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Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain

READ IT!

Guys…this book is fantastic. I will admit that I do tend to judge a book by its cover and, initially, this was one of those. I liked the shade of blue, and I love golden retrievers (that is to say, I love the idea of golden retrievers), so this book caught my eye. Then, when I read the first few pages I totally got sucked in! That’s the key for me. If I find myself wondering about what I’m going to make for dinner while I’m ‘test-reading’ a book, I end up putting it back. But when I find myself thinking ‘Eh, Curtis can make dinner tonight….I’m just gonna read’, then I know it’s a keeper. 🙂

The part about this book that makes it special is that it’s written in the dog’s voice. You’re seeing the story of a family from beginning to end from Enzo’s perspective. And it is fantastically perceptive. I don’t have a dog, I kind of have half a cat (a stray that hangs around because Curtis feeds her but she won’t let us touch her…?), so I wasn’t sure if this story about ‘man’s best friend’ would affect me, but it did. Enzo has all kinds of theories on life and what an amazing human he would be if he comes back in his next life as a human. You see the duality of his mind as he behaves like a dog (greeting other dogs by sniffing each other) and then uses his knowledge gathered from various TV stations to comment with surprising insight on why the lack of opposable thumbs and a voice are the only thing separating him from being an ‘amazing’ human. I found myself viewing animals in a different way- I know they don’t think like we do, but I do sometimes forget that they are living things. It was emotional to read, because there is such love between Enzo and his owner, Denny, and when conflicts unfold and emotions run high in the book I find myself wishing Enzo really had a voice so Denny could truly understand the loyalty he had in his ‘best friend’.

All in all, I highly recommend this book. It’s a great relaxing read that’s perfect to take on a vacation or read slowly when you have time.

Just to warn you though- If you don’t have a dog, you’ll want one by the time you’re done. If you do have a dog, you’re going to look at him/her differently (in a good way). I may have shed a tear or two while reading. But that’s just how I am- I’m that person that forgets that characters in books aren’t real, and I totally immerse myself in what I read.

Definitely a feel-good book.

Enjoy!

-K

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Filed under Books, Family, Pets

Bedside Books: The Good Earth

This book has been in my “Top 5” category for the past ten years. Possibly even “Top 3”. The Good Earth is one of a few books that has had a place on my bedside table since I was in Jr. High. I don’t know what it is about those books on my table- its almost like I can’t fall asleep unless I know I have the option of re-reading one of them.

I don’t know why K and I both love to re-read books- I mean, there are so many books out there that you could probably read for the rest of your life and never have to re-read anything. Come to think of it, I can think of a book about that very concept!! See what I mean? There’s really no excuse to re-read things. Yet, we do. And I think we do have some good reasons.

The Good Earth is the life story of a poor farmer in China before World War II. His father gives Wang Lung a freed slave as a wife, and together, they bear the brunt of living a hand to mouth existence. However, through hard work and frugality the couple manages to enlarge their property and make a better life for themselves. The story continues with it’s ups and downs as famine and drought force them to leave their home and ride the ‘firewagon’ to an unknown city to find work. Wang Lung’s wife and children are forced to turn to begging while Wang Lung pulls a rickshaw to feed his family. He longs to return to his land to continue farming, and worries that his children will grow up as thieves because they steal to feed themselves.

His life takes another drastic turn when Wang Lung unwillingly joins a mob that is looting a  rich man’s house. Wang lung manages to escape with enough gold to bring his family back home and start a new life. From then on, his sons grow up and Wang Lung faces the new difficulty of living a wealthy life and all of its hidden thorns.

Pearl S. Buck is an amazing author, and I highly recommend this book to all. If you have been looking for that next ‘Argh I can’t put it down!!’ book, I promise you , this is it. It is historical fiction, and its voice is a little different that most books today because it takes place in the early 1900’s.

You’re gonna love it, guys. Go grab a cold drink, sit in a shady spot outside, and enjoy.

~M

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Filed under Books, Family, Work