Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


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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:

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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.

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‘A Time to Seek’: Honest & Effervescent

A Time to Seek:

Meaning, Purpose, and Spirituality at Midlife

By Susan Pohlman

Non-Fiction/Memoir/Travel

What is “midlife”? How does it affect perspectives, relationships, family, priorities, goals, self-worth and expectations? Is “midlife” a state of mind or a number? What do we do once we find ourselves approaching this new season of life, and how?

Touching, Incisive

These questions and more percolate throughout Susan Pohlman’s touching and incisive memoir, A Time to Seek. Beautifully written and spiritually sensitive, the narrative invites readers to join the author as she returns to Italy, the site of a significant turning point in her life as she hits another major life milestone: middle age.

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GUEST POST: Interview With Intrepid World Travel Author Kaitlyn Jain

Kimber the Magnificent here. The other day Mom and I came up with another brilliant idea in the guest author department: revisiting a heartfelt and often hilarious travel tome we recently reviewed. (Well, okay. It was mostly me. Mom helped a little.)

Mom and The Kimster. (At least ONE of us is awake. Most of the time.)

Today we’re chatting with the author of an interesting, insightful, and often very funny travel-ish book, Passports and Pacifiers—Traveling the World, One Tantrum at a Time. Her name is Kaitlyn Jain. Let’s tune in and see what she has to say. You won’t want to miss this, if I do bark so myself! (For our full review of Passports and Pacifiers, click here.)

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Looking for Peter J.

One of the most inspirational “travel” books I’ve ever read is Peter Jenkins’ A Walk Across America (Harper Collins, 1979).

Do you remember?

Remember?

Disillusioned and cynical about society, newly minted college graduate Jenkins decides to hit the road with his faithful half Alaskan Malamute and “forever friend,” Cooper. (The book is even dedicated to Peter’s “forever friends: Cooper Half Malamute and Barbara Jo.”)

Together, Peter and Coop discover America. The resulting tome, A Walk Across America, is the compelling, uplifting account of the reawakening of Jenkins’ faith in himself and his country. It topped the New York Times Bestseller list for months and remains a beloved classic.

A Return

Weary of plowing through a mountain of mawkish drivel posing as “hiking memoir,” I recently decided to return to the Real Deal. The “Grand Daddy” of the genre and its trail-blazing author, Peter Jenkins.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

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3 Surprising Packages of Hope

Kimber here. I bet you think Her Crankiness is… 100% cranky, right? So do I. (Don’t tell Mom, okay? Let’s just keep this our little secret.)

But every once in a while Mom surprises me. Not that I’m surprise-able. But …

Wait. Where was I?

Oh yeah. Mom and I read a trio of books recently that were … surprising. They were quite different from each other, too. Think dogs and cats. (Well, okay. Maybe not cats. But you get the picture.)

Anyway, the first book is a delightful new Christian romance from Kim Vogel Sawyer. The second is a non-fiction “travel tome with a twist” from Joseph F. Smith, M.D. There’s also an historical fiction novel by Kristin Hannah.

All get an Official Thumbs Up from Her Crankiness. Here’s why (short version):

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7 Skunkers & Clunkers

Ever get a whiff of skunk? You don’t need to get close. One whiff is Plenty. (Don’t ask how I know that.)

Mom and I, we read. A lot. Like, 300+ books a year on average. We know what we like. What we don’t. What works. What stinketh.

We try to approach every book with an open mind. Give it a chance. That being said, it doesn’t take us long to smell out a stinker. (We don’t look for this stuff. It finds us.)

When we can, we pass on our 100% unscientific, totally subjective “olfactory discoveries” to you. No extra charge. Consider it a Public Service Announcement.

So here’s our newest list of literary skunkers and clunkers. Four topped our most recent DNF (Did Not Finish) list. Here’s why:

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Check Out of ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ With New Book by Jared Woods

Heartbreak Sucks!

How to Get Over Your Break-Up in 30 Days

By Jared Woods

Non-fiction

 

Elvis put it this way:

Well, since my baby left me
Well, I found a new place to dwell
Well, it’s down at the end of Lonely Street
At Heartbreak Hotel…

 

If you’re looking to check out of Heartbreak Hotel and exit Lonely Street, you may want to consider Heartbreak Sucks: How to Get Over Your Break-Up in 30 Days.

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GUEST POST: The ‘Gentle Journey’ Continues With Author Cathay O. Reta

“Hey Mom!” says I. “How ’bout we do something special for Valentine’s Day?”

“What’d you have in mind, Kimber?” replies Mom. She’s doing that smiley eyes thing again.

“How ’bout we invite one of our new favorite authors to do a guest post? We could ask the Camino de Santiago walk lady. Cathay O. Reta and Keep Walking: You Heart Will Catch Up. Tell us what she’s up to. Any new books in the pipeline. Lessons learned. What’s next. What about Ray?  Perfect for this Valentine’s thingy!”

“Kimber, you’re a genius!”

Mom’s nothing if not quick.

So here, without further barking, is Cathay’s guest post. You’re gonna enjoy this! Take it away, Cathay:

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