During a high spring tide on the south coast of Newfoundland, a 70 ft Fin whale follows a school of herring into a large lagoon and becomes trapped th...moreDuring a high spring tide on the south coast of Newfoundland, a 70 ft Fin whale follows a school of herring into a large lagoon and becomes trapped there once the tide ebbs. The locals find her and, through ignorance and cruelty, decide to use her as target practice with shotguns. A few days later, local biologist/naturalist and writer, Farley Mowat, hears about the trapped whale and goes to see her for himself. Instantly appalled by the whale's condition, he takes it upon himself to inform Canadian scientists, governments and media in order to find a way to save her. Despite receiving the official title as 'guardian of the whale', Mowat finds that he is without means to provide her with food, powerless to prevent further assaults on her and unable to release her back into the ocean. He watches as locals cut her with boat propellers, as her gunshot wounds become septic and as her body withers from starvation. No sooner does the whale die than Mowat and his wife are run out of town by the locals, who were being portrayed in the media as ignorant bumpkins. Mowat did not disappoint this time. This incredibly well-written account of true events is ghastly. There were many times where I had to put the book aside to process the vivid images in my mind. He balances the book with a fair serving of Newfoundland culture and a brief history of whaling. I have read other reviews that worry about spoilers but, in my mind, the title says it all.(less)
In this fictionalized account of Farley Mowat's summer time sojourn to the Arctic in the late 1940s, the harmful myths about wolves are broken and lig...moreIn this fictionalized account of Farley Mowat's summer time sojourn to the Arctic in the late 1940s, the harmful myths about wolves are broken and light is shed on their playful, family-oriented nature. At that time, the wolf reputation as an insatiable killer was maintained by trappers who collected a bounty for every wolf hide they produced. There was no scientific research on wolves until Mowat set out specifically to study them. His accounts of the Wolf House Bay pack are eye-opening to him, as he expected to be killed as soon as he was dropped off in the Barrens, and there is good information about wolf cub-rearing, inter- and intra-pack communication and nightly hunting routines.
But the manner in which Mowat tells his stories is over-embellished to the point of unbelievable and silly, rather than informative (and fiction rather than non-fiction). For example, on the night in spring when the ice began to run the river, causing it to over-flow its banks, Mowat supposedly got in his canoe in the middle of the night to pursue a supposedly stranded Husky pup. Really? I am supposed to believe this? Has he ever seen what a river is like under ice breakup? Bwah. I also found that his interactions with the Inuit people were disrespectful and condescending, despite the graciousness of their hospitality and generosity towards him.
The front flap of my hardcover book claims, "Thousands upon thousands of readers believe it to be one of the funniest and most delightful books ever written about anything." Perhaps it was comments like this that got my hopes up too high. Sadly, I am not one of the many thousands.
That said, I should probably rate this book higher because it documents a time when little was known about wolves, aboriginal peoples and life in the high Arctic. Mowat's account of the sport of killing caribou from an aircraft and the 'wolf control' policy of the Canadian Wildlife service in 1959 are chilling facts. Despite our currently-available information about wolves, their lives and livelihood are still at risk and they need protection more than ever.(less)
This book was our go-to reference as we entered the world of chicken-farming. It gives a fairly in-depth look at the management of layers, meat-birds...moreThis book was our go-to reference as we entered the world of chicken-farming. It gives a fairly in-depth look at the management of layers, meat-birds and chicks. But, having had chickens for only 6 months, we have already out-grown the information provided in this book as it has very basic medical information. We have had to look elsewhere for our guidance about recurring bumblefoot, internal lays and bandaging of wounds. (youtube has been a great help!)(less)
This is a truly astounding book. In an instant, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami ripped Sonali's entire family out of her grasp and left her completely a...moreThis is a truly astounding book. In an instant, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami ripped Sonali's entire family out of her grasp and left her completely alone. She describes the moment that she noticed a strangeness in the ocean on Boxing Day morning and walks us through the mad race to outrun the water with her family, all while trying to comprehend what was happening around her. That day, she lost her two young sons, her loving husband and both her parents and she continues to wonder why she was forced to stay alive. In a terrifyingly honest way, she explains her severe depression, her multiple attempts at suicide and the lengths she went to prevent herself from remembering her past during those first six months. But slowly, she ventures back to the places where her family gathered and she allows herself to remember and revisit each person. With loving description, she reveals the romance of meeting and loving her soulmate husband, the specific interests of each of her sons and her childhood memories with her parents. Over the next eight years, we watch her face the truth of her new life in their absence and she even begins imagining what their futures would have brought. There is no happy ending here but there is the beginning of closure. Deraniyagala's writing is truly beautiful - even spectacular - and the emotions she conjures are raw and often it hurts to read on. But this is her life and she shows an amazing strength of spirit in allowing others to look in on her world after unimaginable devastation. Read It!(less)
BEWARE! We have all been misled about the genre of this book since it is in NOT a book about adventure, hiking or the wilderness. This is a book about...moreBEWARE! We have all been misled about the genre of this book since it is in NOT a book about adventure, hiking or the wilderness. This is a book about a pathetic young woman who searches for acceptance - in the form of sex - and happens to walk a short portion of the Pacific Crest Trail during her pursuit of penis. The fact that all of this happens on the PCT is simply happenstance. Cheryl Strayed (a name that she befittingly chose for herself after she ruined her marriage with affairs and one night stands) is a sad excuse for a hiker who gives a bad name to all woman. She especially does a disservice to women who attempt solo wilderness adventures since now they could be viewed as sexually promiscuous, endangering them. Her silly little memoir will cause Search and Rescue crews all over to be overwhelmed with inexperienced mountaineers who think that back country and wilderness hiking is a simple walk in the park Here is the outline of this memoir: First, you take an unspectacular woman, who is both self-absorbed and childish, with no prospects, career or funds. Then you watch as cancer takes away her doting mother and see her implode with grief. Next, you let her destroy her brain with heroin and ruin her marriage with extra-marital affairs. Then you stand by, astounded, as she attempts to lure any male into her lair as she unpreparedly walks a portion of the PCT. (I'm not making this up - she actually mailed herself a new lace bra and matching panties to a post office in Ashland so that she could get laid when she arrived there by foot). As she hikes (and buses) along the PCT, she only shows interest in whether or not men find her physically attractive and in returning to civilization at each town along the way. She goes into extraordinary detail about her visits to towns along the journey but gives very little description about the trail itself or the hiking experience. When she does write about the trail, she seems to be quoting directly from a tourist guide book. Why then did I award it 2 stars? The writing flowed, making me want to see if she actually stuck with her goal. I only considered not finishing it two or three times - the times when she was primping herself for a night of sex with a complete stranger or considering which hiker she would prefer to have sex with along the way. I wouldn't recommend it at all.(less)
When it was recently revealed that the contents of emails and google searches are being monitored, some media claimed that it was Orwellian and that 1...moreWhen it was recently revealed that the contents of emails and google searches are being monitored, some media claimed that it was Orwellian and that 1984 had become a reality. But, having just re-read 1984, I disagreed. To me, this surveillance seemed to be closer to the future depicted in Brave New World. Upon re-reading Brave New World, I see that Big Brother is not really the issue at hand today. Instead, our society has become complacent, non-intellectuals, like those in Huxley's dystopian future, who are bombarded with 'info-tainment' and devices which distract us from contemplating the real issues going on in the world today. We are told what to think by "news" media, who carefully craft their productions to skim over the serious issues and present us with celebrity scandals instead. At any moment, we can be pulled away from our thoughts by an iphone ringtone or a distracting game of Angry Birds. Huxley's world contains the same distractions, all carefully monitored by World Controllers, like Mustalpha Mond, to be sure that none of society has the time or inclination to wonder. Sadly, the book lacks true character development with too many flat characters playing flimsy roles. The main character, Mr. Savage, doesn't appear until halfway through and his role never seems believable. But, I enjoyed revisiting this place in future even if it was just to remind me to turn off this silly computer and go think for a while!
Oct 2005 - Huxley hits the nail on the head with this one. It is eerie, haunting and full of truth. He truly was a visionary. It's too bad that so many readers had to 'suffer through' this masterpiece for required readings. Try it again, on your own time.(less)