Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – Otherwise (August 9)

otherwise largeIt has been a few weeks since I took part in either of these Friday memes, but I decided I should try and motivate myself to do them this week. The book I have chosen for this meme combo is Otherwise by Farley Mowat. I have read quite a few of Mowat’s books, but I have too many of them still on my shelf that I have yet to read. I always enjoy reading his books, so I really should get on and read some more of them. He’s a very entertaining writer and is one of Canada’s finest living authors, who, at 92 years of age, still seems to have a zest for life. Otherwise is described at GoodReads as following:

Farley Mowat has been beguiling readers for fifty years now, creating a body of writing that has thrilled two generations, selling literally millions of copies in the process. In looking back over his accomplishments, we are reminded of his groundbreaking work: He single-handedly began the rehabilitation of the wolf with Never Cry Wolf. He was the first to bring advocacy activism on behalf of the Inuit and their northern lands with People of the Deer and The Desperate People. And his was the first populist voice raised in defense of the environment and of the creatures with whom we share our world, the ones he has always called ‘The Others’.

Otherwise is a memoir of the years between 1937 and the autumn of 1948 that tells the story of the events that forged the writer and activist. His was an innocent childhood, spent free of normal strictures, and largely in the company of an assortment of dogs, owls, squirrels, snakes, rabbits, and other wildlife. From this, he was catapulted into wartime service, as anxious as any other young man of his generation to get to Europe and the fighting. The carnage of the Italian campaign shattered his faith in humanity forever, and he returned home unable and unwilling to fit into post-war Canadian life. Desperate, he accepted a stint on a scientific collecting expedition to the Barrengrounds. There in the bleak but beautiful landscape he finds his purpose — first with the wolves and then with the indomitable but desperately starving Ihalmiut. Out of these experiences come his first pitched battles with an ignorant and uncaring federal bureaucracy as he tries to get aid for the famine-stricken Inuit. And out of these experiences, too, come his first books.

So now for this week’s excerpts:

book beginningsBook Beginnings is hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader, who invites anyone to join in, saying: ‘Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.  Please remember to include the title of the book and the author. Leave a link to your post.  If you don’t have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.’

The beginning of Otherwise:

Born in mid-May 1921 – lilac time in the small town of Trenton on the northern shore of Lake Ontario’s Bay of Quinte – I spent my early years messing about in swamps, woods, and farmyards; falling in and out of boats; and surviving in various decrepit houses while establishing fundamental relationships with such disparate beings as snapping turtles, portly spiders, rapier-billed herons, honeybees, a bear who visited me in my dreams, Charlie Haultain’s silver foxes, crayfish and eels, water snakes along the Murray Canal, a passel of mongrel dogs, and Beatrix – an enormous earthworm who lived through an entire winter in a tin can by my bedside.

I love this beginning. It is just so descriptive and makes me look forward to reading this one soon.

Friday 56The Friday 56 is a book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice and the rules are as follows:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.

It’s that simple.

From page 56 of Otherwise:

Fortunately the cottage had for several generations served as a depository for cast-off family furniture. These oak, maple, walnut, and mahogany relics burned even hotter (and longer) than cedar rails. And were far handier.

It sounds like desperate times call for desperate measures, especially if one is having to burn the family furniture to stay warm. Hopefully I’ll get around to reading this one soon.


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