Saturday, July 20, 2013
Before I left my job at the bookstore, I bought a copy of Susannah Charleson's new book, THE POSSIBILITY DOGS.
SCENT OF THE MISSING was her first book. In it, we came to know Susannah and her dog Puzzle, the golden retriever she decided to bring into her life and train to work Search and Rescue (SAR). She had questions about her own ability to handle a dog for SAR, which is difficult work in and of itself. She and Puzzle have come to work together beautifully, and I felt privileged to learn about her journey in SCENT OF THE MISSING.*
In THE POSSIBILITY DOGS, she explores whether rescue dogs, dogs who have been through abuse or neglect, can be trained to work as service dogs. Would this be possible? Could she find rescue dogs that were trainable? What if she works at training a dog and he doesn't work out as a service dog? She asks these questions as she meets Jake Piper (that's Jake on the cover of the book!). When Jake came into her life, he was a cruelly neglected, starving puppy. Could Jake become a service dog, even with his rough start in life?
Her discovery that Jake was actually quite well suited to service work is only part of this wonderful book. Susannah talks about all kinds of service dogs, what is involved in assessing and finding dogs suitable for service work in the rescue population, the people who can benefit from service dogs (including perhaps herself), as well as living with and loving dogs as pets. Susannah has Puzzle and Jake, as well as several assorted Pomeranians and a couple of cats. She was, as she did so well in SCENT OF THE MISSING, brilliantly able to capture the joys and challenges of having, training, and loving dogs.
I loved the stories of handlers and how they got matched with dogs who were perfect for them. Bob was one, a traumatized firefighter and his dog, Haska, his psych service dog who can lead him home if he becomes disoriented. And Nancy, whose rescue/service dog Lexie can help calm her panic. And of course there is Jake Piper, who, through the course of the book learns, along with Susannah, how he can become invaluable as a companion and as a service dog. I must admit, there were some tears as I read this book. There was laughing too. She had some great descriptions of the Poms, some of which, she discovered, were also well suited to service work. Some of the other Poms were not, and her life with all of them is rich and wonderful.
Not only have we gotten to read this book, but lucky for us, Susannah Charleson came to town! She and Jake came to Powell's. We got to hear more about her, Jake, and her important work with her organization, Possibility Dogs. And we got to meet her...
If you look closely, on the table in front of us, you can see the certificate I got after handselling 100 copies of SCENT OF THE MISSING, which she graciously signed.
Clicking on the book covers will take you to Amazon's web page for each book. Clicking on the underlined book title may take you to the Barnes and Noble page for each book. Purchasing through these links helps support the blog...and the author and her work. You can like us on our facebook page, NOT The New York Times Book Review. You can also like Susannah's facebook pages, Possibility Dogs, Inc, and her Scent of the Missing facebook page. Thanks for stopping by!
*I have talked about and reviewed SCENT OF THE MISSING in several posts on this blog. I chose SCENT OF THE MISSING as my handsell when I worked at the bookstore. I sold over 120 copies of SCENT OF THE MISSING during my tenure there.
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
I love getting ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) of books. I feel as though I'm on the inside and am getting a sneak preview of what has not yet been released.
I was excited to learn that I won an ARC of Paul Harding's new book, ENON though librarything.com's Early Reviewers program.
(The Early Reviewer program is a free, lottery-style ARC giveaway. All they ask in return is a review on their site that is at least 25 words long. Deal!
Go to librarything.com and check it out!)
Paul Harding wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning book, TINKERS, which I liked very much. Told through the wandering memory of an old man near the end of his life, it was short and quite lovely. Liking TINKERS so well made me eager to receive an ARC of Harding's second book, especially when I found out that the main character in ENON (Charlie) is the grandson of the main character in TINKERS (George). I like it when authors connect their books through characters.
But the title was a little off-putting. What is Enon? A person? A place? Does the word have some other meaning that will be explained in the book??
I could get past that, though.
So. Into the story. Charlie narrates ENON, Charlie, a middle-aged man with a 13 year old daughter who dies. On the first page. Um...
Charlie struggles with his daughter's death, and the narrative meanders from the present to the past to the further past as Charlie, so deep in his grief, struggles with his life now that his only child is dead.
The meandering narration didn't work as well for me this time in ENON. Interesting because I liked it so well in TINKERS. I found myself getting annoyed at the wandering..."He already told this same story five pages ago, and he's telling it again? And I'm only 20 pages in..."
I wanted to like this book. I wondered if I wasn't attracted to the sad story. Or the wandering narration. I read TINKERS not too long after my own mother died, so perhaps it felt more pertinent to me. Or maybe this just wasn't the right time for this book for me.
I'll be interested to read other reviews and see how other people liked it!
Clicking on the book covers will take you to Amazon's web page for each book. Clicking on the underlined book titles may take you to Barnes and Noble's page for each book. Purchasing through these links helps support the blog. Thanks so much for stopping by!