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What are you reading?

A Dog’s Purpose, by W. Bruce Cameron. I’m a graduate student in Speech and Language Therapy at SDSU, and I was reading it for one of my clients. It’s trying to get you inside the mind of a dog. It was actually really interesting.”

What’s it about?

“It just covers all the scenarios that the dog faces and gives his perspective: not really understanding what people are saying, but sensing their feelings.”

Quote from A Dog’s Purpose: “In the Yard I adjusted quickly to life in the pack, I learned to love Señora and Carlos and Bobby, and just when my play with Coco was starting to assume a different, more complex character we were taken to visit the nice lady in a cool room and the urgency I’d been feeling went completely away.”

What’s the dog’s name?

“The dog is actually reincarnated three different times throughout the story, so there are different names for each section.”

Does he come back as different kinds of dogs?

“Yes.”

Does he behave differently based on what kind of dog he is?

“Well, he remembers his past life, so he’s taking things from that past life and incorporating them. In the chapter that I’m in right now, he’s a police dog. But before that, he was more of a family dog, and so even when he was only a few weeks old, he was able to fetch and stuff like that. So he was able to respond really well to the policeman that came in soon after he was born.”

That’s really cute. Anything else you’re reading these days?

“I just read The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death, by Jean-Dominique Bauby and Jeremy Leggatt. It’s based on the story of the publisher of Elle magazine in France. He suffered a major brain-stem stroke, and all of his cranial nerves were paralyzed, so he was cognitively intact but he was locked into his own body. It was a speech therapist who set up this eye-blinking system, where he communicated by blinking his left eye. And he wrote this biography of his life and what it was like to be locked in. Plus, he was this publisher and great writer to begin with. So the imagery, everything he’s able to conjure up — from food to interaction with family — the whole story is really amazing and inspirational.”

Quote from The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: “Other letters simply relate the small events that punctuate the passage of time: roses picked at dusk, the laziness of a rainy Sunday, a child crying himself to sleep. Capturing the moment, these small slices of life, these small gusts of happiness, move me more deeply than all the rest. A couple of lines or eight pages, a Middle Eastern stamp or a suburban postmark...I hoard all these letters like treasure. One day I hope to fasten them end to end in a half-mile streamer, to float in the wind like a banner raised to the glory of friendship. It will keep the vultures at bay.”

What book has been the most life-changing for you?

“I really liked The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. He also wrote A Thousand Splendid Suns. The way he described life for women in the Middle East. It made me really appreciate how life is here, the opportunities we have.”

Who do you talk to about books?

“My mom. She recommends a lot of the books I read that aren’t assigned.”

Do you read any magazines or newspapers?

“No.”

Name: BRITTNEY POLLETTA | Age: 23 | Occupation: GRADUATE STUDENT AT SDSU
Neighborhood: NORMAL HEIGHTS | Where interviewed: LESTAT’S COFFEE HOUSE

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