It’s the Chinese Year of the Rat. It was also the Year of the Rat when a little rat named Betsy was born.
Let me tell you about her.
I was in a pet supply store buying food for a rescued field mouse I called Stinky (for good reason) when I saw a cage of young rats. They intrigued me, and after the clerk let me hold one of them, I went straight home where my husband and I built a roomy cage, placing it next to Stinky’s cage in the kitchen. The next day, I went back to the store and bought a “hooded” rat. (Hooded rats are marked like little pinto ponies.) She was sweet and shy, and so I named her Betsy, which seemed to match.
A turkey is beneath the bird feeder, our local dining room, and is intimidating the regular customers. Some peek through branches, others from the shrubbery, and more are around the corner. They wait while the turkey hogs the space. It doesn’t belong there. This is just plain wrong. (Image by 272447 on Pixabay)
A young squirrel, late for breakfast, blasts around the side of the house, sees the turkey, drops down spread-eagle onto the sidewalk, and holds its breath. “Now what?” Being a gray squirrel, it decides caution is always better than valor and so rises slowly to carefully walk away.
First we have a pandemic. Then along comes a nationwide protest over a heinous act, the protests being usurped by rioters. We need a portal into a world of peace, a portal that, unfortunately, doesn’t exist. What we do have, however, is the escape-hatch novel.
The escape-hatch novel has no room for serial murderers lurking in the alley, lizard aliens dining on humans, or evil shadows slithering across the bedroom floor. It’s a place filled with likable and often unique characters. It’s the cozy mystery. For us animal lovers, it’s best when populated with animals.
As the coronavirus spreads throughout our world, people are staying home, sometimes by choice, sometimes not. My own state is currently “on lockdown,” and many people are quickly running out of things to keep them busy. We readers, however, can travel to faraway places, joining interesting people (and animals) by simply picking up a book.
Those of us who own e-readers are truly in luck. We don’t have to go to a bookstore, and we don’t have to go to the library, both of which are probably closed anyway. However, we can go to our library electronically, downloading books for free. Continue reading
The library catalog said the Rita Mae Brown book (“Sneaky Pie” mystery) was on the shelf, but not as far as I could see, so I complained to the librarian, thinking it must have been improperly shelved.
“I’m sure it’s here,” she said. “Did you look in the mystery section?”
“What mystery section?”
She pointed. “We’ve put all mysteries along the far wall.”
image by mohamed_hassan on Pixabay.com
I found the book, but I was disturbed by the incarceration of mysteries. I started wandering and noticed they’d also captured and caged romances. It’s where I found “Gone with the Wind.” Like so many novels, there’s a strong love story in it, but what about the war that drives the entire plot? (Yes, I complained to the librarian.) Continue reading
The Fur Person by May Sarton
“A Fur Person is a cat who had decided to stay with people as long as he lives. This can only happen if a human being has imagined a part of himself into a cat just as the cat has imagined part of himself into a human being.”
Sarton’s own cat is the model for this delightful novella in which she imagines his journey from stray to gentleman cat. It’s a short and utterly charming read, complete with how the cat sees his world and sings to it.