Sunday, April 28, 2013

Title: Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America
Author: Nathan J. Winograd
Genre: non-fiction, animal issues

Our local newspaper ran an article a few weeks about the kill rate at our local animal shelter; the rate is between 60-70%! I was shocked and appalled by these numbers. I researched our animal shelter because you never hear about them. Even though our animal shelter has a website, there are no pictures of animals available for adoption and the shelter's Facebook page hasn't been updated since November 2012. Seeing a glaring need, I called the shelter about volunteering and volunteer hours are only Monday-Friday 1-4:30 and the shelter is open to the public Monday-Friday 11-5. Hmmm... My first thought was, "When are working people and families supposed to come out to the shelter and save an animal?"

Then I came across this book. When I first saw the subtitle, I thought, "What does he mean by the myth of pet overpopulation?" Winograd introduces us to the humble beginnings of the American SPCA and how the 200 years of shelter killing has not reduced the number of strays, owner turnins or feral cats in this country. In order for there to be lasting change, Winograd says that shelters need a change of thinking and usually a change of leadership; shelters must become No Kill. What does No Kill mean? It means establishing a foster program, a behavior therapy program, implementing Trap, Neuter, Return for feral cats and free or low-cost spay/neutering for adopted animals. It sounds impossible but the San Francisco SPCA achieved this in the 1990's (until the director left and his successor changed things for the worst) and Tompkins County, New York has achieved this as well.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Title: The Compassionate Carnivore
Author: Catherine Friend
Genre: non-fiction, food issues, animals

Factory farming first hit home to me in March 2008. My husband and I were driving home on the interstate from Gainesville, Florida, when a semi passed by me. This semi was full of live chickens crammed together throughout the bed of the truck. I remember it was cold out and that there were lots of feathers floating through the air. My husband and I looked at each other, horrified, decided we were not going to have chicken for dinner that night, and my research into American food issues began....

Catherine Friend runs a small farm with her partner in the rolling hills of Minnesota. Although Catherine is a carnivore over the last few years she has worried how her meat consumption affects the planet and the lives of animals destined for the slaughterhouse. In a non-preachy tone, Catherine walks the reader through the increased meat consumption in the US, the rise of industrialization after WWII, the increase of corporations buying out farms, the decrease in small, local, family farms and step by step through the slaughtering process (not an easy section to read). If you want to continue eating meat while supporting your local farmers, Catherine Friend walks you through a list of questions to ask the farmer and butcher. She also advocates buying from small, conventional farmers: they need the money, they will be willing to try organic, grass-fed methods if the customers request it and have established relationships with the farmer. Friend also explains why organic, grass-fed organic meat is more expensive and encourages the reader to take baby steps in their eating-local strategy; she even admits to "falling off the (meat) wagon" especially when busy or when she has an empty freezer.

I would recommend this to meat eaters that want to be responsible meat buyers and don't want to be preached at while doing research.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Title: Born to Blog: Building Your Blog for Personal and Business Success One Post at a Time
Authors: Mark W. Schaefer and Stanford A. Smith
Genre: non-fiction, technology, blogging

About 3/4 of this book is geared towards the business that wants to expand their customer or networking base through blogging. As a personal blogger, these are the tips I came away with:
  • post a link to my blog on my LinkedIn account
  • create a tagline for my blog
  • figure out how to create an email signup link to my blog
  • post my picture on my Blogger profile
  • use Google analytics
  • create a Facebook page for my blog
Now all I need is the time to do this! (ha, ha) Do you have any blogging tips or ideas you would like to share?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Title: A Feast for Crows
Author: George R.R. Martin
Genre: fantasy, books to TV

The fourth installment in the Song of Fire and Ice saga (aka Game of Thrones) brings us new character POVs plus an in-depth look at the cities of Braavos and Dorne in Martin's complex, yet addictive, writing style. The ironmen have a new king, Arya claims yet another new identity, Sansa embraces the role of Alayne, Sam and Gilly head south, Jaime and Cersei's relationship sours and Cersei rules Westeros through Tommen and continues with her endless scheming. Can't say more without giving away spoilers, you'll just have to read it yourself to get the nitty-gritty details....