Archive for October 15th, 2015

Take Ten: Rodents

October just happens to be “Squirrel Awareness Month” – we’re not kidding – so we thought we’d look to see how often those critters show up in our everyday life (just not in the kitchen, hopefully!). And though most books about rodents are geared toward kids, we adults can’t seem to escape them altogether. Here are a few works that feature a creature in their titles; if not inside the book as well – eek!


Cat and Mouse – Harold Coyle

  • Frustrated that his unit is pursuing a goal that has nothing to do with their mission, soldier Nathan Dixon encounters political resistance while working to undermine a terrorist who would unite various Islamic factions in order to maximize American casualties.

The Gerbil Farmer’s Daughter – Holly Robinson

  • The author describes her father’s lifelong ambition to breed the perfect gerbil and their life on a hundred-acre farm with a variety of animals and over nine thousand gerbils.

Man with a Squirrel – Nicholas Kilmer

  • In Boston, art dealer and sleuth Fred Taylor comes upon a fragment of canvas recently cut from an 18th Century painting and depicting a squirrel on a chain. As Taylor seeks the rest of the painting–thought to be the work of an important painter–he comes across a con artist and a murder.

Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

  • The tragic story of two itinerant ranch hands on the run–one is the lifelong companion to the other, a developmentally disabled man.

The Mouse-Proof Kitchen – Saira Shah

  • Preparing to start over in idyllic Provence, France, after learning she is pregnant, Anna and her easygoing musician partner, Tobias, embark on an unexpected journey of the heart when their daughter is born with severe disabilities, a situation that is further complicated by a rickety home, eccentric neighbors and frequent trips to the hospital.

Rat Race – Dick Francis

  • Assigned to fly four racing buffs to the track, pilot Matt Shore is forced to make an emergency landing, and he soon finds out that the mob has been tampering with the horse-racing industry.

Rats, Bats, and Vats – Dave Freer

  • Trapped behind enemy lines with a group of enhanced rats and bats, Chip must rescue a damsel in distress, confront the unpleasant personalities of his rodent companions, and fend off an alien attack.

Shopping for Porcupine: A Life in Arctic Alaska – Seth Kantner

  • The author presents a series of essays that traces his childhood in a sod igloo in Alaska, work as trapper and fisherman, and perspectives on the rapidly disappearing community of his youth.

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary– David Sedaris

  • An original collection of humorous fables features animals with unmistakably human failings, including a cynical cat struggling to sit through his prison-mandated AA meetings, and a pair of lovers separated by prejudiced family members.

Vale of the Vole – Piers Anthony

  • Esk, the young ogre-nymph-human, recruits a band of bizarre creatures from the treacherous depths of Xanth to help him save a lush river valley and its peaceful inhabitants from demon hordes.


Plus 2:

The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment – A.J. Jacobs

  • A book of essays on all of A.J.’s hilarious adventures as a human guinea pig, including “My Outsourced Life” and “The Truth About Nakedness.”

Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City’s Most Unwanted Inhabitants – Robert Sullivan

  • The author dispenses rat facts and rat stories, looking into the history of rats, and describes how, with the aid of a notebook and night-vision gear, he sat nightly in a garbage-filled alley getting to know the wild city rat.


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