Tag Archive | reading

Ape House

I finished a book recently that I haven’t been able to put out of my head.  It’s called Ape House and it’s written by author Sara Gruen.  You may know Sara from her extremely popular novel,  Water for Elephants.  I put off reading this book for as long as I could because I absolutely loved Water for Elephants, and I didn’t want to fall into the trap of comparing this new book to her old one.  Well, I didn’t have to worry.  Ape House turned out to be a wonderful story all on its own.


Here is a synopsis of Sara Gruen’s Ape House.
“Sam, Bonzi, Lola, Mbongo, Jelani, and Makena are no ordinary apes.  These bonobos, like others of their species, are capable of reason and carrying on deep relationships–but unlike most bonobos, they also know American Sign Language.
Isabel Duncan, a scientist at the Great Ape Language Lab, doesn’t understand people, but animals she gets–especially the bonobos.  Isabel feels more comfortable in their world than she’s ever felt among humans…until she meets John Thigpen, a very married reporter who braves the ever-present animals rights protesters outside the lab to see what’s really going on inside.
When an explosion rocks the lab, severely injuring Isabel and “liberating” the apes, John’s human interest piece turns into the story of a lifetime, one he’ll risk his career and his marriage to follow.  Then a reality TV show featuring the missing apes debuts under mysterious circumstances, and it immediately becomes the biggest–and unlikeliest–phenomenon in the history of modern media.  Millions of fans are glued to their screens watching the apes order greasy take-out, have generous amounts of sex, and sign for Isabel to come get them.
Now, to save her family of apes from this parody of human life, Isabel must connect with her own kind, including John; Nathan, a green-haired vegan; and a retired porn star with her own agenda.”


I found it interesting that in order to write this novel, Sara studied linguistics and a system of lexigrams so that she could communicate directly with the bonobos living at the Great Ape Trust in Iowa.  She was actually able to communicate with the apes!  Very cool…very cool.


Reading Memories

So I was thinking…about my reading memories.  My niece, Ashley, asked me to answer a few questions about reading for a project she has to do before the start of school.  I have to say that the questions really got me thinking.  So please indulge me for a little bit as I think “out loud” about my reading memories.

What are your reading memories?  My first concrete reading memory happened in first grade.  My teacher, Sr. Eileen, read the book The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone to the class.  I am not kidding you when I say I was hooked! (You might say she had me with “trip-trap.”)  I came home from school that night and talked non-stop about that book.  My Dad told me he’d take me to the library and we would see if we could check it out and bring it home so he could read it to me.  I remember it as if it were yesterday…the stone steps leading into the big, musty smelling building, and the tall, wooden card catalog filled with endless book titles and possibility.  He showed me how to look up the title and how to find the book among the shelves…and lucky for me it was on the shelf.  We took it home and I got to keep it and read it for two whole weeks!  Heaven I tell you, Heaven!

What are some of your memories about learning how to read?  I’m sure I learned to read in school, but one of my most vivid memories of learning to read is by watching a television show called The Electric Company.  They used to do this bit about putting word sounds together like b-at…bat, sh-ip…ship, b-ook…book, you get the idea.  I swear that is one of the ways that I was able to catch on to sounding out words.  Then, like the dutiful sister I was, I would drag my sister and brother into my room and teach them how to sound out words…yes, I would play school.  Are you surprised at all?

What questions do you ask yourself to help you remember while reading?  Hmmm…this is a hard one.  I can’t say I ask myself any specific questions.  I do try to make “mental bookmarks” if you will about specific characters, places, sequence of events, etc.  I will admit though, I am always going back to reread certain passages and such.  I do keep a notebook of all the my favorite quotes from books I read.  And I do keep a running list of the books I read each year both in a notebook and online at shelfari.com .

What kind of reader are you now?  Well, I am what I would call a voracious, all-around reader.  I read picture books aloud all the time at work, I read children’s novels for programs at work, I read adult novels of all genres at home for pleasure, I read magazines every month, I read news articles online, I even read cereal boxes just to read!  Usually I have three books going at a time…one in paper form, one in CD form for my rides to work, and one online at dailylit.com .

Truth be known I would die if I couldn’t read.  Reading has saved me so many times.  I love being able to be transported to another place or time, and literally getting lost in the pages of a book.  I feel a deep sadness for those who find no joy in reading.  I love reading so much that my mission in life is to put children on the road to a life-long love of books and reading.  I am lucky enough be a Children’s Librarian which enables me to do just that every day…Reading Rocks!