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Friday, April 23, 2010

Half Broken Horses by Jeannette Walls

Half Broken Horses is the “true-life novel” version of Jeannette Walls grandmother’s life, Lily Casey Smith. Lily is the mother of Rosemary Smith Walls, the subject of Jeannette Walls earlier memoir, The Glass Castle. Lily Casey Smith is portrayed as a progressive woman, who was never conquered by anything life threw at her. The novel follows Lily from age 10 to Jeannette Walls’ birth. Lily leads an exciting life, traveling 500 miles on horse back at age 15 to take up teaching in Red Lake, Arizona with a pearl handled handgun in her bag. From this moment teaching is forever entwined with her life, taking her to various locations throughout the Southwest. Teaching allows her to meet her husband, Jim, who is the father of her two children, Rosemary and Little Jim. Lily survives a surprising amount of tragedy and strife throughout her life and the tough as nails gal manages to survive it all. This is a wonderful quick reading novel, which will never fail to surprise its reader.

About the Author: Jeannette Walls was born c. 1960 in Phoenix, Arizona. She graduated from Barnard College and was a NYC journalist for 20 years. She currently lives in rural Virginia with her husband John Taylor.


Foreskin's Lament: A Memoir by Shalom Auslander

Blue Skies, No Fences: A Memoir of Childhood and Family by Lynne V. Cheney

The Prodigal Daughter: Reclaiming An Unfinished Childhood by Margaret Gibson

Farmworker's Daughter: Growing Up Mexican in America by Rose Castillo Guilbault

The Florist's Daughter by Patricia Hampl

Pamela L. Wells, Lindenhurst

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives

Humans are not the rational creatures we believe ourselves to be. Using a wide range of scientific and psychological studies, author Shankar Vedantam reveals that many of the decisions we make originate from outside of our conscious awareness. Although it may seem shocking, biases often rule our choices and evaluations.

Vedantam, also the author of the Washington Post’s “Department of Human
Behavior” column, describes how unconscious biases overtake knowledge and rational thinking, and helps the reader to understand why. He examines such situations as: why some World Trade Center victims rushed out of the building to safety while others felt it safer to remain inside; why women’s salaries are less than those of men, and transsexual men who become women earn less than transsexual women who become men; and the telescope effect in which news stories about one suffering individual garners more attention than stories about millions of genocide victims.

This is an enjoyable read for popular psychology buffs.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Deception: An Alex Delaware Novel

Psychologist Alex Delaware and Police Lieutenant Milo Sturgis are at it again; that is, they’re in search of answers to a mystifying murder. Author Jonathan Kellerman recounts the tale of a young teacher who was murdered, and her body left preserved in a bathtub full of dry ice. The victim, who was employed by an exclusive preparatory academy, left behind a DVD accusing three fellow teachers of sexually abusing her. Is one of them the murderer?

Milo is assigned the case by his chief who has personal reasons for downplaying the murder; his son attends the academy and the chief fears that any scandal will ruin his son’s chances of getting into an Ivy League college. The Sturgis/Delaware team conducts their usual interviews, surveillances and computer investigations to bring the case to a satisfying close, but not until the murderer strikes again.