The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
As a music teacher, I have worked with several children with varying degrees of autism. Autism has always fascinated me - this inpenetrable wall inside a mind, that doesn't allow someone to communicate "normally."
This book centers around a young boy with autism, and what he does when he finds his neighbor's dog has been murdered. The way that Haddon is able to draw out this character and make the reader understand that even though because he is autistic and can't verbalize feelings like others, he still feels them.
One reviewer said that it reminded him of The Catcher in the Rye, and I have to agree - what starts out as a simple story fleshes out into a beautiful tale of love and human experience.
There are some books that tap me on the shoulder and say "Remember me? I'm the reason you like to read."
This is one of those books.
I have always loved anything set in Europe, particularly England. I'm also a big sucker for plots that center on lost love that's found again. This book has both.
Harriet Evans reminds me of a less cheesy Sophie Kinsella (sorry, Sophie - I still love you). In fact, this novel has inspired me to spend at least a month in Europe in the future. As soon as I can afford it. Before I'm 40, anyway. I think a ten-year plan is doable.
And maybe I could snag a cute guy with a British accent...
You make me violent when you are running through stores in unsupervised gangs.
I can hear your hysterical laughter coming at me while I'm trying to concentrate on which coffee creamer I want. I see you making your way from the feminine products aisle. I realize that it's completely hilarious that women have periods. If you even see the word "incontinence" printed on anything, you will yell it repeatedly to your four other friends who are busy testing every lotion on display the next aisle over.
While I'm busy hauling cat litter into my shopping cart, you are piggy backing each other from the toilet paper aisle to the baked goods aisle. One of your group, who obviously suffers from severe voice im-modulation, since she's about twenty decibels louder than the Sixpence None the Richer song being piped over the speakers, is squealing "And...ohmigosh, she actually. Said. That. To me. And like...whatever. I don't care. I don't care."
I apologize for giving you the stink eye when we all ended up in the checkout line together and you managed to step on my toe while simultaneously cutting in front of me.
I'm sorry that I called you "stupid crazy kids" under my breath, but loud enough for you to hear me and look at me in that "who is this crazy middle aged woman?" way.
But mostly, I'd like to thank you for making me so, so happy that I don't have children right now. Seriously. I've never been so grateful to drive home in my car. Alone. And to walk into my apartment and silence.
But if you step on my toe again, we will throw down.
I like to cook. I really do. I'm pretty sure that my friends think that I can't, because I rarely do it. But honestly - it just seems like such a waste of time most of the time. I live alone, and making a huge meal for just me (since Gilbert has no interest in what I eat unless it involves the Whiskas Temptations logo. Of course, that makes it sound like I occasionally eat Whiskas Temptations, which I don't. You know what I mean) can be kind of depressing. 3/4ths of the meal always ends up in tupperware in the fridge, and then by the time I remember I have the leftovers, I don't trust the looks of them.
So. If I heat up some soup in the microwave once or twice a week, I feel pretty good about my culinary skills.
I do, however, subscribe to this newsletter. I've never actually attempted to make any of the delicious looking recipes that Deb sends out, because they appear to be really, really...tough. Zucchini and Ricotta Galette (I don't even know what "galette" is. Seriously.). Lamb Chops with Pistachio Tapenade. Carrot Salad with Harissa, Feta, and Mint. I think that an attempt at any of these admittedly scrumptious sounding dishes would leave me covered in whatever harissa is, and most likely - crying.
But today I tried something. I tried this recipe. And I'm in love.
It's super easy. All I really needed was a toaster and a skillet. I substituted cream cheese for the goat cheese, and used sourdough bread. I followed Deb's instructions to the letter, and I can't believe how delicious it is. I seriously felt like I was eating it at some fancy schmancy French cafe, instead of curled up in my recliner, watching reruns of "The Golden Girls."
I ate it for breakfast, and I'm already thinking about making it again for lunch. It was that good.
This is the creepiest of the three Archie Sheridan vs. serial killer Gretchen Lowell mysteries. I read it in two sittings (that whole having to work thing interrupted me), and it definitely gave me the heebie jeebies in the best way possible.
Every time I've gone into Barnes and Noble for the past three months, this book has been sitting on no less than four displays. Every time I got an email from Amazon.com, this was one of their recommendations for me. So I finally caved and picked up a copy.
I started reading it on Saturday, and literally couldn't put it down. I didn't turn the tv on all weekend. I read it while I cooked. I read it while I ate. I got annoyed that I had to actually go anywhere at all, because I just wanted to find out what happened next.
Yep. It's that good.
The whole time I was reading this edge-of-your-seat (or bed or lazy boy, if you're like me) thriller set in Sweden, I kept thinking "I hope there's a movie coming. Because this would be a great movie." So I checked Netflix, and there's already a Swedish version (which looks really good, actually - it's already in my queue), and a big-screen "American" version is set to be released in the next year or so starring Carey Mulligan ("An Education") and Daniel Craig ("James Bond"). Good casting calls, I think.
But now, part of me is worried that they'll change the fantastic movie I've created in my head. I'm attached to my imagined characters and scenery now.
I can't wait to read the next two books in the trilogy.
This book fascinated me. Gladwell explores the idea that our gut instincts are (usually) dead-on, but because most of us don't know how to interpret our feelings, we end up over-analyzing and making mistakes in judgement. A fully executed blink lasts around two seconds, and according to Gladwell, this is the amount of time it takes to truly get a first impression of someone or something.
I heard Gladwell speak at a conference last year, and his lecture was mesmerizing. His writing is much the same. He doesn't use so much scientific jargon that you can't easily understand his point, and he uses interesting subjects to illustrate his points.
The power of the subconscious truly is amazing - how many times have we met someone and thought "Hmmm...I really don't like that guy/girl," but can't put a finger on why? Or been in a situation and suddenly realized that it wasn't a good one? Blink attempts to answer just how we intuitively know these things, and gives some ideas on how to hone that intuition so we can use it to our best ability.
I have to admit...I felt a little smarter after I read this book. And slightly psychic.