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review 2020-08-05 11:05
Decoding Your Cat
Decoding Your Cat - Dr. Carlo Siracusa,Dr. Meghan E. Herron,Debra F Horwitz

by American College of Veterinary Behaviorists




I read a lot of books and articles about cats, but this started teaching me a few things I didn't know pretty quickly. For example, highly bred cats who are bred for temperament gets theirs from the father cat. Who knew?


The one big disappointment in this book was when it came to talking about cats who don't get along over a sustained period, it told me to ask my vet. My vet would just say re-home one of them which isn't an option! I was hoping they could give me some insights on how to get two cats at war in the same house to make peace, or at least manage to tolerate each other. To be fair, it did mention there are medications that might help.


There was some good related advice about making sure each cat has their own space and places to hide. The information was laid out in bites that made it easy to read, although it was sometimes repetitive and a lot of the information is already known by cat enthusiasts, but people new to cat ownership will certainly benefit from it and some things that seem obvious sink in better when put in writing. I'm not sure how the format will work with referring back to specific information but perhaps a paperback would be easier to flip through for that.


Overall it is a valuable source of information with something for cat veterans and a wealth of information for new cat owners. It would probably be my first choice for books I should have read when I first became a cat slave.

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review 2020-06-21 18:02
The Saga of Tanya the Evil, Vol. 1: Deus lo Vult (book) by Carlo Zen, illustrations by Shinobu Shinotsuki, translated by Emily Balistrieri and Kevin Steinbach
The Saga of Tanya the Evil, Vol. 1 - Carlo Collodi,Emily Balistrieri,Kevin Steinbach
Note: Due to the way this book handles religion and religious belief, devoutly religious people should probably approach it with caution.
The main character of this book used to be a Japanese salaryman (his name is never mentioned). Specifically, he worked in HR and did layoffs. One particularly upset person he'd just laid off pushed him in front of a train, landing the salaryman in front of Being X, aka God. Being X, annoyed at having to deal with yet another unbeliever, decides to put the salaryman in a position where he will be forced to believe in God. And so the salaryman is reborn in a new world, as an infant girl named Tanya. He retains his personality and memories of his former life but is forced to deal with the limitations of Tanya's body. At age 8 Tanya joins the military, and the book covers Tanya's time there from age 9 to 11, as she rises up in the ranks during the start of this world's first world war.
Tanya's new world is very similar to Germany just before World War I. In fact, the book begins with a map of Europe, labeled with new country names (except the United States, which is allowed to remain the same for some reason) - Tanya is a soldier for the Empire. Somehow, Tanya's interest in economics (and psychology and history?) and experience in Human Resources translate to "military genius" in this new world.
First, a note about pronouns and gender. The salaryman is male, and Tanya is female. The salaryman still thinks of himself as male, even in Tanya's body, but he is also fairly disconnected from Tanya, to the point that it shows in the writing. Although the bulk of the book is from the salaryman's perspective and he occasionally uses first-person pronouns, he often talks about Tanya in the third person, using feminine pronouns, as though she were a separate being. I couldn't find any rhyme or reason for when he'd use "I" vs. "she" - it seemed, at first, to be linked to whether he was talking about physical actions ("she") rather than purely thoughts ("I"), but that wasn't always the case. In the thick of battle, for example, the salaryman tended to use "I," even when describing actions he performed with Tanya's body.
Anyway, I bought this because reviews frequently described it as better written than most recent light novels. I'm not sure I'd agree. Yes, Zen clearly did a lot of research, and yes, certain scenes and passages were really good. But like many recent light novel authors, Zen didn't know how to do decent story pacing and got too bogged down in the nitty gritty details of favorite topics at the expense of story and characters. I was more tolerant of Zen's reliance on first-person POV, because it was occasionally fun seeing the disconnect between Tanya's perspective and how other characters perceived her and her actions, but in the latter half of the book it wasn't uncommon for me to not know whose perspective I was dealing with until several paragraphs or even a whole page or two into a scene. Characters' "voices" were just too similar.
Then there were the time skips. At two points, the story skipped forward in time about 30 or 40 years, for about 5 pages total. The first time this happened, it seemed to serve the same function as foreshadowing, hinting at something that would be happening soon in the main narrative but doing so via reporters in the future researching the war years after it was over. The second time skip, though...I don't know. Pretty much pointless.
I'm not a big military fiction reader, and I don't know much about the World Wars beyond vague memories of having to learn dates and events in high school. I'm not really the intended audience for this book. That said, I've enjoyed jargon-filled military fiction before. Even if I had trouble following the big picture strategies, this could have kept me hooked with its character interactions and individual battles. Unfortunately, I had trouble following the battles, and Zen seemed to want to avoid having characters talk to each other and interact outside of battle, so there wasn't as much human interaction as I might have liked either. It didn't help that the salaryman was an antisocial person who viewed people as objects, literal human resources for him to use as needed.
There were parts of this book that hooked me - I enjoyed the scene about the testing and eventual perfection of the Type 95 orb, which veered (unintentionally?) into black comedy, as well as Lergen and Zettour's perspectives on Tanya's actions and behavior and the salaryman's occasional flashes of cynical humor. But there wasn't enough of that, and the parts that I did enjoy could have been executed better.
I don't plan to continue this series and don't know that I'm even interested enough in it to watch the anime.
  • A map of Europe labeled with all the new country names and coded according to their relationships with the Empire
  • A glossy folded sheet with large illustrations on both sides, which includes a timeline of Tanya's life up to age 9
  • A 6-page appendix that explains the interior and exterior lines strategies, with maps, and gives an outline of the history of the war up to the end of this book
  • An afterword by the author
  • Several black-and-white illustrations throughout
  • This may be the first light novel I've read with footnotes


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2019-02-05 22:44
Il più grande uomo scimmia del Pleistocene - Terry Pratchett,Roy Lewis,Carlo Brera

Cambiano le ere geologiche. Ma noi no.

“Io sto costruendo il futuro, e voi brontolate perché bisogna lasciare la caverna per un annetto o due […]. Io già prevedo il giorno in cui tutte le orde avranno la loro caverna, ogni caverna il suo fuoco, ogni fuoco lo spiedo con un bel quarto di cavallo ad arrostire... il giorno in cui un viaggio non sarà altro che una bella passeggiata da un focolare accogliente a un altro…”

Ma non tutti son d’accordo.
Quindi, visionari e pensatori che offrite a piene mani scoperte e sapere per migliorare la subumanità senza pensare a lilleri, business o marché, in guardia! O l’orda vi mangerà.

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review 2019-02-01 17:25
È in casa il signor Brambilla? - Carlo Manzoni

"Nella strada centinaia di signori Brambilla, camminano in fretta. In casa li aspettano le solite avventure di tutti i giorni: niente di straordinario, le solite piccole avventure..."

Avventure quotidiane, minime e tragicomiche. Incontrai il signor Brambilla da bambina. Il libro era un altro, lo spirito lo stesso.

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review 2019-02-01 17:20
Luciano Bianciardi, la protesta dello stile - Carlo Varotti

Difficile collocare Luciano Bianciardi, scrittore “contro”, nel multiforme panorama letterario e culturale di quegli anni; forse questa è una delle ragioni che l’hanno tenuto sempre ai margini. Ieri come oggi. Carlo Varotti fa notare che sebbene si possa parlare di una “riscoperta” dello scrittore, negli ultimi vent’anni, “la sua opera resta sostanzialmente sottostimata, o celebrata (il che è anche peggio) per fattori che nulla hanno a che fare con la qualità della sua scrittura.” E ha pienamente ragione.
Raramente il nome di Bianciardi compare nei saggi che argomentano le forme della postmodernità letteraria in Italia. Eppure, Angelo Guglielmi, che poneva come capostipite della “recente” narrativa sperimentale italiana C.E. Gadda, ascrive Bianciardi (con Mastronardi e Bruno) fra gli autori che “tengono conto dei problemi linguistici”, (Arbasino e Leonetti “operano sugli aspetti contenutistici”, La Capria e Del Buono curano “la struttura narrativa”, Volponi e Sanguineti si affidano a diretti “esperimenti verbali”). Si tratta di scrittori che ricercano e sperimentano nuove vie linguistiche verso “soluzioni spregiudicate e antitradizionali”. Sperimentazione che secondo Guglielmi assume “quella forza demistificatoria nei confronti delle cose che è la grande qualità della scrittura gaddiana”. E Bianciardi rientra a pieno titolo in questo panorama narrativo dei primi anni Sessanta.
La ricerca dello stile fu un impegno costante per Bianciardi scrittore e traduttore, autore di migliaia di pagine di narrativa, inchiesta sociale, divulgazione storica, articoli di costume.
Con questo saggio, Varotti, ci accompagna in un viaggio, attraverso le sue opere, nella parola bianciardiana, sensibilissima, acuta, che non risparmia e non si risparmia.
Un altro libro da amare.

“Il lettore che entri nel vasto universo di Bianciardi scopre presto che la sua scrittura è attraversata da persorsi coerenti; da ritorni di temi, elementi stilistici e strutturali che, da un’opera all’altra, vengono continuamente rimodulati e ripensati, in un processo di scrittura che fu tutt’altro che inconsapevole e ingenuo.”

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