January 11th, 2013

Book with cat 4

Book #2 of 2013 (Call of the Wild), brains, and Ellie New Cat

I'm now up to five cat/book icons! :D I love this one.

But before we get to books! My brain is an odd thing. All this week, five days in a row, I woke up exactly one minute before my alarm went off. 4:59 on the nose for five days straight. I could never do that while awake! It's pretty darned impressive how well our brains can keep time.

Ellie New Cat might need a new name. She escaped my apartment last night! My apartment has a small area around it that's mine (maybe four paces by two paces, a sort of porch or yard with no grass), fenced in. She got out my front door but luckily didn't know where to go from there and I was able to herd her back inside. Her escaping is my biggest worries -- she used to be feral, she lived half her life outside, I really worry I won't ever be able to catch her again if she gets out and beyond my fence.

Book #2! Call of the Wild by Jack London. Technically this was a reread, but I read it as a kid and remembered less than you would find on the back cover, so I'm counting it as new.

Book summary: Buck, a southlands dog, is stolen and taken north to Alaska. He has to quickly learn how to become a sled dog and survive among the wild men, wilder dogs, and the deadly Wild.

There's a lot I'd like to say about this book, and I've been trying to organize it in my head for a few days now.

First: It was a good story. I enjoyed it. I loved the setting. I learned a lot of interesting things. I'd recommend the book to anyone. Also, while it was written in 1903, it was not dated; other than a few random words here and there, if I hadn't known better, I would have believed it was written recently. That's pretty darned impressive.

Those are the biggest, most important points. That being said, I had a number of issues with the book:

1) If Mary Sue and Gary Sue wanted a pet, it would be Buck (the main character/dog from this book). Near the end of the book I skimmed four pages straight describing just how perfect of an animal Buck was. Four pages straight! And that was hardly the first time. Nearly from the beginning of the book, it was nonstop talk about how Buck was the perfect animal, how perfect his muscles were, how perfect his coat was, how perfectly intelligent he was, etc.

2) This was a harder point for me to pin down. Part of it has to do with the Sue point above, but more complicated. Since the main character was a dog, it would have been harder to tell the story without Buck seeming to understand spoken word. The problem is, it felt like he knew too much. He seemed to understand English perfectly. He did understand that when money changed hands, something (usually him) was being sold. He seemed to understand how betting works. I think it wasn't exactly that though. More like we came out of his point of view so the reader could see more (follow spoken conversations, etc).

3) Related to the first two points, perhaps belying my last couple sentences in point two. Buck knew too much. Too many IMPOSSIBLE to know things. He saw clearly cave men his ancestors used to belong to. That part bothered me a lot. He watched the daily activities of his ancestors, which is impossible, no matter how perfect of a dog he is.

While those points did bug me, they were mostly small (#3 bugged me more, but not to the extent that I didn't enjoy the book or wouldn't recommend it). Mostly this was an entertaining story about interesting characters in an exciting setting.

Next up: White Fang. (Both books were packaged together.)