A DOG'S LIFE, by PETER MAYLE
MEMÓRIAS DE UM CÃO - Link in Portuguese
Synopsis: The bestsellling author of A Year in Provence and Hotel Pastis now surveys his territory from a differnt vantage point: the all-fours perspective of his dog, Boy--"a dog whose personality is made up of equal parts Boswell and Dr. Johnson, Mencken and A. A. Milne" (Chicago Sun-Times). Enhanced by 59 splendidly whimsical drawings by Edward Koren.
Synopsis: Roving from real life to "dogs' lives" (canine biography and autobiography), kennel clubs to leash laws, "puppy love" to dogs as emblems of mourning and loss, Dog Love unleashes a fresh perspective on a favorite topic. What do the stories of such "celebrity hounds" as Lassie and Millie Bush have to say about the demands we place on their human counterparts in political life and popular culture? In an age when information abounds but comprehension seems to be breaking down, how do fantasies about canine communication express our longing to be understood? Why are we able to accept in our pets the very mix of emotional constancy and sexual inconstancy that dogs our human partnerships? How does our preoccupation with canine pedigree reflect social snobbery, nationalism, and other forms of cultural anxiety? What does the growing body of dog law have to say about our desires to regulate human behavior? Why is it that, from Argus onward, the dog has embodied our most elegiac feelings? In exploring these and other questions, Dog Love shows how, in a society that is less and less "humane," it is with the dog that we permit ourselves to experience and express our deepest sorrows and joys. As this profound and profoundly delightful book makes plain, it is the dog who makes us human.
FLUSH - Leia um Capítulo - Link in Portuguese
Synopsis: Virginia Woolf's biography of Elizabeth Barrett Brownings spaniel was what she called 'a little escapade', begun to 'ease my brain' in the wake of The Waves (1931). From London Review of Books: When Flush was published in 1933, feminist reviewers (Rebbecca West and Rose Macaulay among them) immediately drew parallels between the spaniel and Elizabeth Barrett, seeing his story as her psychological biography: she is petted and confined like him, always subject to the will of others. Flush marks the distance Woolf gave herself from Victorian femininity and from the 'poetess' whose literary excesses, as she saw them, were the result of an overwrought, hot-house life.
O HOMEM E O MUNDO NATURAL - Link in Portuguese
Synopsis: Throughout the ages man has struggled with his perceived place in the natural world. The idea of humans cultivating the Earth to suit specific needs is one of the greatest points of contention in this struggle. For how would have civilization progressed, if not by the clearance of the forests, the cultivation of the soil, and the conservation of wild landscape into human settlement? Yet what of the healing powers of unexploited nature, its long-term importance in the perpetuation of human civilization, and the inherent beauty of wild scenery? At no time were these questions addressed as pointedly and with such great consequence as in England between the sixteenth and late eighteenth centuries. "Between 1500 and 1800 there occurred a whole cluster of changes in the way in which men and women, at all social levels, perceived and classified the natural world around them," explains Keith Thomas. "New sensibilities arose toward animals, plants, and landscape. The relationship of man to other species was redefined; and his right to exploit those species for his own advantage was sharply challenged." Man and the Natural World aims not just to explain present interest in preserving the environment and protecting the rights of animals, but to reconstruct an earlier mental world.
A BELEZA DA FERA - Link in Portuguese
Synopsis: Natalie Angier knows all that scientists know - and sometimes more - about the power of symmetry in sexual relations, about the brutal courting habits of dolphins, about the grand deceit of orchids, about the impact of female and male preferences on evolution. She knows how scientists go about their work, and she describes their ways, their visions, and their arguments. Perhaps most poignantly, she understands the complexities and the sad necessity of death. "The beauty of the natural world lies in the details, and most of those details are not the stuff of calendar art," she points out. Few writers have ever covered so many facets of biology so evocatively in one book. The Beauty of the Beastly tells us how the genius of the biological universe resides in its details and proves why, according to Timothy Ferris, author of the acclaimed Coming of Age in the Milky Way, Angier is "one of the strongest and wittiest science writers in the world today."
THE DIFFICULTY OF BEING A DOG, BY ROGER GRENIER
DA DIFICULDADE DE SER CÃO - Link in Portuguese
Synopsis: It's not always easy to be a dog—to be a companion to those strange human animals, as Roger Grenier shows us on this literary dog walk. In some fifty self-contained and lovingly crafted vignettes, esteemed French author Grenier visits the great dogs of history and legend, beginning at the beginning, with Ulysses and his dog, Argos, the only creature to recognize him after years of absence. From Virginia Woolf, who became the self-appointed biographer of Flush, Elizabeth Barrett Browning's cocker spaniel, to André Gide, whose diary records his bemusement at his dog's propensity to mount his ancient cat, Grenier reveals how dogs have inspired writers. He introduces us to Freud's chow Lün, who was able to make him understand he was about to die; to Fala, FDR's scottish terrier, who now has his own statue in Washington; and to Michael and Jerry, the heroes of Jack London's novels. Along the way, Grenier tells us about a few of the dogs who have occupied his own life and heart. Though the rapport between dogs and people remains a mystery, it is also, for him, the source of the purest form of love.
Synopsis: The idea of human cruelty to animals so consumes novelist Elizabeth Costello in her later years that she can no longer look another person in the eye: humans, especially meat-eating ones, seem to her to be conspirators in a crime of stupefying magnitude taking place on farms and in slaughterhouses, factories, and laboratories across the world. Costello's son, a physics professor, admires her literary achievements, but dreads his mother's lecturing on animal rights at the college where he teaches. His colleagues resist her argument that human reason is overrated and that the inability to reason does not diminish the value of life; his wife denounces his mother's vegetarianism as a form of moral superiority. At the dinner that follows her first lecture, the guests confront Costello with a range of sympathetic and skeptical reactions to issues of animal rights, touching on broad philosophical, anthropological, and religious perspectives. Painfully for her son, Elizabeth Costello seems offensive and flaky, but--dare he admit it?--strangely on target. Here the internationally renowned writer J. M. Coetzee uses fiction to present a powerfully moving discussion of animal rights in all their complexity. (...) Coetzee's text is accompanied by an introduction by political philosopher Amy Gutmann and responsive essays by religion scholar Wendy Doniger, primatologist Barbara Smuts, literary theorist Marjorie Garber, and moral philosopher Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation. Together the lecture-fable and the essays explore the palpable social consequences of uncompromising moral conflict and confrontation.
TIMBUKTU, by PAUL AUSTER
TIMBUKTU, Link in Portuguese
Synopsis: "Where the map of this world ends, that's where the map of Timbuktu begins." Paul Auster, whose idiosyncratic novels range from the noirish cult classics now collected as The New York Trilogy to the breathtakingly brilliant Leviathan, returns with the poignant story of Brooklyn-born poet/saint Willy G. Christmas and his empathetic canine companion, Mr. Bones. Though unable to speak, Mr. Bones understands every nuance of human "Ingloosh" and provides a dog's-eye view of his master's alternately troubled and beatific existence. Tubercular and knowing that his days are numbered, Willy sets out with his four-legged friend on a last, quixotic adventure—to Baltimore, and the last known address of his revered high school English teacher, Bea Swanson.
Synopsis: In his new book, erstwhile Freudian scholar and psychoanalyst Masson gathers, with the help of McCarthy, the evidence to date for the existence of emotions and, hence, something approaching human consciousness in animals. The various researchers' observations on the feelingful behaviors of dolphins, apes, bears, lions, elephants, and other well-studied creatures that Masson and McCarthy recount will not be news to those who keep even desultorily abreast of ethology--something that, given the plethora of naturalist TV programs, books, and reportage, isn't hard to do. Masson and McCarthy do a commendable job of synthesizing the material they tackle, however, making it efficiently readable. Finally, Masson succinctly and without any radical breast-beating makes, arguably as well as anyone ever has, the moral case for ceasing the exploitation and slaughter of animals.