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Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary
by Joe Jackson
Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary
  • Price: $20.00    (Paperback)
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Frank

Frank

Owner of Carolyn

Frank has been meaning to write to you for quite some time about Joe Jackson's bio Black Elk the Life of an American Visionary—a bio that is deeply researched and comprehensive in it's scope. Black Elk lived through and witnessed unbelievably horrific events like the Battle of Little Big Horn, the death of his cousin, Crazy Horse, and the Massacre at Wounded Knee. As a boy he witnessed the last buffalo hunts and when he grew up, he found himself traveling with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in Europe. This book gives you insight into how the colonization of the Plains happened, how the reservations were formed and a sense that all of this happened not very long ago. Another interesting thing happens while reading this book -- you realize that Jackson's writing is compassionate. What comes across is that Black Elk is not a larger than life, legendary character but Black Elk starts to seem much more real, much more flawed and much more human.

The further frolics of Frank...


The Plant Messiah: Adventures in Search of the World's Rarest Species
by Carlos Magdalena
The Plant Messiah: Adventures in Search of the World's Rarest Species
  • Price: $26.95    (Hardcover)
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Maki

Maki (Ma'ingan -- Ojibwe for wolf): The Restless One

Owner of Louise

Maki is reading The Plant Messiah by Carlos Magdalena. How can you resist a person who brings plants back from the edge of extinction, and makes pollination and grafting and cuttings sound breathlessly exciting? In retrieving the cafe marron, a beautiful ever flowering plant, Magdalena writes, "So I resolved to pursue it on my own time. I will not accept extinction." Bracing words! Humans cause plant extinctions, so people are very much part of the suspense. There is the overzealous professor who snips off the only fruit in the world, belonging to the last tree, germinated with mind-blowing care. There is the forest worker who eats most the last remaining seeds of an endangered palm tree. And there is Magdalena himself, who literally goes the ends of the earth to save plants. He says that we know so little about plants, that saving only those we think useful now, to us, is like choosing all the books with, say, green covers from a giant library and burning the rest. Even if you've never considered how much plants do for us, you can read this book as a quirky thriller and be completely entertained.

Follow the ongoing saga of Maki's love-lorn reading...


My Struggle, Book Six
by Karl Ove Knausgaard
My Struggle, Book Six
  • Price: $33.00    (Hardcover)
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Remington

Remington

Owner of Martha

I have a new human at my house. Very small, strange cry. Not much reading going on there but Martha keeps me informed when we visit. I like the great big book My Struggle, Book Six by Karl Ove Knausgaard. It’s impressive. Martha doesn’t want it to end so she is savoring it. People say to her “how many pages is that” and she says “you count PAGES?” We think there will never be enough pages to My Struggle. Knausgaard is our favorite.

What else has been happening in Remington's world?


Sea of Poppies
by Amitav Ghosh
Sea of Poppies
  • Price: $20.00    (Paperback)
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Zuzu

Zuzu Patel

Owner of Hema

I’m a small town mutt rescued from Joplin, Missouri by Hema and her family about five years ago. Why do I like The Ibis Trilogy by Amitav Ghosh? Well there are lots of mutts in these books—a blend of people whose cultures and backgrounds are all tied together through the opium trade, which results in the opium wars. Book number one, Sea of Poppies, tells the interwoven tale of several island escapees who are running from accusations of mutiny, and end up on the deck of a schooner called Ibis, headed to what they hope will be a fresh start. The tales of these escapees created a legacy of cross cultural language, food, and art all mirroring the history of the Opium Wars. Other than reading this book I mainly watch squirrels outside my window, so you can imagine what a thrill I got from the pivotal love stories and nail biting twists of this book. These books helped me understand history through personal stories with a romantic touch, and what more could I ask for. This trilogy is rather fetching, wouldn’t you say? Enjoy!


The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge
by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin
The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge
  • Price: $24.99    (Hardcover)
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Lady

Lady: The Sassy One

Owner of Christian

I’ve been laid up lately after catching sticks a tad too vigorously, but I've luckily landed in the pages of a new young adult fantasy novel I just couldn’t put down. The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin is a part written, part illustrated (magical telepathic Elven spell casting!), and all romp. Our titular elf is deployed on a “peace mission” to the city of goblins Tenebrion to offer their mysterious, otherworldly king Ghohg an alleged trophy of goblin war victory, but all is not what it seems. What starts in deception continues in blasphemy as the Goblin city awes and entertains and the ways that the goblins and elves view each take center stage. At its heart, this artful escapade is an exposé on the dangers of biased reporting: the elves’ and goblins’ misinformed views of the other drives a story that feels all too paw-litically familiar. Brangwain spurge is a story for our fantastical medieval times, and I’ve already started working on my telepathic spell casting.

More sassy book picks from Lady...


Me Talk Pretty One Day
by David Sedaris
Me Talk Pretty One Day
  • Price: $16.00    (Paperback)
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Sylvie

Ollie

Owner of Kate and Elsie

I entered this world from South Dakota, but traveled far to join forces with a girl who dreamed of me for what seemed to be an eternity. It was Make-A-Wish® that made our union possible. My love for my human mommy is boundless, for I am at her side through it all. My human loves humor, and my job is also to entertain her. Since I am a Pug, it comes easy for me to amuse. I am the Jester to my Queen. My Queen finds it difficult most times to pick up this thing that smells very similar to the tall living wood structures outside that she encourages me to pee on. Humans spend many hours looking at these objects, and it appears that it offers some enjoyment. Our Palace has many of these items, and the Dowager Queen insists that they are coveted. It is my desire to comply so we are relishing the words by David Sedaris in Me Talk Pretty One Day. We are giggling through each short story of Sedaris’s memoir. It starts with Sedaris’s childhood in part one, and part duex shares about his experiences of moving to France and learning their language. Every chronicle of his life written in this book proves curious and entertaining. If light reading and a laugh is needed during you day, give this book a try. The Dowager Queen, does not recommend this book for children and puppies, for there is some strong inappropriate language.


The Lost Words
by Robert Macfarlane
The Lost Words
  • Price: $35.00    (Hardcover)
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Sylvie

Sylvie

Owner of Prudence

The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. It's big and it's beautiful, and it was created in response to the Oxford Junior Dictionary dropping forty words from nature because kids weren't using them anymore, and replacing them with words like "blog" and "voicemail". WREN--how can such a big song come from one so tiny? OTTER--have you ever had one splash and dive around you as you paddle down the river, as if inviting you to play? ACORN? DANDELION?? They're everywhere! RAVEN HERON WILLOW. It made my human and me sad, till we turned the pages of this book; the gorgeous paintings and the words inspired us. A perfect gift for the entire family.

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Lavinia
by Ursula Le Guin
Lavinia
  • Price: $14.95    (Paperback)
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Kara

Kara

Owner of Pallas

Lavinia by Ursula Le Guin. Like Lavinia, I have existed in obscurity and silence for most of my life. I was raised in a puppy mill and spent my first five years confined indoors, with only fellow canine inmates for company or comfort. This was my fate until! I was heroically rescued by Secondhand Hounds and cared for by wonderful people. Four months ago, I met my person, Pallas, and we have been inseparable ever since. Now that I am safely in my forever-home and with the help of my new pack (Ryoga, Bartolo, Hobbes, Roadie and Maki), I have begun to discover my bark and find my place in the world. Perhaps that is why I related to Lavinia so completely.

The titular character of the book is an interpretation of the princess Lavinia from Virgil's The Aeneid. Though she is integral to the original story, she has no actual lines and very little description. Le Guin gives Lavinia a voice and takes us to an ancient world that is ethereal and divine; a braid of historical fiction, poetry and feminist musings. Lavinia herself is a nuanced creature who can walk between worlds and time. It is an uncanny delight to travel

Though her only historical claim to fame is her marriage to Aeneas, the legendary founder of Rome, Lavina does not define herself by this relationship. As a dog who was raised for the sole purpose of giving birth to puppies, I was drawn to Lavinia's independence and appreciated her wry reflections on the dynamics of her species: “I can never get used to the fact, though I know it, that women are born cynics. Men have to learn cynicism. Infant girls could teach it to them.”

So true. I am suspicious of everything - a squirrel in the garden, a rawhide bone casually rolled under the bed, the nature of the canine condition. My male counterparts, however, are gloriously accepting of these mysteries and it is refreshing to witness their unquestioning confidence. Any society needs such balance, be it a wolf pack or a bygone tribe of Trojans. Le Guin masterfully explores the violence of love and war without judgement or rancor, unveiling a uniquely benevolent view of gender politics.

This book seems timeless, with words of celestial wisdom that float off the page. Though based on a classic, it feels entirely original and is a perfect read for spring. So, my new friends, pick this one up and let brave Lavinia live a little while longer.


The Blue Jay's Dance - A Memoir of Early Motherhood
by Louise Erdrich
The Blue Jay's Dance - A Memoir of Early Motherhood
  • Price: $14.99    (Paperback)
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Ryoga

Ryoga

Co-owner of Aza & Hilary

Lately my human Aza has been growing rounder in the tummy. Full of canine curiosity, I researched further and learned of an astounding phenomenon called Human Pregnancy! Apparently I will not be the puppy of the family for long. Eager to expand upon my knowledge, I began reading a book by none other than my human's mother Louise Erdrich. The Blue Jay's Dance is an exquisitely written personal tale of pregnancy and early motherhood. This lovely little book is populated with minute details of the environment and creatures surrounding Louise, funny stories about TV dinners, interesting recipes, and shows how the journey of parenthood can enrich an artists process. Reading this book I feel I can begin to understand what the author, my human, and many other pregnant mothers experience: the sweetness of creating life. What a thrill for a male dog. There are a few too many cats for my taste, but I do feel resonance with the kind-eyed dog of the family. I recommend for anyone who is pregnant, knows someone who is pregnant, or formerly existed as a pregnancy (i.e. every mammal!).

Check out more of Ryoga's story...


Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
  • Price: $19.95    (Paperback)
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Bartolo

Bartolo

Co-owner of Aza & Hilary

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!

What else has Bartolo been up to?


Dear Zoo : A Lift-the-flap Book
by Rod Campbell
Dear Zoo : A Lift-the-flap Book
  • Price: $6.99    (Board Book)
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Puppy

Puppy

Owner of Allicia

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell is the lift the flap book every child will enjoy. It's a classic that continues to captivate the attention span of a variety of ages. In the book, the child is on the quest to find their perfect pet from the zoo. The zoo makes pet recommdations until they find the perfect fit—and the pet that makes the grade is one that any canine can stand behind! Perfect baby shower gift or holiday stocking stuffer/present for little ones 1 year to 4 years old. 5 woofs out of 5 woofs!!!

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