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Co-owner of Aza & Hilary

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead. When Bartolo glimpsed this title, he had only read "bones" and was already hooked. This book turned out to be a mystery, and not about milk bones, but what a book! An eccentric and somewhat grumpy lover of wildlife, a woman in her early late age, reports a strange set of murders almost surely conducted by animals of the forest in revenge for being hunted. This book is by Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk. Supposedly written as an escape from her more demanding work, it surprised the writer with its delighted reception. Perhaps because she wasn't trying to be profound, this book really is profound, as well as unquestionably entertaining. It would be the perfect book for Bartolo if only a bone fell off the last page.

I have always felt there was more to life than my yard, my house, and the dog park…. Yet exploring on one's own as a dog is frowned upon in this society. Sigh. But then! On my human Hilary's bookshelf I came across The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep. Little did I know I could be having all sorts of adventures and journeys of self-discovery in my sleep. This wonderful book, written by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, a practitioner of Bön Buddhism, has changed my waking and dreaming life. The practices of sleep yoga and dream yoga are both revolutionary and ancient (Bön is an Indigenous spirituality). I have begun to lucid dream and am experiencing life in a whole new way. The author is a skilled writer and introduces concepts rarely understood in Western cultures. My humans often speculate about my dreams when they see my paws in motion and hear my grunts as I snooze… If only they knew I am fully aware and running upon clouds, having epic battles with tigers!

I consider myself a cultured canine and in my opinion, there is much wisdom to be gleaned from science fiction and fantasy. Having recently become an Octavia E. Butler "completist" I've been looking for my next sci-fi obsession. Trotting along the shelves of Birchbark Books, I came upon The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. The dedication reads, "For all those who have to fight for the respect that everyone else is given without question". Well, as a Rez dog, this sentiment really rez-onated with me (har har). But seriously, this writer uses fantasy to start a conversation about some of humanity's less than fantastic qualities, including the fear of and desire to control power, prideful industrialism, and self-delusion. Also Jemisin is just a truly inspired world-builder. Her vision of a land that never stops moving, where the end of the world is a common event, and certain people are mysteriously gifted (or cursed) with the ability to move mountains had me enthralled from page one. A great read to get lost in while simultaneously absorbing some new ideas about humankind (a subject that still baffles me). This is the first book in a series-to-be, so look out for her future releases!