Q&A Dewey’s Nine Lives

Yesterday night I finished reading Dewey’s Nine Lives, by Vicki Myron.  As is always the case with pet memoirs, I was deeply affected by the stories conveyed in this book.  Some had me in tears, and they all had me grabbing the closest kitty in the room for a snuggle.  I plan on posting my review for this book tomorrow, but in the meantime I wanted to post the follwing Q&A with some of the contributors of the book.

Q&A with the Contributors to

DEWEY’S NINE LIVES


Why did Dewey’s story inspire you?

Lynda Caira (Cookie Cat): Dewey’s story inspired me because it is so unfathomable to conceive that a cat could change the lives of so many people.  It makes me think, if we tried, how could people change each others’ lives?

 

Kristie Graham (Marshmallow): Dewey’s story inspired me throughout his entire life. I have known Vicki since I was 2 years old. … Dewey’s Magic is real.  It has opened the door to my heart to make sure people know what they have done for me.

Bill Bezanson (Spooky): I wouldn’t say it “inspired” me so much as it touched my soul. I saw a LOT of the feelings Spooky and I shared throughout the story.

Barbara Lajiness (Sir Bob Kittens): I have always loved animals– especially cats. So many things about Dewey spoke to me and my own experiences in life. Dewey was rescued, we rescued animals. Vicki only had one child, a daughter; I only had one child, a daughter; and many of those moments during teen years between a daughter and a mother were very similar to my own feelings as a mom of a teenager. Also the effects of poverty and alcoholism on my childhood were all themes I could easily relate to in Dewey. Although I didn’t know it at the time…I would also face my own battle with breast cancer. So as you can see my connection and inspiration to the book really happened on many levels, not just how deeply I can appreciate and relate to that significant bond and relationship with a cat.

Kim Knox (Church Cat): I know cats are known for having “nine lives” but I was really impressed by the toughness of that little kitten in the book drop off box. It’s like he knew if he could just hang on, something so much better was coming his way!

Vicki Kleuver (Christmas Cat): Dewey’s story inspired me because it is a story of Life. Not only Dewey’s amazing life, but also Vicki Myron’s life.   Life can really throw us into the toilet or into a book drop on a frigid winter night, yet there is a spark, or a will to live that ignites within us to survive and thrive through the adversity of life.   There were many similarities to the story of my “CC,” or Christmas Cat. … I was also amazed at the similarities between Vicki Myron’s life story and my own.

What do you hope readers will take away from your story?

Barbara Lajiness (Sir Bob Kittens): That every one and everything, no matter how quirky or unusual, no matter if they are animal or human, has its place, meaning and value in the world. That we need to slow down, relax and realize how important all of us animals and humans, and even moments are.  We all may be different shaped and colored pieces of a puzzle, but you need us all to make a complete picture.

Lynda Caira (Cookie Cat): What I hope that people see in my Cookie’s story is that she was in a way, a life safer to me! I have had cats before and after Cookie, but Cookie just ingratiated herself into my life in a way that most people haven’t even been able to do!

Kristie Graham (Marshmallow): I hope readers take away from my story that relationships are important.  I think [my connection with my cat Marshmallow] was so valuable.  He was always there.  He was a symbol of my childhood.  He was part of my identity.

Bill Bezanson (Spooky): If you relax the little guards we put up each day and let an animal just be itself, it will show you love and affection without boundaries. As humans we put up small (and even large) walls when dealing with each other. But an animal doesn’t have an ego. It just knows whether it likes you or not.

Carol Ann Riggs (Church Cat): Church Cat was “Special” to a lot of the members of the Camden United Methodist Church.  She was a rescue cat and that made us happy too!

Kim Knox (Church Cat): You don’t always know why God puts someone or “somepet” into your life and we shouldn’t take something like that for granted.

Vicki Kleuver (Christmas Cat): I hope readers will gain from my story about CC a sense of understanding that love comes from many different sources in our lives, often when we least expect it and even at times from a source that we would never have considered, and we should approach each situation with an open mind.     When CC came into my life, I didn’t want a cat.  I didn’t even like cats!   Or so I thought.   CC was intended as a gift for my young daughter.   Yet he turned out to be mine.  Or as my mother says, I became “his people.”

 

I also hope readers will find in themselves a desire to do something new or different, to live life to its fullest.   Norman Vaughn  said “dream big, dare to fail.”

 

I would also like readers to come explore Alaska, the land of my people.   It is a great land, enormous with cultural history, diversity, opportunity, adventure, and tranquility.

As your story and all the stories in Dewey’s Nine Lives show, the bond between humans and cats can be very special.  Why do you think this is?

Barbara Lajiness (Sir Bob Kittens): I love all animals, but I really think cats have complicated personalities that create more complicated relationships with their owners. I have often heard that cats do not have owners, they have staff, which I think kind of sums up the playing field we are all on when building that bond with our feline friends.

Bill Bezanson (Spooky): I don’t think it’s any different between a human and any animal. In Spooky’s story there’s a story about Pierre, my raccoon. It shows the amount of love we shared. I’ve had foxes, skunks, deer, even opossums demonstrate love toward me. There were times in my life when I thought I’d never see real love in a person. But I found it in nature. I think that it would be a real healing point for veterans suffering the ugliness of PTSD to work with rescued animals and feel what that kind of love is like.

Lynda Caira (Cookie Cat): I think it depends on the cat and the person, and if they came into each others’ lives at the right time. I’ve had cats I’ve taken care of, and cats (strays) who I have felt that I HAD to take care of.  My Cookie was the only cat who took care of me!

Carol Ann Riggs (Church Cat): Animals can become members of your family just like humans.  Church Cat became a beloved member of our family when we brought her home with us.

Kim Knox (Church Cat): I have had a number of cats in my life and I don’t think any two were ever alike! There is just something in their personality that clicks with your personality and next thing you know you’re in love.

Vicki Kleuver (Christmas Cat): As I said to Vicki Myron several times,  I believe God brings these little critters into our life so we can rescue them, while they help to rescue us too.   Whether it’s a cat or a dog or another animal, there can be a strong bond.   Cats have very unique personalities.   I particularly enjoy cats that are independent, like me.   

What’s the most surprising or unexpected thing you learned from your cat?

Bill Bezanson (Spooky): Unrequited love. And I’m still learning and trying to lower my walls like my animals and really love again.

Lynda Caira (Cookie Cat): The most surprising thing I learned about Cookie was that she completely killed the stereotypical idea of how aloof cats can be. She had an actual personality! She treated people exactly the way they treated her! Another surprise was how for a small little cat that she was, she was more ferocious than a lion in her protection of me! If she thought someone was upsetting me or hurtling me, they had better watch out!

Kristie Graham (Marshmallow): The most unexpected thing I learned from Marshmallow is that he would leave such a legacy.  I really didn’t acknowledge the impact he made on my life and the power he would have on my future.  When I told [my acquaintances] that I participated in [Dewey’s Nine Lives], it surprised me how many people knew how close we were and how “different” our relationship was.

Barbara Lajiness (Sir Bob Kittens): [I learned] that love comes in many forms and to enjoy every one. Sir Bob Kittens is not, nor will he ever be, the beloved lap cat Smokey from my childhood. He doesn’t sit on laps, and you can only tell he is purring if you are lucky enough to place a gentle finger on his throat at just the right moment. But he has his moments where he will look up at us with this look of happiness/love and very slowly, in unison, open and close his eyes; you can just tell he is trying to let us know he cares about us.  And on those nights when he is lonely or nervous, he will come and snooze against my chest, face-to-face. It may sound funny, but I really believe that is his way of telling us he cares.

Kim Knox (Church Cat): Church Cat seemed very lost and somewhat needy when she turned up at the church office. I felt like she needed to be taken care of. This was true, but what was so surprising was how street savvy she was. She always looked both ways and made sure it was safe before she crossed! She may not have needed me nearly as much as I thought.

Mary Nan Evans (The Cats of Sanibel Island): [I was surprised to learn] that so many cats get along, and not a fight between them!

Vicki Kleuver (Christmas Cat): The most surprising thing I learned from CC is that I like cats!    CC was loyal, loving, affectionate, playful.  He was adventurous–it was that sense of adventure that landed him in the toilet that Christmas eve night, and it was his sense of adventure that cost him his life.   Some people, some animals, become afraid when they have experienced trauma.    Not my  CC.    Not me either.    I like that.   While it broke my heart that CC died at such a young age, I respect that he died while doing something he loved; it takes a bit of the sting out of our loss.  Regardless if we’re a cat or a humanoid, isn’t life what we make of it?    

Do you currently have a cat in your life?

Barbara Lajiness (Sir Bob Kittens): Yes Mister Kittens is still alive and well. Even though he attacks our ankles when we walk up the steps, and runs at us on his hind legs, sideways down the hall, he is a special spirit that is a very important part of my life, and my family’s. I have often told people that he is the one member of the household that no matter what, when he walks in a room, everyone says “Mister Kittens!” (Similar to when Norm would walk into the Cheers bar.) I am sure he thinks he is famous.

 

Lynda Caira (Cookie Cat): My Cookie died at the age of 19 , on July 31, 2009. I am blessed with another kitty named Chloe who is now Sweet 16, and I do have a wonderful little girl named Lucy, who was born in my garden two years ago, and has lived there ever since!

Vicki Kleuver (Christmas Cat): Sadly, right now I don’t have any cats.   Two years ago we adopted an older dog from the Kodiak Animal Shelter and right now, due to frequent travel, he is our only pet.  It is our hope to adopt from the animal shelter this winter either a cat or another dog.    

Kristie Graham (Marshmallow): I do not have a cat right now. I have a Red Fox Lab. My husband is a dog person.  But I am a goal setter—I have a bucket list. Owning a cat is on the list.

Kim Knox (Church Cat): After we lost Church Cat’s son ChiChi we were catless for a couple of years. We now have two orange tabbies named Marmalade (2 yrs) and Macaroon (3 months). Both are house cats and help make our house a home.

Bill Bezanson (Spooky): I have a dog and two cats. (Spooky and Zippo taught me that a cat needs another cat to pal around with. We humans have boundaries. Another cat doesn’t.)

Please check back tomorrow for my review of Dewey’s Nine Lives!

The Sunday Salon 10-17-10

Happy Sunday all! This has been a pretty busy week for me, and I feel like my blogging and reading suffered for it. It’s probably only going to keep getting worse in that respect, as I got a second job this week.  I am actually really happy about it because it is a job I really wanted, with an all natural bath and body company called Lush.

I haven’t started working yet but hopefully soon.  Having extra money for the holidays will be a nice perk too!

As far as my reading goes, I finished Wintergirls last Sunday, and since then my reading has taken a hit since then.  I haven’t finished a book since then, although I am only a few pages from the end of Dewey’s Nine Lives, by Vicki Myron.  My book club is meeting on Thursday and I haven’t even started the book yet. I need to get some reading done stat but I am not sure whether I will have a lot of time for reading today.  Booooo!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday and hopefully you get more reading done than I plan to!

Book Review: Assholes Finish First

Assholes Finish First

Tucker Max

Gallery

416 pages

It is not often that I need to do this, but I must begin my review with a disclaimer.  If you have a more conservative sense of humor and don’t appreciate stories about grown men drinking themselves into oblivion and shamelessly whoring themselves out to misguided women, then this book is not for you.  In fact, it will probably anger you.  As Max himself explains,

My name is Tucker Max, and I am an asshole. I get excessively drunk at inappropriate times, disregard social norms, indulge every whim, ignore the consequences of my actions, mock idiots and posers, sleep with more women than is safe or reasonable, and just generally act like a raging dickhead. But, I do contribute to humanity in one very important way: I share my adventures with the world.

In fact, truer words have never been spoken.  Max’s stories in both Assholes Finish First and I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell border on the absolutely unbelievable.  In fact, my husband (who loathes Tucker Max with an unbridled passion), is quick to surmise that Max’s stories are fiction.  I concede myself that there is likely some embellishment involved, but damn do I get a good laugh from them!

IHTSBIH is Max’s first book, which is a compilation of stories from his website www.tuckermax.com.  Some of you may have seen the movie that is based off the book, also entitled I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.  The two books are identical in nature—they just involve stories of Max’s debaucheries.  Really, they probably don’t need to be read in order and it would be hard to say which one comes out on top.

My favorite story from Assholes Finish First would have to be the one about TuckerFest, where Max meets up with some of his fans and drives an RV to Jersey .  Sounds pretty innocuous, right?  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  I giggled to myself throughout the entire story, and it was a long one.  I loved the picture Max included of one of his female fans—let’s just say that the fact that before he met them in person, all Max knew about his “fans” was that they spent hours idolizing him on an online chat thread.  I would have thought it would have occurred to him beforehand that maybe some of these people just didn’t have a life.  But I digress.  You can probably see where this is going.

Then we have the whole debacle with a completely annihilated Max being chased through Harlem in an RV while a crazy woman in a Jeep is tailing him for denting her car with a beer can.  How did that happen, you might ask? Only because Max and his equally drunken comrades were driving down NY’s freeways throwing all sorts of detritus out the windows at passing cars.  Which obviously leads to another problem—how funny is it to read about someone doing two very potentially damaging things, 1. driving while under the influence and 2. throwing objects from a moving vehicle at other moving vehicles.

Max is the first to admit that his conduct is outrageous, and the RV story in particular also included its own disclaimer.  That didn’t stop me from feeling guilty at thinking the whole thing was funny.  And I do.  I think Max’s antics are utterly and completely hysterical.  Maybe my humor is too much like that of a teenage boy!  I will say this though—I find Tucker Max, or at least his books, to be the male equivalent of Chelsea Handler and her books.  In fact, when I met Chelsea at a book signing for her second book, my sisters and I told her she needed to have Max on her show.  Unfortunately, her response was something along the lines of “Who is Tucker Max?”  But yes, if you like Chelsea ’s books and aren’t offended by her sense of humor, I would recommend you try Tucker Max.

Other Reviews:

None that I can find!

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Book Review: The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger

Sarah Waters

Riverhead Trade

528 pages

Dr Faraday is a youngish man living in England in the 1940s.  He is a product of the working class but quickly becomes involved with Ayres family, who are members of the upper echelons of society. During Faraday’s youth, the Ayres’ mansion, Hundreds Hall, had been swathed in lush opulence, but by this time WWII had just ended and Hundreds had fallen into disrepair.  The Ayres family now only consisted of Mrs Ayres and her adult children Roderick and Caroline.  Their money is gone and they are struggling to keep Hundreds livable.  Gone are the days of numerous servants and swanky parties.

Roderick is the head of the family, as the only man, and the pressure is quickly enveloping him.  This, coupled with the significant injuries he sustained during the war quickly overcome him.  Faraday is initially in the home constantly because he becomes Roderick’s primary physician.  Unfortunately, Roderick’s issues become significant enough that he has to be sent away from Hundreds.  His absence does not cause Faraday’s visits to cease, and his relationship with the two Ayres women continues to grow.

Hundreds is a big part of the story.  It sets the Gothic mood and becomes almost like a character in the book.  The focus of the book is often on Hundreds and the effect it has on the occupants living there.  Is it haunted?  Is there a presence in the house?  The descriptions of the home and its facade are so in depth and picturesque that it makes up a large part of The Little Stranger.

Waters is one of my favorite authors.  I think she weaves together such great story lines that are believable and atmospheric. I was a tad bit skeptical before even starting this book because I had only read Waters’ books that are set in Victorian London.  The time period of the 1940s had me a bit concerned that this book wouldn’t have the same sense of atmosphere that I love in her other books.  But I don’t even think that was my problem.

I didn’t love this book.  It was good.  I am glad I read it.  But I just didn’t enjoy it in the way I enjoyed her other books.  I know I am in the minority on this one, but I just felt bored.  The strong plot was definitely not there.  Waters’s books tend to be fairly long, hovering at about 500+ pages.  That hadn’t been a problem for me previously, but it was this time.  Because the plot wasn’t fast paced, I think the book as a whole could have benefited from editing.  A lot of it.

There were so many moments of this book that I enjoyed, but those sections were overshadowed by the long periods where nothing was happening.  I think that for those readers who are more appreciative of a well written story that is bigger on description than actual story, this will be a better fit for you.  Not to mention that I seem to be the only one who wasn’t head over heels for this book.  It has been overwhelmingly popular.

Other Reviews:

Caribous Mom

The Book Lady’s Blog

Shelf Love

Regular Ruminations

Capricious Reader

You GOTTA Read This!

Farm Lane Book Blog

Presenting Lenore

A Guy’s Moleskin Notebook

We Be Reading

I purchased this book from a local book store.

This book counts towards the RIP challenge.

The Sunday Salon 10/10/10

I am sleepy, I have a headache and I need some coffee.  The day after the read-a-thon is always rough and today is no different! Luckily it’s nothing that some Advil and a hot shower can’t fix.

1. Which hour was most daunting to you? It was 11pm here when I fell asleep.  Was that hour 14? 15? I just could not do it anymore!

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Finding a fast paced YA novel always works well for me.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? My only suggestion would be to try to pump readers up prior to the read-a-thon.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? As always, just the sense of community! The cheerleaders were great!

5. How many books did you read? I finished one book that I had already started, then I read three more books, then I read 1/2 of Wintergirls.  Maybe I will finish it today!

6. What were the names of the books you read? Assholes Finish First, Tucker Max, If I Stay, Gayle Forman, Bad Marie, Marcy Dermansky, Gray Horses, Hope Larson, Wintergirls, Laurie Halse Anderson.

7. What book did you enjoy most? That is impossible to answer that.  I loved all the books I read with the exception of Gray Horses.

8. Which did you enjoy least? Gray Horses, by Hope Larson.

9. If you were a cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s cheerleaders? I wasn’t a cheerleader, although I did spend ample time visiting other blogs.

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? Very 🙂

Here are my final stats:

Total time spent reading: 8 hours and 30 minutes

Total pages read: 803

Total time spent blogging: 2 hours, 39 minutes

This was my second read-a-thon and I definitely participated a bit less this time around, but that was my plan.  I didn’t want to go overboard–I just wanted to keep it fun.  It isn’t fun for me to stay up all night.  I’m lame that way, so when I was ready to go to bed, I went to bed!

I hope everyone enjoyed read-a-thon as much as I did.  Enjoy your Sunday recovering!

Read-a-thon Update #5

I have a feeling this will be my last update.  I am getting sleepy and I have some stuff to do tomorrow, so I don’t want to push myself too hard.  I plan to blog for a little longer and then I will read until I fall asleep.  My wrap up post will be up sometime tomorrow once I wake up.

Currently Reading:

Books finished since last update: None. My time spent reading between now and my last update has been pathetic.  I am getting burnt out.

Books finished since I started Read-a-thon: Assholes Finish First, by Tucker Max, If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, Bad Marie, by Marcy Dermansky, Gray Horses, by Hope Larson

Time spent reading since last update: 47 minutes

Total time spent reading: 7 hours, 26 minutes

Number of pages read since last update: 75

Number of pages read in total: 699

Total time spent blogging: 2 hours, 19 minutes