Monday, December 10, 2012


Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's is a memoir written by John Elder Robison, brother of Augusten Burroughs- the author of Running with Scissors.
Augusten encountered many fans who thanked him for mentioning Asperger's in Running with Scissors and also writing an essay on John in his book Magical Thinking. Instead of writing a whole book about his brother, he convinced John to write it himself. Though I enjoyed RWS, some of the crazier events disturbed me. Robison's memoir is much tamer, yet still entertaining and humorous.

The memoir is less about Asperger's and more about John's take on his crazy family. As a young boy, he feared his alcoholic father and became increasingly disconnected to his mentally ill mother. He dropped out of school and left home at 17. Because of his Asperger's he was good at working with machines and ended up as a guitar technician for the band KISS. However, being around people was not comfortable for him, so he left and continued to struggle to find a career that would suit him. Interspersed with his stories from these various positions are chapters that describe Asperger's and how it has affected his relationships and career choices. These chapters give great understanding to people unfamiliar with Asperger's and Autism.

Look Me in the Eye is a must read for all fans of Augusten Burroughs works. Fans of memoirs will enjoy his tales of growing up in a dysfunctional family and how that lead to him being on the road with KISS. Those looking for understanding of Asperger's will want to skim the book and read the asperger's-focused chapters.

For more on Asperger's-
The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome by Jessica Kingsley
Online Asperger Syndrome Information & Support

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Why is My Mother Getting a Tattoo

Well I am back from vacation and was able to finish three books while I was gone.
The first is a collection of true stories by Jancee Dunn. Jancee has written two books, Don't You Forget About Me, a novel about a woman who moves back in with her parents during her divorce, and But Enough About Me, a memoir of her years working at Rolling Stone. This one, Why is My Mother Getting a Tattoo? and other questions I wish I never had to ask, is about her family.

Every family has their funny and quirky attributes, and her family is no different. This is a purely funny and happy book. No real sad sob stories because she admittedly had a very happy childhood. The stories are about the mundane silly things in her life, such as the weird articles her father sends her in the mail, arguments over what kind of pies to eat at Thanksgiving, and her husband's aversion to breakfast buffets and brands of jeans with long names.

This is a very quick read, 205 pages total, each story has less than 20 pages. They'll make you laugh and remind you of the funny things that occur within your family.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Born to Run

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

Someone else actually checked this book out for me, because they know I am a runner. I decided to give it a shot and I could not put the book down! It is a fascinating story about a tribe in Mexico called the Tarahumara. They run miles and miles for recreation and never seem to tire or get injured.

It all began when the author, Christopher McDougall, began searching for a solution for his foot injuries. His doctors always told him it was inevitable, he was too big to run, and running was too stressful on our joints. But then he learned about the Tarahumara and other "barefoot runners" and ultramarathoners who could run over a hundred miles at one time and not get hurt. He set out to discover their secrets.
In the book he talks to many doctors, scientists, and runners who discuss how shoes have basically ruined our natural stride and cause many of the foot and knee problems we have today. These problems never existed when everyone went barefoot.

The most fascinating part of the book is learning about the Tarahumara, how they live, work, and play, and what they eat. The author also participated in, and describes a 50 miles race through Tarahumara country, competing with the tribe and famous ultramarathoners from the U.S.

This is a must read for all runners !! I learned a lot about how I can improve my running and nutrition. Even those who don't run will be fascinated by the science and history of human physiology and the unique Tarahumara.

Friday, July 27, 2012


I occasionally dabble in crafts- embroidery, sewing, appliqueing, and card making. (Knitting was an epic fail) Though I'm not very adept at any of these things, I absolutely looove craft books. Even if readers don't follow the patterns and directions, they can be inspired by the cute things in them. Here are a few of my favorite crafty books...

Creepy Cute Crochet by Christen Haden

Amigurumi is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting little animals and toys. This is a fun book with patterns on making creepy toys like ninjas, the grim reaper, Medusa, and zombies.

Doodle Stitching by Aimee Ray

This is a great book for beginner embroiderers because it shows each stitch and gives tips on choosing threads and fabrics. It has cute patterns and offers creative inspiration for free form embroidery.

Simply Sublime Bags by Jodi Kahn

This is a low sew or no-sew book about making purses and bags. This appealed to me as I haven't yet mastered the sewing machine. It teaches how to make bags from pillowcases, t-shirts, placemats, and other odd fabrics you may have around the house. It has instructions for making a wallet from Monopoly money! Super cute!

Sew Darn Cute by Jenny Ryan

Love love love this book. I have made several of the projects, including the stuffed bear on the front cover. I like to go to Home Ec in Iowa City and get cute fabrics to make stuff from this book like the fabric collage, cafe curtains, and eyeglasses cozy.

Feel free to share your favorite craft books in the comments.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Then We Came to the End

Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris

A fantastic debut novel from Joshua Ferris about a Chicago marketing firm's employees. Ferris delves in to their work lives with intimate detail on their fears of being laid off, their attitudes towards each other, and how their personal lives affect their work lives. Though many of the characters face depressing situations, the novel is very funny and witty, full of truth about workplaces- how coworkers tease and pull pranks on each other, workplace gossip, and office pariahs. Each chapter could stand alone as its own story detailing the various going-ons in the office, such as the stealing of each other's desk chairs, the rumors surrounding their mysterious boss, and bizarre reactions from the laid off employees.

I breezed through this book, each chapter, though about the mundane and ordinary, seems full of excitement and hilarity. Easily the best book I have read in years.