A Literary Blog
about Books (and the occasional film) How
they affect us. How they shape our lives. Note:
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Friday, December 6, 2013
the Spirit Moves…
I’m going to try and make this short and sweet, ‘cause it’s a rainy,
dank afternoon and we all know that my favorite activity on days like this is to snuggle up with my Basset and a book. Of
course, the cat will eventually join us, too, but he’s a bit busy right now prowling around the utility room in the
I spent the better part of Thanksgiving weekend reading The Ghost Bride: A Novel by Yangse Choo, a Chinese native of Malaysia who is a newcomer the literary world of historical fantasy. As I mentioned in
my review just posted this morning on http://www.authorexposure.com/, this is not a genre to which I am normally drawn. But Choo’s writing style and her plot premise, as well as her well-formed
characters, were intriguing and had me captivated from the first page. This was a read I just couldn’t put down!
The novel is based upon the not-so-rare Chinese custom of marrying a deceased person. Li Lan, her main protagonist,
explores the worlds of both the living and those that, well, have gone before. Yeah, I know, it sounds a little ghoulish,
but this young, talented author has written a story that, well, raised my sprits.
So, when your own spirit moves
you, cross over via the link above to read my review. I hope it haunts you sufficiently enough to want to read the book.
I get really uncomfortable when I have to write an unfavorable review. I mean, the author put
considerable time and effort into his/her work, hoping it would be well-received with rave reviews and a large readership.
And in the case of Loteria: A Novel by first-time novelist, by Mario Alberto Zambrano, it did.But to be perfectly honest, it did not strike
me as worthy of nor worth all the hype that a host of mainline literary critics have given it.
Maybe I'm missing
something, but while the concept and plot line are clever—using the meditations of an eleven-year-old girl over a deck
of Mexican playing cards to tell her story—the execution of them lacked the professional creative pizzazz that I've
grown accustomed to reading in strikingly good, sometimes great novels. This one, unfortunately, has certainly missed its
mark with me.
However I did write what one of my editors at www.authorexposure.com called a "fair and balanced" review, which was posted on that site this morning. When you get a chance, wend your
way over and read what I wrote. Hopefully, you may just decide that I have given the author a fair shake or a raw deal.
Giving Thanks This is a particularly dank and dark afternoon on the Eve of Thanksgiving
Day. With the sun occluded by thick, grey clouds and chilling rain patters on the roof and sidewalks, it's not a good day
to think about playing tennis or going on a long walk with my dog. But it is a good day to read a novel or watch an old movie.
Or, with sunshine in my heart, to do a bit of reflecting...to count the many blessings I am grateful for this year.
There are a lot, including family and friends, both near and far...among them my older brother and his loving
wife...a close friend from high school with whom I recently reconnected...my sister, her witty and wise husband, and their
cherished diarist dog "Lucie"...the neighbors who have "adopted" me...and, of course, my dear
tennis buddy and the many, many companionable hours we spend together “hitting a few”.
I am thankful
for the semblance of good health, although on damp days like this arthritis rears its ugly head making it a bit difficult
to type, among other things.
I am delighted, of course, with the loyalty and trust of my faithful companions,
FrankieB and Sebastian, who thankfully provide me with laughter and inspiration each day. May they continue to do so for many
more years to come.
I am thankful for being blessed with a modicum of writing talent and the time now to continue
with my novel and collection of short stories that I hope to publish after the holidays. My thanks to my "readers"
and friends who encourage me to "write on".
And there are of, course, all those many wonderful books
which I am privileged to read and review for you here and on www.authorexposure.com. I thank that site's editors, LB and TG, who gave the opportunity to share my passion for the written word. So, of course,
I am thankful for all the many talented authors that I've met during the past year or so. There are so many that I am not
going to try and list their names lest I forget someone. You all know who you are. Thank you so much for your creativity
and literary endeavors to help enlighten the world.
I guess I am also thankful for this cold, rainy day, which
gives me a chance to sit back and think about fortunate I really am. And to remember to give thanks not just on one particular
day of the year because, as a wise friends once said, "Everyday should be a day of blessings and of thanksgiving."
May you and yours have a blessed and safe day tomorrow.
Neural Connections I am seriously considering going vegan this holiday season. Especially
after reading Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures by Virginia Morell. It is an eye-opener that makes
you look at other animals in a whole different light. And, to be honest, after reading it, I don't think I could face a roasted
carcass coming out of my oven when I know that its owner was once a sentient being.
I know this sounds harsh, but the truth
besides ourselves—insects, birds, fish, marine mammals, dogs, cats, wolves, elephants, and even alligators—as
the title suggests, do have thoughts and feelings. Yes, folks, they think
and reason, remember things, Most are self-aware and many even plan for the future. Just like we do. I know this is true from
the studies Morelli relates in her book and by the way my cherished pets communicate with me, both verbally and non-verbally.
inter-action, especially non-verbally, is called neural connecting, especially when animals sense and react to emotions and
feelings in each other. When FrankieB looks soulfully into my eyes, I know he is thinking about, sensing how I feel. And I
can readily pick up on his feelings, too. When I am down with a cold, my savvy cat is cuddled up right next to me, purring
away, comforting me. I can sense his worry and concern. I have a strong emotional, familial bond with my animal companions
that cannot be severed. It's called love.
The upshot of this is that we should be cognizant of the needs of other
animals, both wild and domesticated, and treat them with the same honor and respect we give to fellow human beings. It's time
we stopped being cruel to our co-inhabitants of this "third rock" from the sun. It's time we stopped using them
for our own aggrandizement and consider how they feel when we needlessly harm and slaughter them. It's time we stopped to
think about what we are unmindfully doing to our environment and how it affects all animals, including ourselves.
I don't have the right words to say this empathetically enough, but Morell does.
I have a niece...or,
more accurately, FrankieBernard has a first cousin named Lucie. And, like my bright-eyed beloved brainiac of a Basset, this
equally as smart mostly Rhodesian Ridgeback mixed-breed has written a book. In fact, it is a diary, entitled Lucie's Letters: Diary of a Rescue Puppy, with help from her human companion, Linda Uzelac.
Let me explain...
Linda and I have been such close
friends since we met on the first day of college, all these so many years ago, that we are practically like sisters. We are
very much alike in spirit, heart, and mind. We even, as the urban legend goes, share common ancestors; so we are, in fact,
related. And just like sisters who are also close friends, we share the same interests, which include our great general love
for animals and, more specifically, dogs.
However, I never would have thought throughout all these years that
Linda and her husband, while enamored of my dog, would actually parent one themselves until I got a phone call a little more
than three years ago to tell me that they had adopted a rescue puppy—Lucie. I was shocked, surprised, and more than
well-pleased! If there is, was a more loving home to take in a rescue pet than the Uzelac's...well, I'll eat three of Frankie's
favorite gravy biscuits!
Lucie, indeed, who was a stray literally picked up off the streets of a large city by
a friend of Linda's, has more than just a few stories to tell. And she does tell them—with great, unabashed wit and
humor in her diary, the first volume of a three-book series. Number two about the "teenage years" is due to be released,
hopefully, in time for holiday gift-giving, if not shortly thereafter. Not only is this dog bright, she is also prolific!
Now available as an ebook on both www.amazon.com and Barnes and Noble (www.bn.com) I downloaded a copy of the first of Lucie's Letters onto my HD ereader last week and spent a most delightful evening "visiting" with my dear friend and her cherished
canine companion as Lucie tells her tails, er, tales about life as a rescued dog.
I laughed and I cried as I read
Lucie's words out loud to FrankieB sitting attentively next to me. He howled, snorted, and slobbered—which, needless
to say, resulted in having to frequently wipe off my device. But we just could not stop reading until the very tail, er, tale
end. It is, as my hound barked to me later, a virtual happy romp that depicts from Lucie's point of view her antics, her "difficult"
training, her various "jobs" helping her "Dad" around the house, and, of course, her devotion to her "Mom"
who has so patiently and lovingly listened to Lucie and skillfully “edited” her words. This semi-fictional "autobiographical" account of a dog's early years
is a charming, heartwarming, clever endeavor...a "must have, must read" that should be adopted, along with its two
equally entertaining successors, into the home of every dog-loving family.
J. McInerney is an author, poet, and librettist.
currenty published works include a book of spiritual inspirations, two volumes of poetry, stories for children (of all ages) and a variety of
children's musicals. Her titles include:
of Oreigh Ogglefont
The Basset Chronicles.
Cats of Nine Tales
Water: A Collection of Poems
Exodus Ending: A
Collection of More Spiritual Poems
We Three Kings
Beauty and the Beast
Peter, Wolf, and Red Riding
Originally from the New York metropolitan area, June currently lives near Valley Forge Park in Pennsylvania with her constant and loving companions, FrankieBernard and Sebastian Cat. She
is currently working on her first novel.