BOOK & BLOG
August 13, 2010
Books of the Week:
Save up your Amazon or Barnes and Noble coupons, or pay a trip to your independent store, the first week in September when Dust hits the shelves. Joan Frances Turner’s novel is the most original thing I’ve read this year; it’s a zombie novel from the POV of the zombie, and it’s utterly convincing. Jessie, the dead girl, is a former vegan. Now she’s a member of a ragged, rotting gang led by the cruel and twisted Teresa. Jessie is smarter than some of the gang and more ruthless than others, and she’s bitterly conscious of the loathing with which the still-breathing regard her. There’s nothing forgiving or soft in Dust, and it’s completely engrossing.
I got to meet Joan Frances Turner and Christopher Farnsworth at Comic Con, and I delighted to get a copy of Christopher’s book. His premise is so logical (at least, to my mind) that it’s amazing no one thought of it before. For many decades, the president of the United States has had a vampire at his disposal. Nathaniel Cade, sworn to a Blood Oath, must obey the orders of the president or his representative. At the beginning of the book, Nathaniel’s breaking in a new minder, kind of his daytime guy. Zach is more than a little deplorable, but he eventually proves his worth. This is a clever thriller that I’d never actually call a vampire novel.
I’ve enjoyed Gail Carriger’s books about Alexia Tarrabotti, the soulless woman who marries a Scottish werewolf. This third book, Blameless, sees Alexia outcast and in disgrace as far as society is concerned, since she is pregnant. (In Carriger’s steampunk Victorian Britain, werewolves cannot engender children.) Even Alexia’s husband, Lord Maccon, does not believe her protestations of innocence. But Alexia is of keen interest to the Templars, who have dark designs on her baby, and her trip through Europe is fraught with danger. As usual, Alexia never gives up and never fails in her manners, and it’s no surprise that Lord Maccon realizes she could never be faithless. This is as much fun as the previous two books.
Though we live in a neighborhood, it’s essentially out in the country, and from time to time we have animal encounters. Usually, these are no more exciting than seeing a live armadillo (we usually see them when they’re dead), or catching a glimpse of a fox. This week has been a little more interesting. First, let me mention that we have four deer that come around about every other day; at least, we see them then. As long as the wind’s blowing in the right direction, the dogs can be lying out in the yard while the deer graze a few yards away and they never notice the deer. As a result, the deer have gotten pretty bold. We actually like the deer. But our next wildlife development has not been so serene.
Daughter and a friend pulled up under our carport to see a group a herd? A posse? of hogs in our meadow. They were doing their hog thing rooting, grunting, pooping. She thought she was seeing the adults, when she suddenly caught sight of the Mama, a scary individual much larger than a pig should be. In fact, we suspect she is a razorback. Some of the “babies” are sort regular looking black-and-white pigs, but the others are darker, like Mama. Razorbacks are dangerous, let me just say here, and while they’re in our vicinity we can’t let the dogs out of the fence for their run. We try to let them out at least once a day, individually, so they can do dog stuff and get in a good run.
We’re stymied. We’ve called animal control and the guy who promised to show up simply didn’t. Oldest son, a hunter, would like to come shoot them. This too has little appeal for me, though I know they have to be made to go somewhere else, and that’s certainly one way of doing it. I’m sure there’ll be further developments.
Last night while we were eating supper, as if novelty was catching, Scrunch decided to take action against a squirrel. Let me just say here that Scrunch, a small sort of terrier dog, has a real vendetta against Pear-Stealing Squirrel. P-SS comes over our fence several times a day because when we made a big pen for the dogs, we included our pear trees. Scrunch lives to catch to P-SS. Usually this attempt consists of looking up the tree and barking ferociously, while dancing around the base. Last night, the battle escalated. Scrunch decided to climb the tree. We watched, all agape, as she worked her way higher and higher into the tree which of course has low branches. Daughter and Husband went out to get a closer look, which was fortunate for Scrunch, who had gotten stuck in a fork and couldn’t get purchase with her rear feet.
We can only hope she doesn’t try this while we’re away. It would be embarrassing to call the fire department because our dog was stuck in a tree. The squirrel would laugh its hiney off.
© 2010 Charlaine Harris