Books: DOGTRIPPING

Good morning everyone. The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning CALM — which is the weather we’re having this morning. The calm before the snow we’re supposed to get this afternoon.

The Word of the Day prompt is QUEST — which is what I’ve been on.

You see, I’d just written a book review on Amazon and was ready to do the concluding sentence and an edit, but wondered if the author’s name ended with a T or a D. Well, somehow in my “quick-click-to-check” quest, I lost my multi-paragraph review, crafted so painstakingly, etc. 😦

ARRGH! Not so calmly, I searched through my browsing HISTORY, but my words had truly disappeared. So now that I’ve just spent an hour reviewing a book on Amazon, I’m going to post that, adding a few details, in lieu of writing anything else. I hope you all like dogs, as this couple had over thirty in their home at various times.

DOGTRIPPING by David Rosenfelt (with a T) is a long and winding account, but interesting overall.

As an animal lover, I enjoyed reading about this couple’s efforts to save dogs. Different times the writer touches on the sad fact that there are so many more dogs waiting for homes than people to adopt them; so many of these are finally put down. The same couple be said of cats. The Rosenfelts were especially interested in golden retrievers, but took in dogs of mixed breeds as well, usually animals in need of special care, and gave them a happy ending.

Though the book is about the move to Maine, the writer spends a lot of time on the buildup, hopping back and forth between arranging their move and describing the dogs they’ve rescue, their home setup, the people and rescue groups he’s met along the way, the special folks volunteering to make the trip with them. It gets long but I found it all interesting, though not exactly “intriguing” or “compelling.”

I commend him for the way he appreciates and praises his wife, Debbie, who can’t resist bringing home yet another unwanted dog — or two or three — if she ever visits a shelter. For the most part his self-depreciating humor and metaphors are amusing but I feel his wise-cracks about his helplessness on the journey are overdone; it sounds like everyone else worked and he staggered along behind — likely not true.

I’m glad the actual move came off so smoothly, without the disasters he was anticipating. I wish them and their pets an long and happy life in their new home, but their move to ME will bring tears to animal shelter workers in CA. Shelter workers in that area undoubtedly had the Rosenfelts’ phone number on their speed dials. 😉

The Car, Harry Potter, or Donald Trump?

I had a fruitful trip to the hearing aid store yesterday; the audiologist upped the volume on my two hearing aids. I can now hear more than I ever wanted to. Shopping in stores was a general roar; our air cleaner sounded like a jet idling beside our window; plastic bag crinkles sounded like icicles crashing onto cement. To save my sanity I soon shut the hearing aids off.

Fortunately I have a little device at home called a Streamer, which I rarely use. It’s the remote volume control for my hearing aids, one that will also turn them to “phone” setting and stream the call into my hearing aids straight from my phone. However, I find it a nuisance for the most part; it’s always bumping against things, which messes up its settings. So the streamer stays in a drawer until urgently needed. We charged it up when we got home yesterday and I turned it on. Oh, joy! I was able to turn the volume in my hearing aids down to a normal level.

My hearing aids are ten years old now, and considered Obsolete — which means not fixable, not replaceable — so I asked the audiologist how much a new set of hearing aids would cost. I told him I need to prepare, decide what to sell so I can afford them. (No one wants your kidney when they find out you’ve had leukemia, so I need to think of other assets.)

He thought a moment, then answered, “Sell the car. A set of hearing aids would cost you about $3400.” He didn’t say “minimum.”

Well, yes, that would be the car. I shook my head. “Maybe I could write a bestseller? I’m a writer…and I understand the Harry Potter books author was broke and made her fortune with that series.”

Then I thought about my own writing. Not enough murder, mayhem, suspense, erotica, etc. “Trouble is, I don’t write bestseller-quality stuff,” I admitted.

“Write a book about Trump,” he said. “That could be a seller. Donald Trump, from a Saskatchewan perspective.”

Mulling the matter over later, I realized I’d easily spend $3400 traveling around the province researching “Donald Trump: A Saskatchewan perspective.” Furthermore, would readers in general, and the folks who make up the Bestseller list, be interested in knowing what we here in Sask think of him?

A Harry Potter-type fantasy, on the other hand, could be dreamed up, researched, and plotted right here at home. Hmm…

Selling the car would be easier.

A Proper Moustache Takes Time

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is MOUSTACHE, or MUSTACHE (American spelling.)
“Guys are lucky because they get to grow mustaches. I wish I could.
It’s like having a little pet for your face.”

Anita Wise

Moustache.OCArt
OpenClipArt — Pixabay

Goodreads supplies me with this neat little quote about Hercule Poirot:

“Shall I say that he interested me because he was trying to grow a mustache and as yet the result is poor.” Poirot stroked his own magnificent mustache tenderly. “It is an art,” he murmured, “the growing of the mustache! I have sympathy for all who attempt it.”

From Surprise! Surprise!
by Agatha Christie

Ben Wicks and British History

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is ENGLISH

England.David Rock DesignAn ocean of ink wouldn’t cover this topic, but I’m going to tell you about several books I’ve enjoyed. When I was a teen Ben Wicks was a popular cartoon artist, drawing the life of the indolent Andy Capp and his long-suffering wife, Florrie. After he’d immigrated to Canada, Mr Wicks wrote or compiled a number of books centering around World War 2. Great for readers who are interested in British history through the eyes of those who lived it.

Wicks was a boy in London when World War II was declared and one of the evacuees, but made his way back home in time to watch the dogfights in the London skies during the Battle of Britain. He writes about his own experiences during those years, plus he has contacted and interviewed hundreds of other evacuees and shares their stories in his books, No Time to Wave Goodbye and The Day They Took the Children.

The English government feared—and rightly so—that major cities like London would be targeted for heavy bombing. If schools would be hit thousands of children’s lives could be lost. So the plan was hatched: as soon as war was declared all school age children, a number of teachers, also a number of young moms with preschoolers, would be evacuated from London and other southern cities.

It was fruit-basket upset. The children and their teachers marched to the stations one morning, given gas masks, loaded onto trains and shipped into the country. Many inner city children had never seen it before. Small town and country folks with a spare room or two had been ordered to take them in; at the train station it was “come and take your pick” from the weary, frightened lot that arrived. Cute little girls and big boys who could work were picked first. Siblings who clung to each other, refusing to be parted, and children with disabilities had to wait and wait, wondering if anyone would take them in.

I’ve read No Time to Wave Goodbye* and it’s a fascinating collection. The book is written in a positive note, but the stories are frank. Some children made friends for life, while others were starved, neglected, even abused. Some homes found themselves with slum children who’d never learned manners or personal hygiene; some children came from well-to-do homes and found themselves boarded with rustic families in cramped quarters. Many were evacuated to areas where they couldn’t understand the local dialect at all.
*© 1989 by Ben Wicks. My copy published by General Paperbacks, Toronto, ON

Promise Me You’ll Take Care of My Daughter* is another interesting book of experiences, this time those of War Brides who married Canadian soldiers. There were 48,000 women who came to Canada after World War II as wives of Canadian soldiers. Ben Wicks has managed to contact a good sampling of them and has sections of the different aspects of their experiences: meeting their soldier; the wedding day; the good-byes for home and family; coming across; the new home; meeting the in-laws.
*©1992 by Ben Wicks. Stoddart Publishing Co, Ltd., Toronto, ON

He also wrote Nell’s War and When the Boys Came Marching Home, the latter a book about the joy and turmoil returning soldiers experienced after the war was over.

Wonderland

The Ragtag Daily Prompt  this morning is WONDERLAND.

I encountered this word several different ways during my childhood, the first being through the well known song, “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.” I’m happy to say the a warming trend has kicked in here on the prairies and the temp has risen ten degrees. It’s now -21 C here, with almost no wind —and next week is supposed to be warmer yet. Wonderful! Snow tends to lose its wonderland sense after the middle of January.

I also recall an old 45rpm record my cousin’s wife owned. The song, instrumental only with a trumpet lead, was called “Wonderland by Night.”  (Blessings on the ever helpful Wiki, who tells me this tune was recorded in July 1959.) As a girl I often wondered whether there was a real place called Wonderland and where it was. I assumed this would be somewhere in California, where all wonderlands are located, right?

Or was the song a takeoff from the popular children’s story, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland? The writer Lewis Carroll—in reality Charles Lutwidge Dodgson—delighted not only the real Alice, but millions of other girls and boys since, with his delightful tale of adventure.

I was curious to know if Dodgson invented the place name, but it seems he only made use of the word. His book was published in 1865, whereas the word wonderland made its debut in English in 1790, according to Merriam-Webster, who defines it as a place that is filled with things that are beautiful, impressive, or surprising.

And that ends my knowledge of the subject. You’re welcome to pop over to the RAGTAG Community and read what other bloggers have written. Better yet do a post yourself and share your impressions of WONDERLAND.

BOOKS: A Perfect Day

For those of you who are looking for some really good holiday reading, here’s my suggestion:

A Perfect Day by [Evans, Richard, Richard Paul Evans]

The story opens with Robert Harlan striving to move up in his position doing radio ad sales, and working slowly on the side to write a book. He wants to tell the story of love and family — his wife’s close relationship with her father, especially as the father’s health fails. One day he’s called into his supervisor’s office confident he’s got that promotion he’s been working for. Instead, he’s fired for lack of achievement. (And so his supervisor can give the position to a current flame.) He’s furious.

Feeling like a failure, Rob mopes around too long at home. His loving and supportive wife, Allyson, finally gives him the push he needs to get with it and finish that book. So he applies himself to the task and once it’s done he decides he needs an agent. He sends out twenty-five letters and gets repeated rejections.

He accepts his failure as a writer, among his other failures in life, and wonders where to from here, but then he gets a call from one of the last agents, Camille. She and her boss love his story and she agrees to represent him. She visits their home, interviews them really likes what she observes of their love for each other. Camille warns him that fame is hard on a family; he should hold on tight to the happy home he has. At this point he has no worries; fame hasn’t landed at his door yet.

If you’ve ever heard the story behind the song, “Silver Threads Among the Gold” you will guess where this is headed. Suddenly Robert gets a whacking big advance and becomes a success, a best-selling author doing book tours, signings, talk shows. And has no time for his wife and daughter. Tensions build up; Allyson resents his celebrity world that shuts out his family. Rob decides to move out. Later, under pressure from a big shot agent who’s offering so much more — a movie contract even — he fires Camille.

As Rob reaches for the pinnacle of success, and is waiting at a coffee shop to sign the new agent’s contract that will make him filthy rich, a younger man slips into the seat beside him. The younger man begins to talk; Rob is startled when this newcomer starts telling him things about himself that no one should know. This strange man, who calls himself Michael, tells Rob that he’s been tried and found wanting, that his days are numbered. He also tell him that the big shot agent isn’t going to show up. He’s been intercepted and sent elsewhere.

Initially Rob’s a skeptic, but as the days go on, there are signs…and strange e-mail messages…about his number being up. Rob’s alarmed. Where does this guy get his information? How has he infiltrated Rob’s e-mail? Could this really be a messenger from heaven?

I wondered where the author was going with this, but I’m glad I stuck with it. I thoroughly enjoyed the way the story played out. This is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year.