Reading Books. Loving Dogs, Poets And Some Authors

Three book spines facing front

Something Old, Something New

I’ve been on what feels like a marathon reading binge these past two weeks. If I’m not pulling a library book out of the pile that I’ve stacked on the floor of my study, I’m taking one off of the night stand: can I possibly get even more reading time in before I fall asleep?

Don’t let the photo lull you into a complacent sense of thinking you know what my book appetites are – although I did make it easy for you to do just that now, didn’t I?

I’ve discovered CS Harris, a woman who writes a Regency England series about a guy named Sebastian St Cyr – I’m flying through these out of order. It’s like being on a hormonal chocolate high when you can’t read eat fast enough to satisfy the cravings.

Two of my favorite poets have recently published: Mary Oliver and Sharon Olds. I keep these two books on the top of the book pile on my night stand. Buying them sent me out to the Barnes And Noble book store on Monroe Ave. Twice. The first time, I had to rethink my purchases because Sharon Old’s new book of poems, Stag’s Leap, wasn’t on the shelf. In fact, it wasn’t anywhere in the store. Which, one of the employees assured me, wasn’t a good thing, but she was happy to order it for me.

I walked out of B&N that day with Mary Oliver’s Swan – Poems And Prose Poems and Little Boy Blue, by Kim Kavin. Quite the interesting mix of women and dogs. Mary Oliver, long celebrated as one of our greatest American poets; her poems are about what she sees every day: birds, trees, the sky; the beach, the play of light in the forest; foxes, insects; love – having it and grieving its loss. She writes about the dogs she’s had over the years and kisses.

Kim Kavin’s experience as a professional journalist makes her the perfect author for Little Boy Blue. After adopting a young (male) hound-mix dog that she names Blue, she gets curious about  his background. When she finds out that he was scheduled to be killed in the gas chamber that operates out of one of the animal shelters in North Carolina, she decides to find out as much as she can about how he was saved.

Like Mary Oliver, Kim Kavin writes about the dogs she’s had over the years. Except that Kavin’s focus stays on dogs. Her meticulous research weaves together her personal adoption story around everything that she uncovers about how the adoption movement, washing seamlessly over our country, has become very like a tsunami.

I found Donald MCaig’s book and Job Michael Evan’s books in B&N’s used book section; probably the best nine bucks that I’ve spent this year! They are oldies but goodies; in one of my former lives, I had every single book that Evans wrote, including the first one that came out under the auspices of the Monks of New Skete. Do you know that story?

Those were the days when I was reading everything I could get my hands on about dogs: breed books, books on anatomy, dog behavior; fiction, essays, magazine articles. What I loved about reading the Job Michael Evans books was that I could see where his next book was going to come from.

And that might be where all of this rambling on about books is headed. Some books invite sequels. Some books can stand alone. But, if they’re going to take on lives of their own and live forever, they have to be compelling. They have to catch you up and not let you go until the last page. Go big or go home.



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