What I'm Reading Wednesday

Books, books, books. I love books.

What have I finished since last week and what am I reading now??

Well, I finished the audio version of Gone Girl and I LOVED IT!!

It was so good. Much better than the movie and much better than the "book." As I mentioned last week I was listening to the audio version and it was very very good. The characters really came alive for me listening to the story. Amy is so totally nuts. N.U.T.S. and while the movie did get into the nutty behavior, the book does a much better job. Highly recommend the audio version of Gone Girl over the print.

I also started and finished Thinking in Pictures My Life with Autism by Temple Grandin. AMAZING book. In her own words she tells the story of what it is like to live with autism, as she is among the few people who have broken through many of the neurological impairments associated with autism. Thinking In Pictures also gives information from the front lines of autism, including treatment, medication, and diagnosis, as well as Temple's insights into genius, savants, sensory phenomena, and animal behavior. Ultimately, it is Temple's unique ability to describe the way her visual mind works and how she first made the connection between her impairment and animal temperament that is the basis of her extraordinary gift and phenomenal success. 

My own son has autism, so after reading this book I began to ask him some questions, and it appears that like Temple, Ronin also thinks in pictures. Which isn't totally surprising to me. He has an uncanny ability to recall items with vivid detail. And like Temple, Ronin is also very gifted spatially. I loved this book. And I loved Temple. I've ordered the rest of her published works and will update on those as they arrive and I get through them.

I also started and finished Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling.

 

This book was just okay. It was no Bossypants or Yes Please. I rarely laughed and honestly felt kind of sorry for her. I just didn't really like it. She's about 8 years younger than me, whereas Tina and Amy (yes, I'm on a first name basis with those ladies) are pretty much exactly my age. In fact, my husband and Amy share a birthday, James just happens to be one year older. I think I just identified more with what Tina and Amy had gone through in their life. They both gave a lot of back story, and I don't feel like Mindy really did that. 

Okay, so maybe because I read those other two books first I had such high expectations for this one, but I was left feeling disappointed.

And now I've started another BIG book. The Secret History by Donna Tartt. 

 

I loved The Goldfinch so I decided to give Donna Tartt's introductory novel a try. I'm only on part 2 of 28, so I have a long way to go yet, but I'm intrigued. I can tell I'm going to love it. Her character development is so well done and I can already feel myself getting wrapped up in the life of Richard Pappin. And I'm not alone. You can read The Guardians 10 Reasons why the Secret History is so awesome HERE.

 

And there you have it. What I've read and am reading over the last week. What's currently on your reading list??

Push Away the Screen: Haunted Asheville Vampire and Occult Tour

On an overcast Friday evening in July, my family had the opportunity to experience a little known side of Downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Their website described the tour as THE tour for intellectuals. During the 2 hour tour we were going to learn about the local vampire scene, tribal rites in Pritchard Park, dark spirits on Church Street, Native American mysticism, and much more. This tour includes late-night access to the Asheville Mystery Museum where you'll see artifacts Joshua P. Warren brought back from Transylvania, including a sacred crucifix and a piece of Vlad the Impaler's Castle.

Our group of 9, plus our guide Tadd set out just after 8pm. It was a small group since my family was 6 of the 9! The walking ghost tour was MUCH busier.

So off we went. We walked up and down the downtown street, learning stories about the weird things that have happened in Asheville. Tadd was very knowledgeable, friendly, engaging, informative and funny. He was able to keep our group engaged. The tour had creepy stories, but nothing that was too scary for the children. Maybe he toned it down since we had the kids? I don't know, but we enjoyed it.

 

One of my favorite stories was a story about the creation of the FIRST vampire. He stopped our group and began the story in front of the Central United Methodist Church. He explained some of the legends behind why vampires can't see their reflections, why they dislike garlic, etc...

And then began the story of the first vampire. Why the church? Because his story involves the biblical sons of Adam and Eve: Cain and Abel. I don't want to spoil the story of the vampire, but needless to say if you know the book of Genesis, you know that Cain killed Abel and I will leave it at that. It was quite an interesting theory.

We also visited the "Witches Tree."

There is a TON of history behind this tree, and it was nearly cut down about 10 years ago, but was saved thanks to the local Wiccan community who uses the tree as part of their traditional ceremonies.

There were a few other interesting stories involving the occult and a demon (maybe...no one knows what it was, Ronin thinks that it was a Tasmanian Devil) that terrorized a few inmates in the 1800's.

And then we went back to the Museum.

There was a lot of really cool artifacts to look at!

Overall we really enjoyed this tour. It gave us the opportunity to see a different side of Asheville.

You can find out more information about the tour HERE. Adults are $20, and kids 8 and under are FREE!

 

Have you ever been on a ghost tour? In what city??