In Progress: Animals In Translation by Temple Grandin

My birthday was last Monday (the 17th), and, as usual, I received a book from my aunt in Connecticut. In recent years she’s been sending more non-fiction than fiction, but I’m not sure that’s intentional.

In any case, she knows that there is no drug rehab equivalent for bibliophiles, and really, as addictions go, reading is a pretty safe one. I mean, what other substance sends you to a bookstore or library when you’re jonesing for a fix? How often do you see a voracious reader begging on the street corner, “Man, I just need a dollar for another book?”

But I digress.

My birthday book this year is Animals in Translation, by Temple Grandin. I’m barely into it, but already I’m fascinated. It’s about how people with autism respond to animals, often understanding them on levels that neuro-typical humans cannot. I’m reading it as a dog-lover and animal rescue volunteer who loves animals, but apparently this book is quite well regarded. In fact, I found a link to it on the PLoS Biology website, in which the editors actually asked Ms. Grandin to respond to something they’d posted. The complete article is here.

It’s all really interesting, and makes me look at my dogs in a new light. I’ll review the book when I’ve finished with it, of course, but I wanted to share what I have in progress for a change.

Review: Life’s A Beach by Clare Cook

I picked up Clare Cook’s novel Life’s a Beach because I was in the mood for a book to give me a jolt of laughter the way thoroughbreds get a jolt of energy and nutrients when given horse supplements. I was not disappointed.

Ginger is a fun-loving, woman a bit older than I am (specifically, in her early forties), with a sister about to turn fifty. She’s still living in her parent’s garage apartment (she hates the term FROG – finished room over garage), with her cat named Boyfriend and her non-committal boyfriend, a glass-blower named Noah. Glass is a trend in Ginger’s life. Between real jobs, she’s been trying to find herself, and her current incarnation involves making sea glass jewelry.

Against the background of her mother’s entree into the Red Hat Society, her father’s unwillingness to downsize and sell the family home, and her sister’s upcoming birthday, Ginger is a breath of fresh air, but living in denial, so when her eight-year-old nephew Riley gets tapped to be an extra in a horror movie, she is more than willing to go to the set and act as his guardian.

Clare Cook, who previously gave us Must Love Dogs, sends us on a wonderfully funny, sometimes sappy journey to the shore and beyond, all the while holding up a rather forgiving mirror to those of us who know that fifty really is the new thirty.