What I’ve Been Reading


The Modern Dog 8/104, The Lost City 9/104, The Elegance of the Hedgehog 10/104

These are the last three books I bought, so now I can start using my Kindle (finally, I mean I’ve had it for four whole days!).

The Modern Dog was pretty interesting. Each chapter is its own self-contained essay or article about human-dog interactions throughout history. Some parts were a little cheesy (a woman finds an abandoned, half-drowned puppy named Angel who is her constant protector, even after his death when his ghostly barks rouse her during a gas leak), but others were informative (a chapter on how different kinds hunting dogs have been bred and altered as hunting techniques and weapons have changed) and ridiculous (a teenager posts pictures on his blog of the author’s dog getting a tomato juice bath after a run in with a skunk, and years later the pictures still pop up on anti-animal testing websites as “proof” of vivisection). I’m basically mental for dogs anyway so this just really reinforced that.

I picked The Lost City out of the bargain book bin because I liked the cover (the greens! the foliage! the typeface!) but I actually really enjoyed this book! The story was fascinating and I got really emotionally invested in the characters’ lives. I ended up staying up until 3 am to finish it! I just had to know whether the lost city would ever be found, who would live, who would die and most of all, what would happen to the cat? This makes it sound really swashbuckling but it’s actually a very quiet, introspective and melancholy book. My only (minor) complaint is that it’s one of those books without quotation marks, so sometimes you can’t really tell who is saying (or even thinking) what.

I think I bought The Elegance of the Hedgehog just because I kept seeing it in every bookstore I went into, and you know what? I did not like this book AT ALL. Maybe there is just something off about the translation- in one passage a coat is described as being made from the wool of a llama with a papaya on its head. What does that mean???- but the people in this book got on my every last nerve. I rarely leave books unfinished but with this one I came very, very close to just quitting a third of the way through. The end of the book redeemed it somewhat, but not enough to make up for the heinous struggle of getting though the first 300 pages.

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