Thursday, August 23, 2012

Reading Lists - Dogs in fiction

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human only a dog could tell it.

Unsaid by Neil Abramson
Neil Abramson explores the beauty and redemptive power of human-animal relationships and the true meaning of communication in all of its diverse forms.  The narrator, Helena, was a veterinarian before her death. Now she is a silent observer of the life she left behind—her shattered attorney husband, David; her houseful of damaged but beloved animals; and her final project, Cindy, a chimpanzee trained to use sign language. When Cindy is scheduled for a research experiment that will undoubtedly take her life, an explosive courtroom drama unfolds.

Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson
Tracy Waterhouse leads a quiet, ordered life as a retired police detective—a life that takes a surprising turn when she encounters Kelly Cross, a habitual offender, dragging a young child through town. She makes a snap decision. Suddenly burdened with a small child, Tracy soon learns her parental inexperience is actually the least of her problems.  Meanwhile, Jackson Brodie, a detective, is embarking on a different sort of rescue—that of an abused dog. Dog in tow, Jackson is about to learn, along with Tracy, that no good deed goes unpunished.

I Thought You Were Dead by Peter Nelson
For Paul Gustavson, life is a succession of obstacles, a minefield of mistakes to stumble through.  Still, Paul has his friends at Bay State bar, a steady line of cocktails, and Stella. Stella is Paul’s dog. She listens with compassion to all his complaints about the injustices of life and gives him better counsel than any human could. Their relationship is at the heart of this poignantly funny and deeply moving story about a man trying to fix his past in order to save his future.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose remarkable gift for companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong friend and ally. Edgar seems poised to carry on his family's traditions, but when catastrophe strikes, he finds his once-peaceful home engulfed in turmoil.

Dog on It by Spencer Quinn
Chet might have flunked out of police school (“I’d been the best leaper in K-9 class, which had led to all the trouble in a way I couldn’t remember exactly, although blood was involved”), but he’s a detective through and through. In Dog On It, Chet and Bernie investigate the disappearance of a teenage girl who may or may not have been kidnapped, but who has definitely gotten mixed up with some very unsavory characters.

Dog Tags by David Rosenfelt
A German Shepherd police dog witnesses a murder and if his owner—an Iraq war vet and former cop-turned-thief—is convicted of the crime, the dog could be put down. Few rival Andy Carpenter's affection for dogs, and he decides to represent the poor canine. As Andy struggles to convince a judge that this dog should be set free, he discovers that the dog and his owner have become involved unwittingly in a case of much greater proportions than the one they've been charged with. Andy will have to call upon the unique abilities of this ex-police dog to help solve the crime and prevent a catastrophic event from taking place.

Nose Down, Eyes Up by Merrill Markoe
At 47, Gil is the world’s oldest 22-year-old man, living in relative contentment with his four dogs, including the alpha, Jimmy. When he stumbles upon Jimmy delivering lectures on canine manipulative techniques to the rest of the dogs in the neighborhood, Gil’s not particularly surprised, and his eyes light up with dollar signs. But their money-making venture has barely begun when chatty canine Jimmy realizes the shocking truth: he’s adopted.

A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron
Buddy is a good dog. After searching for his purpose through several eventful lives, Buddy is sure that he has found and fulfilled it. Yet as he watches curious baby Clarity get into dangerous mischief, he is certain that this little girl is very much in need of a dog of her own. When Buddy is reborn, he realizes that he has a new destiny. He's overjoyed when he is adopted by Clarity, now a vibrant but troubled teenager. When they are suddenly separated, Buddy despairs—who will take care of his girl?

Walking in Circles Before Lying Down by Merrill Markoe
Dawn’s only source of security and comfort, it seems, is Chuck, a pit-bull mix from the pound. So, when her boyfriend announces that he’s leaving her for another woman, a despairing Dawn turns to Chuck for solace. “I should have said something sooner,” Chuck confides, as he tries to console her. “Couldn’t you smell her on his pants?” Dawn is stunned. It’s one thing to talk to your pets, but what do you do when they start talking back? It’s not just Chuck, either; she can hear all dogs—and man’s best friend has a lot to say.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Reading lists - Fictional schools

School starts today! Here's a fun list of fictional schools for adults and children that the editors of Flavorwire would love to attend. I think this is a great list! What schools would you add?

  1. Jordan College, The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (YAF Pul)
  2. Battle School, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (F Ca)
  3. The Unseen University, Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett (F Pra)
  4. Wayside School, Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar (J SC Sa)
  5. Brakebills, The Magicians by Lev Grossman (F Gro)
  6. Ms. Frizzle's School, The Magic School Bus books by Joanna Cole
  7. Llanabba, Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh (Classic PB Wau)
  8. Hampden College, The Secret History by Donna Tartt (F Ta)
  9. Crunchem Hall Primary School, Matilda by Roald Dahl (J F Da)
  10. Hogwarts, Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (YAF Row)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Reading lists - Julia Child

Normally we stick to fiction and narrative non-fiction on this blog, but it's a special occasion! Today would have been Julia Child's 100th birthday. To celebrate, why not read a biography about the great lady? How about cooking something special from one of her groundbreaking cookbooks, such as Mastering the Art of French Cooking? If you're in the mood for a laugh, you may want to read or watch Julie & Julia. Bon appétit!


Appetite for Life by Noel Riley Fitch
An account of Julia Child's life, from her youth as a California girl, to her years at Smith College and as a volunteer during World War II where she met her husband who introduced her to the art of French cuisine. (Bio Child Julia)

As Always, Julia by Julia Child and Avis DeVoto
Shares the previously unpublished correspondence between the iconic celebrity chef and her unofficial literary agent from 1952 to 1965, offering insight Julia's early experiences as a new bride in Paris, her support of her diplomat husband, and her views on period politics. (641.5092 Rea)

Dearie by Bob Spitz
Draws on the iconic culinary figure's personal diaries and letters to present a one-hundredth birthday commemoration that offers insight into her role in shaping women's views and influencing American approaches to cooking.(Bio Child Julia)

My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme
Here is the captivating story of Julia Child's years in France, where she fell in love with French food and found "her true calling." From the moment she and her husband Paul, who worked for the USIS, arrived in the fall of 1948, Julia had an awakening that changed her life. Filled with her husband's beautiful black-and-white photographs as well as family snapshots.(Bio Child Julia)


From Julia Child’s Kitchen by Julia Child
One of Child’s first—and most successful—cookbooks. Using a very accessible approach to French cooking from an American point of view, here are recipes and techniques for the beginner as well as the more advanced cook, using easily available ingredients for everything from soups and appetizers to dessert. (641.5 Chi)

In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs by Julia Child
The popular television chef joined forces with twenty-six master cooks from across the country to present a collection of 150 recipes representing a variety of American and ethnic cuisine. (641.5 Ch)

Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home by Julia Child and Jacques Pépin
Two legendary cooks invited readers into their kitchen to learn the basics of good home cooking. Readers will sense the pleasure the two are having cooking together, tasting, exchanging ideas, joshing with each other, and raising a glass to savor the fruits of their labor. They demonstrate that cooking is endlessly fascinating and challenging and, while ultimately personal, it is a joy to be shared. (641.5944 Chi)

Julia Child & Company by Julia Child
Julia Child's inimitable ways of coping with common kitchen dilemmas are shared along with menus and recipes that range from a vegetarian caper and lobster soufflé to a country dinner of leek and rabbit pie. (641.5 Ch)

Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child
Julia Child gave extensive answers to countless common kitchen questions over the course of her career. Over the years she also developed some new approaches to old problems, using time-saving equipment and more readily available products. Find decades’ worth of answers compiled here. (641.5 Chi)

Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck
“Anyone can cook in the French manner anywhere,” wrote Mesdames Beck, Bertholle, and Child, “with the right instruction.” And here is the book that, for more than 50 years, has been teaching Americans how. (641.5944 Chi)

The Way to Cook by Julia Child
Child blended classic techniques with free-style American cooking and with added emphasis on lightness, freshness, and simpler preparations. To help readers who lack the most basic knowledge, she organized the book by techniques rather than by ingredients. (641.5 Ch)

Julie & Julia

Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
The blogger recounts how she escaped the doldrums of an unpromising career by mastering every recipe in Julia Child's 1961 classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a year-long endeavor that transformed her life. (641.5 Pow)

Julie & Julia
In the 2009 movie based on the book, Meryl Streep plays Julia Child and Amy Adams plays Julie Powell. The movie also draws inspiration from Child’s My Life in France. (DVD F Jul)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Reading Lists - Non-Fiction Dog Narratives

They star in movies.  They survive shipwrecks and live on desert islands.  They stop robberies and solve crimes.  They provide service to the needy.  Perhaps most importantly, they fill our lives with love, joy, and excitement.  Yes, dogs truly are man’s best friend.  Here is a list of true stories involving our fine four-legged friends:

A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz
Best-selling author Dean Koontz’s A Big Little Life may be quite different from his suspense novels, but fans of the writer and dog lovers of all kinds  will enjoy this entertaining and emotional narrative.  Koontz and his wife become first-time dog owners after many years of marriage, and the book tells how Trixie, a Golden Retriever, enriches their lives in unexpected ways.

Born to Bark by Stanley Coren
Psychologist and canine expert Coren, author of many dog training manuals, shares the story of the beloved pet that inspired his research.  In training Flint, a rambunctious but lovable Cairn Terrier, Coren gains new insight into the complex inner lives of our canine companions. 
A Famous Dog’s Life by Sue Chipperton
A Famous Dog’s Life is the biography of Gidget, a Chihuaha famous for a series of Taco Bell commercials.  Told by her owner and trainer, it is an insightful behind-the-scenes account of a dog trainer’s job in Hollywood.  Also included are many delightful anecdotes of Gidget’s life among the stars. 

A Friend Like Henry by Nuala Gardner
Gardner tells the story of her autistic son Dale and the dog that dramatically changed his life.  The family sees almost instantaneous results when they adopt Henry, a Golden Retriever puppy, to help Dale cope with his autism.  Readers will be brought to tears as Henry helps Dale open up to the world around him. 

Last Dog on the Hill by Steve Duno
When Steve Duno finds an injured Rottweiler mix on a hill by the side of a country road, he rescues the puppy, nurses him back to health, and christens him Lou. From these humble beginnings Lou goes on to amass a long list of impressive achievements, including stopping a rapist and preventing a robbery,  while also providing Steve with 16  years of devoted companionship.

Marley & Me by John Grogan
Marley, a Labrador Retriever, is the world’s worst dog.  He is full of energy and is always getting into trouble, yet Grogan and his family love the adorable rascal anyway.  The author goes into great detail about Marley’s 13 years with the Grogans, from his hilarious puppy mishaps to his heartbreaking final days.  A perfect read for anyone who has adopted a dog as a member of the family.    
Merle’s Door by Ted Kerasote
Ted discovers Merle, a Labrador mix, while on a camping trip and decides to bring him home.  Once there, Ted gives Merle the freedom to come and go as he pleases, and the two strike up a unique friendship in which both man and dog learn a great deal from each other.  Merle’s Door is a fascinating book that will cause dog owners to rethink their relationships with their pets.
My Dog Skip by Willie Morris
My Dog Skip is a heartfelt memoir about a boy and his dog growing up together in Mississippi in the  1940s.  The tender nostalgia of Morris’s descriptions of a bygone era merge beautifully with his fond memories of his adventures with Skip, his Fox Terrier.  

Part Wild by Ceiridwen Terrill
Part husky and part wolf, Inoyo is adopted by the author for protective purposes.  As Terrill tries to train Inoyo, she begins to question whether the wolfdog can ever be completely tamed.  An engaging mixture of personal testimony and thorough research, Part Wild is extremely informative and powerfully moving. 

Rin Tin Tin by Susan Orlean
The history of Rin Tin Tin, the famous German Shepherd of countless films, is so amazing that one might believe the story was taken straight from a movie.  Found in the bombed remains of a dog kennel near a battlefield in France during World War I, Rin Tin Tin was brought back to Hollywood, where he would become the biggest box-office draw in the nation.

Scent of the Missing by Susannah Charleson
Charleson and her Golden Retriever, Puzzle, work together as a search-and-rescue team for the Metro Area Rescue K9 unit in Dallas, Texas. Charleson writes about her decision to become involved in search-and-rescue, the intense training she and Puzzle must undergo, and the difficult but rewarding nature of the job.

Sophie: The Incredible True Story of the Castaway Dog by Emma Pearse
A genuinely remarkable tale, Sophie relates the details of an Australian cattle dog’s unbelievable adventures as a castaway.  When Sophie is lost at sea during a storm, she beats incredible odds by swimming six miles to a deserted island, where she survives for five months before being reunited with her owners.

Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalván  
Tuesday is a Golden Retriever with trust issues.  Luis is an Iraq War veteran struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and physical injuries.  When Luis is given Tuesday as a service dog, an incredible bond is formed that brings healing into the life of each.