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Monthly "Reads" > Shomeret's June Reads 2/4

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Shomeret | 1388 comments 5)Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animalsby Hal Herzog (anthropology) 326 pages. Source: Library Started: 6/9 Finished: 6/12

Why Read: The author had been studying animal behavior, but became interested in the relationships between humans and animals. He calls it the field of anthrozoology. DearReader.com serialized a chapter in e-mails to me and it looked fascinating.

Comments: This author likes to question assumptions, but there are questions he doesn't ask. He points out that many dog lovers live with cats instead of dogs. In fact, he is one of them. But he never asks why this pattern has developed. That would make an interesting study. Another insufficiently investigated issue is the domestication of wolves. Herzog cites a theory posited by Ray Coppinger that wolves first approached human settlements in order to sift through human garbage heaps. Herzog considers this likely. Both Herzog and Coppinger are assuming that wolves are scavengers like dogs. They aren't. Wolves are carnivores. So why would wolves have been interested in garbage?

But I did learn from this book. I was particularly interested in the Underground Railroad of rescuers from shelters that kill animals.

There is one shortcoming that this book doesn't have. Herzog isn't prejudiced against vegetarians. A GR reviewer accused Herzog of saying that vegetarianism causes eating disorders. That's not what he said. He discusses the findings of an academic who had been studying young adults with eating disorders. She discovered that some young people in this population claimed to be vegetarians in order to cover up their eating disorders. In other words saying they were vegetarians was their publicly acceptable excuse for not eating. They weren't truly vegetarians. They were anorexics. I think I have known some "vegetarians" like this.

I rated this book A- because of the questions that Herzog failed to ask.

6)Dogs Don't Lieby Clea Simon (paranormal mystery) 247 pages. Source: Library Started: 6/12 Finished: 6/13

Why Read: The MC is a pet psychic which sounds interesting to me. I noticed that although the word "dogs" is in the title, there's a cat on the cover. As a cat lover, I hoped that there would be a cat in the book.

Comments: Yes, the MC has a cat that she consults about her investigations. I've never read Clea Simon before, but I'll definitely want to read this series. It's called the Pet Noir series, but it's not dark enough to be what I would consider noir. There's a saying that the only thing remaining in Pandora's Box after she opened it was hope. For me noir is someone upending Pandora's Box and then deliberately shaking it to make sure that hope was also gone. It's a very grim extreme trend in fiction. Cozies are at the other end of the continuum. This book would be somewhere between the two. That's actually what I prefer in fiction. I like to see a modicum of realism with idealistic principled characters who give me hope. The MC of Dogs Don't Lie is just such a protagonist. She does everything she can to make things right for abused animals and improve their lives. The case is about a pit bull who had been rescued from a very abusive situation but stands accused of having murdered her rescuer. This is not a spoiler. This is the background set up for the mystery. The MC, Pru Marlowe, believes that the dog didn't do it but she has to prove it to the satisfaction of the authorities who are prejudiced against pit bulls. My rating is B+ which means that it's very good read.

7)Sixkill by Robert Parker (mystery) 293 pages. Source: Library Started: 6/13 Finished: 6/13

Why Read: Although I was intending to read Sixkill, I probably wouldn't have read it this month if Marcy hadn't passed on to me the copy she borrowed from the library. It's the last Spenser novel by Robert Parker and it has an American Indian character who is believed to have been intended as a continuing one. Ace Atkins will be continuing the Spenser series. I wonder if he has plans to include Sixkill in his Spenser novels.

Comments: The reason why I read the Spenser novels isn't because they are great mysteries. It's because I read the dialogue and smile. That's what I did when I read this one. I liked Sixkill. He had a Hawk-like character pattern without actually being Hawk. Rating B.

8)The Scarlet Kimonoby Christina Courtenay (historical romance)Source: Book Depository
Started: 6/14 Finished: 6/17

Why Read: A GR friend read this and loved it. I'm a big fan of books taking place in Samurai Japan myself. The heroine is an Englishwoman fleeing an arranged marriage. She dressed as a boy and stowed away on a ship bound for Japan. I like independent women in historical fiction who dress as boys.

Comments: It's an entertaining story, but it had some very convenient contrived events. So this has to be a B rated book, and no more. I wonder if there will be a sequel.

To Be Continued...


message 2: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14835 comments Interesting question, Shomeret! I wonder if perhaps this was a situation that might have occurred when other food was scarce?
Shomeret wrote: "5)Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals Both Herzog and Coppinger are assuming that wolves are scavengers like dogs. They aren't. Wolves are carnivores. So why would wolves have been interested in garbage? ."


message 3: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 1388 comments Ann wrote: "Interesting question, Shomeret! I wonder if perhaps this was a situation that might have occurred when other food was scarce?
Shomeret wrote: "5)[book:Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why I..."


A carnivore obligate like a wolf or a cat can't survive on garbage if there is no meat in the trash. I would imagine that meat scraps in trash would have gone bad. So if this happened, the wolves would have had to be desperate.


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