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Friday, March 14, 2008

What I'm reading right now.

The Good Dog is a novel by avi. I've been reading it with my grade 3 language arts class. They are eating it up.

It is the story of McKinley, a malamute husky and self appointed head dog of his community. He is more or less a dog that lives without barriers, no fence, no leash and a loving family to return home to each night. In McKinley's eyes he is the keeper of the family and not the other way around. He takes his job as caretaker to his human pup Jack, very seriously!

McKinley finds himself coming face to face with a she wolf named Lupin on the outskirts of town. Lupin scoffs at McKinley for being bound and not living the life of freedom that she enjoys in the wild. Lupin does her best to try and shame McKinley into leaving his current life behind and accepting his ancestral call.

What I like best about this book is that it forces kids to think about good and bad. McKinley, in efforts to protect his family and the other neighborhood dogs, makes choices that are not easily understood and often get him into lots of trouble. If they only knew the reasons why, perhaps his actions would seem heroic as opposed to disobedient. I think this is a good lesson for each of us. It is easy to judge things that happen as right or wrong so long as we don't scratch the surface to find the deeper motivations for some one's actions.

My kids and I give this book 5 / 5 dog bones! A great family read.

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I picked up the book marrying buddha the last time I was in Edmonton. It was in one of those last chance 75% off bins. I almost always look there as I have found some cheap and fantastic reads - plus your expectations are lowered and that makes finding a good read even better!

The book is set in Shanghai and Putuo Island (China) with flashback's to a prior life in NYC. Self reflective in mood and pace the pages weave a story about who we are and how we interpret the world through all the shades of human behavior and endeavor. It is at times graphic and erotic, making no apologies or excuses - only insight into the very fabric of what it means to see ourselves for the beauty our complexities force upon us. It reads like a zen trance. I am falling in love with Coco. I hold on to each chapter. I don't want it to end. It has been quite some time since I have been so affected by a character.

I'll let you know what I think by the end.

Ah, there is nothing better than the promise of a good book.

3 comments:

rob said...

I was reading about women in Shanghai about ten minutes ago!

Apparently many of the women are increasingly sexually 'liberated' -as there are less women than men in China.

Smarts said...

Interesting coincidence Rob! I love when that happens. In the last month I have seen two documentaries on the sexual revolution that China is undergoing presented by the CBC. I enjoyed them both.

I've finished the book now. When I am in Edmonton next week I am going to buy her other novel titled Shanghai Baby. marrying buddha was very appealing to me.

joanne said...

A very good lesson for us all to remember. It is so easy for people to make snap judgments about other people based solely on the most surface of information presented. We must all realize we never know someone else's perspective, and also that we all view things through the distortion of our own biases. Taking the perspective of the other in the truest sense is to withhold our judgment and offer our compassion and see situations as an opportunity for us all to learn and grow together.

Thank you for your kind words to me. I am honored to have you as a new blogging friend.