43 Following

A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


Book 109/100: Shaggy Muses - The Dogs Who Inspired Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emily Bronte, Emily Dickinson, Edith Wharton, and Virginia Woolf by Maureen Adams

Shaggy Muses: The Dogs Who Inspired Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Edith Wharton, and Emily Bronte - Maureen Adams

This book was comprised of five short biographies of renowned women writers, telling their stories with an emphasis on their relationships with their dogs. This was an interesting angle, which allowed me to see even Emily Dickinson's story in a fresh light (I knew the most about out of all five profiled authors). The writing is also compelling enough that even the stories about the authors who interested me less kept me engaged, although I felt the Edith Wharton section went on a little long -- perhaps because Wharton struck me as somewhat spoiled, and harder to relate to than the other women.

The Emily Bronte section was my favorite. Although I've read Wuthering Heights several times, much of Emily's biography was new to me, and I was intrigued by some of the similarities between her story and temperament and mine, which led me to want to read further biographies about the Bronte sisters, not to mention the rest of Charlotte's novels. Emily Bronte's story was also one of the darkest, revealing how she sometimes took out her anger on the dog who was so devoted to her, and I appreciated the unflattering inclusion and the way it rounded out her character.

I also found it intriguing how most of the women profiled would write about their dogs as a proxy for their own feelings, or for the things they did not feel bold enough to say outright, particularly as relates to Virginia Woolf's love affair with a female friend. And since I was listening to this on audiobook, it was also a truly top-notch choice for when I was walking my own dog, which is when I get a lot of my book "listening" time in.

Since cats seem to be the more stereotypical writer's pet, I'd love to see a similar volume that explores that relationship.