Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

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6 Best Film Adaptations of Classic Books

“Hey, Kimster!” says She Who (thinks she) Must Be Obeyed. (Insert eye roll here. Do I ever have Mom snowed!)  “I’ve got a great idea for summer reading!”

What is it now, Mom?

“Let’s revisit some of our favorites from classic British literature this summer… on film!”

You mean like that Charles D. guy? The 19th century novelist you keep bugging me to read again? As in Pip and Miss Havisham? Lucie Manette and Charles Darnay? Jacob and Ebenezer?


“Exactly!” chirps Her Momness.  (She always does that chirpy thing when she’s on a roll. Me? I save that for bacon.)

Anyway, that’s how we got to binge watching all things Charles Dickens-ish. And 18th century Cornwallish. Wait. Did I say “binge watching”? Well, yeah. One of us claims she doesn’t have the time to plow through Martin Chuzzlewit or Bleak House in one summer, let alone Pip and Magwitch or David Copperfield and Peggotty. 

So we’re watching (mostly) BBC productions and movies of same. Here’s what we’ve watched so far in the classic English historical fiction mode. These are our favorite film adaptations of select classic books, as noted. How many do you recognize?

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New ‘Destiny Falls’ Book Is a Howl & a Half! – or – Why Kimber Nominated a Cat Into the Secret Canine Society (No, Really)

Never fear! Boss Dog is on the job!

The Ghost Camper’s Tall Tales (Better Beginnings, Inc. 2021)

Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic Book 3

By Elizabeth Pantley


Kimber here, ears pricked. Alert. Scanning and sniffing everything that moves. And quite a few things that don’t. Cuz weird noises are coming from the study:

“Aaaarg!” Pause. “Double aaaaarg!”

Wait. Is there a Pirate Convention going on in Mom’s study and no one told me? Shall I dial 9-1-1? Call Peter Pan? Or morph into my usual, every day Kimber the Amazingly Awesome and Super Duper Walks-on-Water Wonder Worker mode?

Hang on, Toots. Deep breaths. There ya go. Okay, Mom. Now. Tell me what all the ruckus is about.

“Kimber, I just finished the most fascinating, fun book! It’s number three in the Destiny Falls Mystery and Magic series. And I’m dying to know what happens next!

Can we kindly avoid the word “dying” in conjunction with a cliffhanger ending? As in, “The end… for now”?

The Backstory…

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3 Wag-Worthy Summer Stand-Outs

One of my baby pictures. I know. I’m adorable.

Her Momness is doing that “I can’t decide” thing again. Like when she has a coupla/three books she enjoyed and thinks you will, too. But she can’t decide which one to feature in a blog post.

Mom’s just funny that way.

“Mom,” says I. “Why don’t you just do all three? Like, at the same time?”

You know that deer-in-the-headlights look? AKA: The Her Momness Look? Mom has it down pat. Ditto three books we recently read. One is a murder mystery: Muzzled: An Andy Carpenter Mystery. Super great cover. Best I’ve ever seen, in fact. The other is a non-fiction book, Empire of the Summer Moon. The third is News of the World. By Paulette Jiles.

They’re as different as day and night. Peanut butter and jelly. Intelligence and presidential debates. Wait. Let’s not go there. Anyway, here’s The Official Mom and Kimber Scoop on these two very different but wag-worthy summer reads:

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The “deliciousness of exploring a new place” CAPTURED in ‘Travel Mania’

Travel Mania: Stories of Wanderlust

By Karen Gershowitz


“It’s Summer!”

What a kick in the passport!” Mom hooted after finishing Karen Gershowitz’s Travel Mania: Stories of Wanderlust. “It’s fun and educational!” (She’s outside turning handsprings. Don’t tell anyone, okay?)

“But Mom,” says The Level-Headed One. “You say that about every travel book!”

Ever see someone try to stop hand-springing halfway through?

“I do not!” barks Mom.

Okay, fine. Whatevs, says I, Kimber the Magnificent. But tell me, Mom. What makes this book so splendiferous?

Well. Buckle up. Cuz here we go:

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DNF-ing: How, Who, and Why

Kimber the Magnificent!

Mom and I love good books! We love good books so much that we do not do lousy books. You know. The kind that top our DNF list.

Look, Cupcake

One of us used to feel a wee bit guilty about our Did Not Finish list. But then I says to Mom, “Look, Cupcake. We get zillions of requests for book reviews every day. We don’t have time to slog through sludge! “

“Yeah, but…” sputters Mom.

“Oh, c’mon Mom! Our time is valuable. Why waste it on sludge? Or stuff that’s so grimy and gross, it belongs on the bottom of a bird cage. Or the kitty litter box.”

“You may have a point there,” concedes Mom. (“A point? Really. More like, Game. Set. Match!”)

We used to slog through sludge cuz we felt duty-bound to finish every book that came our way.

Not anymore.

One of us realized that if a book doesn’t grab us in the first few chapters, we’re unlikely to keep going. Or if we do, it’s through gritted teeth. (Hi, Mom.)

Well. Life’s too short. I mean, really. Who wants to waste their time on sludge? Especially when there are so many other good books around. Nowadays, we don’t bat an eye at consigning a book to our DNF pile. (For more, see 4 Reasons Why We’re World Champion ‘Book Bailers.’)

Anyway, here’s the short list of our usual criteria for sludge that’s headed for DNF pile ignominy. Followed by a list of recent inductees:

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ROCK Goes the 4th With These 25 U.S. Historical Fiction Books

Kimber here. Mom is busy rustling up some Independence Day eats. I’m not too sure about the potato salad and corn on the cob thing. But I’m all over the grilled burgers! Yeah, Lassie!

Well. The subject of “best U.S. historical fiction” came up the other night. We were watching videos of last year’s fireworks or somethin’. You know. The stupid Big Boom things. (Why do humans do this every Independence Day? I don’t get it.)

I was all ears. (For the book list. Not the Big Boom things. Mom got me a Thunder Shirt for that.)

Anyway, just in time for Independence day, Mom and I put together a list of the best historical fiction reads set in the U.S. Mom says we aren’t even going to try to cover books by decade, social movement, issue, or what not. That’d take us like, till the cat comes home. Gag me with Meow Mix!

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4 Blogging Do & Don’ts To Keep Readers Reading

Kimber here. Mom says it’s time for a little bloggish housekeeping. (She calls it “housekeeping.” I think it’s more like Rants From the ‘Ole Curmudgeon. Don’t tell her I said that, okay?)

Here’s the deal. Mom gets tons and tons of jun… um, stuff in her In Box. Every day. You probably do, too. Lots goes straight to the big kitty litter box in the sky.

If you’re a book blogger or other writing humanoid, listen up! The blogosphere is crowded. You have seconds to grab and keep your audience’s attention. You don’t want to lose them right out of the gate, right?

So we’re offering, at no extra charge, four handy-dandy blogging dos and don’ts (especially if you’re trying to get Mom’s attention):

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WOOFWorthy! Why “Aslan: Running Joy” Isn’t Just Another “Dog Book” (and we oughtta know!)

Aslan: Running Joy (CrossLink Publishing, 2021)

By Kristin Kaldahl

Christian Fiction/YA

Mom and I can’t wait to tell you about Aslan: Running Joy. It’s super woofworthy. But first. Watch P!nk FLY!!

Basic Plot

Recovering from a kidney transplant, Krissy’s health is delicate. She’s always been about horses and dogs. The 14 year-old Oklahoman sold her mare cuz she’s afraid she’ll get hurt riding. But Krissy’s more afraid of dreaming and failing. Again.

Horseless, Krissy sets her sights on dog agility competition. The sport is intense and demanding, both mentally and physically. Are Krissy and her “totally-wrong-for-agility runt,” Aslan the Shetland Shepherd dog (Sheltie), up to the challenge? Will they rack up enough Qs to earn a shot at the Big Dance? Will Charlotte ever shut up? And what’s up with Krissy’s used-to-be bestie, Violet? Or her sulking big bro, Peter?

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What Do ‘Sanctuary’ & Secretariat Have in Common?

“Okay, Mom. Close the pages and step away from the book,” says I, Kimber the Magnificent. You know. The one with sense. Cuz it’s like, the middle of the night. And Mom’s buried in a book. Again.

Well. You know Her Momness.

“In a minute, Kimber,” says Mom. “Just let me finish this chapter, okay?” In a voice that never means an actual, real minute. Then she gives me The Look.

Insert eye roll here.

Cuz Mom said “in a minute” two hours ago. She also said “finish the chapter.” Thirty-one chapters ago. So why is it the wee hours and we’re both still reading Sanctuary? I’ll let Mom fill you in:

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4 Reasons Why We’re World Champion ‘Book Bailers’

Book Bailer-Outers Extraordinaire!

Did you know Mom and I are World Champions? Well. We are. We’re World Champion Book Bailer-Outers. In fact, Mom’s getting to be a world class book bailing sprinter! The number of minutes it takes Mom to determine whether or not she wants to invest any more time in a particular book is getting shorter and shorter. It used to be six to eight chapters. Or one hundred-ish pages, depending on the book. Now it’s about half that. (We don’t need to chow through an entire garbage dump to know that it’s rotten. We can tell by the smell. Usually a mile off.)

Ya see, Mom and I? We get scores of book review requests every day. We accept about half. And we just don’t have time to read junk. As defined by us. Our blog. Our rules. Hence the sprint thing.

4 Cases in Point

Four recent Book Bailing cases in point? Gabriela Marin’s Made of Pixels and Jasper Fforde’s The Constant Rabbit. Kathleen and Michael Gear’s People of the Canyons, and Ruth Ware’s One By One. Here’s the 4-1-1 :

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