Can you name one book that you love with all your heart and would not mind recommending it to any one, regular readers or not? For me it would be A Dog’s Tale by Mark Twain. Care to read why I love it so much? Read on.
About A Dog’s Tale
Title: A Dog’s Tale
Author: Mark Twain
Genre: Fiction – Classics
Setting: The USA, 1995
Plot Summary of A Dog’s Tale
Aileen Mavourneen has a St. Bernard for his dad and Collie for his mom and he is a Presbyterian according to his mom. Yes, she is the pup that we all want around – the high energy, chirpy, loyal and happy pup. The story takes us through her life as a pup to being a mom and eventually her death.
She learns and lives according to her mom’s advises, after she was given for adoption. She is loved by her new family and their servants. One fateful night she rescues the infant from fire and misunderstood by the dad that she hurt the baby, who hurts Aileen’s leg injuring permanently.
Once her heroic deed is recognized by the family, she becomes the pride of the house and shown off to every visitor. Ironically, whenever someone enquires about her limp, the family turns silent and never accepting the dad’s mistake in judgement. Eventually Aileen becomes a mother and the puppy grows up with the same love and affection from the family that Aileen does.
The dad invites his other scientist friends over, while his family leaves on a holiday. The friends conduct an experiment on Aileen’s pup, killing it. Aileen doesn’t understand what had happened but thinks her kid would grow up from where he was buried, just like the seed the family planted in the garden. She dies due to the disappointment of losing her pup.
Book review of A Dog’s Tale
The short story is so well written that I can relate the characters (dogs or not) to people from real life – be it, Aileen or Aileen’s mother or the family members. I loved the confidence and drive to be better in Aileen’s mother, and I could actually visualize people who make up words on the go and make a stand that they were true just like her.
Yes Aileen was a Presbyterian according to her. But hey, she brought up her pup alright.
Things that worked out for me
“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead. – Mark Twain.
Now Mark Twain is the writer who stood by his words. In just 52 pages, he conveyed all he had to say and stole my heart just the way only he can. (In fact, he makes me abandon the thought that “I will be able to write, someday”).
He pointed out the extremities between the thoughtlessness cruelty and selfishness of men and the pure love, trust and loyalty of the animals towards humans. I might be giving it too much thought, but just hear me out, I couldn’t help but to think the author showed us all that is right and fair in the world through Aileen and that’s not with the inhumane humans.
I hated the dad to the core – yes I am over reacting. But you know what, the world is filled with ‘the dad’s. They are thoughtless, ready to jump onto their guns, selfish and they never acknowledge their mistakes. And we are supposed to accept that because ‘such is the human nature!’, I hear.
Things that didn’t work for me
Usually I have a paragraph to write on things I didn’t like in the book, but I just could not find any. Yeah I can hear you saying “Gal, you are dealing with Mark Twain here, and you think you can find out something that you don”t like”.
But if you know me, I will always find a thing or two to crib about most books. Right, I didn’t find any and in fact I am going to defend the writer. There are readers who find the ending upsetting – it is but I think life is upsetting as well.
And some reading into wiki shows Twain was an animal lover as well and he republished the story to support Anti-Vivisection Law (which stands against experimentation on animals and animal cruelty on the whole) in 1920s. So haters, hold it right there.
My thoughts in general
On a personal note, coming from a dog loving family which had more than its fair share of dogs in the past 3 decades, I couldn’t stop comparing Aileen to every one of the doggies we had had. I remembered our Sheeba for the happy go lucky puppy she was, or Whitey (my first dog) who jumped from the sun shade of our portico to catch a thief (or so I have heard).
Oh how could I forget the day when I had to help my dad bury Caeser and then go to school as if nothing had happened, knowing well that I won’t be seeing him that evening when I returned. Thank you A Dog’s Tale for bringing back all these bittersweet memories.
If you are an animal lover looking for a short read, look no further A Dog’s Tale is for you. Even if you are not an animal lover (gasp!) you will like this one anyway!
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Let us talk
Have you read A Dog’s Tale by Mark Twain? What is your favorite classic short story? What other books with pets that you loved reading? Let us chat.
Now that we are living on the age of “intolerance” and cries against and for moral policing, I could not have chosen a better timing to read this book. What if one person decide to clean up the nation off tobacco? And what could one man do? Read ahead.
Title: Find Virgil
Author: Frank Freudberg
Muntor has the worst of luck – uncaring dad, a divorce, estrangement from his daughters, a recent lay off from his job as a journalist, insurance that runs out and to top it – stage IV cancer from passive smoking – thanks to his dad, ex wife and daughters, for he was the teetotaler who worshiped his body as temple, who exercised and ate right. But he does not want to quit his life without making a mark – teaching the rest of America a lesson on healthy living or rather the ill effects of smoking. Mind that the story is set in mid 90’s, when there was a steady and drastic rise of smokers – especially among teenagers. He chooses to be Virgil from Dante’s Divine Comedy by providing a poetic justice The way he chooses to kill unsuspecting smokers by tainting them with cyanide – 340s if you are into counting.
Thomas Rhoads a retired cop and PI, who has money troubles and an alcoholic brother, is forced into helping the FBI in solving the serial murder by Nick Pratt, the CEO of Big Tobacco Co (whose product Muntor has been tampering). TR retired as an honest cop with a reputation and quit Pratt’s organization when he found his services were being used for not good cause.
Muntor’s killing spree pushes the people and especially the common stock of the tobacco companies. He reaches to the mass by making Pratt read out the General Surgeons’ note on “ill effects of smoking” and even making all the Tobacco manufacturers to donate to research on curing cancer. TR tries with the help of Dr Trice to read Muntor’s mind and plan – only to realize Muntor exactly had wanted him to do that.
The story ends with a bang when Muntor holds Pratt, Dr Trice and TR at gun point with a TV crew and audience of a conference and asks Pratt to sacrifice his life so that he will let the others live. Trice who has been fruitful in understanding Muntor than others, speaks him into leaving a mark behind his life by letting Pratt live so that he could ratify his donation of 1.5 Billion Dollars to Cancer research. TR plays hero and lets Muntor take hit of his own cyanide while manhandling him.
I loved the way my affinity and definition of hero kept oscillating between Muntor and TR. and I was not sure if and how Muntor be arrested. Many may not agree with killing of people just to create awareness against smoking. You see sin of smoking is lesser than sin of killing. But again you can not not see the ills of smoking to the smoker and others. Yes, you are in for a racy thriller spanning in a short period of time and if you like deducing part of the thriller you are in for a ride – I was sitting arguing with a friend, whom I was meeting after a long time when I could have done twenty other things, on how the killer would be arrested – and I dont regret it’. Such was the suspense element.
The book comes with the currently over used and hyped tag of psychological thriller – oh great, another one. I picked up the book mainly because the blurb intrigued me saying ‘you will root for the killer to win’ or something like that – but I didn’t care for him at all, maybe because he was 56 years old man with stage IV cancer. And Muntor is not the guy everyone would take to. In fact I had to try hard to get through his part of story and his constant berating of the “the common people”. I actually had problem connecting with any of the characters, even with the good writing. I wish I could have known about Pratt’s story and even Trichina’s and interestingly I liked his hitman Valzmann better than anyone else.
Bottomline – a fast racy thriller with good writing and no loose end. If you like Fredrick Forsythe and Robert Ludlum you will love this.
Disclaimer: I received this book from the publicist free of cost in return for an honest review.
P.S Though I don’t support propagate smoking but I can not support anyone else imposing moral and healthy habits on me with or without threats to my life – if I die it would be on my choosing.
Today is Jane Austen’s birthday! And what better way to honor her memory than by sharing some of my favorite quotes from Jane Austen herself?
Now that you could have already pegged me into being a book nerd, you should know JA shares my feelings as well.
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” – Northanger Abbey
“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” – Pride and Prejudice
This is her version of “You are my BFFs!” – that is Best Friends Forever – for people who are actually from JA’s era.
“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” – Northanger Abbey
“My idea of good company…is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.’ ‘You are mistaken,’ said he gently, ‘that is not good company, that is the best.” – Persuasion
Jane might have been the best selling chicklit (yea, woman literature ) author if she had been writing now – just for these heart wrenching love proclamations!
“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” – Pride and Prejudice
“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope…I have loved none but you.” Persuasion“How quick come the reasons for approving what we like.” – Persuasion
“Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way.” Emma
“Men were put into the world to teach women the law of compromise. ”
“The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!” Sense and Sensibility
“Stupid men are the only ones worth knowing after all.”
Her Sassy wit:
“I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.” Jane Austen’s Letters.
“I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible.” – Northanger Abbey
“I have not the pleasure of understanding you.” Pride and Prejudice
“I am excessively diverted. ” – Pride and Prejudice (roughly translated to “I am not hearing you, bud”
On general Life as such:
“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?” Well said !
“Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.” – Mansfield Park
“Know your own happiness. You want nothing but patience- or give it a more fascinating name, call it hope.” – Sense and Sensibility
What are your favorite literary quotes from Jane Austen? Have you read all her books? Let us talk.
Never ask a lady about her age, goes the adage. So what is it between a woman and her age? Why can’t they just get over it and go on living their lives? Isn’t age just a number? ‘It isn’t!’ says Alice. Go ahead read her life’s story in Younger by Pamela Redmond Satran.
Book Name: Younger
Author: Pamela Redmond Satran
Genre: Fiction – Drama
Setting: Brooklyn, New Jersey, The USA
Plot Summary of Younger
Alice, a recently divorced mother of a 20 something Diana, is looking to restart her career and her life – except that she is 44 years old and job market isn’t looking for someone of that age group. She starts her New Year in a dull note with her friend Maggie, who stumbles on a brilliant plan – passing Alice as a younger woman. With a few wardrobe changes and hair coloring – voila, Alice seemingly becomes a new younger persona.
A new life awaited her – job at marketing in a publishing house, a new boyfriend (a much younger and fun game developer) Josh, new friend (Lindsay at the publishing house) and a new place to live (Maggie’s apartment). With her daughter who took Alice for granted, moving to Africa, she goes deep diving into her new life. She reports to Terri, a single mother of three and a tough boss, who despises stay at home moms. Lindsay assumes Alice to be of her age, late twenties, helps her to handle Teri as well as keep her afloat socially.
Do her secrets get outted? How does her daughter take her mom to dating younger guy and much worse pretending to be as young as her? What happens to her relationship with Josh? Reader Younger by Pamela Redmond Satran to know more.
Book review of Younger
I picked the book after watching the season 1 of the TV show of the same name. I kept visualizing the actors while I read it. Though there are few minor differences between the show and the book, I somehow liked the show better.
The novel goes to view the issues related to ageism and sexism apparently. It is a light read and definitely dated, but not your normal chicklit.
But I felt the characters were not developed to their fullest and that is where I liked the show better. I should accept I did not put the book down till I finished it (thankfully it was mere 300 odd pages), though more for waiting it to end than for the story.
You should definitely pick Younger by Pamela Redmond Satran up if you are looking for an easy read for your book club. Perfect for a beach read on breezy summer days.
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Have you read Younger by Pamela Redmond Satran? What about the TV series adaptation of Younger, have you watched it? What other less known book to screen adaptation you enjoyed? Let us talk.