Temple Grandin… an amazing mind, an amazing person.

Temple Grandin, excuse me – Dr. Temple Grandin,  if you have not heard is a woman with autism who revolutionized the way we work with cattle.  Why are cattle so important if we kill them for food?  “They deserve our respect.”  She has done a lot of work, education and continues to spread awareness about autism and how the mind of someone on the spectrum might work.  She, like she describes thinks not in words, but in pictures.  Like Google Images.  If you say the word, ‘steeple,’  her mind does a function similar to typing in a Google image search: ‘steeple’ and she thinks of all the different types of steeples that she has seen. She recognizes that not all people on the spectrum are the same, but the way she describes it, your mind is opened and you begin to start looking and thinking of things in ways you would not have done before.  I was fortunate to get to hear her speak, meet her and have a book signed by her a few weeks ago, but I am still thinking about some of the things that she said.  If you have the time, it is worth listening or reading about it in her own words, mine do not do her justice.

If you have 20 minutes, it is definitely worth the time to check out her TED talk:

If you have 2 hours, check out her movie, Temple Grandin (I watched it on Amazon):

Temple Grandin

If you have several hours, definitely check out one of her books (these shown below are only a few of the ones she has published):

Animals    Austistic brain

   Different     Thinking in pictures

Those darn playful apple trees

“Bay stretched out on the grass, the sun on her face…an apple hit her leg, and Bay opened one eye to look up at the tree.  It kept dropping apples on her, almost like it wanted to play….

‘Aunt Claire, why does the apple tree keep dropping apples on me?’

 ‘It wants you to eat one,’ Claire said.

‘But I don’t like apples.’

‘It knows that.'”

~Sarah Addison Allen, Garden Spells


Pride and Prejudice… finally read for the first time!

Pride and Prejudice

So, I finally finished Pride and Prejudice.  Not only did it take me years to pick up the book and start reading it, but once I picked it up, I’ll be honest it took me forever to finish it.  Definitely a lot longer than I expected it to take me to read it.  Before I get too far into my review, this is the summary from Goodreads:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners–one of the most popular novels of all time–that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues.

One of the shortest book summaries on Goodreads that I’ve seen!  Perhaps they assume by this point everyone knows what it is about?  Elizabeth, being the second of five sisters is the lead character in this story.  The book starts with all five sisters at home with the excitement of Mr. Bingley coming to town.  As the sisters are all similar ages and are “out” in society, actively searching for a husband they are excited to meet him, and it is not long before they meet him and his friend, Mr. Darcy.  The first third of this book I found hard to get through.  This book could very easily ended up on the disappointed list by the way the book started.

Wait, wait, let me duck and hide before you start throwing things.  There were several times in this first portion of the book that I felt like I was on the outside, and that the author was not letting me into the story.  She kept telling me about things happening but not really letting them happen.  Does that make sense?  Please tell me if I’m not explaining myself clearly.  Also, I felt like she bounced around a bit too much in the beginning and it was really hard for me to get to know the characters.  So, I pushed through. I was determined… this was going to get better.  And it did, things settled down a bit and I got to know Jane and Elizabeth a bit better, which helped.  But she still did that thing telling me about things that were happening but not letting them happen. It drove me nuts.  I’m actually a little hesitant to start another Austen book because I am wondering if that is her style, or just how she wrote this one?  I will read another Austen book, but not sure which one yet… any suggestions?

So, if I had to rate this book, I would rate the first portion a 1.5 or 2… and the last bit a 3 or 3.5 but I’ll average the book to a 3.  This is a book I can see myself trying to read again, and who knows maybe I’ll like it better the second time around – I liked Mockingjay better the second time around, so it could happen.  I’ve seen the BBC version of this book, which I really liked… and I want to see the Kiera Knightley version; I heard good things about it.   So, anyway, I’m glad that I read it and finished it.  Does anyone have any Austen insights or feedback?

3 out of 5 stars.

It’s starting to get interesting…

“In a hurried manner he immediately began an enquiry after her health, imputing his visit to a wish of hearing that she were better.  She answered him with cold civility.  He sat down for a few moments, and then getting up walked about the room.  Elizabeth was surprised, but said not a word.  After a silence of several minutes he came towards her in an agitated manner and thus began,….”

– Pride and Prejudice

Dear Readers,

Dear readers and classic book lovers,

I write to you in request of your opinions of: Wuthering Heights.  This book has been in my TBR pile for a while now… to be frank, I started the book years ago.  When I was probably too young to read it, and didn’t actually get very far.  So,  I recently heard from another reader that watching the movie helps in appreciating the book (in this case – not recommended for all books).  So, I found a BBC version of Wuthering Heights (2009)  recently and watched it.  And hated it.  What a horrible story.  What horrible people.  They’re just not nice people.  Mean.  I wanted to like the characters or at lease just one of them… but I couldn’t.  Please forgive me if you like this book, I do not mean to offend. Actually, if you do like the book, please please tell me why.  I know I shouldn’t compare the book to the movie so before I scratch this book off the list… I come to you, fellow readers.   Is it the book… or is this TV adapted version to blame?

All my love,


More Happy Than Not TAG



I’ve been tagged by A Reading Writer in the More Happy Than Not Tag.  The More Happy Than Not Tag was created by Shelumiel @Bookish and Awesome in response to the book, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera.

There are only three simple rules:

1 – Answer the question: “What makes you more happy than not?”

2 – Link back to the post of the blog that tagged you (or the original creator of the tag)

3 – Have FUN!


I am more happy than not….

Spending time with my dog.  Yes, she is the cutest thing ever, spoiled rotten and I love her to pieces.


Reading.  Especially uninterrupted reading, and in the middle of a really good book.


Painting. Drawing. Or making any kind of art.


Anytime or anywhere it is warm, beach-y and summery…and outside!


Spending quality time with my closest friends.

When I am singing and dancing.


Making other people happy.

…That’s not all, but I’ll stop there….

Your turn!

I just picked a few people at random to tag because there’s so many I would like to get to know better… but if you want to do it, too add the link to your post – I’d love to read it!



Madame Bibi Lophile Recommends

Some dreams are forgotten, others are published, help the author keep their vision alive

A Novel Life for Me 

… I love these blog titles, by the way!  🙂

On not loving an “IT” book…

General summary of an “IT” book – a book (usually new) that has been getting a lot of positive reviews, a lot of advertisement, hype and interest… basically everyone seems to love this book.

So, I read an article on Book Riot over the weekend that I loved because someone said what I had been thinking lately.  I’ll summarize here, but hop on over to their page to read the article “The Seven Stages of Not Loving an ‘It’ Book” by Kat Howard where she does a really good job of describing these stages.

Here are her stages:

1. Discovery – a new book… must add to TBR!

2. Excitement – I cannot wait to read it!

3. Reading – do not disturb.

4. Doubt – umm….OK, maybe it gets better….

5. Self-doubt – maybe I missed something…am I just not getting it?

6. Rage – how can so many people love this book?!

7. Acceptance – One man’s trash is another man’s treasure… this just was not mine.

So, how many of you have gone through these stages?  I feel like I’ve done that a lot this year, actually.  I’m also thinking of books that are not just ‘new’ but of classic books that people rave (and have talked about for years) over how good they are and how you HAVE to read it…some of them are good, yes.  But some of them are… not.  The Alchemist, in my opinion was one of these books.  It was not horrible, but it was definitely disappointing.  I’m actually reading one right now that I’m probably in stage 4 or 5 of… I’ll hold my thoughts until I finish it, because you never know…. it could actually get better.  I’ll keep you posted on how that one turns out for me.   All the Light you Cannot See is another one.  I’ve already posted my thoughts on that one, but… I just didn’t love it.  It was good, yes, but not GREAT and after all of the awards and reviews, I expected GREAT.  We all have different tastes and preferences and look for different things in the books we read, though and we all won’t love the same things.  That’s one thing I love about blogging – getting to hear what other people think!  What are some “IT” books that you didn’t love?

The excitement of a new bookcase

One of the only things that excites me just as much besides going to a bookstore and getting a new book is getting a new bookcase!  I have a friend who is thoughtful and kind AND really good with building tools.  She fashioned a neat bookcase for me out of old cabinet pieces and pallet wood someone left on the side of the road… score!  Didn’t she do a good job? I couldn’t help showing it off…

2015-07-03 12.53.38

So, once she put it together I stained it and now that it is in my apartment I was able to go through one of my older, smaller bookcases that is thisclose to falling apart and set up my new one.  In the process, I went through all of my books and ended up moving books around in all of them…. which to some may sound like a chore, but its a task that I enjoy.

I always change mine around; right now I’ve got a shelf of books that I read when I was younger, a section of books we read for our book club, a shelf of my TBR books, and I’ve got my favorites displayed where I can see them more often…and not all only in one bookcase.  It’s not quite how I want it, and actually may need another bookcase (doesn’t every reader say that?)… but I may go through them again and reorganize them.

How do you arrange your bookcases?  Are yours color coded? Alphabetical by title or author? If you read more than one genre, are they sorted by genre? Or are they sorted in a way that only makes sense to you? There are so many possibilities!

Orphan Train… a little known piece of history

I like historical fiction, a lot… its one of my favorite genres.  I say one of because I cannot have just one.  Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a story based on a piece of history that I admit, I knew nothing about before this book.  For 75 years, orphans of different backgrounds were brought from Eastern cities to the Midwest to find foster homes to take care of these children.  This book is a fictionalized story based on these children’s experience.

This is the description from Goodreads:

orphan2The author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be delivers her most ambitious and powerful novel to date: a captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected
friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to ask.

Nearly eighteen, Molly Ayer knows she has one last chance. Just months from “aging out” of the child welfare system, and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvie and worse.
Vivian Daly has lived a quiet life on the coast of Maine. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly discovers that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.
The closer Molly grows to Vivian, the more she discovers parallels to her own life. A Penobscot Indian, she, too, is an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. As her emotional barriers begin to crumble, Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.
Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

This is a book that has been on my TBR pile since I first heard of it, but was really excited when it came up as one of my book club’s monthly reads.  Yes, I am technically in more than one book club.  Why?  Because. Books! This story follows the relationship between Molly, who is in the present-day foster care system, and Vivian, who was in foster homes after being brought to the Midwest on an Orphan Train.  The book bounces between present-day Molly and Vivian to child-Vivian (whose name changes a few times as she bounces from home to home).  I admit there are several times in this story where my heart broke.  It is always hard to hear of children being treated so poorly, especially when I know situations like that not only did exist in that time, but still exist in present-day.  That is what really spoke to me as I read this book… not a whole lot has changed.  And it definitely gave me a new appreciation, perspective and respect for some of the children that I know and love.

I loved watching as Vivian found a family that wanted to adopt her, though she never really felt like she was ‘home’… and watching her fall in love… and watching her relationship with Molly grow and change the both of them.  Believe me, I haven’t really spoiled anything in saying that.  There’s actually a lot more I would like to say about this book, but in doing so I would definitely give some things away.  I’ll just say Vivian surprises me with some decisions that she makes.

After reading this book, I admit I looked it up online, wanting to know more about the Orphan Train Movement.  Kline does include some information in her book, which I did appreciate.  Have you read the book?  What did you think?


4 out of 5 stars.