This Blog is Dedicated to our dear friend Karen.
When she left this life she left a hole in our hearts as well as several to be read books.
We, her friends, will read these books for her.
This blog will be a sort of book club for us to post our thoughts and feelings about the stories and feelings we have of Karen while we read.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

#411 Be The Pack Leaderby Cesar Millan


(Read as part of our "Reading with Karen" project. I'm kind of surprised she had this book on her to-read list, since her Yorkie Chubbs is such an incredibly good dog. Maybe she watched some of Cesar's show and wanted to learn more about him.)

So many people try to deal with their dogs (and other animals) from a human reference point. They think animals think of things in the same way as humans, and that's just not the case. For example, dogs are pack animals, and they approach things from that pack animal mentality - where do I fit into the pack? What is my "job" in the pack? Who is the pack leader?
On his television show, Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan helps people address problems with their dogs by approaching the problem from that same pack mentality - whether it's a dog not recognizing the "alpha dog" status of its owner, or a dog who's stressed out about conflict among the humans in the household, for example. This book is essentially Millan explaining how pack animals think, and showing readers how to establish themselves as the pack leader in their dogs' minds.
One of the main points made throughout the book is that dogs respond to the energy and non-verbal communication put out by their owners. You place yourself as the pack leader, and keep your dogs from being stressed out, by putting out calm, assertive energy. Millan gives lots of great examples of how this helps you to work out problems with your dogs, but I wish he had done a better job explaining how to project that calm-assertive energy.
There are a few other minor issues that I have with the book, but for the most part, it's a good resource for people trying to establish a strong, respectful relationship with their dog.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

#287 Button Button Uncanny Stories by Richard Matheson


As with any collection of short stories, there are some that really shine,and others that... don't. "Button, Button" is classic Matheson, with that Twilight Zone feel that made him such an important contributor to that show. "Shock Wave" has a similar feel to it. "A Flourish of Strumpets" was a funny take on door-to-door prostitution. "Tis the Season to Be Jelly" was just... strange. But the best piece, in my opinion, was the only poetry piece in the book: "The Jazz Machine".         

Monday, December 5, 2016

#419 Sense and Senibility by Jane Austin


Finally finished this, after over a month of reading it. I read Wuthering Heights not long ago, and it didn't give me *too* much trouble, so I thought this one would be relatively easy. I was so wrong.
First off, Austen's writing is so difficult to follow. Each sentence must have a minimum of eight commas, and there are so many instances of adjectives or clauses not being put anywhere near the word they're describing. There is also Austen's annoying habit of referring to people as "Mrs. So-and-so", but providing no clue as to which of the married women with that surname she is referring. For instance, there are two Mrs. Dashwoods, three Miss Dashwoods, two Miss Steeles, two Mr. Ferrars, etc., etc. This makes things so confusing for the reader. And as I mentioned in my review of Wuthering Heights, I needed a scorecard to understand the interrelationships among the various families: The Dashwood sisters' half brother is married to the Ferrar brothers' sister, and the Steele sisters are somehow related to someone, and Sir John is somebody's cousin, and I don't know what else. And understanding all these relationships is crucial to understanding the plot.

To me, the only redeeming factor was the sense of satisfaction I got when I understood one of Austen's little jokes. And, of course, the satisfaction of finally finishing the book.