Monday, August 30, 2010

Looking At Improving Animal's Lives

Book #17 was one that I received from my Twitter friends @BlueberryCat and @KayakGal. They know how much I love animals and shared this book with me. It was "Animals Make Us Human: Creating The Best Life For Animals" by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson. I had seen it while browsing at a book store and had considered buying it, but never did. I'm very glad they sent it to me! Coincidentally, the same night I finished the book (Sunday, August 29, 2010) the Temple Grandin documentary won a ton of Emmys!

This is the second book I have read by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson. The first one was "Animals In Translation". This book was much easier for me to read. I'm not sure if this book had more of Dr. Johnson's voice in it or if the editing was different, but it is much less "staccato" as I described the first book and flowed much better.

The title, "Animals Make Us Human", is a bit misleading, in my opinion. The focus is not so much on how animals effect us, but how we can improve the lives of animals, whether they are our pets, our food, or under our care for conservation.

My favorite chapters in the book were: A Dog's Life (chapter 2), Cats (chapter 3) and Zoos (chapter 9). Obviously, this is because these are the animals that interest me the most. If you are interested in livestock, poultry, or wildlife, you will find chapters discussing these animals as well.

Dr. Grandin is very scientific, so this is not a warm and fuzzy book. She discusses the "Blue-Ribbon Emotions" and how they determine an animal's behavior. It was very interesting to me to see how humans, dogs and cats came to live together thousands of years ago and what drives our relationships today.

If you're up for a challenging yet educational read, check this book out. You are bound to learn something you didn't know before.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The "Warriors" Series Pleases Again

My 16th book of 2010 is the second in the "Warriors" series. "Fire And Ice" by Erin Hunter picks up where "Warriors: Into The Wild" left off. We are once again following Fireheart, the one time kitty-pet who is now a warrior in ThunderClan. In the second book of the series, he is still trying to prove his loyalty to the Clan, all the while dealing with yearnings for his family.

Fireheart is also dealing with feelings of loneliness because he isn't sure who he can trust within his own clan. He is having vivid dreams with mysterious messages of what is to come in the future. He isn't sure what they mean and doesn't know who he can confide in. Something has come between him and his old friend Graystripe, so he can't even turn to him to discuss his suspicions about one of the other warriors within the Clan. At the same time, Fireheart is developing a new friendship where he least expected it.

Like the first book in the series, "Fire And Ice" is a fast read, but has some very tense moments where the reader is on edge wondering where the story is going to go. The end also leaves the reader wanting to read the next in the series to find out what happens. This is definitely a great series for younger readers, but it's not just a series for kids!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Half Way to My Goal With a Cozy Mystery

I'm finally at the halfway mark! I've picked up the pace since returning from Boston, so I should be on track to get the other 15 books read by the end of the year. Three books a month is a reasonable goal and I've got some good ones lined up!

My most recent read, book #15 for the year, was "The Cat, The Quilt And The Corpse" by Leann Sweeney. It is a "cozy mystery" which I was not familiar with, nor was I familiar with the author or her series, "Cats In Trouble" mysteries. I chose this book as part of a book club I came across on Twitter. It was one of three choices for the next meeting and after weighing two of the three titles, I went with this one.

Cozy mysteries are stories that are more lighthearted than other mystery novels. The characters working to solve the mysteries are typically regular people, not detectives, who end up solving the mystery by being persistent. Usually the story is set in a small town and the mystery-solver is a woman.

In this case, Jillian Hart is living in a small town when one of her beloved cats is stolen. Soon, she finds the cat-napper dead in his home. She learns that many cats have gone missing in this little lake town and she is determined to find out what the connection is between the dead man and the missing kitties, despite being dismissed repeatedly by the town's police chief.

The book was fast-paced and had several characters who were looked at as potential suspects. It was fun and interesting trying to figure out who had killed the feline thief and what happened to all of his victims. Jillian and the friends she made along the way were likable characters. She is portrayed as a regular person, kind and bright, who is thrown into an unusual situation and faces it head on.

I really enjoyed how the book flowed and how the story was told by the author. I will definitely be looking for the next book in the series to add to my bookshelves.