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The theme this weekend is giraffes: Giraffe by JM Ledgard The Medici Giraffe 1. by J. M. Ledgard. From the book flap: "In 1975, on the eve of May Day, secret police dressed in chemical warfare suits sealed off a zoo in a small Czechoslovakian town and orchestrated the slaying of its entire population of forty-nine giraffes drug viagra, the largest captive herd in the world. . . . This massacre lies at the heart of J. M. Ledgard's haunting first novel, which recounts the story of the giraffes from their capture in Africa to their deaths far away. " Rooted in a true story that the journalist author discovered in dusty records, this is a story about captivity and complicity. Some of the chapters are written from the perspectives of a giraffe, others from the perspectives of people. I'm only a few chapters in but already I can certify that the book-flap promise of prose that is "at once vivid and unearthly" is accurate. Drug viagra if you like lyrical writing that provokes you to stop and think every few paragraphs, then you will appreciate this book. It's perfect for me: giraffes, East European history, and the question of complicity all evoke both intellectual interest and emotion in me. Even though the author is not himself Czech, he seems to be working within the tradition of , who also once wrote from the perspective of animals confined in a zoo. 2. by Marina Belozerskaya. Zoos evolved from the private bestiaries used by rulers and other rich men as displays of wealth and power. From Mesopotamia to what is now Mexico, rulers of empires have taken animals as tribute, often displaying them in parks that were the ancestors of today's "zoological gardens. " Historian Belozerskaya here looks deeply into seven examples of the use of animals from elsewhere as signs of power and (as in the case of the elephants used as living tanks by some Asian and African rulers) as the means of obtaining more power. While I appreciate the historical details about the capture, transport, uses, and symbolic meaning of animals that she provides in each chapter, I am not at all appreciating her own attitude toward the animal subjects of her stories, to whom she shows only minimally more empathy than did their captors and tormentors. Besides being annoying, this lack of empathy leads her to tell an incomplete story. We know, for example, that writing about colonization without taking the thoughts, feelings, and self-directed rebellions of colonized peoples into account is not only unfair but inaccurate. Similarly, when Belozerskaya writes of enslaved elephants who, when their handlers are killed in battle, begin to rampage, "killing friends and foes alike, " she seems not to realize that the elephants do not have a side in the battle between people or that the elephants would be more likely to consider as enemies those who had tormented them and forced them into harm's way. So, in brief, this book is useful to those of us interested in the history of humans using animals as tools and currency within our own power struggles but not as useful as it might have been if the author had been more careful to take the perspectives of those animals into account. 3. I'm also working my way through a stack of books, one or more of which I hope will help with some of the technical questions I have to answer as I work on my next book this summer. So far, not so good. I'll not mention any of the books that haven't been helpful, since they might be helpful to somebody else. I've got high hopes for the next one on the stack, though, which I will mention next week if my intuition about it proves true. The good news is that the dwaddling ways of led me to have a breakthrough this week. As , that book needs to be substantially rebuilt. I've known for a while what needs to be done but I haven't quite known how to do it. (Hence the stack of books. ) Worse, I didn't have the confidence that I had the skills to do what needed to be done. (It's a work of creative nonfiction, which is a genre within which I have not previously worked. ) While many of the chapters of the first draft are good, the work as a whole lacks a consistent voice and an [drug viagra] overarching narrative structure. But during a long slow evening walk during which Dandelion stopped to smell something every few feet, I finally found -- what? -- I guess you could say a guiding feeling. I know that I can write from within that feeling and that the voice will be consistent. Furthermore, staying with that feeling led me to finally see the central question, and hence the overarching structure, of the work. I feel much more confident now, even though I know that I'm in for a lot of drug viagra hard work.


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