Little reads like this lift the heart and bring smiles to one's day. Short tales about cats, many of which belonged to famous people, fit into our busy days. There are cats who travel, get into trouble, save lives, go into space and in other ways become remembered long by their owners and sometimes the public, too. Let me relate some of the tales that I found especially interesting.
Even though Sir Isaac Newton is known for his scientific contributions his cat was responsible for a well used invention that graces many homes - the pet door. His cat interrupted his work to come and go so often that it inspired this invention. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) immortalized the cat of a little girl named Alice for whom the tale, Alice in Wonderland, is written. And, perhaps Edgar Allan Poe's cat helped keep him sane. It certainly comforted his ailing wife. There was a white kitten who charmed Dickens whose favorite pets were birds and dogs. And, there was a cat whose best friend was a gorilla. The gorilla grieved for some time after the cat died.
If you get the change, pick up this little read just for fun. It's endearing. (less)
A classical read about a world controlled by Big Brother. The story depicts a negative Utopia world spawned by Hitler's approach to the people of Germany and the countries he captured. Can life really be this hopeless? Will people succumb to pressures that dehumanize them? Will love, compassion and such emotions become a thing of the past? Key character of this novel is Winston Smith who deep in his heart believes there can be a better world than the one in which he lives. He falls in love with Julia who has similar beliefs and they have a love affair. Of course, they are caught, suffer torture, demeaning experiences and brainwashing. The negative theme of the book continues to the last page. For me it was a depressing but thought provoking read. Perhaps, we all should read 1984.
Step into Tokyo of the year 1984 and the lives of Aomame and Tengo, two young people whose existences converge in a strange way. Aomame is a fitness expert who has trains extensively and her services are in demand by numerous clients. Tengo is a child prodigy who chose to teach while he aspires to be a writer. The two were in grade school together when an incident occurred that became a childhood memories that neither can forget. It was a simple encounter. She greeted him, smiled and touched his hand. He, tongue tied , said nothing and she walked away but the incident was not forgotten by either.
Fast forwards into 19184, late for her appointment, Aomame in a taxi caught in a traffic jam but the driver tells her she can use a stairway off the freeway. She does and encounters a strangeness. It's a parallel time that she calls 1Q84. The Q stands for question mark where she exists but many things around her are changed.
Tengo has been asked by his literary agent to rewrite a novel written by a seventeen-year-old to submit it for a writing contest. While the collaboration is unethical, he is persuaded to work with the young writer. Of course, the novel wins the contest and becomes so widely read that he fears his involvement will be discovered with dire consequences.
The author weaves a complex plot with a parallel period including murder, strict religious groups - one of which is vindictively seeking Aomame, a wealthy widow whose works protect battered women, an ugly detective searching for Aomame, and a body guard whose training and acumen protect the widow and help Aomame. To survive, Aomame must find Tengo but that's a small part of this lengthy tome. The author has created a fascinating and original story like no other I have read. It took awhile but I kept going, enjoying every page of this well written and thrilling novel. Take the time to read it. It's soo good.
I am not much for self-help books but this one is rather biographical. Shortly after she is married the author discovers that she has MS. As she copes with this difficult disease she finds herself losing her temper, crying, becoming addicted to the medications she is taking and feeling sorry for herself. Finally a friend suggests a strategy to focus on the positive - 29 days of giving. Gifts must be given without hope of receiving return but rather spontaneous and from the heart. All is not easy and this is not a cure all but it eventually helps the author begin to really live her life in spite of her disease. Eventually she begins to work again but not at the levels she worked prior to her diagnosis and finds happiness in her life. It's an interesting process that merits trying. The author includes stories from others who have become involved in 29 days of giving.
Abhorsen by Garth Nix is a wonderful book - the third in a trilogy that began with Sabriel. I can only say that this a book that is fun for both young adults and adults alike to read. It is exciting, imaginative, and so very creative. The characters and creature take on a reality that thrills the reader. All I can say is put this trilogy on your list to read soon - very soon.
Enter WWII and find two soldiers who have different backgrounds, sexual orientation and beliefs. Both enter the war enthusiastically wanting to do their part for England. The difference is that one discovers he prefers men to women. The other swings both ways but denies that aspect of his personality. However, most of the novel is about the battles they fight and the losses their group experiences. What happens to men under stress? This novel shares several different reactions and experiences.
This is a fascinating tale of the mountain man, thoroughly researched by an author who is equally fascinated with his life. I enjoyed the detail, historical notations, and learning about these men who paved the way to the American West. DeVoto is an excellent writer whose intimate involvement with the topic comes through the pages. One can imagine easily what it would have been like to live this type of life - rugged, challenging, physically demanding and independent. It is a book where one finds oneself reflecting often about the mountain man and the areas in which they traveled and lived.
This is a story of essentially two women who lived in time periods one hundred years apart. Sara Smytheâs life begins in 1884 for this novel. She has just landed a job with Theodore Camden, an architect for Dakota apartment in New York, not an easy feat for a servant. Few people understand her as her new employer does. Fast forward into the life of Baily Camden whose cousin, Melinda, lives in this building. Baily's grandfather was a ward of the architect. Baily is just out of rehab recovering from alcoholism and has lost her interior design job. Melinda, a great grand daughter of the architect, comes to her rescue, offering an apartment in the building and the job of renovating her own Dakota apartment.
Baily takes the job even though the remodel will take away the old charm and character of the apartment. It is money which she needs badly with a place to live attached. The architect has lived in this apartment with his wife and three children until he died of stab wounds inflicted by an unhappy employee. Sara Smythe, a former resident of an asylum, was the culprit. Baily sees photos of the woman and notes a startling resemblance to herself. It just couldn't be could it? As she ponders the likeness she begins to think what might have really happened.
The plot is predictable, at least for this reader. As the author set the stage it quickly became obvious. Well written and wonderful characters are an integral part of this novel, which flows well until the climax. Of course there is a lucrative inheritance involved. There was only one factor I did not recognize. Melinda and her twin brother were not related to the architect because the wife had an affair with a poet resulting in pregnancy.
Some books are just plain entertaining. This is one and the characters of Ook and Gluk have adventures that are exciting that they always manage to work through often bumbling and making mistakes as they do.
I found their language much like what one first hears from small children. And, the spelling is phonetic which is how children first spell words. In the words of the charactes, Me loved it. This is a read that I would recommend to small children. I don't think they could resist the charm of the characters and their antics.
This is a little book with a big message. It's the retold story of Sir Gwain the True, the Undefeated Knight. When he rescues a damsel in distress and danger from a dragon she tries to thank him but he ignores her and moves on. Just another day in the life of the undefeated! Obviously, ego surfaced in rudeness.
Of course, Sir Gwain is respected by his fellow knights and King Athur. When he meets Green Knight the two fight agreeing to trade blows. Sir Gwain gets in the first blow but when he removes the knight's head the knight picks up the head and rides away. The next time they meet the Green Knight will have the first blow and Sir Gwain may well lose his life. Sir Gwain's adventures continue when he meets Gologras who refuses to swear fealty to King Arthur. Arthur insists that Sir Gwain must meet Golgras to settle the matter.
The tale is full of humorous incidents that make the reader smile. The battles are funny and seem more like physical disagreements with knockdowns, bruises, broken weapons and unseating from their horses. The messages are simple. Keep your promises and be true to your nature reminding us that even in a children's book there are messages for adults.
Fun read! I've seen the movie several times and found that the book was true to the video retelling most of the time. I love these characters whether they are played by Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart or found in print form where I can form my own view of them in my mind. It's a great read and a great movie. I enjoyed this read so much.
What a wonderful story! A 13-year-old girl named Kim travels to Africa with her journalist mother. She has so many questions about her father and her mother's homeland that she feels ready to burst but her mother remains silent about her father. Who was he? What was he like? Would he love her? Why did he never contact her in Canada? She finds the answers to all of these questions as her mother works on her African assignment. Her mother has been estranged from her family and her homeland for so many years that the visit is fraught with stress, pain and uncertainty. All of this was tied up in apartheid and the struggle for equality among the African peoples. This is an outstanding story and I recommend it to those who wish to understand more about such issues. I learned so very much from those who were involved.
This tale is a takeoff on our favorite story about Alice. The story is different as Alice's friend, Ada, goes looking for her and falls down the rabbit hole.
Maguire has a different style but it's well done nevertheless. In my opinion this author rarely disappoints. I didn't expect another one about Alice. Some of the characters are the same but others are new and the discoveries are just as much fun. Nicely done.
After Hamelin is a lovely, lovely book with poetic words and phrases and heartfelt times. Penelope is the main character, seen both as a child and as an elderly woman. She is 101 years old as she begins to tell the tale and talks about preparing for death. She wants others to know her story, from this day to 90 years before when she was just 11. It starts with the beginning of the Pied Piper tale. Penelope is preparing for her elevening (when the Hamelin children determine their gift/talent). She hopes that she is meant to make harps as the Piper takes away the rats.
Arriving on her 11th birthday, the Pied Piper takes away all the children including her older sister and friends. The only children remaining are the Harper's (Penelope's father's) blind apprentice and Penelope who is deaf. Penelope wants to rescue the children even though she disliked some for how they treated her. She discovers that her gift is deep dreaming. She can go into a dream world with other deep dreamers, including the Pied Piper and the children. What happens in the dream world can become reality.
Following the advice of a town elder, Penelope, through her gift of deep dreaming, finds old friends (Scally and Alloway the blind boy) and makes new friends (Belle the Trolavian and Quentin the dragon). So the adventure begins providing the reader with fFun, imaginative characters mixed with mysticism, silliness and melancholy.
Agent Garbo was an ingenuous double spy who deceived the Germans again and again during WWII. Working with British colleagues to create a large fictional army the Nazis were fooled as to the position of troops as the Allies prepared for invasion of Germany. He even misled the Germans as to where the invasion would begin.
A highly creative and imaginative individual, Juan Pujol became Garbo, a double agent who created a vast network of mythical spies to dupe the enemy. His reports to the Germans contained just enough truth to be believed so often that they relied on him to verify their spy messages even into Dday. It was originally difficult to convince the British that he was giving the Nazis misinformation and that he really wanted to be a double agent. Working with individuals such as Kim Philby to agents ande Tricycle, Pujul time and again led the Nazis astray. As the war rolls on he even tricks his wife for the cause.
Using his imagination and incredible talent, he was even able to convince Hitler that the landing at Normandy (D-Day) was not the main invasion and tanks and troops elsewhere should be held elsewhere. Once the invasion began, Hitler was so convinced that it was a decoy for the real invasion at Calais. another two months. Pujul was the only person in WWII awarded the Iron Cross by Germany and the OBE (Order of the British Empire).
This incredible story is well researched and documented. Reading like a novel, it's a real life story that is almost too incredible to be believed. Highly recommended!
This cross genre book features two ghosts who haunt a house purchased by the Farber family. The daughter, Denise, tells the story. One ghost is determined to injure residents while the other warns and protects them. The house is probably where a rather famous comic author died. Rumor has it, too, that there is a body hidden somewhere within.
Following huricane Katrina, the family moved into an abandoned house with plans to restore it and open a bed and breakfast. As work commences strange things begin to happen. There are footsteps and the sound of someone humming. At first none of the family members share their experiences.
Denise discovers a a hand drawn and illustrated comic book that she finds has never been published. As she reads accidents begin to plague family members. The father falls through the rotted porch. The daughter injures her hand on rusty screws in the stair bannister and the chandelier falls but a warning from the friendly ghost avoids injuries. She soon realizes that the accidents coincide with those related in the comic book. As the family struggles with finances their hopes to restore the house begin to fade. Can they accomplish their dream or will the ghosts end it all?
It's a wonderful read. I have put more of this author's work on my TBR as he writes so very well. This is a tale of a shepherd boy named Santiago who wants to travel in spite of his father's wish that he become a priest. The father stakes the boy who buys himself some sheep. He travels throughout Andulasia with his herd, getting to know the land and the people. However, he has a dream that he asks an old woman to interpret and with this interpretation sets off to see the pyramids in Egypt where he is to find treasure and become rich. The key message of the tale is to follow our dreams. Never give up say the people the boy meets and so says the author as well in an interview in the back of the book. It's simple, inspiring and a delight to read so friends read this one and get a new look on your own life in spite of whatever obstacles you encounter and like Santiago you may find your dreams can come true. Above all, don't give up.
This is medieval murder mystery set in Lincoln, England during the summer of the year 1200. A Templar Knight, Bascot de Marins, is questioning his faith while trying to decide tbo return to the Templers or leave it. Assigned to the sheriff of Lincoln, he has returned to England after seven years in prison where he lost an eye and suffered an injured ankle during torture by the Sarceans. With him, he brought an energetic young mute he found on the docks. While Gianni cannot speak his bright personality makes him appreciated by all he meets. Bascot has found himself treating the youngster as he would a son.
Many of the characters are so well developed that the reader almost underestimates Bascot because of his quiet and unassuming manner. That is how Bascot prefers it. He has been asked by Lady Nicolaa to investigate the murders of three individuals found apparently stabbed in an alehouse as a local festival is to begin. With the three is the owner of the establishment with his head bashed in.
Bascot finds tension mounting among the various suspects as he searches for clues to lead him to the killer. There is much distrust of the Jewish community because some are quick to believe that someone of that faith may be involved. As the investigation builds a local priest is killed by a knife thrust to his chest. Is the same killer responsible?
There are few clues for the reader to untangle as Bascot works his way through the various suspects and potential motives. I missed some obvious indications as the story unfolded. Thus the unveiling of the killer was a surprise. That individual showed no remorse about the killings even seeming to brag about the results.
I totally enjoyed this mystery, giving it five stars instead of the usual four I assign to most mystery readings. The author did so well with characterization, the plot and writing style that I intend to look for more of her work. It's a good, good read.
Wonderful read about a woman driven by her belief that nonhuman species can communicate with man. The author grew up quite alone except for a bird to which she told her deepest secrets. Her father traveled a good deal and her mother was angry because she needed to stay home with a child. And, yes, as a child Irene Pepperberg recognized the anger was because of her.
As she grew up she decided that science, chemistry in particular, would be her major. Graduating with a PhD she realized that she did not want to do research in chemistry but with birds. Reading everything she could find about the topic she decided that she could work with grey parrots and acquired one of her own which she named Alex. Finding funding and laboratory space was difficult because she had no track record in this area nor was it an accepted area of scientific research. But Pepperberg was determined and through years of grant writing, training and teaching Alex, and living often from hand to mouth she gradually gained prestige for her work.
Alex was an unusual bird, probably a genius of his kind as he developed communication far beyond what anyone else had accomplished with a nonhuman species. He became a celebrity on the television screens and in newspapers. He learned numbers, colors, shapes and how to communicate in short phrases with his human handlers. The story is delightful and broked scientific ground as the public learned what is possible with a nonhuman species. I loved this read.