January's Books: A Classic Novella & A Bunch of Tricks

One of the items on my list for this year is to read two books a month: a classic and a whatever I damn well please. Since I didn't finalize my list until a week or so into January, I decided I'd better go with something that wouldn't make me feel like a failure right off the bat. *I chose John Steinbeck's The Pearl for my classic and 101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog by Kyra Sundance. Here are my thoughts (don't worry...they're brief).

The Pearl
I first read The Pearl my freshman year of high school. The only thing I remembered about this book is that the word poultice appears in it. Why? Because it appeared on a vocabulary quiz. Of all the words I learned in high school, this is the only one that sticks out. Weird. When I reached that part in my re-read, I smiled.

Other than that, reading this made me wonder why I don't read Steinbeck more often. It's such a simple tale that carries so much heft. And the language is beautiful. The writing is so terse, which always amazes me. As you know, I don't do brevity. : ) I also loved the character of Juana. Everyone talks about Kino, of course, but for me, it was all about the quiet ways in which she was so strong. So lovely. All in all, I'm glad I started off with this; I've been meaning to re-read it for a while.

101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge,
and Bond with Your Dog
This was an easy choice for my second. After all, teaching Ollie one rad trick is on my list, too. I looked through a number of books trying to figure out which one might be easiest for me to follow. A coworker had talked about The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan, a lot, but I felt like those books were a little more touchy feely and a little less here's how you can train your damn dog. I have to tell you that I love this book. I've been working on "sit" and "down" with Sir Oliver and it's going well. He's only five months old, so there's sometimes a little bit of cluelessness on his end, but the explicit directions they give and great photos are a huge help. They also give tips for what to do if your dog isn't quite getting it. Super helpful! Plus, in addition to all the standard commands, they have a ton of rad tricks like teaching your dog to get your slippers!! If you are getting a puppy or just want to teach your dog awesome tricks, I highly recommend this book.

And those are January's books. I'm thinking I'm going to have the same dilemma in terms of book length with February since it's a bit shorter (though it is a leap year). I will be completely honest that it was tough to fit in those two books and one was more of a flip-through than anything. So, again, I'm aiming small. I can expand to bigger, better books as my time frees up.

What did you read this month? Anything good? I'm always taking recommendations!

(The Pearl Book Cover via The Occasional; 101 Dog Tricks Book Cover via Barnes and Noble)

*I choose my books each month. Nobody pays me to read them, including John Steinbeck's estate. I am merely sharing what I read with the few peeps who read here. Just wanted to be clear.

1 comment:

  1. I've never read this book but then of course in high school I was much busier with French literature (and that's a job, trust me).
    I did read Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, though, but in their translated versions as I wasn't speaking enough English back then.
    It's funny to think of that, now that I almost exclusively read English and American writers in their languate :-)


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