Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


Leave a comment

Powered By Hope: ‘Chasing Rainbows’ Refuses to Let Tragedy Have the Last Word

Chasing Rainbows: The Stolen Future of Caroline Ann Stuttle (Pegasus, 2021)

By Richard Stuttle

Non-Fiction/True crime/Self-help

“What continues to destroy me more than anything else is that she had the potential to achieve whatever she wanted in life. I truly thought we would have had a lifetime together.” – Richard Stuttle

An early morning phone call on April 10, 2002 crushed that assumption and changed Richard Stuttle’s life forever.

His younger sister, Caroline, age 19, had been “on the adventure of a lifetime,” backpacking around Australia with a friend. But on that terrible April evening, Caroline was thrown off a Bundaberg bridge and fell to her death.

Chasing Rainbows: The Stolen Future of Caroline Ann Stuttle is the raw, unfiltered story of Caroline’s life, the devastating impact of her murder, and how a “charity born out of tragedy”came to life to help young backpackers travel in a safer environment.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

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:

Continue reading


Leave a comment

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

Travel Mania: Stories of Wanderlust

By Karen Gershowitz

Travel/Memoir/Non-Fiction

“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:

Continue reading


Leave a comment

‘Olive the Lionheart’: Roar or Whimper?

Olive the Lionheart: Lost Love, Imperial Spies, and One Woman’s Journey into the Heart of Africa (St. Martin’s Press, 2020)

By Brad Ricca

Non-Fiction/Biography

In 1910, a strong-willed, flame-haired Scottish woman travels to Africa in search of her missing fiancé. Olive MacLeod was engaged to Boyd Alexander, one of the most famed naturalists of his time. When Boyd’s work leads him to Africa – and he goes missing – Olive teams up with explorers Mr. and Mrs. Talbot and sets out to find him.

What follows is the true story of the Talbot expedition across 2,700 miles of Africa. It made history.

Large chunks of the story are told by Olive herself through the extensive use of her diaries and correspondence. Included are detailed, vivid descriptions of Africa – its flora and fauna, tribes and villages and mind-melting heat. Bats. Rampaging hippos and crocodiles. Snake bites. Villages and chiefs and colonial powers vying for control.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: On the Road With Terry Lister

Can you hold that steak for a min? Cuz I have something else that tastes good, too! It’s an interview with one of our favorite travel/memoir writers, Terry Lister. You may recall Terry’s book, Immersed in West Africa. If you don’t, here’s our review: Immersed in West Africa: Not Your Average Travel Book.

Today we’re talking with Terry about his book and his writing. Lots more! If you ever wanted to know more about the how and why of travel/memoir writing, you won’t want to miss this! (Besides. We like anyone who likes Mark Twain and Bill Bryson.) So. Take it away, Terry:

Continue reading


Leave a comment

JUBILEE: Why Hermon Pettit May Be The Greatest Man You Never Heard Of

What?

Kimber Lugs-a-Lot here. I’ve been helping Her Momness lug stuff out of the resident black hole. (Mom calls it “the basement.” But it’s really a black hole where things go to vanish. Forever. Poof!)

Anyway, she lugged up this dusty old box. It hadn’t been opened since 1999. Inside? Books! Lots and lots of books!

“Oh, my!” Mom whispered, pulling out a dusty paperback. “I haven’t seen this since 1979!”

I have no idea what that means. But Mom was doing that glistening-eye thing again as she pulled out this book, Jubilee! Autobiography of Hermon Pettit.

Re-reading the remarkable saga of a man of God who devoted his life to intercession, we realized that Hermon Pettit may be the greatest man one of us has never heard of. Till now.

Here’s how and why Hermon’s story intersects ours:

Continue reading


Leave a comment

‘Bel Sogno’ Becomes Reality in Fresh Travel Memoir/Adventure

Braving the World: Adventures in Travel and Retirement (2021)

By Pam Saylor

Non-fiction

 

If you’re looking for a “travel guide” bulging with “must-see” destinations and tips on where to eat, what to see, and what to do, this isn’t it. But if you want to step into a year-long trip with a gentle, authentic narrative covering adventures in nine countries and two continents, managing diabetes Type 1, and rekindling romance along the way, then dip your toe into Braving the World: Adventures in Travel and Retirement. 

The author describes how she and her husband’s Bel Sogno – Beautiful Dream – of living in Italy and traveling for a year originated and came to fruition, and what they learned in the process, both as individuals and as a couple.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Kimber to the Rescue with ‘Trail Angel Mama’!

Trail Angel Mama: Tales of a Pacific Crest Trail Angel (2015)

By Sue Holman and Trisha Faye

Non-Fiction

Mom was in a Blue Book Funk the other day. After wading through mountains of garbage disguised as “hiking memoirs” of the Pacific Crest trail (PCT), she was ready to buy stock in Pepto-Bismol. (For more on that, see 7 Skunkers and Clunkers.)

Well. You know me. I’m a rescue dog. I’m a rescuer. It’s what I do. So I says to Mom, “Maybe you oughtta check out The Book Place. Do the search thingy. See what else is available in the PCT category.”

Weeks later, Mom finally stumbled upon Trail Angel Mama: Tales of a Pacific Crest Trail Angel. (Mom’s nothing if not quick.) At less than 100 pages, Mom almost passed it over.

“No way!” barks I! Order that puppy!’

She did.

We loved it!

A Border Collie mix, Kimber is a rescue dog. She’s also The Smartest Member of the Family.

Did I mention I’m a rescue dog? And totally brilliant?

Wait. Where was I? Oh yeah. Trail Angel Mama is the first PCT/hiking-ish book we’ve ever awarded marks. Here’s why:

Continue reading


2 Comments

How a Human & a Street Cat Save Each Other in ‘But First, Rumi’

But First, Rumi (Ant Press, December 2020)

By Chitra Ramaswami 

Non-Fiction/Memoir

A young woman in Oman finds a scrawny “ginger and white cat” on her apartment staircase. The cat is undernourished, dehydrated, and injured.

Reluctant to make contact with a stray cat, Chitra is hesitant about reaching out. But compassion wins. She eventually takes the cat in and nurses it back to health. (The “she” cat is originally named Naaz until the author discovers the cat is male. She rechristens the stray “Rumi” after  a favorite poet.)

An unexpected friendship begins to bloom as the author battles a mysterious, debilitating illness while becoming increasingly attached to her new feline friend. And vice-versa. As Chitra learns to love “the little stray,” she begins “to see greater life lessons about herself, her family, her home country, and her place in the world.”

They wind up saving each other.

Continue reading