Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves
I was interested by this book because we adopted a shelter dog in January who definitely showed signs of anxiety when we brought her home. This was the first time I became aware that dogs could suffer from what is typically thought of as a human condition. Fortunately, after a few months of showing her that we were safe and weren't leaving, her anxiety lessened. The author of this book did not have the same experience, as her dog never became less anxious, even with dog therapy and medications, to the point where he jumped out their fourth floor apartment window.
In this book, she speaks not only of her dog but of countless other animals who suffer from human conditions, such as night terrors, homesickness, separation anxiety and rage. While this book shows that we've come a long way in humanely treating animals and understanding them, it also shows that we've barely began. This was a fascinating read.
California: A Novel
Cal and Frida live off the land in a ruined world. They escaped from LA to live in the woods, after weather and humanity destroyed most of the civilized world. After their closest (only) neighbors commit suicide, Frida begs Cal that she needs to know what is beyond them, she needs to know that others are out there. Exploring leads them to a town surrounded by large metal spikes, a seemingly huge maze designed to keep out anyone who might dare to enter. Here, Cal and Frida's world is rocked by revelations that connect to her brother Micah, a suicide bomber who died during the beginning of the end of the world.
In the beginning of this book, I felt that it was going to be on a Cormac McCarthy level and tore through it, but unfortunately, it fell apart a little at the end. It felt like there should be a sequel, but I'm not sure there is. I don't mind open endings, but this one was a little too open, a little too rushed.
The Fracking King: A Novel
Winston Crwth (rhymes with truth) is at the Hale School for boys on a scholarship from Dark Oil. The name is not a misnomer, as Dark Oil is responsible for so much fracking around the school that the water out of certain sinks can be combustible. This is a coming of age story mixed in with an environmental truth story mixed in with satire. Think Carl Hiaasen. Winston uses his Scrabble tournament skills to attempt to schedule a meeting with the governor so he can force her to admit that fracking is destroying the water in Pennsylvania. Although I wished that tertiary characters better developed in this story, I loved the character of Win so much that I could overlook the rest.
The Walking Dead Volume 20: All Out War Part 1 TP
I also read part 2 but I'm not going to link to both. If you're a fan of The Walking Dead, I would definitely recommend making your way through the graphic novels--even if you don't typically like graphic novels.
I am a huge fan of Rainbow Rowell and was looking forward to this one. Unfortunately, it fell short for me. Georgie and Neal are struggling in their marriage. When Georgie tells Neal she can't accompany him to Omaha (where his mother lives) along with their two daughters, it's the last straw. The Omaha visit coincides with Christmas, which makes it a bigger deal than just skipping a vacation. While dealing with work stress and her staying at her mother's house because she can't stand to be alone, Georgie calls Neal from the old yellow landline in her room. After a conversation, she discovers that she's not talking to present day Neal, but to Neal from 1998. A Neal with whom she was once on a break, shortly before he proposed to her. I don't mind magical realism, I don't, but the book from this point on was so trite and contrived that it absolutely lost me. I guess they can't all be Eleanor&Park or even The Attachments, but this was not the book I expected.
What are you reading?