Monday, March 21, 2016
February was not a particularly good month for me. I love pictures of happy animals, so I follow a few pages on Facebook that are either rescues or just pages of an individual critter. Two of my favorite pages, Rocky Ridge Refuge and Jamie Samoyed, lost an beloved animal. Rocky Ridge lost one of the most incredible critter ambassadors ever, Butterbean the bull terrier. (For a lovely tribute to Butterbean click here. Much love to Janice.) Jamie Samoyed lost his kitty friend, Fish.
In the midst of all that, I lost my precious kitty Zigamaboo very suddenly. She was only seven years old and had never had any health problems. My vet suspects it was a heart attack. Z was never a cuddly cat--she had been born to a feral mom and never quite lost her wildness--but she was very vocal and loved her head scratches.
One of the things that I find really amazing when you lose a pet is how empty the house seems without them. I had eight cats and two dogs--my home is never empty--and yet I have routines with each of my critters. I turn a corner and I expect to see Z sleeping in a particular basket, or perched in a familiar spot on a cat tree. In every room there's suddenly an empty corner or a blanket that should have a little furball asleep on it.
I was also surprised by the reaction of one of my other kitties, Lincoln. I knew that he and Z sometimes played together. I didn't realize how attached he was to her. When I returned to my house after taking her to the vet, I found him actively looking for her. He took short naps in a couple of her favorite spots--but only short naps, as if he was expecting her to boot him out and when she didn't he went looking for her again.
Within a couple of days, Lincoln was driving everyone in the house mad as he desperately looked for someone to play with. I spent a lot more time playing with him to try to compensate, but I work a full time job during the week and on Sundays I have a part time job. And I like to sleep sometimes. It became very apparent that instead of staying with a seven cat household, I was going to have to find Lincoln a friend to save everyone's sanity.
It took four different rescues, but I finally found a super energetic, crazy, seven month old kitty to add to the household.
At the rescue, he was Charlie, but I felt that was a little too prosaic to fit with the rest of the crew, so after a couple of days of internet searches and reading "What to name the baby" books, I finally settled on Petoskey, because his marking reminded me a bit of the petoskey stones I used to find as a kid on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Being a rescue, Petoskey had to be quarantined (he had a snotty nose and icky eyes) and having him in his own room for a week or so just to get acclimated is a good idea anyway, so I've been spending a lot of time sitting with him in a spare bedroom. Plenty of time for reading, but not so much for updating the blog. Once his snot cleared up, I started introducing him to the other kitties--first just Lincoln, but eventually to everyone. It's been a little stressful and there's been plenty of hisses, but overall things are going well.
In any event, I'm up to 50 books read, and no blog post in a month, so time to catch up a bit. These are the books I've read since my last post:
A book about sports: The Runner by Cynthia Voigt. Not my favorite of the Tillerman series, but still a solid book.
An autobiography: Yes My Accent Is Real by Kunal Nayyar. Not really an autobiography (the guy is only 34) so much as a series of memories about growing up and his acting career. I enjoyed it a lot.
A book of historical fiction set before 1900: The Miniaturist by Jesse Burton. A kind of dark story (based in Amsterdam in the winter!), but strongly written.
A book published before you were born: The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark. One of the things I'm enjoying about doing these challenges is pushing the envelope a bit and finding some more obscure books to fit the topic. Sometimes I find a gem. Sometimes not so much. This one was not so much.
You've seen the movie--now read the book: A Slight Trick Of The Mind by Mitch Cullin. I honestly think I might have been disappointed by this one if I hadn't seen the movie first and had an idea what to expect. Yes, Sherlock Holmes is the main character. No, this is not a mystery. At the same time, I think the book is a little bit deeper than the movie, and not as "Pollyanna-ish" in the end. Worth the read.
The first book by an author, published in the last 5 years: Jackaby by William Ritter. A decent book, but with it's flaws. A nice, light read, and I look forward to reading more in the series.
A book you can finish in a day: Let's Be Less Stupid by Patricia Marx. Finished it in a day, and regretted the time wasted on it.
A book about somewhere you want to visit: The Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. A massive book--took a little bit to get into it, but well worth the read. I will be reading the two other books in this series later for this challenge.
A book that takes place on an island: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. I'd seen the title of this book a lot recently and thought what the heck. Turned out to be well worth the read.
A romance: The Fine Art Of Truth Or Dare by Melissa Jensen. Not a typical teenage romance--there's a lot of other things going on--but not bad.
A book of essays: Ex Libras by Anne Fadiman. There's nothing quite like being an obsessive reader and reading a book about another obsessive reader. A quick, but highly entertaining read!
A book at least 100 years older than you: The Semi-Attached Couple by Emily Eden. This is one of those more obscure books I found for this challenge--this one was definitely worth dusting off.
Listen to a book that has won an Audio Award: Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire. The audio reading of this book was phenomenal. The book itself not so much.
A book about music: Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn. Wasn't sure I would like this one, because I hated the movie, but I really enjoyed it!
A classic from the 20th century: Tarzan Of The Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. This is one of those books that you feel like you know the story before you even start, it's been redone so many times. But I enjoyed actually reading the original.
A book written by an author from your state: Double For Death by Rex Stout. A nice little murder mystery solved by Rex Stout's lesser known detective, Tecumseh Fox.
A book with a country of city name in the title: Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay. I picked up this book on a whim because it seemed to fit this topic, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
A book of short stories: A Wild Swan by Michael Cunningham. Disturbing retellings of classic fairy tales. I didn't enjoy this book. Luckily it was short.
A non-fiction book about science: The Soul Of An Octopus by Sy Montgomery. More memoir than scientific, but a decent read.
A book published the decade you were born: If On A Winter's Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino. An odd book, with a very different premise, I enjoyed it although it got a little confusing towards the end.
A fable: Frederick's Fables by Leo Lionni. Maybe not a classic fable, but a number of decent little kid's stories with some moral messages in them.
A book set in Africa, by an author from Africa: A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah. A really intense first hand account of a boy soldier in Sierra Leone.
A book from Oprah's Book Club: Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende. Meh. I was expecting something a little more exciting. It was okay, but nothing earth shattering.
A middle grade novel: Chinese Whiskers by Pallavi Aiyar. A fun little story about two young cats living in China.
I've got a few more in progress. Hopefully it won't be as long before my next update.