Monthly Archives: November 2009

A Good Book Day

I finally finished Can’t Buy Me Love (review coming after the holiday) and can stop lugging those 650 pages around wondering when we would get to 1969 already.  Heading out on errands after work, I spotted The Inhabited Woman by Giaconda Belli on the E Train downtown.  Those errands took me to Borders in the Financial District.  I love this time of year because I can justify buying books for other people and thus spending lots of time lurking in the stacks.  Then, on the R Train headed home, the professorial gentleman across from me was unable to stifle his laughter at Winner of the National Book Award – I thought it was a compilation of pieces by winners, but it’s actually a novel by Jincy Willett (subtitle: A Novel of Fame, Honor and Really Bad Weather).  Since it turns out The Inhabited Woman (described as a romantic suspense novel) is not available from the NYPL, I’ll be reading Willett’s book next.


Love on the Subway

Caught this on the platform at Atlantic/Pacific yesterday:

sugar mama

Apparently Craigslist wasn’t working for her.  I like that she’s the literary type – and it looks like she might have a couple interested fellows.  The notice was gone today, so I hope this wasn’t the only one she had, unless she’s adament that he be headed southward on the evening commute.

Flawed Dogs: The Novel: The Shocking Raid on Westminster by Berkeley Breathed

This was an odd book.  When I first saw it on the R Train, just after finishing A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, I only saw the bright blue of the cover in the hands of the twenty-something guy next to me.  My first thought was that it was one of those “thug-life” novels that gets advertised on the subway,  but after I saw the man flip past a full-page illustration, I realized it was something I might be willing to read.

It turns out Flawed Dogs is from the Young Readers imprint at Penguin and is based on a 2003 Berkeley Breathed cartoon collection.  Since the book came out only in September of this year, I will not spoil anything about the ending, but I was deeply disturbed by the first two chapters and I think they’re fair game.

The opening chapter: the dog shown on the cover, with 3 legs and a ladle replacing the fourth, is carried into a dog-fighting arena.  He smells blood and immediately understands what is happening.  Placed in the ring with a slavering pit bull, he lays down to die.  At this point, I think my jaw was hanging open; I could not believe this was a children’s book.

The second chapter flashes back to the dog’s memories of being owned by an orphan girl (who names him Sam the Lion) and sets up his antagonism with a prize poodle in the home of the girl’s uncle.  Much general silliness also goes on, involving mischevious dogs and society matrons.  At this point, I began to feel this might make a PG-rated Disney movie, like Lilo & Stitch, which dealt with misfit animals and orphans but toned down the emotional intensity a bit with charming visuals.  Flawed Dogs doesn’t have enough illustrations to break me out of the mental pictures the text creates, especially as the owner of two rescue cats.  I definitely do not recommend this book to sensitive types and those under 10, but if you can maintain a bit of emotional distance, it might be a fun caper in the end.