“Wild About Horses” by Lawrence Scanlan

First a preface- Yes, I’m slacking again, and here’s the short version of a long tale…I bought a house, it took 90 days to close on it due to going the government loan route, and I finally (FINALLY) have finished moving into the new house. And let me tell you- moving in 90 degree heat and humidity will tucker you out! So I haven’t been reading much, hence why it’s taken me almost 3 weeks to finish this book. Now that you’re up to speed…

“Wild About Horses” is a really neat book for the horse lover. As I’ve said before, horses are my passion. It’s why I’ve moved 600 miles away from home to the horse capital. This book compiles all the stories of why the human is drawn to the horse- a connection seen throughout history, depicted on cave walls, and detailed in storybooks. I don’t think I’ve ever been asked directly why I’m so passionate about horses, but I know I’ve contemplated it fairly often, and Scanlan tries to find the answer to such a deep and personal question. Throughout the book are many examples and stories of why human and horse have been companions for thousands of years.

Without giving his entire answer, the quote that sums the entire research, in my opinion, of this novel is this:

“Because to sit astride a walking horse is to banish time and to live, as the horse lives, in the moment.”

Personally, there is nothing like escaping to the barn for a ride to clear my head. These days we are so wrapped up in our jobs, kids, responsibilities, and stressed out, technology laden, and bogged down in appointments that it’s difficult to take a minute and enjoy the moment. That’s why I ride- it’s a break (sometimes 30 minutes, sometimes a glorious couple of hours) from the daily plagues.

But, as Scanlan points out, you don’t necessarily need to be astride to be connected with horses. There are so many legendary equine tales to take your imagination for ride instead/ There are ones you’ve probably heard of- Secretariat, Roy Rogers and Trigger, Black Beauty, Snowman (if you read my review on his story) – and ones you probably haven’t- Alexander the Great and Bucephalus, Ian Millar and Big Ben, Keogh and Comanche.

And if you still can’t get enough, pick up “Wild About Horses” and read how all these characters and the history between horse and man began- “Because partnership with a horse is ancient and primal and all consuming, and writers and storytellers are still drawn to that territory, so that riding begets reading.”

 

 

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“Forrest Gump” by Winston Groom

One week and 250 pages later, the only way I can can describe this book is chaotic. I’ve seen the movie before- of course, who hasn’t- and naturally there is plenty in the book that was left out. But by golly, I didn’t see any of this coming, and I’m almost at a loss for words on how to describe my thoughts.

Since the book bounces from one adventure to the next, I’m just going to outline them this way:

  1. Meet Forrest, the “idiot”.
  2. Forrest goes to a “nut school”.
  3. Forrest plays football for high school.
  4. Forrest plays football at University.
  5. Forrest gets drafted to the Vietnam War.
  6. Forrest becomes an international Ping Pong champion.
  7. Forrest plays Harmonica for “The Cracked Heads”.
  8. Forrest becomes an unwilling NASA participant.
  9. Forrest survives a Pygmy attack.
  10. Forrest becomes a pro wrestler.
  11. Forrest becomes a Chess champion…sort of.
  12. Forrest becomes a Hollywood actor.
  13. Forrest starts up a multi-million dollar shrimping company.
  14. Forrest runs for US Senate…and then doesn’t due to his past “careers”.

If you happen to decide to read this book, you’ll figure out how all these segue, but the long running gist is Forrest following the love of his life, Jenny Curan. And let me tell you, the movie Jenny and Forrest are much more G-rated than the book. And, while I’m at it comparing the book to the movie, the movie’s two famous quotes- “Run Forrest, run!” and “Momma said, life is like a box of chocolates…”- are only hinted at but never said in the novel version. Sorry folks.

All I can say is Groom made an interesting story line, but it was like he couldn’t decide what direction to take his main character, so he took him in EVERY direction. Which, the underlining moral of the story is somewhere between ‘this is what happens when you live rolling with the tide’ and ‘even with a handicap, you can do something extraordinary’ and ‘we are all a bunch of idiots’. So I guess if you want to read something quick and entertaining, crack this book. Otherwise, I suggest stick to the movie.