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Book Reviews
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Autism Questions Parents Ask
by Mitchell, Dr. Sharon A.

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July 9, 2020 – Finished Reading July 8, 2020 – Started Reading Review Many of the books about autism that I'd previously read were from the turn of the century or earlier. The up-to-date information in this book is very welcome. Dr. Mitchell recommends that parents speak to and correspond with autistic adults who can tell the parent what accommodations would have been helpful to them as children. Dr. Mitchell advises against programs and treatments for autistic people that are known to cause physical, mental and emotional harm to the people. Paraphrasing: "Even though there's a considerable reduction in the use of electric shocks and cattle prods in this type of program..." Refreshingly, Dr. Mitchell tells parents not to believe those who claim there is a "cure" for autism. Also, she says that a treatment so expensive that it would require parents to get a second mortgage should be thought about twice or three times or more before deciding to do it, and that parents should explore less expensive options beforehand. Dr. Mitchell informs parents that their autistic child will grow up to be an autistic adult, and that it would help them to have good, positive learning experiences as a child. She repeats several times that parents and other authority figures in a non-verbal child's life shouldn't talk about that child in front of the child. The non-verbal child may well understand and internalize negative messages. The repetition in that case was because of Dr. Mitchell's sense of how very important that is to keep in mind. Other repetition from one chapter to others is because Dr. Mitchell doesn't assume that a parent will read every chapter in order. She does say which chapters have more information on a certain topic. It was off-putting to me that Dr. Mitchell used "he" about 99% of the time when talking about the autistic child. Also, teachers were mostly "she." But only using "he" for the child seemed very exclusionary, and struck me as cutting off certain avenues of thought. If the parent's child is a boy, that wording choice probably wouldn't seem to be a problem. If the child is a girl or non-binary, there will be some bad disconnects. There were a few typos in the book, and wrong homonyms including the use of "discrete" instead of "discreet," a perpetual error in much of the fiction I read. (Somewhat off topic: Romance authors who know that there is a word that's spelled "discrete," put it out of your mind. Completely forget that that word exists. The word you want is "discreet." Trust me.) I did read all the chapters, but I didn't particularly mind the repetition in there for those parents who might pick and choose among chapters. Another really good piece of information that I didn't especially see in older books is that most autistic children learn and understand things much better when they have a visual reference to refer to. A lot of autistic children have trouble with auditory processing, Dr. Mitchell says. Between that issue and possible sensory overload and/or emotional overload, a great deal of verbal instruction or correction may be lost on a child. A visual schedule and visual instructions are highly likely to be much more conducive to learning for that child and for other children in a classroom with them. Visual information will very often be much easier to process, and can be referred back to. This may also help children with attention deficit issues, or non-autistic children who have some information-processing issues. I highly recommend the book for being up to date and having really helpful information and suggestions. It encourages parents, who know their child well, to put some trust in their instincts about whether a particular program or treatment would be helpful to their own child. That was good, too.

Unsheltered Kingsolver
by Kingsolver

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History interwoven with the present in nearby Vineland, NJ served as a thoughtful discussion for my book group.

Say Nothing
by Patrick Radden Keefe

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Moody, dark and efervesent, this novel details the history of the IRA in Northern Ireland and the very real impact that this terroristic organization continues to have in Ireland. At somepoints, the excess of extensive research, full of names and dates felt convoluted, but this middle part of the book was necessary for the later development. Dont expect a one story line with this piece. The book is more like an extensive overview of all the people, places and environments that shaped Ireland politica in the 1980s-present day. I found the story engaging, to the point where I ignored other happenings in my life to get more absorbed in the total world building that this author creates.

The Rumor By Elin Hilderbrand
by Elin Hilderbrand

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This book was just what I needed this summer - a light read to take my mind off of the heavier things going on.

Star Wars, The Force Awakens
by David Fentiman

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We like this book because it told us a lot about Star Wars.

You'd Be Mine
by Erin Hahn

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I listened to this on audiobook because it came up on my radar while currently reading "More Than Maybe." It's a slow-build romance and relatively chaste (and no graphic details when characters aren't), which, if one doesn't mind the sporadic cursing, is fine, LOL. Yes, Clay has a drinking problem. That's one of the obstacles between him and Annie. I didn't like them thinking of themselves as extremely damaged due to their family backgrounds--you would think that would've helped them bond instead of resisting each other for so long. I liked the song lyrics to "Coattails" and "You'd Be Mine" (where the title comes from). Emily Lawrence and Tristan Morris were good as narrators.

Escape Room
by Megan Goldin Books

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Two main storylines parallel each other throughout the book. Team members Vincent, Jules, Sam, and Sylvie are commanded to show up for an “Executive Exercise”: Complete an hour-long game known as the Escape Room in which participants are locked in an enclosed space and required to follow clues to get out. But something goes wrong,of course, and the four are forced to use more than simple coping skills to end their ordeal. Elsewhere, a

One To Watch
by Kate-stayman london

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Great romance about body positivity!

Between Breaths By Elizabeth Vargas
by Elizabeth Vargas

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Listened to audiobook. Enlightening book about the difficulty of battling anxiety as well as alcoholism

She Come By It Natural
by Sarah Smarsh

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It was a interesting look at Parton’s career through a feminist lenses, yet it left me wanting to simply read Dolly’s autobiography. 2.5 stars