Reading Farley Mowat

This summer, I’ve been on a bit of a reading spree. I’ve focused on books by one of my favourite authors Farley Mowat (1921-2014) who wrote 42 books (translated into over 26 languages) as a freelance writer over the span of 50 years. Farley Mowat was the most prolific writer in Canada and sold over 10 million books – so why wouldn’t I want to read some of his books that I’ve collected over the years! “Subjective non-fiction” and “cause-oriented” as Farley said of his writings – he was an environmental activist to be sure.

Reading FMwm

Reading The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be

Farley Mowat wrote books about animals (domesticated and wild) like caribou, owls, dogs, wolves, and whales (Owls in the Family; The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be; Never Cry Wolf; Sea of Slaughter; etc.) or books about vanishing people who we knew nothing about like the Inuit (People of the Deer; The Snow Walker; The Desperate People; No Man’s River; etc.); or books about disappearing ways of life as in the outport posts of Newfoundland (The Grey Seas Under; Bay of Spirits; The New Founde Land; etc.) ; or books which tell a tale about a place I’ve never been to like the arctic or Siberia (Walking on the Land; Sibir: My Discovery of Siberia; etc.) > stories unwritten until Farley Mowat wove words together to share his experiences with artistic flare.

I’ve accumulated a number of his books over the years and placed them lovingly on my ‘retirement’ shelf to read ‘later’. Well ‘later’ has come this summer and I’ve been reading all my Farley Mowat books like a person starving for sustenance!

WoFMwmI started off reading The World of Farley Mowat: A Selection from His Works which is a compilation of excerpts from some of his books. I read and read and read until my vision became blurred when I looked out the window! (*Note to self: get eyes examined.) I thought I’d read my favourite piece until I got to the next chapter about another book and I loved it just as much! If I have to pick, I think I liked the story of “The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be” best. I was intensely interested in the story of the Inuit in “People of the Deer“, too. Farley Mowat is such an amazing writer! He captures the spirit of the setting and translates it with emotion. I laughed until I cried, literally, when I read his excerpt from “The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float“. I don’t think Nellie or Taylor heard me sitting there all by myself howling with laughter or they would have thought I’d gone crazy!! I enjoyed this book immensely!


I took a break because I recalled seeing on my bookshelves, another book by Claire Mowat, Farley’s wife, called ‘The Outport People‘ about their years living in an isolated village in Newfoundland. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this volume.

VirungawmI scoured my bookshelves for FM book #2 and decided on “Virunga: The Passion of Dian Fossey“. This biography about the famous Gorilla researcher in Africa was a very compelling read and worth every moment of my life spent devouring it’s pages.








TDWWBwmSurprisingly, I found “The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be” deep in the corner at the back of the top shelf of one of my bookcases. I was elated because I thought I didn’t have a copy anymore! THIS is the book I’m reading right now. It’s a small paperback so it won’t take me very long to read it. I also brought upstairs to read a copy of “Tundra“. These books were clearly visible on my bookshelves and I’m wondering what other volumes lie behind other books. I’m going to spend a few hours re-organizing some bookshelves to see what I’ve got……. and make room for more.

Every few years, we enjoy watching the movie made about Mowat’s book “Never Cry Wolf” as well. I want to add that I came across this amazing movie via the National Film Board about a young family who canoes the Farley route: Finding Farley

This morning I ordered “The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float; Owls in the Family; Born Naked, and Bay of Spirits from my local public library. I just HAVE to read as many of Farley Mowat’s books as possible!! I’m looking forward to the annual Book Fair in town at the end of August – I’ll be scouring the tables for more second-hand Farley Mowat books to buy! I just love reading books about the Canadian way of life – for good or for bad! I guess it’s my way of paying recognition to Canada’s 150th Birth day by learning more about my country and the people and places in it. I do believe that I’ll be reading Farley Mowat’s books for years to come……



Book Fair!

Well it’s finally here:  our local Book Fair!  I’ve been anticipating the book fair for a few months now and I arrived at 3 p.m. sharp when it opened on Friday afternoon.  Last year I bought a whole canvas bag full of books, many of which I haven’t finished reading yet.  But they will be read by me or borrowed by my grown kids.  I like to browse through the Gardening section first, then the Nature, Crafts, Reference, ‘Self Help’, and  DVDs.  I’m not interested in Romance or Fiction, which seem to have thousands and thousands of books on several very long tables.  I’m always on the lookout for classic out of print books that I love or first editions.  For instance, a few years ago, I snagged copies of Scott and Helen Nearing’s Living the Good Life AND The Maple Sugar Book –  both out of print and rare.  I’ve also found a copy of Bubel’s Root Cellaring and even though I already had one that I hold near and dear to my heart, I can now lend out my extra book.

Two of my favourite books

I got a blank garden planner as well, just waiting for me to begin filling it out next year so I don’t have to cram my notes in one of my other books.  Other books I bought include:

Five Acres and Independence by M.G. Kains

The Amazing Results of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

The Sierra Club Wilderness Handbook

National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America

The Place in the Forest by R.D. Lawrence

Field Guide to North American Mushrooms by The Audubon Society

An Ecology of Enchantment, A Year in a Country Garden by Des Kennedy

Heading Home by Lawrence Scanlan

Rocky Mountain Nature Guide

Wilderness Seasons, Life and Adventure in Canada’s North by Wilson

Haley’s Cleaning Hints

Tundra by Farley Mowat

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Two Acre Eden by Gene Logsdon

The Rideau Navigator by Doug Gray

Vegetable Favourites by Lois Hole

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

Let It Rot by Stu Campbell

Raising Poultry the Modern Way by L.S. Mercier

Mushrooms of Ontario and Eastern Canada by G. Barron

Official Wilderness First Aid Guide by St. John Ambulance (W. Merry)

The Art of Soapmaking, a Harrowsmith Contemporary Primer by M. Mohr

BFF – Book Fair Finds

Many of these books are for actual reference/knowledge/further education but others are strictly for my reading pleasure.

I love books, I really do LOVE books, as I’ve written in a previous post.( I Love Books, Books, and more Books! )

Book Fairs are an awesome event!  It’s really a win-win situation:  buyers get loads of books they want to read and the sellers raise money for charity (Community Living Association and Friends of the Library).  For $1.00 each!  A buck!  And if you go Saturday morning, the books are 4 for $1.00 and after lunch, you can get a whole bag full for just a buck!   It’s cheaper than going to the movies (not that I ever do, but whatever) and  will last a heck of alot longer.   I’ll have some pretty sweet reading this winter…….

Who wouldn`t want to buy books at a book fair ?!

Books and more Books


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