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Category Archives: book review

The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd

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Historical, realistic fiction of the deep south during the time of plantations and slavery.

That’s where you find yourself planted when you open up the pages of Kidd’s book.

This is not a “Gone with the Wind glamorization”

but a digging deep, into the history of a specific plantation and its family and its slaves.

Beyond that we learn about the slaves Hetti(Handful) and her mauma and how they have their own way about finding their freedom.

We fall into the lives of Sarah and Nina the daughters of a slave owner, Hetti a gift to Sarah on an early birthday.

Sarah, repulsed by slavery goes against all her family stood for.

The give and take between Hetti and Sarah is staggering, from friends, to owner/slave, to realization of what that means for both Sarah and Hetti.

Expect a raw, brutal read of the evils and  realities of slavery.

Detailed descriptions of a memory quilt follow the story along

but before I spoil it…perhaps you should go get the book.


watch a youtube of Kidd as she answers questions of her book here:

here you can find her website:

Sue Monk Kidd

and here a song to end your perusal of this page

I’ve read two other books by Kidd but have not reviewed them yet they are:

The Secret Life of Bee’s

(I really liked this one)


The Mermaid Chair

(Had a harder time getting into this book)


My Old True Love, by Sheila Kay Adams

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A circle of life type of story.

A mesmerizing account of an Appalachian family living in North Carolina before, during and after the civil war.

Sporadic folk songs flung throughout enhance the telling of love, and loss.

From Babies being born to death of young and old, all stages of life are painted on the pages of this book,

In language only heard in the mountains, reckoning, fiddling, and love,

As you read the pages will wet with tears, and you will laugh and scorn and feel deeply as the characters in Adam’s book.

If not…perhaps you are already dead.

of course the author has her own website

Sheila Kay Adams

and you can listen to some of this Appalachian  music, from her book on her site

Open House by Elizabeth Berg


Another on the Oprah’s book club list

Elizabeth Berg really does write well

I’ve reviewed other books by her and this one is just as good.

My review of What We Keep  can be found here.


A divorce, a death of sorts, a son, a mother, bills to pay

in short a story about life


How does a woman go on living when all she thought was true dissolves in front of her

Her husband leaves not by death but by choice


she is left to pick up the pieces for herself

for her son

a mortgage come due

she opens up her home and rents out rooms to various tenants as she learns to go on living.

My favorite sentence in the whole book comes from this paragraph:

“When does the time come when you stand in front of your grown-up woman’s mirror and feel contentment for what you see? Ever?”


Isn’t that so true

as mother’s/parents/humans we are so seldom content where we are/who we are

always looking toward the next thing to change about ourselves or our lives


You can check out Elizabeth Berg’s website here


but before you do…get the book  and enjoy a good read!


OH and something we should maybe sing to ourselves?


If you love someone on the “Spectrum” you must read this!

Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships

Decoding Social Mysteries

Through the Unique

Perspectives of

by Dr. Temple Grandin and Sean Barron

Edited by Veronica Zysk




If you are reading this blog entry

you probably know and love someone on the spectrum.


Regardless of where on the spectrum your loved one is “Unwritten Rules…” will help you understand the thoughts behind the behaviors  of people on the spectrum.)


I am only on page 158 of 380

It would be a disservice to not encourage you to get your own copy either from your local library (even if your library doesn’t own it they can often borrow it from another library) or purchase it….you’ll want to highlight -underline- and star various parts of this book.


I have at least 3 sentences underlined on every page so far that way when I go back and read again I can skim for what I found important to our child on the spectrum.


The two authors of  this book are both on the Autism Spectrum, and are both successful in their own right

Dr. Temple Grandin has a doctorate, yet struggled through early years much the same way many children with autism today struggle

Sean Barron is an author and a newspaper reporter.


Both have different experiences in childhood, they are both on the spectrum and yet both have different and helpful perspectives of their journey on the spectrum.


This is important

It helps us realize that NO TWO HUMANS that are on  the autism spectrum experience things the same way.


The book is divided into 3 sections.

  • The first Section focuses on Perspectives on Social Thinking

In thinking back to my teens early childhood I relate more to Temple’s journey….you may not.

  • The Second section talks to how the autistic way of thinking affects social understanding
  • Finally the third section focuses on the rules that is …there are 10 “rules” identified in the book many are second nature to the person not on the spectrum, but for someone on the spectrum these rules ARE NOT second nature.

Dr. Grandin’s focus in all of the webcasts, and books I’ve read by her seems three fold

  • -expectations
    • children on the spectrum need to be held to the same expectations we would hold a child not on the spectrum
  • -teaching to the child
    • children learn in different ways, some by hearing, some by seeing, some by doing,
    • children on the spectrum are no different, they learn by different ways
    • we need to find what works for our child
  • -repetition
    • Temple continually talks about how “social learning” does not come easy to her…even now it  is sometimes a daily learning, a daily reteaching how to deal with situations, she has developed her own ways …thinking in pictures for example….to quickly react to situations around her

That was a very simplistic review of her teachings….please….read the book.

Next I will share just a few of the quotes that really stood out to me while reading the first half of this book:

” Social rules and exposure to the social world is simple and well-defined at first: … However, the more immersed one becomes in social understanding, the more intricate and interwoven are those rules, the less clear-cut they become.  page x”

“There is the world of the neurotypicals and the world of the person on the autism spectrum.  Our perspective and understanding –indeed our very thinking process- is so very different than yours, yet we are required to conform to your set of rules.  For you, social understanding is innate.  For us, it is not. page xi”

are you ready to get the book yet?? that second quote about thinking processes being different,


we don’t wonder why a person with Alzheimer’s is unable to remember how to do certain things




address people (children especially)  on the spectrum as if they were experiencing the world around them as we do


a child with Austism or Aspergers

should not be necessarily  be lectured in the way one would lecture a non ASD (autism spectrum disorder)student who is misbehaving


This book really clearly gets into the rigid thinking that goes on in the head of a Spectrum child and how important it is to encourage


to teach

flexible thinking

about rules

about situations

If you made it this far stick with me just a bit longer

unfortunately there are very few teachers and other professionals trained to work with Autism, they address the problems and try to fix any motor defects, and correct speech issues, but often they don’t address they way of thinking of someone on the spectrum


As parents/family/caregivers it is up to us to research and figure out what works best for our kids/loved ones


Finally I’d like to end with one last quote from Temple:

“Mother never viewed my autism as excusing me from the social expectation that I would learn to function within the social structure….respect family rules….behave properly….assumed without question, that I would learn these social skills. page 3”



What We Keep …(a timeless read)

Although the story line is dated (I am way younger than woodstock and hippy clothes) it is a timeless read.

What We Keep


Elizabeth Berg

Berg weaves a tale of a family, broken

a tale of a woman and her sister

who thought they had a “normal” existence

until one day their mother leaves.

of course the mother felt lost

until a neighbor moves in next door

and she discovers that she has talents, and dreams and wishes

and although she does not go about reaching them in a “proper” way

she does what she thinks she has to do to survive

to really live

fast forward 30 some years later and Ginny is on traveling to see her mother who she hasn’t seen in over 30 years

and her sister

who she hasn’t seen in quite some time either.

Heartbreak and misunderstandings fill the book

and eventually the book comes to a fair end.

so I give

another book I tried to read by Berg is

Dream When You’re Feeling Blue

I couldn’t get into it but my mom loved it.

a worthy author to read I will definitely be on the look out for more books by Berg

The Dogs of Babel, by Carolyn Parkhurst

There is a reason this book is a national best seller folks.




It is a little strange it says that right on the cover…but boy…I could not put it down…

I generally read books while waiting at appointments or picking up kids etc…


I stayed up last night to finish this book:

The Dogs of Babel

by Carorlyn Parkhurst


Carolyn effortlessly, and masterly weaves the story between current and past

A story with a tragic loss, and an endless effort of trying to make sense of what has happened.

A life remembered, but gone too soon

and the two left behind

one of which is a Dog.

A dog who knows what happened on that fateful day.


A man who is desperate to know what happened, decides it is his mission to teach his dog to talk.

hence the title, “The Dogs of Babel”


I’m sorry, that’s all I’ll give you folks

do yourself a favor check out, borrow or buy….get this book and enjoy a read that will stay with you forever.


funny video of dog talking…

Dog Gone, Back Soon

Dog Gone, Back Soon

by Nick Trout


I was a little leary… I mean look at that pathetic puppy on the cover….such sad eyes.


it was written by a vet

yup that’s right

somehow while a vet surgeon in Boston he has found time to be an author!


but this really  was really a good book…sorry I don’t say great…I rarely say great but I did say really good and I don’t say that often either


here’s why…in the beginning you think you know where the story is going and as you go along you suppose you were right but then the book comes to closure and you were wrong….


that so so rarely happens in modern literature…so many books are so predictable…by chapter 3 you know how it’s going to end…but since you paid for the book you forge on….and then are disappointed when your ESP was right


not so in Dog Gone, Back Soon.


a story about

  • a veterinarian who comes back to take over his father’s vet practice
  • a vet corporation that tries to take over the town
  • a bunch of quirky but interesting characters in a small town sort of way
  • perhaps a love interest or two



Nick Trout has a website you can check it out here


get off your duff and get the book.

or watch some quirky town characters



by the way this book is a sequel but you don’t need to read the previous for this to make sense