Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Malarkey - De-pinking and reading and other jazz

This week made my head spin! We're almost done de-pinking the Pink Room in our new house. Woot! I'll post an "after" photo, when I get one. This is the textured wall before we taped and began painting -- the rest were just flat pink (including the closet). I know you've seen this awful room, before, but I'm pretty sure Huzzybuns doesn't want me to share pics of him painting, so . . . you get a step stool.

I'll take photos of our progress, as we finish things. Other than painting, I've cleaned and lined all of the kitchen drawers and we've managed to hang three decorative items: a clock and Portuguese bowl in the kitchen and a framed print a local artist gave me in the half bath.

Amazingly, in spite of driving to the house to take small loads and start the cleaning and painting process, I managed to finish three books, last week!

Books finished in the past week:

Johnson's Life of London by Boris Johnson - If you read my blog regularly, you already know this one is about people who have made an impact on the city of London, over its lengthy history. The link leads to a mini review.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (on sale July 24, 2012) is the story of a man who sets out to mail a letter in reply to a woman who has written to tell him she's dying of cancer. He let her down, many years in the past, and decides that the letter just doesn't seem like enough. So, he keeps walking and decides that he's going to continue walking hundreds of miles to see her, thinking the anticipation will keep her alive.

What an amazing book! The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry could have easily been far-fetched or trite, but instead it is meaningful and incredibly believable. Harold and his wife are logically flawed and real. There was only one brief section that I found a little hard to swallow. Otherwise, the book is darn near perfect because the characters are so utterly human. Harold has his doubts, now and then, and the way he goes about his walk even changes from time to time. Along the way, he encounters helpful, kind people and some whose motives are not so noble. Wonderful, wonderful book. Highly recommended.

The Bond by Wayne Pacelle is subtitled "Our Kinship with Animals; Our Call to Defend Them" and it's authored by the current president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The Bond is a difficult read. Most people think of the Humane Society as an organization that's all about rescuing dogs and cats. But, their reach extends to animals of all kinds, all over the world and the book is both about the bond between humans and animals and the various kinds of abuses HSUS is working at halting.

Like the recent books about food sources, The Bond will make you want to avoid the meat aisles at your local grocery -- not only because of the incredibly cruel practices of the meat industry but also because those same practices are dangerous to humans. Downer cows, for example, are still routinely allowed to slaughter. You know what that means, right? Downer cows can be cows that are exhausted from miserable treatment and dehydration during crowded rides to slaughter, but they may also be suffering from what's commonly known as "Mad Cow Disease". No cow that's unable to walk from trailer to slaughterhouse floor should ever become a part of the food chain, but they do . . . and with USDA officials present. I've only recently returned to eating beef (after the first Mad Cow death and the death of a friend from Mad Cow -- which was not publicized at all -- I decided the USDA couldn't be trusted, for quite a few years), but it didn't last long. I will not eat beef, again.

Other abuses discussed are puppy mills and why AKC or other pure-bred licenses do not guarantee that you're purchasing a healthy animal (and may even mean the opposite) that was raised by a caring breeder; dog- and cock-fighting, including why the HSUS chose to allow Michael Vick to speak out against dog fighting for the organization; the cruel treatment of chickens, cows and pigs by industrial farmers and why crowding and other poor conditions mean a danger to humans; the annual seal slaughter in Canada and why it's finally tapering off; why wolves and mountain lions are still being slaughtered in spite of the fact that they're necessary predators; how ending the killing of whales has led to tourist income; why one zoo no longer has elephants, and more. The politics of all this killing and mistreatment are mind-boggling.

There were times I thought the author didn't explain things well enough (for example, he didn't go into detail about why a certain practice may have caused the Asian avian flu epidemic) or left me feeling like a particular story wasn't thoroughly wrapped up. And, obviously the book is a painful read for animal lovers. But, it's a necessary one, definitely recommended -- especially to those who may want to become involved in protecting animals and who care about the sources of the food we eat in the U.S. A little preachy, at times, but that's probably necessary. And, I'm a little confused. Doesn't the Humane Society still euthanize healthy animals? I need to look into that.

Just walked in, this past week:
  • Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers - from Paperback Swap (Kiddo already read this one and gave it two thumbs up)
  • The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison - unsolicited from Algonquin Books
I am reading:

The Knights of Derbyshire by Marsha Altman. I believe this is the 5th in Altman's Darcy series. I started reading it in the midst of reading The Bond. I needed a little sweetness and light as an antidote to reading about the horror of animal cruelty.

Some animals have very cushy lives, thank goodness:

They give us their trust, companionship, love and loads of belly laughs. I'll always wonder how people can abandon animals. It's a mindset that makes no sense to me.

Wednesday will be our first day of curbside recycling!

Since we don't live in our new home, yet, I'm dragging my recyclable items along with me. Exciting!!!

I'm down to 2 posts per week, at best, right now. Will try to at least keep up the Monday Malarkey and Fiona Friday posts, if nothing else. Happy Monday to all!

©2012 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

20 comments:

  1. I've heard great things about Harold Fry...now I can't wait for it to come out so I can read it!

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    1. Oops, I forgot it hasn't been released, yet! Better add that to my review. Thanks for mentioning it, O Fizzy One. :)

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  2. Oh I'm SO GLAD you liked Harold Fry!!!! I've been curious about it and now that you've loved it I'm super super excited to read it! It sounds like such a sweet book and such a very…different and interesting book.

    I can't wait to see how the house remodeling goes!! I'm so excited to see the after pics :D Hope all is well my dear!!

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    1. Hey Chris!

      I've been thinking about you, since we're painting our future library. :) Harold Fry is wonderful -- sweet, touching, beautifully written, thought-provoking and, yep, definitely unique.

      I'll be posting some pics to FB, soon. Do you ever go to Facebook? Doesn't seem like you say anything there.

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  3. thanks for the Harold Fry review .... I too have heard of this one -- getting good word

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    1. It's excellent and getting lots of positive reviews!

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  4. Wow, you've been busy. I'd feel like I was in someone's stomach if I was in an all pink house.

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    1. I have indeed! No worries. The room has been totally de-pinked, now (apart from a bit in the closet, which we decided to leave for grins. It was just one room and a closet. The previous owner told us her son and his children moved in with her for a long time and that was her granddaughter's room.

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  5. I love the wall! I bet it's going to look great when you are done. I am going to be receiving the Harold Fry book very soon, and am anxious to get started with it, so I am glad to hear you loved it. I also am curious by the animal book, but I think it might make me too sad to read it at the moment. I will have to add it to my shelf for later though! Great progress update!

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    1. Thanks! We're almost done! It's blue, now, but we will do a final coating because it was, in fact, quite difficult to cover that pink -- even with one-coat paint.

      I think you'll love Harold Fry. It's such a lovely book. The animal book is not one you'll want to read if you're feeling down. It's upsetting, but he does at least discuss the positive results of the organization's efforts so it's not all horror.

      Thanks!

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  6. Oh my goodness, The Bond sounds incredibly powerful. Definitely going to have to get ahold of that one, despite the anguish I'm sure it brings one reading it.

    Hmmm...why would you want to paint over that lovely pink wall? :P

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    1. It's hard reading but, yep, powerful and necessary. I've seen several relevant articles, since, including a bill someone's trying to get pushed through that would prevent the use of hidden cameras in slaughterhouses --- you know, so the meat industry can get away with torture and sending bad meat to market. Unreal.

      Not into the Pepto-Bismol look. Nope. It's all blue, now! Just need one final coat because it's a tiny bit streaky. Not sure we used the best paint brushes, but we'll roll over it one last time. From a distance it looks fantastic! Loving the blue! We did leave a little pink at the back of the built-in shelves in the closet, just to be different, but it was soft pink in the closet, not that icky textured look.

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  7. Yay for de-pinking! And for still managing to have some fun in the midst of all the work. Both books sound good. Have a great week, Nancy!

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    1. I'm having loads of fun. Just being in the new house makes me happy. I hope to get to those books, soon, but reading time is still limited. That's the only bad thing about the moving process, if you ask me. I don't mind the heavy work. :)

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  8. Wow, that is really pink! I can see why you want to change the color.

    Yours is the second very positive review of Harold Fry I've seen today, so I'm keeping an eye out for that one.

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    1. It's all blue, now, Alyce! We left a little pink in the closet, at the back of the built-in shelves, just for grins. But, otherwise, the room is the same blue as my current office (you've probably seen it in cat photos) and the closet is white. I love it! :)

      Harold Fry is a wonderful book. The writing is absolutely lovely. I have a feeling you'll enjoy it.

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  9. Hello, I finished Harold Fry this week and decided to visit here to see if you, too, had read it and loved it. I have a book club meeting tomorrow to discuss! Should be fun. I am thinking about buying the kindle of the related book Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy - have you read that, too?

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    1. Nope, I actually haven't even heard of that one. I remember very little about Harold Fry, now, except for the fact that I loved it. If they're related I'd probably have to reread Harold before reading Queenie. Let me know what you think!

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    2. No, I don't think you will need to reread Harold before reading this - it is ALMOST a standalone (but would spoiler the pilgrimage if read out of order). I loved Queenie's version almost as much as the first or maybe more. I give both 5 stars. I do now want to reread Harold but that is because I am really impressed with the author.
      How ARE you btw?

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    3. Oh, good. I gave away my copy of Harold Fry when I finished, so I'm glad I don't need to reread it if I do read Queenie. Did you know my childhood cat was named Queenie? LOL I'm glad you enjoyed it!

      I'm fine. How are you? We haven't talked in quite a while, have we? This has not been a great reading year for me but I'm just trying to go with the flow. Some years are like that. Someday I'll get my reading and blogging mojo back. :)

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