This is not going to be a popular book among dog lovers. It reduces our beloved companions to behavior sets and caloric usage equations, there is notThis is not going to be a popular book among dog lovers. It reduces our beloved companions to behavior sets and caloric usage equations, there is not a romantic word in the book and its conclusion about the way to handle street dog populations decrying the efforts of international dog rescue is maddening. All that said, I was captivated by the science and it has given me much to ponder about the so-called purebreds, my own former Bahamian street dog, and the evolutionary marvels that are dogs....more
This book has a lot of problems, but I'm intrigued by the story of thru-hiking women and that is what drew me to the book and kept me reading it. I'mThis book has a lot of problems, but I'm intrigued by the story of thru-hiking women and that is what drew me to the book and kept me reading it. I'm surprised by the number of reviewers who thought this was better than Wild. Both women hiked the PCT trail alone following personal trauma (although Matis joined up with other hikers for much of her journey) but the similarities end there. Strayed took much longer to write her book after her hike and I think that was a good thing. Matis' book at many points reads like writing-as-therapy ramblings, and while she spends page after page saying the same thing self-congratulatory things over and over again, many of the more interesting events that happen (hiking through a forest fire, for example) are glossed over with only a few sentences. The book was too long, uneven, with a rushed and unclear ending. Matis exercised terrible judgment several times over, not learning from her mistakes but instead framing it as something admirable. She is lucky to have survived. ...more
From the dedication to the final sentence, I was captivated and inspired. In "Full Moon Over Broken Glass," I feel as if I'm right there on the porch,From the dedication to the final sentence, I was captivated and inspired. In "Full Moon Over Broken Glass," I feel as if I'm right there on the porch, exhausted from the first day of work much harder than imagined in that first place of your very own. In "Dogs to the Rescue" we are introduced to a timid rescued doberman and a cattle dog who lives up to his lofty name of Hero. Anna's insight into animal personalities (animalities?) is incredible. I really feel like I've met all these characters. "Die Hard on the Prairie" is a rhythmically paced account of a terrifying blizzard in which shivered along with the horses in their snow-bound stalls. "Wild Texas Wind" describes the grace and sacrifice of an equine mother and the moonlit gift she gave. "Visitors by Bus" is possibly my favorite chapter - one animal after another astonishes with its intuitive compassion to members of an unlikely audience. Anna's dressage partner, Spirit, is the shining white thread that weaves the story together, and you will thrill to their victories and admire their deep relationship of mutual devotion and respect. In the book's final third, we follow Anna with a sense of dread and foreboding into a dark past that shattered her sense of self and belonging, and back into the healing pastures of her herd.
The very best books are those with pages and passages we can hang on to like our own. For a memoir to succeed, it needs to be relatable, and in this way Anna draws us in. Even when our experiences differ, Anna taps in to the universal bond between the human who is open to listening, and the animal that has wisdom to share. There is something for every animal lover, introvert, and independent mind here. Stable Relation is just the right length - the tidy chapters leave you hungry for more like the very best small-course meal, and by the end you realize the book contains so much more than could really fit between those covers. There is no sentimentality here - Anna describes with gutsy honesty the truth of living on a farm, both as a child and as an adult. You form a relationship with loss almost as if it were an animal of its own - a sneaky beast that finds us in snowstorms, quiet evenings or broad daylight. She manages to perfectly balance gravity with humor, the mood changing with the moment with the immediacy of a horse's presence.
I laughed at the antics of goats, ducks and donkeys. I cried at the profound and intimate impact that animals had on Anna's life, just as they have had on anyone who has allowed themselves to love in that wild and wordless way, while they are here, while they are leaving us, and long after they are gone. If you have ever saved your own life, if an animal was ever the one to save you, if you have a complicated family, if you have ever illustrated your own family album with faces you weren't related to by blood, but whose eyes and hearts mirrored your own, if you have ever been lifted by a horse or swept off your feet by a dog...you want to read this book. Anna has been teaching people how to connect with their horses for years, and this book is a beautiful story of finding and connecting with your true self....more
Unmeasurable brilliance. I could start it again and still marvel at its intricacies. The vision of Lotto and Mathilde will live among the most iconicUnmeasurable brilliance. I could start it again and still marvel at its intricacies. The vision of Lotto and Mathilde will live among the most iconic stories I have read. ...more
I love this writer. Her characters are often somewhat spartan and detached - she reminds me of Lorrie Moore in that way - but with awkward quirks thatI love this writer. Her characters are often somewhat spartan and detached - she reminds me of Lorrie Moore in that way - but with awkward quirks that make them relatable at the same time. The brilliance of The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty rests in its screenplay-like exposition, nearly all action as we are almost imperceptibly seduced into inhabiting the main character (who remains nameless) through disconcerting second-person point of view, just as she inhabits various identities throughout the book. The imagery of clothing and costumes is utterly tangible. The timing of the emotional revelation is perfect and wouldn't work otherwise. This book perfectly captures that disorienting but intoxicating feeling of anonymity that comes from being alone in a foreign country, and also the terrifying leap of leaving it all behind, of "radical evolution." ...more
I'm always impressed when a non-fiction writer weaves the threads of story together as compellingly as a novel. Quinones has created a disturbing factI'm always impressed when a non-fiction writer weaves the threads of story together as compellingly as a novel. Quinones has created a disturbing factual page-turner, possibly one of the most important of our time. The rating is 4 instead of 5 stars only because of some redundancy and confusing chronology, but really 4.5. ...more
2.5 stars. A quick read of short vignettes that included some poignant thoughts on aging and mortality amongst the banal paragraphs about binge-watchi2.5 stars. A quick read of short vignettes that included some poignant thoughts on aging and mortality amongst the banal paragraphs about binge-watching TV shows and far too many descriptions of painting on glass. This is the sort of book that only an established writer can get away with, and for that reason I can't help but feel like it's a little lazy. I wish that Thomas would have delved further into her alcoholism or her daughter's battle with cancer. If this were a friend's blog, I would probably hang on every word, but she's not a friend and I expect more from books. ...more