, is gentler, simpler, and more matter-of-fact, letting the llamas’ individual personalities take center stage.

Full disclosure:  Okay, one adult llama dies in this book, and there is a close call with another llama that had me on the edge of my chair.  However, in this case, it was decidedly worth it.

Llama love

Llama love

 Last, but certainly not least, Walking Ollie is a recent entry in the abundant crop of animal memoirs.  Author Stephen Foster thought caring for a dog would be relatively simple.  Then he adopted Ollie, a shelter dog with a will of his own.  A tone of gentle befuddlement, with occasional bouts of consternation, permeates Foster’s tale, and the book is as much about the author’s gradual realization that animals have distinct personality traits as it is about Ollie’s training and assimilation into the Foster family.  The final chapter, in particular, is a gentle testament to the matter-of-fact, everyday love, tinged with reminders of mortality, that can crop up between a person and her/his pet. 

No bad dogs!

No bad dogs!

As I was looking for books to write about in this post, Bonnie clued me in to a work of fiction I will probably pick up next:  Gordon Korman’s No More Dead Dogs, which is about a mischievous pre-teen who feels much the same way I do about pooch mortality.  I’m hoping it will distract me from the vague dismay I felt upon picking up pick after non-fiction pick only to cast it aside, with watering eyes (quit laughing – I can hear you out there).  I suppose this means I’m in the readerly minority on that score, or maybe it’s just impossible to write of love without writing about the inevitable end that comes to us all, be we fleshy. feathered, or four-footed.

Be that as it may, I’m going to hold off on Alex and Me until I can get an advance confirmation of Alex’s survival.  And I stand firm in my resolution to do advance recon on all the animal memoirs for you…just in case.  Happy animal book readers of the world, unite!

–Leigh Anne


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woof woof, meow meow, tweet

With a sick kitty at home, I have animals on my mind a lot these days. There is nothing quite like the connection between a pet and its person, whether it’s a dog, a cat, or something more exotic

Speaking to that connection are so many books that come out on the subject every year.  There’s the runaway hit from a couple of years ago, Marley & Me:  Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog, by John Grogan, or any of Jon Katz’ books, if you’re a dog lover.  Aelurophiles may want to try A Cat Named Darwin: How a Stray Cat Changed a Man into a Human Being, by biologist William Jordan, who takes in, and gets taken in by, a flea-bitten, mangy stray.  My Cat, Spit McGee, by Willie Morris (who also had a dog named Skip), is another one that speaks to that irresistible feline allure.  If all that dander gets to you, though, you can try The Parrot Who Owns Me: The Story of a Relationship, by Joanna Burger.  One of my all-time favorites on the human-animal relationship is Allen Schoen’s Kindred Spirits: How the Remarkable Bond Between Humans and Animals Can Change the Way We Live. Veterinarian Schoen’s beautiful descriptions of how he learned about healing on all levels from his golden retriever and other animals are incredibly heart-opening. 

https://eleventhstack.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/marley.gif https://eleventhstack.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/katz.gif https://eleventhstack.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/darwin.gif https://eleventhstack.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/spit.gif https://eleventhstack.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/parrot.gif https://eleventhstack.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/kindred.gif

When it comes to fiction, beastly puns tend to rule the roost.  Several of those titles are featured on our Animal Mysteries booklist.  Beyond that, though, another favorite of mine is the author, Jennifer CrusieAnyone But You features a pathetic, yet insistent, basset hound, and she knows exactly how to depict the way those furry friends can insinuate themselves into our lives.  Lastly, I couldn’t possibly feel complete with this post without mentioning Mutts, the comic strip that looks cute, but can bite when you least expect it.

https://eleventhstack.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/anyone.gif https://eleventhstack.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/mutts.gif

Of course there are many more. Let us know some of your favorite books with animals in them!


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