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How to Be a Good Creature
How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals | Sy Montgomery
National Book Award finalist Sy Montgomery reflects on the personalities and quirks of 13 animalsher friendswho have profoundly affected her in this stunning, poetic, and life-affirming memoir featuring illustrations by Rebecca Green. Understanding someone who belongs to another species can be transformative. No one knows this better than author, naturalist, and adventurer Sy Montgomery. To research her books, Sy has traveled the world and encountered some of the planets rarest and most beautiful animals. From tarantulas to tigers, Sys life continually intersects with and is informed by the creatures she meets. This restorative memoir reflects on the personalities and quirks of thirteen animalsSys friendsand the truths revealed by their grace. It also explores vast themes: the otherness and sameness of people and animals; the various ways we learn to love and become empathetic; how we find our passion; how we create our families; coping with loss and despair; gratitude; forgiveness; and most of all, how to be a good creature in the world.
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ICantImReading
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

“This is the gift great souls leave us when we die. They enlarge our hearts. They leave us a greater capacity for love.”

Montgomery‘s deep love for animals and the lessons they teach us emanates from her words. I related to her devotion to her dogs and I particularly liked the section on the Great Pacific Octopus. (I was reminded of Marcellus from Remarkably Bright Creatures!) It was just very short; I wish it were more expansive. 🎧

ICantImReading P.S. I adore this cover! 3w
ICantImReading @Jas16 I have not yet, but I actually was looking at that one and thinking I might enjoy it! Thank you! 💙 3w
Jas16 @ICantImReading I would definitely recommend it if you liked this one. 3w
44 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Julsmarshall
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Read quite a few from my #TBR this month 🎃🥰

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Julsmarshall
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Pickpick

This book is amazing! Filled with heartwarming stories of all sorts of animals that the author has studied, loved, and lived with. Content warning for (pet) loss, grief, and depression, though all are dealt with thoughtfully and with care. Highly recommend, this book may become a go to book gift. #BookspinBingo @TheAromaofBooks

ShelleyBooksie Agreed. Love it so much! 5mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 5mo
44 likes2 comments
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Julsmarshall
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My #currentread is a delight! And the weather is lovely to read outside 🥰

43 likes1 stack add
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Adventures-of-a-French-Reader
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Mehso-so

I must admit I was quite disappointed in this book... Some parts were interesting, but others I didn't care much about.

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DinoMom
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Thank you to everyone who signed up for the #litsylovesanimalsswap . We are working on the swap matches and we will have them sent out in the next couple of days! It‘s going to be fun!

@ShelleyBooksie

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ShelleyBooksie
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@DinoMom and I are very excited to host our very first swap. Please share :)

StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Sounds fun. I thought of you two right away when I first saw the post, lol. 💙🐼🐷🦊🐰🐶 14mo
PaperbackPirate Great idea! 14mo
22 likes2 comments
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ShelleyBooksie
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Today I said goodbye to my companion of 16 years. He was an amazing boy who loved a good patch of sunshine. My home won't be the same without him.

Elizabeth2 Oh I‘m so very sorry Shelley. 💔 Sending you love. 1y
Bookwormjillk Awww, I‘m sorry to hear that 1y
robinb So very sorry for your loss. Furry friends are hard to say goodbye to. 😔 1y
See All 19 Comments
merelybookish I'm so sorry! 😔 1y
Reagan I‘m so sorry for your loss ❤️ 1y
ozma.of.oz I am so sorry for your loss. ❤️ 1y
Catsandbooks Oh no, so sorry for your loss! Sending love! 💕 1y
Tamra Ohhh, so hard. 💜💜 1y
5feet.of.fury Aw, what a beautiful cat. ❤️ sorry for your loss. 1y
candority I‘m sorry for your loss 😔💕 1y
Megabooks I‘m so sorry for your loss 💕 1y
TheSpineView So so sorry! 💔 1y
Ruthiella Oh! I am so very sorry. It‘s so hard to lose our animal companions. 😿💔 1y
StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego I'm so sorry. 💔 1y
kspenmoll What a sweet face. I am so sorry. 1y
Cpg 💔 So heartbreaking!!! Thinking of you! 1y
corireadslife I‘m so sorry!! 😭❤️❤️❤️ 1y
hannah-leeloo I'm sorry sweet 🫂❤ 1y
33 likes19 comments
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Scochrane26
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Pickpick

This is the sweetest book! Love the stories, esp about Christopher Hogwood, the pig, and the illustrations. Already told my friend she should read it because of her love for her dogs & cats. My library‘s book challenge prompt this month is a NF how-to book, & I‘m grateful I asked about recs on Litsy because @Johanna414 told me about this one. Also grateful to @Readergrrl for sending this edition in the fall swap. A short but heartwarming book.

Johanna414 I'm so glad you liked it!!! 1y
38 likes1 comment
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Scochrane26
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My first attempt at a pic was thwarted by Griffin sitting on the tagged book. 😂 I‘m excited about all the snacks in my #fallingforfallswap box! Thanks so much, Cynthia! @Readergrrl This will be the first time I actually read my swap book immediately because I‘m using it for this month‘s prompt in my library‘s challenge, thanks to @Johanna414 ‘s rec. Such a cute cover. 😻 @Avanders

Johanna414 What a perfect coincidence! 1y
DinoMom How to be a good creature is such a sweet book! Great package! 1y
Scochrane26 @Johanna414 I had added it to my tbr, so Cynthia saw it right before buying a book for me. Excited to read it! 1y
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Johanna414 I hope you love it! ❤ 1y
wanderinglynn Too cute! ❤️🐱 1y
Avanders Ooh what a beautiful book! 😍🍁🍂🧡 1y
42 likes1 stack add6 comments
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ShelleyBooksie
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@Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks - saw this today and thought of you. Sending you all the get well soon vibes!!!

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Johanna414
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Pickpick

My second Sy Montgomery book, and I loved it just as much as the 1st. She has such a unique, beautiful way of looking at the world!

Clare-Dragonfly That cover art is lovely! 2y
30 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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ShelleyBooksie
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Pickpick

Although this book is short, it packs a lot.of punch and emotion. I really enjoyed the way the author looks at the world and learning about her relationships with different animals such as Octavia the octopus and Clara Belle the tarantula.

Johanna414 I‘m reading this right now and absolutely loving it! 2y
ShelleyBooksie @Johanna414 - I've already ordered another one of her books. I love her way of looking at the world. 2y
Johanna414 Yes! I recently read The Soul of an Octopus and immediately ordered this! 2y
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ShelleyBooksie @Johanna414 - how was that one? It's next on my purchase list. 2y
Johanna414 @ShelleyBooksie I loved it so much! 2y
ShelleyBooksie Tamed and Untamed is the one I just ordered @Johanna414 . All her books sound so good, its hard to.choose 2y
25 likes6 comments
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KatieDid927
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I loved it! I‘m a sucker for books about nature interwoven with emotional and/or personal stories. I haven‘t read a nature themed memoir that I haven‘t loved.

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks So pretty ❤️🖤 2y
Come-read-with-me What a great cover! 2y
51 likes4 stack adds2 comments
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erzascarletbookgasm
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#3books #ireadbasedsolelyontheircovers (and also because the blurbs sound good). In addition, many on Litsy have enjoyed The Animals at Lockwood Manor, though I was underwhelmed by it. 🤷‍♀️ The other two were good.

rockpools Beautiful! I think I might be stacking a few today... 3y
TrishB That middle cover is lovely ❤️ 3y
OriginalCyn620 Awesome covers! 3y
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Cathythoughts 👍🏻❤️ 3y
KarenUK How to be a good creature is such a lovely cover 😻 3y
Lesliereads I agree with @OriginalCyn620 👍🏾 3y
merelybookish Something ethereal about all three. 3y
76 likes7 comments
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erzascarletbookgasm
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#3books I #borrowedfromthelibrary

Enjoyed them all. Love it when I discover a new series..the Mattie Winston cozy mystery, featuring a protagonist who is an ex-nurse turned assistant coroner in Wisconsin. I‘ve since read up to 8 books in the series.

OriginalCyn620 👍🏻📚👍🏻 3y
59 likes1 stack add1 comment
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cajunsyd
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Loving this cover illustration.

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HeidiS
Pickpick

Hands down 5 star book! Her work is extraordinary and I really loved this book.

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Soubhiville
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This felt like a perfect follow up to Braiding Sweetgrass, as it‘s an ode to the animals we bring into our families and how we change each other‘s lives.

Sy Montgomery writes from the heart, and as with all animal stories I cried several times, but this is beautiful. If there are animals in your home that you consider part of your family, I highly recommend this book!

SkeletonKey I found this one really soothing 💙 3y
65 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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Victoriahoperose
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Pickpick

Love this short little book. It‘s so great for an animal lover. Quick read and full of heart and fun stories. Definitely a great read for a pick me up!

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erzascarletbookgasm
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Naturalist Montgomery has a life-long love for animals. Through the years & her expansive work that brought her to all over the world, she has encountered animals of all kinds. They changed her life in many ways. She shows us how she learnt a great deal about life from animals, find loveliness in all kinds, & how she‘s still learning to be a good creature. Lovely book with charming illustrations.

#MonthofMemoirs

madams421 This looks lovely! 3y
AmyG Beautiful book cover illustration. ❤️ 3y
65 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Addison_Reads
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Pickpick

I loved this book! I needed something uplifting, and this did the trick.

Yes, parts are sad, but overall it's heartwarming and sweet, especially for those of us who have loved and lost a furry, feathered, or scaly friend. 💚

erzascarletbookgasm I just finished this too! 👍 3y
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Heatherfeather
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Pickpick

Lovely and happy (but also bittersweet), a joy to read in this time. Short and sweet, and I plan on giving it to my 12 year old daughter now. (That's Lexi, my 4 year old Bernese Mountain Dog.)

Crazeedi Lexi is a beautiful dog💖 3y
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Jas16
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Pickpick

A sweet memoir about animals and what they have taught the author about life, loss, and connection.

#booked2020 #animaloncover

Cinfhen Awwwwww, that‘s the BEST animal cover so far 🧡 3y
Tanisha_A Agree with @Cinfhen , it's beautiful! 😍 3y
BarbaraTheBibliophage Yeah, I love that cover too. Sounds like a good pick for our difficult times. 3y
61 likes3 comments
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AvidReader25
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It‘s Dewey‘s Readathon day! I‘m going to be tackling a couple plays and other short books when I can today. It‘s definitely harder with two kids. If you are reading, please join in the fun! Currently reading this on audio and loving the unique memoir about the impact animals have had on the author‘s life. #readathon

Daisey Great photo! 3y
32 likes1 comment
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Leelee.reads
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Pickpick

Finished this lovely, heartwarming book and thought, “This will be one of this year‘s favorite reads!” The book I had just finished was Kindred, a totally different vibe, but which also made me say, “This will be one of this year‘s favorite reads!” March is shaping up nicely for me! Loved both books I read so far.

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kaykay521
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Pickpick

What do three border collies, a trio of emus, a tarantula, an octopus and other various animals have in common? They have all impacted writer and naturalist Sy Montgomery‘s life in some way. As she details in this delightful memoir.

35 likes2 stack adds
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Tonton
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Japanese New Year holiday runs from 12/28 to 1/6, so lots of time for reading and reflection. 2019 was not a good year for me. The tagged book is my first read on this first day of 2020; the author eloquently describes the importance of connection by describing her interaction and relationships with the animals in her life. Lesson learnt; my resolution this year is to have empathy and be a good creature the best I can.

kalinichta I love Sy Montgomery, so I stacked this with a quickness. Here's to a new year better than the last. 🌟 3y
Tonton @kalinichta So do I! I can‘t eat octopus now❣️ 3y
kalinichta @Tonton 👍🐙💙 3y
batsy That's a lovely resolution 💕 3y
Tonton @batsy Going to do my best ❣️ 3y
34 likes2 stack adds5 comments
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Tanner
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Mikey says “Stop trying to drop hints, Mom. I already AM a good creature.”

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BekahPat
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“Love is the highest and best use of a life.” This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. I will be revisiting this story again and again, because like the author I too have been the student under my animals teaching learning to be a good creature. 5⭐️

Jas16 I want to buy that book for the cover alone. 3y
BekahPat @Jas16 it is fantastic. There are also several illustrations throughout the book that are beautiful. They are black and white sketches in the book. Beautiful art work 3y
Jas16 @BekahPat definitely moving it higher on my TBR 3y
25 likes4 stack adds3 comments
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jillrhudy
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Pickpick

Very moving and full of love. Happily, four out of 13 of the animals whose stories appear in this memoir are dogs. One is an octopus @Aimeesue !!! #pets #animals #nature #zoology #memoir #autobiography

Aimeesue I luff her! 🐙🐙🐙 3y
28 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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tjwill
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Jas16 I love this one too. 4y
59 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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BookNAround
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Day 6 #7days7covers #covercrush Seven days, seven covers I love. No explanation.

Anyone wanting to play along, please do!

Jas16 Love this cover! 4y
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JulietReads
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Emu pies? Eww. Lol. 😂

37 likes1 stack add
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Schnoebs
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Mehso-so

O in Care of Magical Creatures NEWTs:
3.5 ⭐️

I have always been a fan of memoirs and this is a very interesting take on the genre. I really enjoyed hearing her stories and the impacts animals had on her life in every way possible. Anyone who loves animals will enjoy this. I got the overall message from the book but I don‘t see myself remembering much of the actually details.

#magicalreadathon2019 #audiobook #scribd #mpls #twincities

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tholmz
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I did not expect to like this as much as I did but it was just beautifully written. I feel attached to each of the animals Sy Montgomery told a story about. I even cried!

JulietReads I'm going to read this book now. 4y
tholmz @julietbooks I hope you love it!! 4y
8 likes2 comments
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kindergartenkat
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#nonfiction2019 #somethingwithadeath

I just adore Sy Montgomery! Her love of animals just makes me smile.

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SammyKat
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I've loved Sy's writing since "The Soul of an Octopus," and I can't recommend this memoir enough. Animals give us so much incentive to see everything differently. It's a wonderful, optimistic read, and yeah you'll probably cry a little.

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ozma.of.oz
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Pickpick

This was a sweet little memoir based around the lessons Montgomery learned from the animals in her life. I honestly bought this just for that cover art. ☺️

It was a little out of order chronologically speaking, so expect some skipping around. But each relationship is poignant and weighty and beautiful. And I wanted to go home and hug my dog and my cat as soon as I finished this. 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

ozma.of.oz Two of the dogs, the pig, and an octopus die from old age. 4y
28 likes1 stack add1 comment
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ozma.of.oz
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1 - 🎧 How to Be a Good Creature 🐙
2 - my hold on The Prey of Gods should only be a couple weeks 🎉
3 - The Martian 🎬

#weekendreads @rachelsbrittain

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Redjewel_7734
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Pickpick

This is a beautiful little book & a great listen. Seeing what animals have taught Sy & just her incredible bond & love with & for the creatures in her life was sweet, funny, poignant, & moving. If you‘re an animal lover, you should read this book immediately. There are some hard parts (some of the animals have had bad life experiences) but Sy doesn‘t go into detail on that but rather focuses on how a little love is transformative for all.

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CorinnaBechko
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Pickpick

A charming antidote to much of what is going on in the world right now. We need more good creatures.

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CorinnaBechko
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Fresh week, fresh read!

13 likes2 stack adds
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Booksnob
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I love this book and I love this dog- even though she‘s not mine. I‘ve learned about some creatures that I‘ve never heard of too.

BookNAround I really like Sy Montgomery. 4y
12 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Amandajoy
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An extended nap cut into my reading time today, but now I‘m settling into this one for the evening. I‘m trying to avoid all thing GoT - I have to wait until Tuesday to watch the new episode with my fiancé. Here‘s hoping I can avoid any spoilers until then! ?

DogEaredBooks I adored this book! 4y
46 likes1 comment
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Amandajoy
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Starting this one today. It seems like a lovely pick for spring.

53 likes3 stack adds
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Emory
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This so lovely. I've found myself tearing up several times. And the author narrates the audiobook which is always a bonus.

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JSW
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This is my favorite quote from the book. “A far worse mistake than misreading an animal‘s emotions is to assume the animal hasn‘t any emotions at all.”

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JSW
Pickpick

I really enjoyed this delightful, wistful little memoir in animals. I love how the author refers to each animal she writes about as “someone.” If you love and miss animals, have some tissues ready. This would make a great book group read.

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LWagoner
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Pickpick

This was a very unique way of approaching a memoir. The author used what she knew best - the animals that have impacted her life. These individual stories focused on a particular important animal and the journey she took in her life finding meaning and love. The cover of this book is amazing!

ozma.of.oz This sounds really interesting! Thanks for the review! 4y
24 likes1 stack add1 comment