Friday, February 22, 2013

John M. Marzluff and Colleen Marzluff's "Dog Days, Raven Nights"

John M. Marzluff is professor of wildlife science, College of the Environment, University of Washington. Colleen Marzluff is an expert in the raising and training of sled dogs and herding dogs.

They applied the “Page 99 Test” to their book, Dog Days, Raven Nights, and reported the following:
Dog Days, Raven Nights is a book about rural life in Maine with sled dogs, relationships and the winter ecology of ravens. We were a young couple embarking on an adventure that required the acquisition of many new skills in all of these areas. Page 99 falls at the end of the chapter entitled “Torment on the Trail” which is one of two chapters devoted to dogs out of 12 total chapters. This page doesn’t represent the entire book, but it does reflect one of the main themes of our book: learning. We learned many new skills and ideas during our tenure in western Maine, particularly about dog sledding as discussed on page 99. In that passage, we reflect on our first season of dog sled racing. We tell about the final race of the year, where we picked up our new puppy and learned how to make a dog go to the bathroom before a race. We were also in the process of making our own dog sled.

Page 99 does not capture all there is in the book. The first thing that you see on page 99 is a cute picture of two Siberian Husky puppies. Who wouldn’t want to read about cute puppies? But our adventures with puppies is only a small part of our story. Then there are the words “stimulate bowel movement” and while that certainly isn’t what the book is about, it may make the reader curious to read on, especially since it is a funny dog story.

Our book is about the dogs, yes, but it is also about raven behavior, mentoring, doing science and learning new things. Most of that is missed on page 99. Even more of a loss is the fact that no linocut illustrations appear on page 99. It would be a shame for a reader to miss the beautiful linocut illustrations by Evon Zerbetz that enliven our story.
John Marzluff's books include In the Company of Crows and Ravens and Gifts of the Crow.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Colleen and John Marzluff & Reese, Digit and Bellatrix.

--Marshal Zeringue