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Search tags: general-non-fiction-books
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review 2020-07-27 06:31
Other People's Pets by R.L. Maizes
Other People's Pets - R.L. Maizes

TITLE:  Other People's Pets

 

AUTHOR:  R.L. Maizes

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DESCRIPTION:

La La Fine relates to animals better than she does to other people. Abandoned by a mother who never wanted a family, raised by a locksmith-turned-thief father, La La looks to pets when it feels like the rest of the world conspires against her.

La La’s world stops being whole when her mother, who never wanted a child, abandons her twice. First, when La La falls through thin ice on a skating trip, and again when the accusations of “unfit mother” feel too close to true. Left alone with her father—a locksmith by trade, and a thief in reality—La La is denied a regular life. She becomes her father’s accomplice, calming the watchdog while he strips families of their most precious belongings.

When her father’s luck runs out and he is arrested for burglary, everything La La has painstakingly built unravels. In her fourth year of veterinary school, she is forced to drop out, leaving school to pay for her father’s legal fees the only way she knows how—robbing homes once again.

As an animal empath, she rationalizes her theft by focusing on houses with pets whose maladies only she can sense and caring for them before leaving with the family’s valuables. The news reports a puzzled police force—searching for a thief who left behind medicine for the dog, water for the parrot, or food for the hamster.

Desperate to compensate for new and old losses, La La continues to rob homes, but it’s a strategy that ultimately will fail her.

Other People’s Pets examines the gap between the families we’re born into and those we create, and the danger that holding on to a troubled past may rob us of the future.

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REVIEW:

 

A very cute, entertaining and sometimes emotional story.  I loved all the animals.  The humans - some people should just not be parents.

PS:  I just wish the author had chosen some other name other than the juvenile and silly "La la" for her main character.  

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review 2020-07-19 07:55
The Genius of Dogs by Brian Hare & Vanessa Woods
The Genius of Dogs - Discovering the Unique Intelligence of Man's Best Friend - Brian Hare,Vanessa Woods

TITLE: The Genius of Dogs - Discovering the Unique Intelligence of Man's Best Friend

 

AUTHOR: Brian Hare & Vanessa Woods

 

DATE PUBLISHED: 2013

 

FORMAT: Paperback

 

ISBN-13: 9781780743684

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DESCRIPTION:

"Is your dog purposefully disobeying you? Probably, and usually behind your back. Should you act like ‘top dog’ to maintain control? No, you’re better off displaying your friendliness – and not just to your dog. Which breed is the cleverest? That’s the wrong question to ask. These are just some of the extraordinary insights to be found in 'The Genius of Dogs' – the seminal book on how dogs evolved their unique intelligence by award-winning scientist Dr Brian Hare. He shares more than two decades of startling discoveries about the mysteries of the dog mind and how you can use his groundbreaking work to build a better relationship with your own dog."

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REVIEW:

 

Hare and Woods take a look at various doggie studies to determine exactly how intelligent dogs are compared to humans, wolves and occasionally other animals (e.g. crows and bonobos).  The book is a bit erratic, with the authors covering a variety of topics and writing about their personal dog experiences.  But since I love dogs, this didn't really bother me.  The sections on domestication (dog, fox, bonobo and human) were particularly interesting.  This book made for an entertaining and easy read on comparative cognitive science with a focus on dogs, while providing some fascinating information that might not be generally well known.

 

PS:  The dog is smarter than the cat! 

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-07-15 09:19
The Great Indoors by Emily Anthes
The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behavior, Health, and Happiness - Emily Anthes

TITLE:  The Great Indoors:  The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behavior, Health, and Happiness.

 

AUTHOR:  Emily Anthes

 

PUBLICATION DATE:  2020

 

FORMAT:  Hardcover

 

ISBN-13:  9780374166632
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DESCRIPTION:


"A fascinating, thought-provoking journey into our built environment

Modern humans are an indoor species. We spend 90 percent of our time inside, shuttling between homes and offices, schools and stores, restaurants and gyms. And yet, in many ways, the indoor world remains unexplored territory. For all the time we spend inside buildings, we rarely stop to consider: How do these spaces affect our mental and physical well-being? Our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors? Our productivity, performance, and relationships?

In this wide-ranging, character-driven book, science journalist Emily Anthes takes us on an adventure into the buildings in which we spend our days, exploring the profound, and sometimes unexpected, ways that they shape our lives. Drawing on cutting-edge research, she probes the pain-killing power of a well-placed window and examines how the right office layout can expand our social networks. She investigates how room temperature regulates our cognitive performance, how the microbes hiding in our homes influence our immune systems, and how cafeteria design affects what—and how much—we eat.

Along the way, Anthes takes readers into an operating room designed to minimize medical errors, a school designed to boost students’ physical fitness, and a prison designed to support inmates’ psychological needs. And she previews the homes of the future, from the high-tech houses that could monitor our health to the 3D-printed structures that might allow us to live on the Moon.

The Great Indoors provides a fresh perspective on our most familiar surroundings and a new understanding of the power of architecture and design. It's an argument for thoughtful interventions into the built environment and a story about how to build a better world—one room at a time."


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REVIEW:

Anthes has written an interesting book with a casual writing style that explores the built environment, its psychological and physical effects on us, and how this built environment is being modified to accommodate various requirements.  Anthes takes a look at projects that have modified schools, apartments, office spaces, retirement facilities, hospitals, correctional facilities and public spaces to be more accommodating and/or useful to the humans who live and work there.  I found the last few chapters of the book particularly interesting.  These chapters dealt with building cheap, easy to construct, sturdy permanent homes from cheaper and more natural products, to constructing and/or modifying existing homes that can float when necessary rather than be inundated by floods and storms, and the possibilities of living on Mars.

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review 2020-06-29 07:57
The Furies by Natalie Haynes
The Furies: A Novel - Natalie Haynes

TITLE:  The Furies

 

AUTHOR:  Natalie Haynes

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DESCRIPTION:

"When you open up, who will you let in?

When Alex Morris loses her fiancé in dreadful circumstances, she moves from London to Edinburgh to make a break with the past. Alex takes a job at a Pupil Referral Unit, which accepts the students excluded from other schools in the city. These are troubled, difficult kids and Alex is terrified of what she's taken on.

There is one class - a group of five teenagers - who intimidate Alex and every other teacher on The Unit. But with the help of the Greek tragedies she teaches, Alex gradually develops a rapport with them. Finding them enthralled by tales of cruel fate and bloody revenge, she even begins to worry that they are taking her lessons to heart, and that a whole new tragedy is being performed, right in front of her...
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REVIEW:

 

I liked the writing style and the idea was interesting, but at the same time not particularly original.  Some of the character's actions/reactions didn't seem quite plausible.  This would probably make a decent movie.

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review 2020-06-12 06:50
The Great Escape by Natalie Haynes
The Great Escape - Natalie Haynes

TITLE:  The Great Escape

 

AUTHOR:  Natalie Haynes

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DESCRIPTION:

"It's the summer holidays and Millie's bored stiff. Every week, she has to clean windows with her dad at a nearby laboratory. But she's sure something weird is going on inside. Then, one day, a cat comes hurtling through the lobby towards her and asks her for help."

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REVIEW:

 

Enjoyable and entertaining.  Light and fluffy.  Kids and cat to the rescue!

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