WHY WE LOVE THE DOGS WE DO

HOW TO FIND THE DOG THAT MATCHES YOUR PERSONALITY

Coren, author of the bestselling The Intelligence of Dogs, wants you to get the right dog and to cut back on the alarming human-dog divorce rate, and here he delivers the kind of goods a professional matchmaker would be proud of. This is a book of pure good intention: Deploying his background in psychology and dog intelligence, Coren endeavors to hitch people and canines in a lasting, mutually beneficial relationship. Considering that four out of ten dogs don’t last one year with their adoptive families, it is a worthy project. He emphasizes the importance of emotional attraction and companionship over image, and devises a new classification of dogs that, in contrast to the classic kennel-club standards, groups them by behavioral characteristics and temperament (this is accomplished with the input of veterinarians, trainers, dog-show judges, and canine psychologists): friendly, protective, independent, self-assured, consistent, steady, and clever. He then provides a personality test for readers to measure their own extroversion, trust, dominance, warmth, and such. In subsequent chapters, he outlines what dogs fit what categories, including psychological detailings and copious anecdotes (a kind of —dog styles of the rich and famous—): why Steinbeck had a poodle, Eugene O’Neill a Dalmatian, Emily Brontâ a boxer, Picasso an Afghan hound, what dogs presidents have chosen, and those selected by queens. Then he delves into the mechanics of his personality profiles, how readers can use them to find an appropriate dog, or maybe even to learn that they are, like Goethe and Napoleon, not meant to have a dog at all. The final chapter, a listing of the dogs of celebrities, is gratuitous, as readers will likely have little clue as to the glitterati’s real personalities. Coren, a humble dog lover and a longtime student of the beast, has the best interests of both dogs and humans at heart. His is a scheme worth a gamble. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: June 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-684-83901-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1998

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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SLEEPERS

An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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