Thursday, October 29, 2009


I've been able to devote a great deal of time to reading lately...Two books impressed me for vastly different reasons. The "good" is first; I want to devote an entire column to trashing the "bad" in full color, so to speak.

"Animal Magnetism" by Rita Mae Brown Ballantine Books 235 pages $25

Noted Southern writer Brown is an ardent animal lover. In her book, she recounts life-encouraging interactions with her various dogs, cats, horses and (gasp!) chickens! Turns out they have a very strict pecking order.

Her chief ambition in life was always to make enough money to be able to farm, something she has accomplished in the hunt country of Afton, VA. She wanted the farm to provide food for her horses; fox hunting is her passion. She tells heart-warming stories about courageous dogs, fun-loving cats (is there any kind?) and her horses.

She began riding to hounds on a Percheron which, until I read this, didn't know was possible. Percherons are enormous, origially bred to carry knights in armor onto battlefields, but since the demise of that kind of warfare, they are generally used as farm animals who pull ploughs and do heavy labor as required (stump pulling included.)

Her philosophy is that we can always learn from others, especially animals. She cites animals that are steadfastly true to their mates. She enjoys birds equally as well and can name many of the species by their songs.

All in all, it's an interesting read told by a wise and humerous author.

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