Monthly Archives: November 2009

Blog Tour of Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence-and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process


Welcome to the Book Blog Tour of Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence – and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process by Irene M. Pepperberg

In June 1977, we drove to Noah’s Ark, a pet store near O’Hare Airport in Chicago to pick out my own Grey parrot. I had been in touch with the bird department director of Noah’s Ark several times in the previous few months, and knew they had been bred in captivity…The bird director greeted us and showed us where the Greys were, a big cage with eight birds, all about a year old. “Which one would you like?” he said, looking at me.

I shrugged, because I didn’t know how to choose. In any case, I reasoned that because I was embarking on a scientific study that should reflect the cognitive abilities of Greys in general, I thought it best to have one chosen at random. “Why don’t you select one for me?” I said.

“OK,” he replied, and picked up a net, opened the cage door, and scooped up the most convenient bird he could reach. He flipped the bird on its back on a table, clipped its wings, claws, and beak, and popped it into a small box. Very unceremonious.”
-Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence – and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process by Irene M. Pepperberg

So begins the 30 year friendship and professional relationship that changes Irene Pepperberg’s life and the world’s understanding of the cognitive and communication abilities of birds (and by association non-mammals).

In Alex & Me, Irene Pepperberg reads as part memoir and part a glimpse into her research. Irene shares what it was like for her from when she receives her first pet at four-years old, and bonds with a bird to her experience as one of the first young women in the hard sciences at MIT and Harvard in the 1960s and 1970s. Although Irene obtained her doctorate was in theoretical chemistry, she discovered and was drawn to the study of animal minds, animal thinking, and communication. While at Harvard, Irene fell in love and married a fellow graduate student. When her husband was offered a teaching position at Purdue, Irene accompanied him and tried to find financial and professional support for her research into the cognitive and communication skills of Grey parrots.

She had no inkling of how much Alex and their work together experience would shape the next thirty years of her life and how they would change the world’s understanding of the complexity and ability of a “bird’s brain.”

The story of Alex & Me is also a story of deep friendship and the amazing bird that is Alex. I had no understanding of how much a bird could understand or process, but reading about Irene and her colleagues’ experiences with Alex and the other Grey parrots makes you realize how amazing animals are. Alex and his colleagues are socialized and deal with people for hours each day and form close personal bonds and make themselves understood. I can’t help but wonder about the other animals around us that must be able to comprehend much more than we’d given them credit for.

Alex & Me is an amazing and touching book and the stories of both Irene Pepperberg and Alex will surely stay in your thoughts long after you’ve finished the book.

Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Reprint edition (September 1, 2009), 288 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Irene M. Pepperberg is an associate research professor at Brandeis University in Massachusetts and teaches animal cognition at Harvard University. Her work has been featured in many major newspapers and magazines in the United States, Europe, and Asia, as well as on television, including the now famous interview of Alex by Alan Alda on Scientific American Frontiers. She is head of the Alex Foundation and author of The Alex Studies: Cognitive Communicative Abilities of Grey Parrots.

Learn more about Alex, Irene Pepperberg, and The Alex Foundation at http://www.alexfoundation.org/index2.html

Listen to an Alex & Me audio clip at
http://files.harpercollins.com/AudioFile/9780061734946.mp3

Thank you so much to Trish and TLC Book Tours for this review opportunity!

CymLowell

Blog Tour of Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence-and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process


Welcome to the Book Blog Tour of Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence – and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process by Irene M. Pepperberg

In June 1977, we drove to Noah’s Ark, a pet store near O’Hare Airport in Chicago to pick out my own Grey parrot. I had been in touch with the bird department director of Noah’s Ark several times in the previous few months, and knew they had been bred in captivity…The bird director greeted us and showed us where the Greys were, a big cage with eight birds, all about a year old. “Which one would you like?” he said, looking at me.

I shrugged, because I didn’t know how to choose. In any case, I reasoned that because I was embarking on a scientific study that should reflect the cognitive abilities of Greys in general, I thought it best to have one chosen at random. “Why don’t you select one for me?” I said.

“OK,” he replied, and picked up a net, opened the cage door, and scooped up the most convenient bird he could reach. He flipped the bird on its back on a table, clipped its wings, claws, and beak, and popped it into a small box. Very unceremonious.”
-Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence – and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process by Irene M. Pepperberg

So begins the 30 year friendship and professional relationship that changes Irene Pepperberg’s life and the world’s understanding of the cognitive and communication abilities of birds (and by association non-mammals).

In Alex & Me, Irene Pepperberg reads as part memoir and part a glimpse into her research. Irene shares what it was like for her from when she receives her first pet at four-years old, and bonds with a bird to her experience as one of the first young women in the hard sciences at MIT and Harvard in the 1960s and 1970s. Although Irene obtained her doctorate was in theoretical chemistry, she discovered and was drawn to the study of animal minds, animal thinking, and communication. While at Harvard, Irene fell in love and married a fellow graduate student. When her husband was offered a teaching position at Purdue, Irene accompanied him and tried to find financial and professional support for her research into the cognitive and communication skills of Grey parrots.

She had no inkling of how much Alex and their work together experience would shape the next thirty years of her life and how they would change the world’s understanding of the complexity and ability of a “bird’s brain.”

The story of Alex & Me is also a story of deep friendship and the amazing bird that is Alex. I had no understanding of how much a bird could understand or process, but reading about Irene and her colleagues’ experiences with Alex and the other Grey parrots makes you realize how amazing animals are. Alex and his colleagues are socialized and deal with people for hours each day and form close personal bonds and make themselves understood. I can’t help but wonder about the other animals around us that must be able to comprehend much more than we’d given them credit for.

Alex & Me is an amazing and touching book and the stories of both Irene Pepperberg and Alex will surely stay in your thoughts long after you’ve finished the book.

Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Reprint edition (September 1, 2009), 288 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Irene M. Pepperberg is an associate research professor at Brandeis University in Massachusetts and teaches animal cognition at Harvard University. Her work has been featured in many major newspapers and magazines in the United States, Europe, and Asia, as well as on television, including the now famous interview of Alex by Alan Alda on Scientific American Frontiers. She is head of the Alex Foundation and author of The Alex Studies: Cognitive Communicative Abilities of Grey Parrots.

Learn more about Alex, Irene Pepperberg, and The Alex Foundation at http://www.alexfoundation.org/index2.html

Listen to an Alex & Me audio clip at
http://files.harpercollins.com/AudioFile/9780061734946.mp3

Thank you so much to Trish and TLC Book Tours for this review opportunity!

CymLowell

Winners of Book Contests (Part 2)


Life After Genius by M. Ann Jacobs

fitz12383 – confirmed
saemmerson
librarygrinch – confirmed
tiramisu392 – confirmed
chrismejia- confirmed

The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent

bekki1820cb – confirmed
readingatthebeach – confirmed
joannelong74 – confirmed
zenrei57 – confirmed
janicelegaspi – confirmed

Mrs. O: The Face of Fashion Democracy by Mary Tomer– rl – confirmed

I’ve notified the winners and they have until 6 pm on Friday to send me their mailing addresses. Thanks for participating! Thanks so much to Hatchette Book Group for sponsoring these giveaways!

Winners of Book Contests (Part 1)


Angels by Chuck Fischer – Irene (cyeates) – confirmed

Love You To Death by Shannon Butcher

cafeofdreamsbookreviews – confirmed
booklover0226 – confirmed
walkermisc
magenta 2 red- confirmed
mce1011 – confirmed

Girl on Top by Nicole Williams

nancyecdavis – confirmed
bea_pangilinan – confirmed
lizzi0915 – confirmed
corieandnickolas – confirmed
augustlily06 – confirmed

Run For Your Life by James Patterson

chinook92 – confirmed
wandanamgreb – confirmed
r_lapus – confirmed
chrismejia – confirmed
janicelegaspi – confirmed

Congratulations! I’ve notified the winners and they have until noon on Friday to send their mailing addresses. Thank you for participating!

Winners of Feelin’ the Vibe by Candice Dow


Feelin’ the Vibe by Candice Dow

bgcchs – confirmed
roxxyroller – confirmed
wandanamgreb – confirmed
enyl – confirmed
nancyecdavis – confirmed

Congratulations! I’ve notified the winners and they have until 6 pm on Friday to send me their mailing addresses. Thanks for participating! Thanks so much to Hatchette Book Group for sponsoring this giveaway!

Book Blog Tour of Hoodoo Sea by Rolf Hitzer: A Guest Post


Please welcome Rolf Hitzer to the Book Blog Tour of Hoodoo Sea!

We’re fortunate to have Rolf Hitzer share the experience of writing his first novel and bringing his novel to market.

Hoodoo Sea

oOo

Every night I made an appointment with myself to write for two hours. This precious time out of my day was dedicated to pen my first novel, Hoodoo Sea. After being at work all day, and after dinner, there were many nights where it was a challenge to stay motivated, or maintain the mental stamina needed to write the book. However, I stayed true to myself and persevered.

The idea that spawned, Hoodoo Sea, came by accident. One evening I was home alone and bored. I began to channel surf and nothing seemed to hold my interest. I stumbled upon the Discovery Channel and the documentary on held my attention for a few seconds. Hooked, I watched the program and the concept for the book began to formulate.

When the first draft for, Hoodoo Sea, was completed, my wife dedicated her weekend to read the manuscript. Originally the novel had been written as a keepsake for our children, my spouse insisted I send my work out to a literary agent.

Thirty days after I had signed a contract, I had to contact my agent to put their efforts on hold. I had accompanied my mom to the doctor’s office where we were given devastating news. My time was now needed to be at my mother’s side.

My contract had been expired for months when the call came from my agent out of the blue. She had been contacted by one of the fifteen publishers that had seen my manuscript and they expressed interest to publish my book. I honestly feel lucky to have the novel published as I had held my agent back from doing her job properly on my behalf.

oOo



About the Author:

Rolf Hitzer was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 1959 and raised by his parents, Erna and Julius Hitzer. Rolf is married to his wife Irma since 1997. Together they have a wonderful blended family with Rita and Clark Bodoano and Grand children, Alexandria, Patrick and Braeden. Jason and Leah Tutlies, and Grandson Easton. Mandel Hitzer, and the youngest Jessica Hitzer.

Rolf is a Member of the Winnipeg Real Estate Board, The Manitoba Real Estate Association and the Canadian Real Estate Association. He is currently working on his second novel.

Book Review of The Foundling by Georgette Heyer


Sourcebooks has reprinted many of the classic Georgette Heyer novels, introducing them to a whole new generation. My mother has read her novels for years and introduced me to them years ago. I was very excited to receive a review copy of The Foundling, one of my mother’s favorites and a novel new to me. My mother was quite excited as well since her copy of the book was published in 1977, has much smaller font, and is dog-eared from being read so often.

The Foundling
The blurb:
The Duke of Sale is out to prove himself. The shy, young Duke of Sale has never known his parents. Instead, his Grace Adolphus Gillespie Vernon Ware, Gilly for short, has endured twenty-four years of rigorous mollycoddling from his uncle and his valet. But his natural diffidence conceals a rebellious spirit.

A mysterious beauty provides the perfect opportunity. When Gilly learns of Belinda, the beautiful foundling who appears to be blackmailing his cousin, he absconds with glee. But he has no sooner entered into this new and dangerous world than he is plunged into a frenzy of intrigue, kidnapping and adventure, and surprises at every turn.

Review:
For avid Georgette Heyer fans, The Foundling will be an interesting and satisfying departure from the romance novels. The Foundling focuses on the Duke of Sale and his adventures as he goes “undercover” as a regular man. Gilly is a sympathetic and interesting leading character trying to overcome years of being overprotected. Gilly encounters all sorts of personalities while trying to end his cousin’s entanglement, fortunately, Gilly reacts to the unexpected with kindness, a gentle manner and considerable common sense. The Foundling is witty, unexpected, and great fun.

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (September 2009), 448 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
Thank you so much, Danielle and Sourcebooks for this review opportunity!