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Books, Dogs, and Other Blogs

“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”


Currently reading

Drums of Autumn
Diana Gabaldon
The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America
Gerald Horne
Clued In: How to Keep Customers Coming Back Again and Again (paperback)
Lewis Carbone

It's been a long long (long loooong) time....

But I am here, and still alive and kicking, and have just been flying under the radar for a while (hmm, since January I guess). 


I had some personal set backs in winter of last year, and after that I just completely lost the desire and focus to read.  Which was very strange for me, considering that reading has always been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I've never had a time where I haven't been reading.  So for the past several months, I've picked up books, and read the same paragraphs over and over again, and then put them down.  I tried all genres, books I had been looking forward to for a long time, and just could never get into them.  I found myself enjoying zoning out in little iphone games and staring at the tv and playing around with my dog and cooking (mmm, the foods have gotten good).  But recently I've found myself venturing back here, and picking up books again, and I've enjoyed reading so I feel much more like myself.  And I've missed all of you here and your updates and posts.  So I wanted to say that I'm still low-flying these days, but not completely off the grid like before.  I'm around, and hope to see more of you again.



Kekekeke, I love a good bookbook!

Are you for real??

Reflected in You - Sylvia Day

I mean really, this is where we're taking this series?


really animated GIF


I don't know what possessed me to read the second book after hating the first book so much, but I really hated this one even more. 


The sex isn't sexy, Gideon isn't all that, oh and by the way....


spoilers ahead....


read more »
This isn't Buddy Brown, but it very well could be.
This isn't Buddy Brown, but it very well could be.

Stalled on my readings, and other tidbits.

I've totally stalled out on my readings ever since Buddy had his surgery.  I just completely lost interest in the books I was reading (even though they were very interesting) and I can't quite hold my attention long enough to read more than a couple of pages at a time.  I hope this goes back to normal as Buddy continues to improve. 


He got his staples out, and his incision healed nicely, except for one small area at the top of his chest where a couple of the staples popped out (just from pooch being a pooch).  Not a super big deal though, they cleaned it and bandaged it and I just have to watch it to make sure it continues healing.


Here he is looking too cute.  ZOMG that face.



What I have been doing instead of reading is youtubing.  Lots and lots of youtubing.  Watching youtubes I mean.  I've discovered all sorts of channels, and since each video is between 2 and 20 minutes, it's just short enough to hold my attention. 


Also, I've totally neglected to mention my new year's resolutions/activities.  So I don't really do very much for myself usually, aside from buy books.  And I'm kind of in a weird phase where lots of my clothes are left over from college/grad school, and when I dress up for work I feel like I'm wearing my mom's clothes.  So I'm in a bit of a rut. I also have zero skin care routine, and I should probably start at least moisturizing (yikes), but being able to play with make up sometimes would be fun, I just don't know where to begin.  So, I got a subscription to Stitch Fix and Birch Box to get me started, and my boxes arrive this week or next, and I'm really excited.  When the whole thing with Buddy happened (which was expensive) my first thought was that I should cancel my subscriptions because I didn't want to spend money on myself.  But isn't this the way it always goes?  That I sacrifice of myself when I should be taking care of myself the most?  So I'm holding firm and getting my boxes and hopefully will get some joy from them.

Sunning it.
Sunning it.

Buddy Brown update!


So Buddy has been home with us since Monday evening, and he's been adjusting and recovering very well.  He has a 10" bandage on his tummy covering his incision and staples.  I have to remove the bandage tonight (eeeeeesh, maybe will make hubby do it).  Because of the incision, we have to keep him very calm, and as still as possible at all times.  No playing, walks limited to 10 minutes, no going up or down stairs unsupervised (he has to be on a leash), no stepping up of any kind.  This means no beds or couches.  So we've been camping out in our spare bedroom, with a futon mattress on the floor so that it can be an accessible height for Buddy.  He loves to snuggle in the middle of the night, and I'm so used to it it doesn't even wake me up anymore.  And, he can get on and off the futon whenever he likes.


Here, Buddy shows off his sunbathing skills.  Looks like the pain killers are working, since he seems quite comfortable. 


Thanks so much for your love, support and good wishes.  Buddy thanks you too. 

Creepy, and dark, and depressing, but still good.

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

Really, if I had to sum it up, creepy, dark, depressing and good would just about do it.  I'm not sure if it was just my kindle edition of the book, but most of the dialogue was missing quotations.  At first I thought it was intentional, since it gave everything a very monotone quality in my head, and on the page.  But then I noticed that some dialogue was in quotes, and I started to try to and find some sort of meaning behind it.  At first, dialogue with outsiders was in quotes, but then it seemed kind of random and became distracting.  Not sure what was up with that, but I didn't really like it. 


The book was a bit slower moving than I'd like.  It took about 30% of the book to really get to the "reveal" about what was going on.  And I'm still very on the fence about the ending.  Because really, what happened there?  No spoilers, just.........yeah. 


It was good because I appreciated the POV, and the sense that this could all really happen and isn't all that far fetched, which is especially creepy.  And I breezed through this in a day, so it's not like it was a slog.  I think I was depressed by the depressing tone though.  I would definitely recommend, and would read other books by her too.  Fingers crossed they are not quite as dismal though.

Buddy, equipped with tangerine tango go-go boot.
Buddy, equipped with tangerine tango go-go boot.

Well, it was a very scary weekend for us.  On Friday night, Buddy was rushed to the ER for emergency surgery.  He had bloat with stomach torsion (also called GDV), which you can read more about here.  Adult dogs of larger breeds or "barrel-chested" dogs are more prone to bloat, but it doesn't always result in the stomach twisting.  Buddy actually had bloat once before, which was a lot like you'd imagine -- distended tummy, lots of discomfort but not exactly painful, which resolved on its own.  This time though, he was yelping and retching but not vomiting, along with the bloated belly.  Anyway, within 15 minutes of arriving at the ER, they had completed the XRays, diagnosed him, relieved the pressure in his tummy and stabilized him for surgery.  He was in the hospital for almost 4 days, and yesterday evening I picked him up.  Everything went very smoothly during surgery and recovery, and he's doing well at home.  I, on the other hand, woke up every 2 hours to make sure he was OK.  Buddy slept through the night without issue.


We were totally surprised by the sudden onset and severity of this condition, and this happens in otherwise healthy dogs, with no at all symptoms beforehand.  If you have any of the following dog breeds (or a barrel-chested dog like Bud), please please please take a minute to read the article linked above so you can recognize the signs of bloat and torsion, just in case.  The sooner your pooch gets medical attention, the better the chances are to save their life.  We are counting our lucky stars this year that Buddy was able to pull through. 


From article above:

Great Dane, German Shepherd Dog, St. Bernard, Labrador Retriever, Irish Wolfhound, Great Pyrenees, Boxer, Weimaraner, Old English Sheepdog, Irish Setter, Collie, Bloodhound, and Standard Poodle. Chinese Shar-Pei and Basset Hounds have the highest incidence among midsize dogs. Small dogs are rarely affected, with the exception of Dachshunds, who are also deep-chested.

Fun, interesting and page-turny!

What Alice Forgot - Liane Moriarty

I had a lot of fun with this book.  I don't want to give anything away, but it's about a 39 year old woman who suffers a head injury, and wakes up with no memory of the last 10 years.  So many things have changed for her, including having three kids, none of which she remembers.  Part of the fun of this book is trying to make sense of it all.  What has happened?  Who has she become?  And does she want to be this new person who has developed? 


It was sort of like Before I Go To Sleep except not as dark.  There were a lot of funny moments with Alice, and Moriarty creates a very relatable character through a very unrelatable circumstance.

I wanted to like this more.

Yellow Star - Jennifer Roy

The premise sounded better than its delivery.


The story is of the Lodz ghetto in Poland, and of the 270,000 Jews that were put in, only 800 survived.  12 were children, and Sylvia (the author's aunt) was one of them.  This is the retelling of her experience as a young child of 4 when the ghetto was established, and aged 10 when they were liberated. 


It's a fascinating premise, and if I retell it here, it makes a great story.  It's written in free verse, each line is 3-5 words, 8-10 lines per "paragraph" and maybe only 3 or 4 paragraphs per event.  Each event is told in chronological order, but are pretty disconnected, jumping from scene to scene.  There isn't much in the way of transition, just a string of memories and events.  Because it's told from a child's perspective, it struck me as very YA.  The book only took me about an hour to read because of the way it's written.  I think it would make a good introduction to WWII for a child who is mature to read about such things.  The YA-nature of the book was really unexpected for me, which is why I gave it the lower score.  If it was a bit meatier, I think I would have enjoyed it more.

Very nostalgic read.

The Boston Girl: A Novel - Anita Diamant

This is the first book by Anita Diamant that I've read, and now the TBR grows (again).  I loved her writing, the way she described the environment and surroundings was just enough to paint a clear picture, but not caught up in meaningless details. 


The book is from the POV of Addie, both as a grandmother and as a young woman.  She tells her own story to her granddaughter.  She is from a Jewish Russian immigrant family who settled in Boston, and had no shortage of tragic times before and after the move.  The story that Addie tells reminded me so much of my great-grandmother (my GG).  Addie was born in 1900 in Boston from a Russian family (I don't think they say exactly where), and my GG was born in 1907 in Poland and immigrated to New York in 1921.  There were so many times in this book that I had to remind myself that this is a work of fiction, not a memoir.  Addie's story was told so personally, and so realistically, that it could have been told from my GG's mouth.  It made me think of her a lot, since their experiences would have been very similar.  Some of the things Addie said, I could just hear in my GG's voice. 


"A girl should always have her own money so she's never beholden to anyone."  I said that was very modern of her, but she didn't think so.  "As far as I can tell, common sense hasn't been in fashion for a long time."




"Never apologize for being smart."


It's hard to pick out specific quotes, since its really just the whole essence and attitude of Addie that reminds me of her.  But both Addie and my GG were very modern, spunky, independent women.


Although I love the cover of the book, this is a picture of my GG when she got married.



I think she's 18 in this picture.  My great-grandfather died in 1980, just before I was born, and she was never interested in meeting anyone new.  She lived another 25 years, and I am so glad I got to know her like I did.


Personally, I really enjoyed this book.  But, I'm not sure if someone with a different background would be able to relate to this as much.  It would still be an entertaining story, but I don't know if it would strike the same chord.  It was mostly a story of character development, not so much in the way of plot.  But it made me feel like I got to spend a few more hours with my GG, which I loved.


I won a copy of this book through GoodReads First Reads.

My great-grandmother's wedding portrait.
My great-grandmother's wedding portrait.

This is to go along with my review for The Boston Girl, to follow shortly. 

From Buddy Brown to you, merry Christmas.  :) 


Foto cred to the hubby.

Some good, some bad.

The Sales Bible: The Ultimate Sales Resource, Revised Edition - Jeffrey Gitomer

This is a book that I read for work, and parts of it really made me cringe.  I'm in sales, and I hate the stereotype of the sleazy sales person.  I pretty much make it my job to do everything I can not to be that person, in work and in general. 


Minus one star for this book being really technologically dated.  When was this published?  (That's not a rhetorical question.)  There were tips about managing your client contacts and following up with people (good advice) but that you should do so by using sticky notes and index cards.  I have to imagine this was before computers and client management programs? 


Minus one star for certain parts being incredibly cheesy.  I think it was just his general approach that gave me that sort of sleazy feel.  Some of his helpful hints I would never use.


Plus one star for being really easy to read.  Fonts bolded and different sizes, easy to flip through to the section you want, this was almost like an easy reference manual.  Other sales books I've read are written like, well, a regular book, with paragraph after paragraph and chapter after chapter.  This was much easier visually to digest.


And plus one star for some very helpful tidbits and approaches, though they were buried in some real muck.

A different kind of Holocaust survival story.

The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust - Susan Dworkin, Edith Hahn Beer

This book was the first in a long time that made me stay up way past my bed time.  I've read numerous stories of concentration camp survivors, and of people who were in hiding, but I've never read a story of a "U-Boat," Jews who hid in plain sight.  This gave a completely new perspective, and also shed light on what it was like to be a civilian during this time.  This is Edith's memoir of her early adulthood in Austria, and how she navigated the early 1940s as Jew, and survived.  I can't say much about how she did that because that's the entire point of the story, but I will say that it was fascinating, and not something I've heard before, at least not as a long term survival strategy.  She also gives her account of what conditions ordinary people were living in, what they knew and didn't know, and how life changed for the general population over the course of the war. 


I find it hard to read war stories, particularly WWII stories.  But I think I'd describe this more as a personal memoir during wartime, more about her own experiences, rather than the war itself.  You can read her obituary which also gives a synopsis of the story as well.

Updated:  made the video linkable since I think it may have been playing music without having to press play, and I don't want to be *that girl.*


Where has this video been all my life?  Because Lebron.  Because.  Lebron.


Here is another, for your viewing pleasure.  FFWD to 0:55 if you must.  Have I shared this already?  I seemingly can't get enough. 


Because Lebron.