Tuesday, 4 April 2017

WARHORSE - MICHAEL MORPURGO

WARHORSE - MICHAEL MORPURGO

Another loan from the Liz library! And another horse biography, written predominantly from the horses point of view. I initially noted a main character happened to be a bellringer, somewhat partial to the tenor - which reminds me on my youth when I rang church bells and used to enjoy ringing the tenors, myself.

The story details a Lassie-style separation of horse from master, then the adventures and misfortunes that befall the horse, before a reuniting, leading to a heart-grasping end.

Older readers may note the passage where the two sides show white flags and meet in the midst of the battle to rescue the wandering lost horse - and how this shows the way war encourages mindless men to fight and kill one another because their governments brainwashed them into the 'necessity' of doing so, but how they only want to go home and live happy lives, themselves - how everyday people are peace-seeking, but governments cause trouble and demand support - and how friend and foe may both have a kind heart when it comes to animals.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

BLACK BEAUTY - ANNA SEWELL

BLACK BEAUTY - ANNA SEWELL

One of a trio of books my friend Liz loaned me to read after she read it with her grandkids. This book was written some time ago, preceding other horse-narratives/autobiographies. The story is now a classic known worldwide.

I have formerly watched the movie, but that was a long time ago and I had not recalled the story beyond the basics. I have also ridden in the past, but knew barely anything about horses at the time. Once again, I enjoyed looking at life from an animals' point of view - while wondering how realistic the author is being, how animals 'actually' think or sense in comparison to what an author estimates, etc. (Are they being as accurate as I am when it comes to pigeons?)

Thursday, 30 March 2017

BOY OVERBOARD - MORRIS GLEITZMAN

BOY OVERBOARD - MORRIS GLEITZMAN

One of a trio of books my friend Liz loaned me to read after she read it with her grandkids. The story is taken through the eyes of a brother and sister of Afghanistan - children coming from a different lifestyle to that those of us living in the Western World currently have.

The kids are obsessed with football, and later on with living in Australia and the story tells the tale of how their dreams progress and develop when the family attempts to relocate overseas due to enforced government dictations that make it unsafe for them to continue to live where they were. On their ventures they connect with a boy and an older girl whom they become close to when temporarily separated from their parents.

It is interesting to see how these kids treasure a toy football as much as the ancestral candlestick. For adults and older youth readers, the attitude of the Australian government can be compared in relation to the Afghanistan government - and thence into our own 'leaders'.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

THE GOAT WHO SAILED THE WORLD - JACKIE FRENCH

 
THE GOAT WHO SAILED THE WORLD - JACKIE FRENCH

One of a trio of books my friend Liz loaned me to read after she read it with her grandkids. Having spent 22 years living in Australia, I am well acquainted with the history pertaining to Captain Cook and Joseph Banks - and have in fact visited Botany Bay in real life, due to formerly living quite close to the region. The book details the fictional but possible storyline as seen from that of a ship-goat and young boy who grew into his chosen life of a sailor.

Although directed primarily at young readers, there was one word I had to look up. I found it interesting to observe the story from the goat's point of view - as I myself have written from pigeons' points of view in the past.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

JAMGON MIPAM, HIS LIFE AND TEACHINGS - Douglas S Duckworth




JAMGON MIPAM, HIS LIFE AND TEACHINGS - Douglas S Duckworth

RATING: C+

It has taken me over a year to read this book. Partially due to the fact I have not had much reading time, being too active or too sleepy. Also partly due to practicing rather than studying Buddhism.

Whilst I did find some of the teachings interesting, and some practice-supportive quotes, the majority of the book was background rather than text/quotes, so a little dull for me.

Friday, 11 December 2015

THE ORGANIC GARDEN BOOK - GEOFF HAMILTON


THE ORGANIC GARDEN BOOK - GEOFF HAMILTON

RATING:B

This book was a gift from my friend Liz, who has closely followed my adventures with taking over my late father's garden when inheriting the property two years ago and my more recent acquisition of an allotment plot.

My knowledge of fruit was limited to growing strawberries and leaving raspberry canes to do whatever they do naturally - but I have a plot with rhubarb, raspberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries and strawberries now. This book provides the information required to care for these plants and hopefully bring large crops to our household.

Whilst not a big fan of plants, flowers, shrubs, bushes, hedges, and trees, I do need to know more about growing them. Once again, this book comes in handy with information about doing so, enabling me to replace next doors hedge with one my side of the fence after it was removed, tend to plants already in situ, and possibly purchase a few old favs in the future. I previously had more experience of Australian plants than local, also.

With vegetables being my favored garden use and now owning a plot, organic soil preparation and feeding methods are very important to learn. There is no point just tossing in the seeds and having fun seeing what comes up, as I would on a small patch of back yard. Now I have an allotment, I need to work on getting as much veg produced as possible. Once again, soil preparation, crop rotation, care and feeding of vegetables is an important matter covered well in this book.

Overall, the book is a useful reference source for soil preparation, care, propogation and pest control covering most garden features - inlcuding those I do not have such as lawns - written by a well known gardener. In fact, he is so well known, I actually recall him from the days I used to watch TV in my teens.

Whilst I would not personally apply some of the insect-murdering suggestions, the majority of the book is of great use to me - especially as I plan to be as close to nature as possible and use organic techniques and aim at growing 75% + of my own fruit and veg.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

CHOGYAM TRUNGPA HIS LIFE AND VISION - FABRICE MIDAL

CHOGYAM TRUNGPA HIS LIFE AND VISION - FABRICE MIDAL
RATING: A-
This book took me several months to read, primarily due to the fact that it contained a lot of material which needed consideration and contemplation. An informal descriptive narrative covering C.T.'s life and predominantly focussing on his American goals, this book covers excerpts of his teachings, descriptions from his students, and details of his multiple projects and attempts to bring Tibetan Buddhism into the Western world.



I would reccommend this book to students of C.T., practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism, those seeking an unbiased account of a controversial teacher, and those interested in the spread of Buddhism within the Western world.