22 on 22 Read-a-Thon


First of all, a big thank you to dear Eric @ Frodo’s Blog, who alerted me to this 22 on 22 Read-a-thon.

Not sure if I have much time to read this week, although work is not busy as it was lately. Moreover with some travelling on the weekend I may be able to get some reading done while in the car. I do need to catch up, as currently I am behind my goal of 150 books. With only 2.5 months left I am only at 110 books. Also it seems a good idea to clear up the many Ballycumbers* that I have lying around.

My Reading List:

Big Breasts and Wide Hips
Big Breasts and Wide Hips (started this in Dewey)

Wine drinking for inspired thinking
Wine Drinking for Inspired Thinking

dragon rider
Dragon Rider

Wall to wall
Wall to Wall: From Beijing to Berlin by Rail

Oct 22: Day 1
Pages Read Today: 71
Big Breasts and Wide Hips 314-384
Total Pages Read: 71
Time Spent Reading Today: 1.5 hrs
Total Time Spent Reading: 1.5 hrs

Oct 23: Day 2
Pages Read Today: 105
Big Breasts and Wide Hips 385-426
Wine Drinking for Inspired Thinking pg 56-96
Dragon Rider pg 1-21
Total Pages Read: 176
Time Spent Reading Today: 2 hr
Total Time Spent Reading: 3.5 hr

Oct 24: Day 3
Pages Read Today: 59
Big Breasts and Wide Hips 427-438
Wine Drinking for Inspired Thinking pg 97-130
Dragon Rider pg 22-35
Total Pages Read: 235
Time Spent Reading Today: 1.5 hr
Total Time Spent Reading: 5
Feelings: Pathetic progress. Started work at 6am, scheduled to be done at 2, but didn’t get to go home till 4:30, and didn’t even have lunch. : ( Second time this week.

Day 3 Mini-Challenges –
On my very long wishlist one book I’m eagerly waiting for is
demons are forever

Demons Are Forever is book 3 of the Confessions of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom. Things got really exciting in book 2, so I can’t wait to find out what happen!

Retired after marrying her demon-slayer partner and having a child, Kate Conner, aka Buffy the Vampire Slayer, moves with her family to a safe town to settle down and lead a normal life. Her husband is killed in a car accident and she remarries, has another child, and settles into a happy family life. Of course, when you know about demons and the realities of the dark side, nothing could be that simple. Daughter Allie becomes aware of her legacy when kidnapped. Saved by her mother, the teen now wants to join the hunters. Eddie, Kate’s elderly demon-hunting mentor, lives with the family as a sort of adopted grandfather. David Long, an attractive teacher at Allie’s school, may or may not actually be Kate’s beloved first husband. Stuart Conner, Kate’s ambitious second husband, is running for San Diablo County Attorney, blissfully unaware of his wife’s alter ego. Now her not quite three-year-old son Timmy’s playdates are being interrupted by demons trying to revive a long-imprisoned Mater demon by the name of Andramelech. What’s a mom to do?

Oct 25: Day 4
Pages Read Today: 199
Total Pages Read: 434
Big Breasts and Wide Hips 439-532
Wine Drinking for Inspired Thinking pg 131-139
Dragon Rider pg 35-130
Time Spent Reading Today: 2.5 h
Total Time Spent Reading: 7.5 h
Feelings: It’s my day off so was able to do a bit more reading, though still not as much as I’d like. Was able to finish BBWH, which is great as I honestly was starting to get bored with this long novel. Listened to Dragon Rider while doing laundry. Brandon Fraser is a great reader (besides being a handsome actor <3)!

Oct 26: Day 5
Pages Read Today: 169
Wine Drinking for Inspired Thinking pg 140-166
Dragon Rider pg 131-272
Total Pages Read: 603
Time Spent Reading Today: 2 h
Total Time Spent Reading: 9.5 h

Oct 27: Day 6
Pages Read Today: 136
Dragon Rider pg 273-312
Wine Drinking for Inspired Thinking pg 167-262
Total Pages Read: 739
Time Spent Reading Today: 2 h
Total Time Spent Reading: 11.5h
Feelings: Was riding in a car for a trip a good part of the day, but didn’t get as much reading done as I’ve hope, because I was busy co-piloting: selecting music, checking GPS, as well as sending emails, checking my game, checking BookCrossing. Most certainly a problem when phones get too smart. But am glad to at least finish off another book.

Oct 28: Day 7
Pages Read Today: 105
Total Pages Read: 844
Wall to Wall: pg 1-104
Time Spent Reading Today: 2 h
Total Time Spent Reading: 13.5 h
Feelings: It’s the last day. I admit I didn’t read as much as I’d like, but it was fun. A big thank you to the organizers, Alexa and Bianca, as well as to Eric who told me about this read-a-thon.

[* BALLYCUMBER: (n) One of the six half-read books lying somewhere in your bed.
— The Deeper Meaning of Liff, Douglas Adams.]

Published in: on October 22, 2012 at 8:46 pm  Comments (1)  

Bookleggers: First Visit

A few months back, another BookCrosser released a book at a place called Lester’s, for a Bookleggers event. The journal prompted me to immediately find out more about Bookleggers. The name is ingenious for this little sleathy pop-up library. Visitors get a free book, or more if they bring some to trade or pay $2 per book. My first reaction was, this is such a cool idea! And, being a BookCrosser, my second thought was naturally that this would be a great place to release some books.

It is a bit tricky trying to find Bookleggers, as they are “a library on the run.” Their website doesn’t post a schedule, though they announce their upcoming events on twitter.

As their last two events happened on the last Thursday of the month at Lester’s, I presumed it would be their schedule, until by chance I checked my tweets and found that they would pop up the third Thursday of October at a bar called Blackbird Ordinary. Now, my clubbing and pubbing days were long behind since I got married, and it is hard to imagine a library inside a bar. Low lights, loud music, smoke, drinks… with some trepidation I ventured out anyway with a bunch of BookCrossing books.

Despite the fact that I downplayed the bar part, and up-played the books and library (spells BORING) part, my hubby must have sniffed something amiss as he offered to go with me rather than staying home after dinner. “Hmmm… they have bouncer? What kind of place is this library thing at? It looks seedy…” commented my hubby as we passed by the place, searching for parking spot. “Well, that’s a security guard… Library has security guards too… don’t they?” Thursday night at Brickell seems to be a busy night (so I told you we haven’t gone out in a long while…) and it was hard to find parking on the street, and flat evening rates in lots were too pricey for our purpose. Turns out a blessing that my hubby came along, so he could occupy an empty space under a No Parking sign while I went into Blackbird Ordinary.

It was easy enough to spot the impressive line of shelves, filled with books.

This is an official photo posted by Bookleggers, as mine come nowhere as nice.

There was a line of little candles, which I hold up to read the book spines.

The collection is very high quality, few romances or thrillers, but more on the literary, classics, and the like. They even sort them by fiction on top and non fiction below. A lot of great books! I was determined not to take home more books than I took out, and barely keep that resolution. I was hoping to find the BC books that was released a month or two back, but I forgot the title, and it felt a bit like cheating to hunt for it. One of the organizer did remember about some BookCrossing books being dropped off in the past.

Look at the nice stuff I got:

A few of them are wishlist books for my BookCrossing friends. There is a beautiful book on wine tasting, and a book about Natural History Museum. Can’t say it’s a wishlist book as I never knew it exists, but I enjoy visiting Natural History Museum wherever I go, so this book is my great find of the night! The Qadi book is a fiction based in Beuirot and came highly recommended by one of the organizers.

When I checked out at the library, (yes this is a library… no card to fill but you don’t just walk out with an armful of books) I was kindly reminded again that I could have taken more books and I had to politely but steadfastly decline. They stamped each book with a nice Bookleggers stamp.

I had so much fun, I am already starting to save up books for my next round of Bookleggers visit! Huge kudos to the guys who started this. A total labor of love – and serious labor too, with hundreds of books to tote around, set up and take down. Seriously, if you are in South Florida, check it out and give them some support!

Published in: on October 20, 2012 at 10:27 am  Leave a Comment  

Dewey’s Read-a-thon: Crossing the Finish Line

So this is it, the end of another Read-a-thon! It’s always sad when it’s over, with all the anticipation and excitement before it. I kind of regret taking the power nap though – it’s too powerful and now even though it’s over I feel ready for more, which is not right. One should be collapsing at the finish line. I suppose after a long spell in Nobel-worthy literary, it was a good boost to gobble up two short books in quick succession too. However, with a long day ahead for Sunday, not like I can sleep through it, rest is just a wise decision.

This time I didn’t really read much, as I don’t seriously get started till I got home from work around 11pm, though I got about 2 hours’ worth of reading before that. Hopefully next time I can take the whole day off work and stay home.

Total Pages read: 447

Total Time spent reading: 7 h 45 min
9:15am – 9:30am Big Breasts and Wide Hips: pg i-xiv (introduction)
10:30am – 11:00apm Never Let Me Go: pg 111 – 123 (on audio CDs while driving.)
1:45pm – 2:15pm Big Breasts and Wide Hips: pg 1-30
3:30pm – 4:00pm Never Let Me Go: pg 124 – 141 (on audio CDs while driving.)
7:30pm – 8:00pm Big Breasts and Wide Hips: pg 31-50
11:30pm – 3:30am Big Breasts and Wide Hips: pg 51-164
6:00am – 6:15am Even God is Single: (So Stop Giving Me a Hard Time) pg 1-72
6:15am – 7:00am Snakes and Earrings pg 1-120
7:00am – 8:00am Big Breasts and Wide Hips: pg 164-210

Other Readers I have visited:

Jessica @ Books: A true story
Jenn @ bookshelves
Jessica H
Jen @ The Bookie Nook
Jade @ Sortof Beautiful
Eric @ Frodo’s Blog of Randomness
Kate @ Epic (Chocolate) Fantasy
Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader
Karen @ Book World In My Head

Books I have munched on:

Big Breasts and Wide Hips

Never Let Me Go

Books I have finished:

Even God is Single: (So Stop Giving Me a Hard Time)

Snakes and Earrings

And, following Frodo‘s example, my read-a-thon snacks that saw me through the darkest hours:

Tim Tam, the unofficial snack of BookCrossing, some nuts, Ben & Jerry ice cream – Red Velvet is a new flavor I just tried and it’s pretty good, Starbucks ice cream – for that caffeine boost, and some macaroons I got from Costco – it’s too truffly chocolaty, a bit denser than what I expect of a macaroon, but great little rewards for finishing a book.

End of event meme

Which hour was most daunting for you?
Around 3am. That’s hour 19.

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Didn’t read any that fits the description this time, but James Patterson is always a fast pageturner, and a fun paranormal romance is good.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
As a cheerleader I would like the reader list to be more updated with who’s not participating, but then it takes time and effort to edit the list and I won’t want to take away anybody’s reading time. It’s a bit diasppointing though to click and not see a read-a-thon post.

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
I tweet more, and it’s easier to follow the hashtags and know who’s still actively participating.

How many books did you read?
Completed two little ones and read about 200 pages of a 500+ page fiction.

What were the names of the books you read?
Big Breasts and Wide Hips
Never Let Me Go
Even God is Single: (So Stop Giving Me a Hard Time) – finished
Snakes and Earrings – finished

Which book did you enjoy most?
Snakes and Earrings

Which did you enjoy least?
Never Let Me Go

If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
Encourage people to use more Twitter, as it’s much easier to track who’s still up and around. Towards the end it’s not very effective to be clicking through all the links to find one that is still updating.

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
Most certainly. Same, reader + cheerleader.

Published in: on October 14, 2012 at 10:17 am  Comments (1)  

Dewey’s Read-a-thon Hour 23

Time: 6:30am

Currently Reading:

Snakes and Earrings

Hour 23
Ended up reading until about 3:30am. Set my alarm for 5am but well, brain took longer to boot up than my old computer. Time is now 6:30. Brewed myself a cup of tea. I participated in BookCrossing.com’s teabox ring, so I have a box of assorted tea leaves and tea bags to try and comment on.

I had planned to spend my whole Read-a-thon reading Mo Yan’s book, but decided that darn it I want to be able to finish at least a book. So dug up some super short, fast flipping books for these last hours. Finished Even God is Single: (So Stop Giving Me a Hard Time)” in 15 minutes. Got that at the library sale. I love the line, God is single, and a single household to boost! Yeah, stop harrassing all the singles and single parents.

Now starting Snakes and Earrings.

Hour 19
Following other’s example, I decided to continually update the same post rather than posting numerous entries at various hours.

It’s pass 2am now. I find that my eyes are gazing over the same lines. Decide to take a break and do some cheering and check Twitter. Then probably a little time out for a power nap before continuing on! I WILL BE BACK!

Hour 16
I am home from work, finally!! So now I will settle down and do some reading. Hopefully I will read a few hours, then take a nap and then be fresh enough to dash to the finish line. I managed to read a little during my break.

I tried to find a copy of Never Let Me Go so I can mark my progress in pages. However, even though the system says there is a copy, none could be found on the shelf. Either it was stolen or misfiled.

Reading Location:At home by the couch.

Total Pages read so far: 281

Total Time spent reading so far: 5 h 30 min
9:15am – 9:30am Big Breasts and Wide Hips: pg i-xiv (introduction)
10:30am – 11:00apm Never Let Me Go: pg 111 – 123 (on audio CDs while driving.)
1:45pm – 2:15pm Big Breasts and Wide Hips: pg 1-30
3:30pm – 4:00pm Never Let Me Go: pg 124 – 141 (on audio CDs while driving.)
7:30pm – 8:00pm Big Breasts and Wide Hips: pg 31-50
11:30pm – 3:30am Big Breasts and Wide Hips: pg 51-164
6:00am – 6:15am Even God is Single: (So Stop Giving Me a Hard Time)

Other Readers I have visited:

Jessica @ Books: A true story
Jenn @ bookshelves
Jessica H
Jen @ The Bookie Nook
Jade @ Sortof Beautiful
Kate @ Epic (Chocolate) Fantasy
Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader

Books I have munched on:

Big Breasts and Wide Hips

Never Let Me Go

Books I have finished:

Even God is Single: (So Stop Giving Me a Hard Time)

Published in: on October 13, 2012 at 11:52 pm  Comments (1)  

Dewey’s Read-a-thon Hour 7

Time: 2:28pm

Currently Reading:

Big Breasts and Wide Hips

I finished volunteering at the library, has a bit of time before heading to work, so I read some and log in to do an update. Can’t wait to get home after work and do some serious reading!

Reading Location:In the library.

Total Pages read so far: 74

Total Time spent reading so far: 15 min
9:15am – 9:30am Big Breasts and Wide Hips: pg i-xiv (introduction)
10:30am – 11:00apm Never Let Me Godd: 30 pages (on audio CDs while driving.)
1:45pm – 2:15pm Big Breasts and Wide Hips: pg 1-30

Other Readers I have visited:

Jessica @ Books: A true story
Jenn @ bookshelves
Jenn @ bookshelvesJoany

Books I have munched on:

Books I have finished:

Published in: on October 13, 2012 at 2:53 pm  Comments (5)  

Dewey’s Read-a-thon Hour 2

Hubby was supposed to go outrigger canoeing today, so I figure I would kick him out the door at 7:30am, then have breakfast and be all ready at the start line. But he came back at 7:45, saying that he forgot his paddle, and when he came back for it it’s too late for him to make it in time, the group would have left the shore already. So he decided to brew some coffee and had some leisurely breakfast, then seeing the rain outside, felt rather smug that he did not go out after all. Anyway, with preparing for breakfast and all that, ended up I didn’t get down to read till just now.

ETA: I just dug up my post in April so I can copy the template, and guess what I said 6 months ago?

My hubby was planning to go canoeing today while I stay home, and now he’s stuck at home with me! (because it was raining)

First, the Introductory Questionnaire:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I’m in Florida, USA.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
I don’t have a stack this time around – usually I do, but as I have a busy day today, work and volunteering at the library, there won’t be much reading time at all.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
I scream ice cream!

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I like to read non-fiction, Asian literature, travelogue and microhistories. In case you think I am a snobby reader, I also love manga and a bit of fantasy.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
I really wish I could get the day off and have more time reading. : ( But schedule won’t work out this time around…

Time: 9:39am

Currently Reading:

Big Breasts and Wide Hips

Selecting this because Mo Yan just won the Nobel Literary Prize. I haven’t gone far, just read the introduction, where it says that Mo Yan himself has said, “If you like, you can skip my other novels, but you must read Big Breasts and Wide Hips. In it I wrote about history, war, politics, hunger, religion, love and sex.”

When I heard the news, I thought it would be a great idea to read this in the RAT, but I did have second thoughts when I took the book off my shelf. It was a hefty 532 pages. Usually I like thinner volumes for RAT as it gave me a sense of satisfaction.

Reading Location:In living room by the computer.

Total Pages read so far: 14

Total Time spent reading so far: 15 min
9:15am – 9:30pm Big Breasts and Wide Hips: pg 1-14 (introduction)

Other Readers I have visited:

Jessica @ Books: A true story

Books I have munched on:

Books I have finished:

Published in: on October 13, 2012 at 9:56 am  Comments (2)  

Dewey’s 24 Hours Read-a-thon

Less than a day away, my 5th Dewey’s Read-a-thon.

This year, I will be volunteering at the library in the morning and going to work in the afternoon and evening, so I don’t think I can accomplish as much as last year. Hopefully I will still get to finish at least one book.

I am thinking of starting the Read-a-thon with a book by Mo Yan, in celebration of his winning the Nobel prize.

Published in: on October 12, 2012 at 1:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages

by Ammon Shea

Reading OED

The moment I first held the book in my hands, I felt a kinship with the author. As a kid, I read dictionary. It wasn’t exactly by choice but rather because it was the only book in my whole family collection besides my text book. Obviously I was not interested in reading text book more than absolute necessity – except the part about reproduction that the teacher totally skipped over – and while dictionary is not up there in the fun list, it could be entertaining to stumble upon new words, and it sure helps boost my vocabulary. So there I was, sitting on the couch with the student version of OED in my lap, until the day a classmate’s mom took me to a magical place called library. I haven’t seriously read a dictionary since, but I always feel like it is a treasure chest, and whenever I open one up, I always end up reading more than one entry.

At first I thought this book may be a little boring, as much fun as reading a shopping list, but the author’s witty, humorous comments on his juicy choice of dictionary entries, interlaced with his personal musings and experience, makes the read a sheer delight.

Some of my favorite entries (italics is dictionary definition, dash indicates the author’s annonations, and parenthesis my thoughts):

Advesperate (v) To approach evening.
– For all intents and purposes this word is almost useless, for I doubt that anyone will ever use it in converstaion with me, and I fervently hope that I myself am never prone to utterances such as “Let’s hurry! It’ advesperating!” Nevertheless, this word brings me a great deal of pleasure, as occasionally when I am walking down the street and the light of day is about to change to the light of early evening, the word will flit through my mind, and I have a rush of joy from knowing how to name such an ephermeral moment.
((I whisper the word, advesperate. It’s not that far from “desperate”, but it sounds much softer, with a wispy quality to it, like sharing a beautiful secret. As if you are do not want to scare away the faeries that are coming out, or disturb the dancing of light, or be disrespectful of the glorious sunset.)

Antithalian (adj.) Opposed to fun or merriment.
Am I just being too serious in life, or am I Antithalian?

Conspue (v.) To spit on someone or something with contempt.
-I have not yet found any word that defines the action of spitting on someone or something for a reason other than contempt (can you split on someone out of friendship or admiration?), and I have a strong suspicion that I will not. One who conspues is referred to as a consputator.
(Boy, a consputator sounds like worthy of an arrest!)

-ee (suffix) One who is the recipient or beneficiary of a specific action or thing.
– …In the interest of expanding your descriptive range I have included the following examples:
Beatee – a person who has been beaten, as oposed to beater.
Boree – one who is bored.
Flingee – a person at whom something is fling.
Gazee – a person who is stared at.
Laughee – someone who is laughed at.

Elucubration (n.) Studying or writing by candlelight.
– From the Latin elucubrare (to compose by candlelight), elucubration is the word to describe staying up late while engaged in putatively productive endeavors, as opposed to just staying up late and watching TV.

Fard (v.) To paint the face with cosmetics, so as to hide blemishes.
– I suspect there is a reason no one ever gets up from the table and says, “Excuse me while I go to the ladies’ room and fard.” It seems to be very difficult to make a four-letter word that begins with f sound like an activity that is polite to discuss at the dinner table.

Finifugal (adj.) Shunning the end of anything.
– Many things in life deserve being finifugal about: the last twenty pages of a good book, a special meal that someone has just spent hours preparing for you, a slow walk in a light rain.

Gymnologize (v.) “To dispute naked, like an Indian philosopher.”
– There are only several plausible reasons I can think of for having an argument while naked, and none of them happens to involve Indian philosophers.
(Who thinks you can laugh out loud reading a dictionary?)

Heterophemize (v.) To say something different from what you mean to say.
(So there IS a word for it…)

Introuvable (adj.) Not capable of being found, specifically of books.
(No kidding, there IS a word for this? And does it mean it’s the books’ problem, not mine? I don’t have too many books, just some that happen to be sneaky and introuvable.)

Jehu (n.) A fast or reckless driver.
– Jehu was a king of Isreal in the ninth century BCE, renowned for both his furious chariot driving and his extermination of the worshippers of Baal.
(Fast and Furious, BCE version?)

Lipoxeny (n.) The deserting of a host by the parasites that have been living on it.
– Lipoxeny is a very serious and very technical botanical word. Under no ciercumstances should you ever use it in a manner that is not respectful of the English language and the biologists who worked tirelessly to fill it with words such as this.

Microphily (n.) The friendship between people who are not equals in intelligence of status.

Obmutescence (n.) The state or condition of obstinately or willfully refusing to speak.
– Anyone who has even been the parent of, or been related to, or been in the same room with an obstinate child will immediately recognize the behavior defined by the word. On the one hand obmutescence can hardly be characterized as a sterling trait, but on the other hand, it is far preferable to a tantrum.

Onomatomania (n.) Vexation at having difficulty in finding the right word.
(I am afraid I am no more likely to remember the word describing the vexation I have than resolving the vexation itself.)

Petecure (n.) Modest cooking; cooking on a small scale.
– Very few people eat in an epicurean fashion, yet many of them know what the word epicure means. A great many people eat in a simple fashion, and yet no one knows the word for this.
(Perchance because it sounds too much like pedicure?

Propassion (n.) The initial stirrings of a passion.

Psithurism (n.) The whispering of leaves moved by the wind.
(another word, like Advesperate, that is fun to sound out.

Residentarian (n.) A person who is given to remaining at table.

Scourge (v.) To inconvenience or discomfort a person by pressing against him or her or by standing too close.
– For passengers of modern transportation everywhere, this word has tremendous and unfortunate resonance. It falls firmly within the category of words that one wishes one did not have occasion to use on a daily basis, but are fascinating nonetheless.
(Another one of these really-there-is-a-word-for-it? words. Ahh indeed an unfortunate resonance. It’s part of the reason why I loved America when I first moved here. No more scourging on the bus or metro with nasty men. Incidentally, sourging is the reason why I still have that habit of not putting on lipstick till I arrive at work. I sincerely hope that I had never caused any marital discord when I accidentally rubbed my lipstick on some guy’s shirt when the bus jerked to a stop…)

Shot-clog (n.) An unwelcome companion tolerated because he pays the shot for the rest.

Silentiary (n.) An official whose job it is to command silence.

Somnificator (n.) One who induces sleep in others.

Twi-thought (n.) A vague or indistinct thought.
((I like this word. Not quite a thought, just something drifting in the mind, fledging, teasing…)

Unbepissed (adj.) Not having been urinated on; unwet with urine.
– Who ever thought there was an actual need for such a word? Is it possible that at some time there was such a profusion of things that had been urinated on that there was a pressing need to distinguish those that had not?
(Troubling thought indeed.)

“I’m reading the OED so you don’t have to. If you are interested in vocabulary that is both spectacularly useful and beautifully useless, read on…” says the author.

Now, I’ve written a review and excerpt of the book, so you don’t even have to read his. No, I’m just kidding. Really, it’s a great book. Enjoyable even if you are not word-obsessed. Really, you should go read it, even if you don’t ever plan to read a page of the OED.

Published in: on October 12, 2012 at 11:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Horse Boy: A Memoir of Healing

by Rupert Isaacson

horse boy

When his son Rowan was diagnosed with autism at age two, Rupert Isaacson was devastated, feeling that all the dreams he and his wife had of their child shattered away. Their lives become an exhaustive nightmare of tantrums, care, treatments and diagnosis. But one day something extraordinary happened. Rowan met Betsy, a neighbor’s mare, and a special bond seems to develop between the child and the animal. When Rupert took Rowan riding on Betsy, Rowan improved remarkably. He was struck with a crazy idea: why not take Rowan to Mongolia, the one place in the world where horses and shamanic healing intersected?

A heartwarming, spellbounding journey of a family to Mongolia, in hope of healing its autistic son. Isaacson is a travel writer, so he captures the details of the trip vividly. There are joy, set backs, doubts, fears and acceptance. I also get to understand better what autism is like. I now know not to harshly judge people as bad parents if their kids are throwing a tantrum or behaving inappropriately.

It’s also interesting how the author’s wife comment that an autistic child seems to have the essence of total enlightenment. Indeed I remember reading that detachment means that your emotion is like a sword in the water or the air, it goes through without a trace. I don’t think most people are able to do that, but Rowan does seem remarkably able to let bygone be bygone. I am also intrigued by the author’s comment of how some shamans display autistic characteristics and also how some of the shamans say that Rowan will grow up to be a shaman.

The book described a brief interview with Temple Grandin. I happened to have attended one of her presentations a few months ago (and truth be told, only knew of her then.) Listening to her then, and reading this book now, makes me wonder how autism affects a person. Can all autistic people, given the right condition, be able to blossom into someone who are not only self-sufficient, but great achievers? Or are they cases of savantism?

I highly recommend going to the Horse Boy movie site to view the photos and videos. It has some of the photos in this book’s insert and more, and it’s so much nicer to see them displayed in full color glory.

And here’s update about Rowan’s life.

Published in: on October 3, 2012 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment