What I remember most about this book is how much it made me blush, and made my ears turn beet red. This would have been no issue, except for the fact...moreWhat I remember most about this book is how much it made me blush, and made my ears turn beet red. This would have been no issue, except for the fact that I spent the week reading it on my commute to work on a busy train. Each day that week I took for granted that my fellow commuters hadn't either (a)read the book or (b) watched the 70s film starring Diane Keaton. Ugh! Boy was I wrong. On one of the last days that week, after I'd nearly missed my stop with the last 23 pages hanging in the balance, a lady turned to me and said smilingly: "Mmhmmm, that's a good one. Read it in college." And then she had the audacity to wink at me! The nerve! (less)
I love this woman! This is a very straight-forward read about life lessons and anecdotes. Betty is extremely down-to-earth, funny, and honest. Her pro...moreI love this woman! This is a very straight-forward read about life lessons and anecdotes. Betty is extremely down-to-earth, funny, and honest. Her profound love for animal life and nature make me appreciate her contributions even more. Rock on, Ms. White!(less)
The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary by Andrew Westoll, centers on a subject that frankly makes people uncomfortable. Since the 1930s, Chimpanzees and other...moreThe Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary by Andrew Westoll, centers on a subject that frankly makes people uncomfortable. Since the 1930s, Chimpanzees and other primates have been used for scientific experiments ranging from flying to the moon to medical research, most notably in relation to Hepatitis and HIV. Can living in a tiny cage your whole life, and being subjected to several surgical procedures a month really affect an animal who's never known any other way? You bet your front teeth it can!
Journalist and primologist, Andrew Westoll, decides to volunteer as caregiver at the Fauna Sanctuary ran/owned by Gloria Grow. It is home to a variety of animals that have been mistreated or abandoned by previous owners. The most infamous inhabitants of this retreat are the 13 chimps that Grow rescued from the notorious LEMSIP research lab, most of which are HIV positive. Each one of their stories will break your heart. Some of the passages were hard to read; I broke down at times in sobs, which is why I had to stop reading it on my daily commutes to work.
Animal lovers may be leary of this read. Don't be. Like the title mentions, this book is about resilience. Despite being used and abused by humans all of their lives, these animals still have room in their hearts for the earnest-hearted humans that care for them. They can find joy in small pleasures like ripe fruit and sunshine, things they never experienced before. Especially important is the awareness that this book raises; currently the United States is the only country that still uses chimpanzees for medical research. I had no idea!
Dear, dear gastropod...how was I to know that you are the epitome of elegance and strength of character?
Bailey develops a mysterious illness at the en...moreDear, dear gastropod...how was I to know that you are the epitome of elegance and strength of character?
Bailey develops a mysterious illness at the end of a trip to the Swiss Alps. While convalescing on her farm in Maine, she is trying to adjust to the sudden loss of control in her life. Practically incapacitated, and depending on the assistance of a caregiver and irregular visits from friends, she soon succumbs to depression and the monotony of the sick bed. A friend decides to bring nature to her by planting wild violets in a pot, along with a little woodland snail that she happens to find in the woods, and placing them by her bedside.
What follows is a close observation of this little creature's habits and well...personality! No longer lonely, Bailey looks forward to each new day, and develops a voracious appetite for more snail research. The snail's determination, strength, and even romantic sensibilities are examples that are emulable. I could list all the great things that make snails so cool, but then you wouldn't read the book, right? Ugh! You're a sly one...
Although Bailey attributed all of the snail's intricate qualities to the theory of Evolution, her observations and case notes pointed me in the opposite direction. I was bowled over by it's intelligent design, and the intelligent Creator behind it. Nothing was missed, from the way a snail ensures it's survival during winter to it's courtship rituals. Snails are deep! So true are the words found at Romans 1:20 "...For His invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable..."
If you get a chance to read this, please do. I'm sure you'll relate to both the snail and the author, especially if you're an introvert, or find that you can't do what you used to do because of declining health. Take a lesson from the gastropod, and keep sliming ever forward!
"What will you give me if I give you a basket of kisses?" How about a friendly shove off the stairs? Creepy little child, but an enjoyable read! Made...more"What will you give me if I give you a basket of kisses?" How about a friendly shove off the stairs? Creepy little child, but an enjoyable read! Made me want to put some red lip stick on and get a blunt bang cut.(less)
Mayle's fiction is just as great as his non-fiction travel essays and memoirs. Ben Chaplin did a great job at narrating this audio version of the book...moreMayle's fiction is just as great as his non-fiction travel essays and memoirs. Ben Chaplin did a great job at narrating this audio version of the book. I really think he would have been a better canidate for the role of Max instead of Russell Crowe in the movie adaptation. (less)