Book Reviews: “Play Your Way to Good Manners” and “This Beautiful Book”

For the disciplined dog.

So I have a stack of books on my command center side table asking for reviews. I immediately pick up Play Your Way to Good Manners because it has a dog on the cover. The subhead is Getting the Best Behavior from Your Dog through Sports, Games and Tricks. I immediately go to the index. As readers know, I have a problem with just one of my dogs — the occasional inside gift that should be left outside — and good manners are definitely required for that dog.

I look and look and….nothing. The one subject this book (in my mind) should have covered was not mentioned. So immediately, I am not a fan of this book.

But to be fair, I should add: If one wants a dog that walks obediently on the leash or sits, comes or fetches when called upon, Play Your Way to Good Manners is the book to purchase. The authors are Kate Naito and Sarah Westcott, both of whom have lots of important-looking professional initials after their names.

After my initial disappointment, I only skimmed Play Your Way to Good Manners. I also realized I am not the kind of dog owner who wants a disciplined dog, especially one that walks obediently beside me when we take walks. I like that MY dogs sniff everywhere and occasionally tug at the leash in their excitement. My dogs will also occasionally jump up on a stranger who promises a kind word and enthusiastic pet. The jumping up is not nice when big dogs are involved, but my dogs are small and my friends are mostly older folks, and the fact that they don’t have to bend down very far to pet my dogs is probably a help. I may not be a paying customer for Play Your Way to Good Manners though younger folks with lots if energy who have just adopted a dog and want their Fido to be a perfect pup may love this book.

So I grabbed a second book, This Beautiful Book, by Steve Green and Bill High, “An exploration of the Bible’s incredible story line and why it matters today.”

Well, this book might be for my friend Pat who has prayed for her friends for years and even now is attending St Francis of Assisi online 9:30 a.m. masses. But for me? Never.

Relearning age-old stories.

However, with nothing better to do, I open the book. Before I knew it, I was turning pages and quite enjoying an “in plain English” primer on bible stories and characters I learned about long ago. In the intervening non-church-going years, I had forgotten some of the stories and found the re-introductions rather educational. I also remembered how important knowing biblical characters and stories are to understanding so much in life.

Fortunately, This Beautiful Book lets the reader either believe or not believe stories from the Bible. No preaching. The book clearly explains the differences between the Old Testament vs the New Testament, so Jewish education is involved as well. The end of the book talks about the Bible as literature reminding readers that the Bible is the best-selling book of all time, but it is also the best-selling book of the year, every year.

Author Green is the founder of the Hobby Lobby stores. The stores, Google tells me, were once fined for unknowingly acquiring stolen artifacts (since returned). However, these days Green with his wife is known mostly as co-founder of the new Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. Hence, Mr. Green’s interest in writing this book.

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