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!