Spotlight on NEUROTRIBES by Steve Silberman

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When I saw that Net Galley was offering this book, I signed up for it right away.

Here’s the description from Net Galley:

Description

A groundbreaking book that upends conventional thinking about autism and suggests a broader model for acceptance, understanding, and full participation in society for people who think differently.

What is autism? A lifelong disability, or a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference akin to certain forms of genius? In truth, it is all of these things and more—and the future of our society depends on our understanding it. WIRED reporter Steve Silberman unearths the secret history of autism, long suppressed by the same clinicians who became famous for discovering it, and finds surprising answers to the crucial question of why the number of diagnoses has soared in recent years.

Going back to the earliest days of autism research and chronicling the brave and lonely journey of autistic people and their families through the decades, Silberman provides long-sought solutions to the autism puzzle, while mapping out a path for our society toward a more humane world in which people with learning differences and those who love them have access to the resources they need to live happier, healthier, more secure, and more meaningful lives.

Along the way, he reveals the untold story of Hans Asperger, the father of Asperger’s syndrome, whose “little professors” were targeted by the darkest social-engineering experiment in human history; exposes the covert campaign by child psychiatrist Leo Kanner to suppress knowledge of the autism spectrum for fifty years; and casts light on the growing movement of “neurodiversity” activists seeking respect, support, technological innovation, accommodations in the workplace and in education, and the right to self-determination for those with cognitive differences.

**This was a very readable and highly interesting book, covering the “history” of autism and focusing on real life stories. The subtitle of this book is “The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity” – which is apt as it works to have reader see autism and and Asperger’s as a type of diversity as opposed to being disorders or disabilities. I heartily concur with this — I’ve often found myself saying “we’re all somewhere on a continuum” (and that was well before ‘being on the continuum’ was a “thing”, if you know what I mean). For those who aren’t familiar with the psychological/historical background of autism, it is very thorough and easy to read. This is the type of book that anyone from a lay person, to a parent/family member of an autistic individual, to a college student can read. I have to say, though, that if you are a psychologist or highly read in the field, you might not find anything new.
It’s also interesting to me that the latest manual for diagnosing (DSM-V) has removed the category of Asperger’s. It has combined several different “types” of autism under the umbrella term “ASD (autism spectrum disorder)”. You can read more about that here at http://www.dsm5.org
Highly recommended read for those who want to understand more about autism and its history.
Thank you, Net Galley, for my e-copy!

Review: THE NAZI OFFICER’S WIFE by Edith Hahn Beer with Susan Dworkin

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While at BEA, I met Susan Dworkin and got a signed copy of her book. The subtitle to this novel is “How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust”. This was a fascinating story about how Edith, a young Jewish woman in Vienna, survived WWII through an incredible series of circumstances, including, at one point, being married to a German officer and being a “hausfrau”.

Edith was born in Vienna in 1914 into a well-to-do and educated Jewish family. She always wanted to study law and was doing so when she was denied her final exams and degree because she was Jewish. She and her family were sent to the ghetto and then she was sent to a labor camp, working first on a farm and then in a paper factory. She survived harsh conditions for months, then escaped as she was being sent “home” (she realized it was to a concentration camp). Edith hid for a while, then borrowed a brave friend’s identity papers and went to Germany, getting a job at the Red Cross and passing herself off as Christian. There she met Werner Vetter, a Nazi officer. He wanted to marry her, but Edith felt she must reveal her true self to him first. Vetter and she married and she lived as a housewife until the war was over. While this is much more a summary than I usually give, believe me, it’s only the tip of the iceberg in this book. The amount of scary circumstances, the coincidences, the heartfelt yearning she had for her mother, her life of living a lie – plus all the events post WWII, well it made for fascinating and inspiring reading.

The story reads as a memoir, with Edith’s voice strongly standing out. You can picture her telling her story to Ms. Dworkin as you read. It was published about 15 years ago, though I had never come across it. A documentary was also made on Edith’s life, but it looks like it only aired in the UK. Edith Hahn Beer died in 2009.

You can find this book at an Indie near you — I am an Indie Bound Affiliate. Read it and be inspired.


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Litfuse Blog Tour for A FRIEND IN ME by Pamela Havey Au

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Today I’m part of the Litfuse Blog tour for the nonfiction book: A FRIEND IN ME by Pamela Havey Au. This is a Christian title, focusing on how older, experienced women can reach out and be valuable friends to the young women in their lives.

Here’s what the tour has to say:

Book info
About the book: A Friend in Me (David C. Cook, June 2015)
Young women long for relational connection with women further ahead of them on the journey. Yet, without realizing it, many of us tend to distance ourselves from those in younger generations.

Can we really have close relationships with women who have different thoughts on church, different experiences with family, and different ways of talking about God? Where do we start?

In A Friend in Me, Pam Lau shows you how to be a safe place for the younger women in your life. She offers five patterns women need to internalize and practice for initiating relationships and talking about issues such as faith, forgiveness, sexuality, and vocation. Most significantly, she reminds you that there doesn’t need to be a divide between generations of women. Together, we can have a global impact—and experience a deeper faith than we’ve ever known.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1RXNAmd


About the author:

Pam Lau is the author of Soul Strength and numerous articles for such publications as Christian Scholar’s Review and Christianity Today. She has taught writing at George Fox University and speaks around the country at conferences and retreats. A graduate of Liberty University and Colorado State University, Lau lives near Portland, Oregon, with her husband and three daughters.

Find Pamela online: website, Twitter

I enjoyed this book, which was a thoughtful and positive look at how women bond and how we “older” women (I’m in my 40’s but the book is directed at “older” as in “experienced”) can mentor and support young women today as they face the various trials of life. Ms. Au does a great job in providing anecdotes and then Biblical stories to show us how we can be helpers and how we can provide a safe haven for women who are struggling. I particularly liked the chapter on sexuality and felt it provided a lot of good info on how not to be judgmental or closed to those who might have issues and/or experiences that aren’t in our own experience.

Thank you, Litfuse, for my review copy!

You can find this book online or in a bookstore or library near you.

You can see more on the Litfuse landing page, and/or follow the tour!

Blog Tour Schedule:

6/8/2015
Robin | Enchanted Excurse

6/9/2015

Kimberly | KCreatives

6/10/2015

Sarah | Growing for Christ
Tiffany | The Crafty Home
Paula | Grow Where You’re Planted
Amanda | Inklings and Notions
Brandy | Busymommylist
Kasey | Four Seasons of Blessings
Lindsey | Growing Kids Ministry

6/11/2015

Tami | This Mom’s Delight

6/12/2015

Carla | Working Mommy Journal
Kim | Window To My World
Dianna | Savings in Seconds

6/13/2015

Donna | Books and Such

6/15/2015

Crystal | Our Perfectly Imperfect Life
Lis | The Indigo Quill
Sarah | On Another Note
Erin | For Him and My Family
Pam | Pamela Black

6/16/2015

Annie Kate | Tea Time with Annie Kate

6/17/2015

Jessa | momsummary
Beth | Beth’s Book-Nook Blog
Kari | Slow it Down
Val | Wise-Like-Solomon

6/18/2015

Kristie | Moments

6/19/2015

Hope | Finding Joy

6/20/2015

Julie | More Of Him
Penny | Beauty in the every day
Randi | A Modern Day Fairy Tale

6/21/2015

Jennifer | Jennifer Sikora

6/22/2015

April | ElCloud Homeschool
Tammy | Bluerose’s Heart

6/23/2015

Krista | Welcome to Married Life
Erin | ReviewsByErin
Tima | Book Reviews by Tima
Debra | Footprints in the Butter

6/24/2015

Alexis | God is Love
Grace | Klassy Tots

6/25/2015

Bethany | Perfect Beginnings
Faith | Found a Christian by His Grace
Sarah | runningthroughthestorms
Ramona | Create With Joy

6/26/2015

Michelle | New Horizon Reviews
Shirley | A Mom After God’s Own Heart
Carrie | Farming On Faith
Amanda | The Talbert Report
Neysa | Lyric & Longhand
Ariel | The Librarian’s Bookshelf

Robert Wheeler’s HEMINGWAY’S PARIS

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I recently was at a book event at the Concord Bookshop and Robert Wheeler sat near me. When I told him I had heard of his book and planned to read it, he pulled one from his bag and gave it to me as a gift. I was thrilled!

This is a beautiful book – coffee table worthy – of pictures of Paris and connections to Ernest Hemingway and his time there writing. For instance, there is a paragraph about Hemingway walking along the Seine as he worked out his plots, and then a picture of a walkway along the Seine. The pictures are beautiful and you can truly get a glimpse of what “Hemingway’s Paris” was like.

Loved this book! If you know me, you know I love Paris and one things I like to do is to think about how different famous people walked the same streets, were inspired by the same art, ate in the same cafés, etc. This book was perfect for me!

If you love Paris, Hemingway, or both – get this book for yourself and enjoy it at your leisure!

Thank you again for my surprise copy – I will treasure it!

Find it an in Indie near you – I am an Indie Bound affiliate:


Find it at an Indie near you! I am an Indie Bound Affiliate.

Review: THE ADRENAL RESET DIET by Alan Christianson, NMD

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Received through Blogging for Books, I chose this book since it states it will show you how to “strategically cycle carbs and proteins to lose weight, balance hormones, and move from stressed to thriving”.

So – who’s not stressed? It’s pretty much a given that today’s lifestyle is a busy, harried, stressful one. The premise of this book is that stress causes your adrenal glands to produce cortisol and cortisol causes us to store fat. Its plan is to “reset” your cortisol levels by balancing and cycling your carbs and proteins so that you don’t have high levels all the time and weight loss can happen.

Several years ago I went through a horrendously stressful period of my life. When I went for my physical that year they said that all my bloodwork looked great but that my cortisol level was “out of range” and too high. This was chalked up to my stress at that time. I’m pretty familiar with cortisol and the theories surrounding it. This book intuitively made sense to me.

The BIG plus in this book for me is it is about cycling and planning your food — not eliminating it. No ones says you can’t have carbs or dairy or fats or anything. It’s about HOW you eat (and how much of course) and WHEN you eat so that your diet is balanced and optimum for balancing cortisol levels.

I liked this book. I’m giving it a try – along with the work I’m doing with my nutritionist which is now focused on looking at how many carbs I’m getting and from what sources – to see if it helps me to lose some of this extra weight! (I also liked that it is under 300 pages. And there are recipes!).

Plus – for those of you who have been following me and know that I had those less than optimum numbers in December at my physical – through concentrated healthy eating (and exercise – but I’ve always exercised) my numbers are back into normal range for everything but cholesterol, but even that has improved in terms of ratio. Go me! 🙂

Thank you to Blogging for Books and Harmony Books for my review copy!

Here’s a bit about the author via Amazon:

Alan Christianson, NMD, is a naturopathic medical doctor who specializes in natural endocrinology with a focus on thyroid disorders. He founded Integrative Health, a physician group dedicated to helping people with thyroid disease and weight loss resistance regain their health. He lives in Scottsdale with his wife and their two children. Visit him at drchristianson.com.
(book image courtesy of Amazon)

REVIEW: My Thinning Years by Jon Derek Croteau

A while back I received a note from a publicist asking if I would read and review Jon’s book: MY THINNING YEARS, which is subtitled, “Starving the Gay Within”. It had published this past fall. It took me FOREVER to get to the book, and then it took me a while to read it as Jon’s story is so heart-wrenching (though the book is under 300 pages).

This book is a memoir of Jon’s life growing up in Massachusetts and how he was stifled by an incredibly overbearing, opinionated, and demanding father. Jon’s life was made to be sports (whether he liked it or not). Jon’s proclivities as a child leaned more towards theater, dress-up, and singing, but his father was having none of it. As Jon matured, his tried to hide and deny his sexuality, instead exercising and running relentlessly, and dieting to the point of anorexia. Eventually, Jon is able to accept himself and make a life for himself, find love, and be happy.

I have to say – this book is at some points just heart-breaking. Jon’s father is determined to turn him into his ideal of “American boy” and it’s not a pretty process. Jon’s mother is the one who accepts him unconditionally, but she is just not strong enough to take on his father. It’s basically disaster after disaster and I just felt terrible for young Jon as he went through his younger years trying to escape his father’s wrath and trying to deny or hide his natural proclivities and talents.

Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. It’s brave of Jon to share his story with the world, and I hope that it helps other young people who may be at the point he was when younger.

Thank you for my review copy, Claire McKinney PR!

You can find this book at an indie bookstore near you — I am an Indie Bound Affiliate:


My Thinning Years

Review: WE SHOULD HANG OUT SOMETIME by Josh Sundquist

I picked up a copy of this book on Net Galley. I thought it would be a fun mix of Wimpy Kid meets Seinfeld. WE SHOULD HANG OUT SOMETIME: EMBARRASSINGLY A TRUE STORY is Josh Sundquist’s story of how he never had a girlfriend and his quest to track down significant girls from his past to find out why exactly that was. Sounds funny, right?

However, this little book was a whole lot more. First of all, Josh is a cancer survivor, having had cancer at the age of nine and having his leg amputated at that time. He also comes from a strictly religious family that homeschooled him until high school. His story is about how he comes to terms with his identity as both a person and as an amputee. Josh is funny and has a great style of writing that flows easily and is quick to read. He adds little graphs and curves to illustrate his points. However, the pain of his self-consciousness, especially when he is in middle and high school, flows through so poignantly that at one point I turned to my husband and said, “This book better have a happy ending because my heart is breaking for this poor guy”. Well, SPOILER ALERT, there is a happy ending (thankfully!). Josh finally realizes that his own worst enemy is himself and also learns self-acceptance.

I had not heard of Josh before reading his book, but he is a well-known and popular personality. He is an amazing paralympic athlete and motivational speaker. However, when I started reading this book I knew Josh only as a young boy who had lived a fairly sheltered life that had been overshadowed by cancer. I felt for his parents, who I have to assume had real difficulty in letting go of this son that they had almost lost. Josh’s portrayal of them is rather funny, but as a parent, I can see where their protectiveness comes from.

So glad you got the happy ending you deserve, Josh!

Thanks, Net Galley, for my copy!

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Three for Christmas — from the Ho Ho Ho Readathon

I had a great time reading and participating in the Ho Ho Ho Holiday Readathon this past week! I set a goal of three books for myself, and I easily reached it (I also finished two more to review and started a third – guess I had time to read!).

The first book I read was A NEW YORK CHRISTMAS by Anne Perry. In this novel (and apparently Anne Perry writes a Christmas novel every year) it is 1904 and Jemima Pitt has accompanied her friend Phinny to New York from England for Phinny’s marriage. Poor Phinny doesn’t have much family and her mother left her while she was quite young under what seems to be mysterious and unfavorable circumstances. Jemima is hardly there when a dead body shows up – Phinny’s long-lost mother – and Jemima appears to be the main suspect in her killing (though with little motive). Determined to prove her innocence, Jemima joins forces with local policeman Patrick Flannery to figure out who the real killer is.

This was a fun read – and very quick for me (a few hours – less than 200 pages). Call me stupid but I never could figure out exactly WHY the murder took place and what it served. It seemed to stir up a lot of trouble, that’s for sure.

This was my first Anne Perry book, but she has a legion of fans and several other Christmas stories.

Thanks, Net Galley, for my copy!

Next I read CHRISTMAS TRUCE by Aaron Shepard. This was a children’s picture book that I got a pdf of from Net Galley. It tells the story of the WWI Christmas truce in fighting between the front lines of British and German men. This was a beautiful (and true) tale, with lovely illustrations by Wendy Edelson. Great for a read aloud to children!

Finally, from Blogging for Books, I got The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle by Joanne Huist Smith. I just loved this book. This author lost her husband unexpectedly in the fall of 1999. They had three children, aged 10 to 17. That Christmas was incredibly painful and difficult for them. This true story tells how some unknown “true friends” delivered to them small surprise gifts each day leading up to Christmas and, in essence, helped them to feel the spirit of Christmas again. Not only was this a heart-wrenching read, especially because the grief was so poignant on these pages, but it was so inspiring to read the end and how the whole 13 gifts tradition got started, why, and how. What a beautiful and inspiring story — truly a favorite Christmas read for me.

REVIEW: Neil Patrick Harris Choose your own Autobiography

While attending BEA this year, I went to the breakfast featuring Neil Patrick Harris talking about his forthcoming autobiography, which is in a “choose your own adventure” format. I just love NPH and I couldn’t wait until this book came out. Lucky for me, it surfaced on Blogging for Books and I was able to snag a review copy.

If you know/remember the “Choose your own Adventure” books from the 90’s, you will remember that they are written in the second person. After a short vignette, you can then decide which way to go. NPH has set his book up in this format. You experience his family life, his early experiences in theater, his love of magic, his journey to discover his sexuality, his Broadway experiences, and more. Along the way, you choose what pages to go to next “If you’d like to hear more about your Broadway adventures, turn to page 96. If you want to learn a magic trick, turn to page 105.” etc.

I absolutely loved this book. I laughed so hard in places, that I was nearly crying. NPH has this rather cynical humor that is at times really ridiculous. I think my favorite part was when he has the altercation with Scott Caan outside of an LA nightclub. I also loved the parts when he talked about his twins. And it comes with pictures!

That said, there is definitely a strong sexual component in this book, so it’s not one I’ll be passing on to my fifth grader. Also, I had a print copy of this book, which I really recommend as I’m not sure how you would navigate it in e-book format, or through audio channels.

If you love NPH then you shouldn’t miss getting to know him even better through his new book. Thank you, Blogging for Books, for my copy!

Enjoy the book trailer:

Quick Review: AS YOU WISH by Cary Elwes and Joe Layden

I was more than thrilled when Maria at Simon and Schuster asked me if I’d like to review Cary Elwes’ new book, the full title of which is As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride. I just love that movie, and I figured it would be a fun read.

This book starts with Elwes getting cast to play Westley and goes through the entire filming and creation process. Interspersed throughout are pictures, along with quotes and snippets from other cast members, often sharing their view of the same incidents that Elwes writes about. His book is not a self-serving bit of megalomania (a worry I had since it is written by a Hollywood star!) but more of a tribute and a very touching personal recollection of what could be described as the best job of his life. Throughout it you come to intimately know the real people behind the characters, along with Rob Reiner, the director (apparently one of the greatest and most lovable guys in Hollywood). This book was a lovely and fun read, paying homage to a film classic that many of us count in our top ten favorite flicks of all time.

If you love this film, don’t miss reading AS YOU WISH.