To the list of books I’ve read in 2018.
The Adventures of Peter Gray (2018) by Nathan Hopp
This book tells us about a year in the life of Peter Gray, an anthropomorphic, orphaned wolf cub living in New York City in 1899. It’s an alternate history, obviously, where furry characters and humans co-exist with many events and people from 1899 being included. I didn’t find that to work so well though and think it would’ve been better off using a fictional world based on 1899 New York.
Almost each chapter forms its own complete story, although they do fit together to create an overall story arc and eventually a large change in Peter Gray’s life. The stories are all rather charming, mixing childhood innocence and freedom with the Oliver Twist like issue of living on the streets. There are also many other themes that are dealt with quite well and make it worthwhile reading.
Given the way each chapter forms its own story and the anthropomorphic aesthetic that would accompany it, I can’t help thinking it would make a really nice children’s TV show. I mean, it’d be a fairly gloomy one perhaps in some areas but just look at some of the old children’s movies. Watership Down, The Secret of NIMH, An American Tale, All Dogs go to Heaven. (Yes, I realise three of those are by Don Bluth.) It would fit right in.
De Vita Beata (“On the Happy Life”) (c. 58, translated 1900) by Seneca
This was included with the copy of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius which I bought. It was much shorter so I thought I’d just give it a quick read but it seems that it’s not all here. There are supposed to be 28 chapters but I only have 15 of them. That’s a little disappointing but I did read what was printed.
The first part of De Vita Beata is meant to deal with living a happy life. According to Wikipedia that should be up until chapter 17, so I don’t even have all that section! I would need to read it slower a second time to really take it all in but it seemed that the main point in the chapters I had was about the distinction between pleasure and virtue. Virtue is what ultimately makes one happy but that which is virtuous is not necessarily pleasurable nor is what is pleasurable necessarily virtuous.