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review 2018-07-20 06:23
The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions
The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions - Thomas McNamee

I'm going almost the full five stars on this because it's the best cat book I've read to date.  I've not read a ton, to be honest, but McNamee manages to capture both the science and the essence of the relationship between a cat and its owner.  He is undoubtedly a man coming at the subject with heartfelt appreciation and love for our feline overlords and his advice is rational, sound and passionate.

 

I learned a lot from this book.  I never knew that the sticking out of the tongue was a sign of friendship and acceptance; I always thought Easter-cat just left her tongue sticking out sometimes.  The front leg stretch isn't really a stretch, so much as it's a gesture of acceptance and friendship.  McNamee has me a little stressed out about Easter-cat's insistence on only eating dry food.  Small things like that, as well as much bigger issues like separation anxiety have given me much to think about. 

 

McNamee also talks about a lot of very sticky issues, especially regarding breeding, the cat's need to hunt, and the feral population problem that plagues communities around the world.  His overview of how Italy - specifically Rome - is tackling the issue is an inspiration, if not a complete solution.  I think he does a phenomenal job bringing home the basic idea that cats (and any pet for that matter) are not merely personal possessions or accessories; they are living creatures with as much right to quality of life and dignity as we might and arrogant humans so.

 

This book is a weaving of science and personal anecdotes about the author's cat, Augusta.  Those personal parts are brilliant, and sometimes nail-biting.  Full disclosure:  I flat-out skipped chapter 7 on sickness and death.  I'm a sissy, and the first 6 chapters convinced me that McNamee was going to write chapter 7 with at least as much passion and heartfelt sincerity and there aren't enough tissues in the world to get me through that chapter.

 

I knocked off half a star because some figures at the start seemed to fantastical to be true, and though there is a notes section at the back, those figures weren't cited, leaving me and others feeling distrustful of the data.  Otherwise, I thought this was a brilliantly written, fantastic resource for anybody who wants to be a better cat slave.

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text 2018-07-19 01:33
Reading progress update: I've read 151 out of 288 pages.
The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions - Thomas McNamee

I've been stalling on finishing this one; sad times ahead - but it's going to get as read as I'm willing to read by the end of today.

 

Anyone else still reading this?  How are you going?  Have you hugged your cat today?

 

You want your book?  Well, I want some PETS!!!

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review 2018-07-15 20:54
Anna Undreaming - Thomas Welsh

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

I haven’t read much urban fantasy before so I had no idea what to expect going in, but I ended up loving this book. 

 

This book gave me a ton of Alice in Wonderland vibes especially in the second half, which I was totally digging since I love Alice in Wonderland. The book had the same dream-like quality and mad characters that Alice in Wonderland has.

 

The premise of the book was so creative. People with the ability to build new worlds is such a fascinating concept.

 

The whole book was absolutely stunning in terms of execution. Welsh writes brilliantly and through his prose crafts a gorgeous world. 

 

My favorite character was Elise. She was just so fun and quirky and I loved that about her. I hope we get to see more of her in the following books. 

 

As someone who majored in philosophy in college, I enjoyed the philosophy references throughout the book. Rousseau, Nietzsche, and Camus were all mentioned by name.

 

The glossary at the end of the book was tremendously helpful in learning about the their world. I used it numerous times while reading. 

 

The one thing this book was missing was a map. I would have loved to seen a map of The Realm. 

 

Overall, this was a fantastic start to a magical new trilogy! I can’t wait to find out what happens next and learn more about these characters. 

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review 2018-07-15 11:48
How are the Mighty Fallen...
The Mayor of Casterbridge - Thomas Hardy

I haven’t tackled Thomas Hardy since my high school syllabus, but what a treat I had been denying myself. Various maxims spring to mind from this book (‘you reap what you sow’; ‘no man is an island’; ‘what goes up…’) emerging from the chronicled life of Michael Henchard. From very humble beginnings as a twenty one year-old hay-trusser, the main character is hard to like. He is deeply flawed on a number of levels and yet it is surprisingly fascinating to bear witness to the harsh fate which inexorably catches up with him.


As early as the first chapter, Hardy deliberately seeks to discomfort the reader, when a drunken Henchard sells his wife (Susan) and newborn child (Elizabeth-Jane) for five guineas. Notwithstanding his subsequent sense of shame and self-imposed repentance in the sober light of day, this repugnant act haunts his private life and has the attendant potential to also scupper his subsequently crafted image as the first citizen of Casterbridge.


Fast forward eighteen years and the reappearance of Susan with their now adult daughter offers the chance to make amends, but the intervening years have generated an inevitable trail of complications and though circumstances have changed, Henchard’s tempestuous nature has not. Yet, it is the tension between the social norms of English society at the time and Henchard’s earthy country perspective which is a constant source of friction. The mayor has risen to the gentrified classes a ‘self-made’ man, to be partially shackled by upper class expectations. In some ways Henchard is courageous, proud and willing to withstand public opprobrium, but he is also ruthless, manipulative and selfish, a powerful man used to getting his way (undoubtedly another key adage of the story is that ‘with power comes responsibility’).


In any event, this book is a beautifully written, unsentimental fiction, which transports the reader to a pre-industrial Wessex, by no means a bucolic idyll, but rather a class-ridden, male-dominated site of incessant struggle. Nevertheless, the characters are masterfully constructed and Hardy manages to marshal the reader’s emotions from outrage and anger through to triumph and pity, as the label of ‘victim’ seems to alight, at different times, across the cast of characters. A thoroughly absorbing read.

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text 2018-07-14 00:28
In the bleak midwinter
Serpents in the Cold (The Boston Saga) - Douglas Graham Purdy,Thomas O'Malley

Wow, but this was one heck of a bleak read. Both the main characters are pretty messed up individuals caught up in murky dealings between Boston's criminal underworld and some crooked politicians.

 

Everything is so depressing. The winter lasts forever with nothing to relieve the cold. The Bruins have failed to make the playoffs and every single person seems to think the only way to solve any problems is to shoot it, or beat it to a pulp.

 

By the end of the book I was praying for the start of the baseball season and some warmer weather.

 

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