I first came across a mention of Robert M. Saplosky on Metafilter and I was a little interested, so I did what any librarian might do, and ordered one of his books. To be honest my expectations weren’t all that high. My personal reading challenge for 2010 might be to read more non-fiction, but at the same time I know that non-fiction often requires more concentration and time than fiction, and then there was the fact that Sapolsky is a neurobiologist, and to be totally honest I really didn’t think it’d be all that interested. But I challenged myself, and was I ever glad that I did because from the opening page this really is a delight to read. …
I’ve had this book on my shelves for years now. It was on sale for half-price when I bought it; that’s the only reason I own it in hardback. I much prefer paperbacks, more practical. Since I bought the book it has been made into a film and become even more famous. To be honest the film looked god-awful, so I didn’t bother to watch it. But I always knew I’d eventually read the book, and when better than on a lazy Sunday when I should have been cleaning the apartment?
I’m sure everyone knows the story. A newly married couple decide to get a dog, and so buy a labrador puppy, who grows up into the world’s worst dog. Only of course he isn’t the world’s worst, he simply has some bad habits. Very bad habits that include his destruction of numerous items. But at heart Marley is a sweet good-natured dog whose labrador-ish optimism teachers his owners all about life and, eventually, loss.
We’ve been on a bit of an “animal-human relationship” kick at work lately. I chose this one at random one afternoon. It is the second book that the author Jon Katz wrote about his life after meeting Devon/Orson, the border collie. he has many others detailing his life with other dogs. But Orson was his “once in a lifetime” dog. The one that changes your life.
I first heard about this book on Metafilter when Susan Klebold, mother of one of the killers, had an article in O Magazine. Before that I had never been interested in the shooting. Not beyond the evils of rubber-necking at some one else’s tragedy. But the discussion there seemed to suggest that this was a well-thought out and reasoned look at the community surrounding the school, as well as the killers themselves. And the author, Cullen, believed that the popular myths about the shootings shouldn’t stand unchallenged.
Mary Eleanor Bowes was born in 1749. Her father was extremely wealthy and, unusually for the time, had her well educated. A most eligible young woman, not least because she was the richest heiress in C18th Britain. Her first wedding was nothing unusual for the time. Pretty loveless and to an older man it wasn’t a romantic love match. Her second, to a dashing young soldier, was. Mary Eleanor probably hadn’t intended to marry Andrew Robinson Stoney, but upon hearing that he had fought a duel for her honour and was laying on his deathbed wishing for nothing but her hand in marriage… well, who could resist that romance!
This is not my usual sort of book. But I guess one of the perks of working in a public library means that you can grab something on impulse just because it crossed your desk. Whatever the reason was I started reading this book, which meant that unless it was atrocious I was most likely going to finish. And finish I did, so you can work it out for yourself.