Category Archives: Animals

Animal and pet stories

A Short History of Myth – Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong suggests the history of myth is the history of humanity; our stories and beliefs link us to our ancestors and each other. This wonderful book takes the reader from the Palaeolithic period and the myths of the hunters right up to modern times when myths have almost all been discredited by science.

Armstrong makes the point that today we still seek heroes but that this adulation is unbalanced. The myth of the hero was never intended to provide us with icons to admire, but was intended to tap into the vein of heroism within all of us.

We need myths that will help us to identify with all our fellow-beings, myths that help us create a spiritual attitude, and myths that help us venerate the earth as sacred once again, otherwise we will not save our planet, if we just regard it as a resource.

Armstrong also makes a great point about the early hunters who felt a kinship with the animals that they killed. They expressed their distress in the rituals of sacrifice which honoured the beasts which had died for the sake of humanity.

Superb book. Recommended.

A Short History of Myth – Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong suggests the history of myth is the history of humanity; our stories and beliefs link us to our ancestors and each other. This wonderful book takes the reader from the Palaeolithic period and the myths of the hunters right up to modern times when myths have almost all been discredited by science.

Armstrong makes the point that today we still seek heroes but that this adulation is unbalanced. The myth of the hero was never intended to provide us with icons to admire, but was intended to tap into the vein of heroism within all of us.

We need myths that will help us to identify with all our fellow-beings, myths that help us create a spiritual attitude, and myths that help us venerate the earth as sacred once again, otherwise we will not save our planet, if we just regard it as a resource.

Armstrong also makes a great point about the early hunters who felt a kinship with the animals that they killed. They expressed their distress in the rituals of sacrifice which honoured the beasts which had died for the sake of humanity.

Superb book. Recommended.

Your Inner Hedgehog – Book review

Another wonderful story concerning Professor Dr Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld by Alexander McCall Smith.

I’m not reading these books in the correct order, but it doesn’t matter too much as they stand on their own more or less. Talking of standing, Professor Unterholzer’s sausage dog is mentioned in this book and is the reason Unterholzer might be prosecuted for operating a vehicle on a pavement.

The main antagonist at the beginning of the book is Dr Hilda Schreiber-Ziegler, the new Deputy Librarian at the Institute of Romance Philology in Regensburg. She takes exception to being barred from the Senior Coffee Room and complains to The Rector of the university, who decides the Institute should have a Director. Two people put their names forward and there’s an election.

Before the election, Von Igelfeld goes on a visiting fellowship to Oxford for three weeks and meets two antagonists, a visiting academic from the USA called Dr Schneeweiss and an MI6 agent called B.

Dr Scheeweiss returns to Regensburg as she is a big fan of Von Igelfeld and his masterwork Portuguese Irregular Verbs.

Somehow, everyone manages to come out of the story a winner including Dr Schreiber-Ziegler and Dr Scheeweiss. Von Igelfeld also has to admit to himself that in two instances he’s been a little greedy in terms of self promotion and decides to revert back to how things were when the book started.

Your Inner Hedgehog – Book review

Another wonderful story concerning Professor Dr Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld by Alexander McCall Smith.

I’m not reading these books in the correct order, but it doesn’t matter too much as they stand on their own more or less. Talking of standing, Professor Unterholzer’s sausage dog is mentioned in this book and is the reason Unterholzer might be prosecuted for operating a vehicle on a pavement.

The main antagonist at the beginning of the book is Dr Hilda Schreiber-Ziegler, the new Deputy Librarian at the Institute of Romance Philology in Regensburg. She takes exception to being barred from the Senior Coffee Room and complains to The Rector of the university, who decides the Institute should have a Director. Two people put their names forward and there’s an election.

Before the election, Von Igelfeld goes on a visiting fellowship to Oxford for three weeks and meets two antagonists, a visiting academic from the USA called Dr Schneeweiss and an MI6 agent called B.

Dr Scheeweiss returns to Regensburg as she is a big fan of Von Igelfeld and his masterwork Portuguese Irregular Verbs.

Somehow, everyone manages to come out of the story a winner including Dr Schreiber-Ziegler and Dr Scheeweiss. Von Igelfeld also has to admit to himself that in two instances he’s been a little greedy in terms of self promotion and decides to revert back to how things were when the book started.

Book Review – The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs

This is an excellent story about Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld of the institute of Romance Philology whose quest to gain respect for his intellectual interests goes awry in a hilarious number of ways.

The professor has written a book on Portuguese Irregular Verbs, but somehow ends up lecturing to a number of fellow intellectuals on Sausage Dogs. This isn’t too bad, but then the pretence means he has to operate on a sausage dog involved in a car accident and the poor canine ends up with only one leg. Poor sausage dog, who is owned by his underling Unterholzer.

Many years previously, von Igelfeld lost out to Unterholzer for the love of a woman and so it’s the last straw when Unterholzer writes a critical appraisal of Portuguese Irregular Verbs in a learned journal. Von Igelfeld tries to obtain revenge by turning Unterholzer’s psychologist against him, but then feels guilty about doing so and confesses with surprising results.

You can imagine that things will not go smoothly when a Coptic Patriarch in Italy asks von Igelfeld to look after the bones of St Nicholas of Myra. Von Igelfeld manages to insult The Pope to his face in the Vatican Library before the bones disappear in a most unusual way.

Finally, Von Igelfeld goes on a cruise to give lectures on philology and attracts the attention of many widows on his way to Naples where he jumps ship without telling anyone except a Neapolitan taxi driver and is presumed ‘lost at sea’ as a result.

This book is funny with at least half-a-dozen hilarious situations written in a wonderfully understated way. Unlike Updike and Rushdie, and in a similar way to Pratchett, McCall Smith tells his story with humour, subtlety, and without trying to appear clever about it.

Recommended and on to the next one for me.

Book Review – The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs

This is an excellent story about Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld of the institute of Romance Philology whose quest to gain respect for his intellectual interests goes awry in a hilarious number of ways.

The professor has written a book on Portuguese Irregular Verbs, but somehow ends up lecturing to a number of fellow intellectuals on Sausage Dogs. This isn’t too bad, but then the pretence means he has to operate on a sausage dog involved in a car accident and the poor canine ends up with only one leg. Poor sausage dog, who is owned by his underling Unterholzer.

Many years previously, von Igelfeld lost out to Unterholzer for the love of a woman and so it’s the last straw when Unterholzer writes a critical appraisal of Portuguese Irregular Verbs in a learned journal. Von Igelfeld tries to obtain revenge by turning Unterholzer’s psychologist against him, but then feels guilty about doing so and confesses with surprising results.

You can imagine that things will not go smoothly when a Coptic Patriarch in Italy asks von Igelfeld to look after the bones of St Nicholas of Myra. Von Igelfeld manages to insult The Pope to his face in the Vatican Library before the bones disappear in a most unusual way.

Finally, Von Igelfeld goes on a cruise to give lectures on philology and attracts the attention of many widows on his way to Naples where he jumps ship without telling anyone except a Neapolitan taxi driver and is presumed ‘lost at sea’ as a result.

This book is funny with at least half-a-dozen hilarious situations written in a wonderfully understated way. Unlike Updike and Rushdie, and in a similar way to Pratchett, McCall Smith tells his story with humour, subtlety, and without trying to appear clever about it.

Recommended and on to the next one for me.