A slow and very thorough, one step at a time, introduction to dog training with rewards and without punishment. The dvd (normally included) was missing out of this library copy, but the book did a fine job without it in conveying the essentials of dog training.. My only criticism is that due to the breaking down of every small step, I wonder how many people will stick with this type of training, but will instead want quicker results and a quicker read. By the way, I didn't have any dogs to practice on (mine are all older), so my review is somewhat theoretical although I have done dog training in the past.
An exceptional work of fiction, but hard for me to read due to the brutality and cruelty described in this book. I read it in small doses and realized in the end it was worth finishing the book, no matter how upsetting, in order to witness Jun Do's triumph against the attempts of the North Korean government to erase all individual experience and to insist its inhabitants profess the "happy" storyline of Kim Jong Il. That living this storyline was really possible for only 1 man, Kim Jong Il, while the rest of the populace rotated around him as if caught in the various levels of Dante's Inferno, made it all the more powerful that Jun Do was eventually able to find and enact his own humanity. Do not think this is a spoiler of the ending of the book as it will continue to surprise you to the very last page.
This novel deals in a personal way with Arabs and Israelis caught in the interface between Israel and the Gaza strip as the second Intifada of Sept 2000 breaks out. Avi Goldberg, 25 reflects on his life while serving a prison sentence for refusing to fight in the war. He carries the burden of failing to prevent the death of his close friend, Saleem, an Israeli Arab. Sahar, Saleem's wife visits Avi in prison after Saleem is killed and begs him to help her escape to England once his sentence is finished.As the story progresses we learn that both Saleem and Avi lost their mothers as young boys. The story weaves this loss in their early lives with their developing friendship and the pressures both face living in a time of war when painful memories in their families color their lives. The "Inbetween People" successfully portrays the characters trying to find their place in the world in a time of war and personal upheaval. It is told in simple, evocative language that reflects the sparse desert landscape, the relentless sun and harsh Arab wind, where even the rain feels like the enemy instead of bringing relief from the heat. It is not an easy land but still it invokes strong ties of devotion or, in some cases, an intense desire to escape. The novel successfully brings us a little closer to understanding the complications of living in this strife torn land.
The Burgess Boys tells the story of two brother’s changing relationships as they come together to help their sister Susan and her son Zach deal with Zach’s criminal mischief trial involving the immigrant Somali population in the small town of Shirley Falls, Maine. Both men grew up in Shirley Falls and are now living in New York City. Jim, the eldest, has always been the fair haired boy of the family, always depended upon and looked up to by both his sister and brother. He is well known as a brilliant defense attorney, and with his wife Helen appears to have a stable and loving family life. Bob the younger brother, on the other hand, starting with a paralyzing accident he commits as a young boy, perceives himself and is perceived by Jim and others as bumbling through life, goodhearted but never quite successful at handling things whether it is his career, his failed marriage, or his connections with others. As the two men travel back and forth between Shirley Falls and New York City Jim’s success in life starts to unravel, while Bob slowly begins to take his place as the strong pivot around which his brother and sister revolve as he comes to terms with some of the truths his brother reveals to him. Elizabeth Strout ingeniously weaves Bob’s and Jim’s story in between stories of immigrant life in America, of the damage children sometime receive from their parents, and of the pressures in a community after a nationally reported racial incident occurs in a small town. By including Zach’s crime in the story the author gives a focus to the brother’s changing alliances and broadens the interest in a family’s story to something larger. Some of the minor character’s stories go on a little too long such as the description of the life of Bob’s ex-wife Pam, and some coincidences seem a little contrived, but on the whole this is a satisfying, interesting and beautifully written novel.
I've always enjoyed reading the Detective Lynley books, but this time it felt like the author was really reaching to fill all 624 pages. As one reviewer on Amazon states "This is more soap opera than whodunit, since prurient revelations, not sleuthing, dominate the proceedings." "Although "Believing the Lie" holds our attention, it is weakened by an over-the-top plot and a surplus of angst-ridden characters who make one foolish mistake after another." I think that about sums it up, but yes I did read to the very end.
This book is a delightful fantasy and is beautifully presented starting with the innovative cover and continuing with the illustrations throughout the book. They reflect the multimedia background of the author, and they contribute to the rich imagery surrounding the circus. Celia and her protagonist, Marco are enrolled in a deadly game of illusion by their parents, or surrogate parent in the case of Marco. How this game is resolved, how their relationship evolves, and how the cast of characters are entwined in their endeavors is the heart of the book. The circus is presented with such imagination and is the perfect setting for this story, As the clockmaker, Thiessen, says of the circus: "We add our own stories, each visitor, each visit, each night spent at the circus. I suppose there will never be a lack of things to say, of stories to be told and shared." If the ending seems a bit forced-- I could never truly believe in Bailey's character-- it still was a magical tale.
Based on a true story of a couple, Otto and Anna Quangel, who decide to protest what is happening in Hitler's Berlin during the war by writing seditious postcards and leaving them around the city. The plot involves a number of ordinary citizens who can be cruel due to fear but are also compassionate at times and try to carry on as best they can. The Third Reich under Hitler, as exemplified by the Gestapo and assorted party organizations, is shown as a ruthless regime, corrupt and often bumbling, and with few exceptions without compassion. It is a time of anxiety and despair with most citizens afraid of the consequences of not supporting the party and not telling on their neighbors at the least suspicion of incorrect behavior.This was a difficult read as the constant fear and oppression kept me wondering how a society evolves to accept being ruled by such tyranny. I think this question is partly answered by Hannah Arendt, a German Jew, who after the war raises the issue of the “banality of evil”, “whether evil is radical or simply a function of thoughtlessness, a tendency of ordinary people to obey orders and conform to mass opinion without a critical evaluation of the consequences of the actions and inaction.” As the first anti-Nazi novel coming out of Germany after the war and written by Fallada in 24 days after emerging from an insane asylum, it is truly an amazing work.
The Buddha in the Attic is a touching, actually heart rending, account of the lives of Japanese "picture women" coming to San Francisco in the early 1900's to meet their new husbands. The book tells of their dreams, the grim reality that greets them, and then their attempts to settle themselves into a life they could not even imagine would be theirs. Each chapter "Come, Japanese", "First Night", "Babies", etc. consists of short sentences with each woman speaking, one after another after another, about their new lives, their feelings about what is happening to them, and how others "whites" treat them, sometimes kindly, but mostly as if they are subhuman.Then, after they have, in part, been assimilated in and adjusted to their new land, the war comes with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. The Japanese in America are rounded up and taken away to be put in camps as if they never existed except as a threat, and never contributed anything to their new country.The book is difficult to read in long stretches, and worked better for me to read in short increments partly due to the subject matter and partly due to the style of writing. But the writing style ultimately made the book much more powerful in conveying the hardship of these families first in adjusting to their bewildering new lives, and then after believing in their success having to adjust to the idea their new country only considered them threats to national security.
Kilanko's book gives the reader a glimpse into the modern Nigerian cultural landscape as seen through the eyes of some of its most vulnerable inhabitants, young girls. Morayo is violated by a cousin as a young girl and is burdened by shame in a society that thinks young women are somehow to blame for a man's actions. Her parents are not emotionally supportive when she finally tells them what is happening although they do send Bros T away. Her Aunt Morenike lends her moral support since she has gone through a similar experience. Morayo eventually works through her feelings of self loathing and learns to trust again.The author portrays Nigeria in all its complexity as the characters are caught between the old superstitions and folklore held by many and the emerging modern beliefs of the better educated citizens. The violence of the military and the helplessness of civilians is portrayed as is the distrust between the various tribes in Nigeria, the Igbo and the Yoruba being two examples.Some elements of the storytelling felt disjointed, and contrived but all in all the author has written an excellent first novel with interesting characters, flashes of humor, and portraying an engrossing glimpse into Nigerian society.
We follow Spring Warren's adventures as she turns a quarter acre suburban yard into a place to grow food that would end up providing her with 75% of all her food (by weight) by the end of one year. This pledge from a woman who admits "I do hate weeding. I forget to water. My garden is a testing ground for plants able to withstand abuse." Not only does she have to overcome the skepticism of her husband and two sons, but she has to face the shock of her neighbors as she turns her front and back yard into a mini farm. The author is not afraid to admit her failures, and many parts of the book are very funny including her attempts to find recipes to deal with the zucchini plants that tried to take over the neighborhood, her tussles with Jeanette & Goosteau, resident attack geese, and her decision to conquer the snail problem by learning to cook and eat escargot, a slimy business if there ever was one. But along the way Spring starts to learn what it takes to grow food organically with all the setbacks that can entail including weather woes, crop failures, and bugs galore, and she shares these tips with the reader in an encouraging and amusing manner without the guilt trips that authors sometimes use to admonish those of us not willing to follow their agenda. The recipes she gives at the end of each chapter using the produce mentioned in that chapter are an added bonus. My main criticism of the book is that my interest flagged at times when she delved too extensively into the history of such things as pesticide use, or technically why it is so hard to grow mushrooms. All in all this is a fun book to read and a good source of information for food gardeners, novice or otherwise.