“A Three Dog Life” by Abigail Thomas

“This is the one thing that stays the same: my husband got hurt. Everything else changes.”

The opening line of Abigail Thomas’s memoir also serves as a conclusion to her book, a chronicle of her life after it was turned completely upside down. A Three Dog Life is Thomas’s story, about a woman, getting on in her years, who learned to build a new life for herself in the wake of a tragic accident that left her husband, Rich, permanently brain damaged.

The title, as noted in the book, refers to the practice of Australian Aborigines huddling with their dogs for warmth on cold nights, with the coldest night being a “three dog night.” Before the accident, and for a while after, Thomas and her husband only had one dog, Harry. Thomas recounts that Rich was struck by a car while chasing after Harry, who had run into the road. (She also notes the irony that she finds comfort in the very animal who was the cause of this great tragedy.)  In reconfiguring her life, she makes room for two more dogs, Rosie and Carolina Bones, who join her family quite naturally, as life would have it. While Thomas has children living apart from her, and her husband residing in the hospital nearby, she finds herself continuously comforted by these dogs, living a three dog life.

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“Red Dragon” by Thomas Harris

When NBC’s Hannibal first came out, I was one of the many who watched it and got drawn into the story. Three seasons later it came to a close, and having no familiarity with any other adaptations of Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter, I was left wanting more. Sometime later, a friend of mine recommended I read the books that started it all.

Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris, is a thriller about FBI profiler Will Graham and his hunt for a serial killer who murdered entire families, known as… The Tooth Fairy. (But later, and consistently insisted upon by the man himself, as the Great Red Dragon.) The book’s entire plot was incorporated into the third season of the show, but this isn’t a review of the show, which took great liberties with its characters anyway. The book is also notable for the introduction of the cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter, although, funnily enough, he only appears in the book for about 12 pages.

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“The Martian” by Andy Weir

My first review is of a book you might be more familiar with as a movie. Before it was an award-winning movie, The Martian was a bestselling book, which originated as a serial online publication by a humble Andy Weir.

Imagine waking up in the morning after a sleepover to find that all of your friends seem to have deserted you, and you’re left to fend for yourself in a strange and empty house. Now imagine this same feeling, but you’re lightheaded, you’re bleeding from a large wound in your side, and you’re stuck on the surface of Mars without your crew.

The Martian is the survival story of astronaut Mark Watney, literally left for dead on Mars after a violent dust storm compromised his crew’s mission and they needed to get the hell out of there. Stranded on his own with no way to contact anyone back on Earth and limited supplies, Mark has to stretch his own skills and knowledge to the limits as he tries to figure out a way to survive until help can be found. Good thing he’s cool in a crisis.

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Introduction, and Why I Love Books

When I was a kid, I was more into books than I was into people. I would sit around at recess totally immersed in a book, away from all the bustle of fourth graders playing. I would cherish the 15 minutes I had in the library every day before I had to catch the bus home in middle school. I had at least two books in my backpack at all times.

But as I got older, I found myself reading less and less, and in high school my reading selections were limited to those required for class. When I started college, in the absence of a literature class, I simply wasn’t reading at all. And I missed it.

I’m sure this is a relatable feeling for a lot of people, which brings me to the purpose of this blog. In March 2015, my second semester of college, I started visiting the library again with a goal in mind. I checked out a couple of books and told myself I would finish each within a week. And with those small goals to look forward to, I succeeded. As I got more into reading and I finished those first books, I started checking out more and reading them even faster. And by the end of the year, after 10 months of reading, I had finished 58 books.

Having completing and even exceeding my goal of reading 52 books, I was feeling great. I vowed to read even more in 2016, and this blog will document my journey. Now, before I conclude this post, I want to talk about a few of the many reasons I love books and fiction.

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