Before I Forget

Product DetailsSynopsis: “I know where I’m going. I’m still myself. I just can’t remember things as well as I once did. So on short trips, I work hard not to be confused. I’ll say to myself, ‘What are we going to do? How long are we staying?’ It’s like I’m talking to my other self – the self I used to be. She tells me, ‘This is what we need to buy – not that.’ I’m conscious of that other self guiding me now.

Restaurateur, magazine publisher, celebrity chef, and nationally known lifestyle maven, B. Smith is struggling at sixty-six with a tag she never expected to add to that string: Alzheimer’s patient. She’s not alone. Every sixty-seven seconds someone newly develops it, and millions of lives are affected by its aftershocks.

B. and her husband, Dan, working with Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Shnayerson, unstintingly share their unfolding story.

Part memoir, part caregiver’s guide, this work is a unique entry on the Alzheimer’s shelf. Crafted in short chapters that interweave their narrative with practical and helpful advice, readers learn about dealing with the day-to-day challenges of Alzheimer’s, family realities and tensions, ways of coping, and coming research that may tip the scale, as well as lessons learned along the way.

At its heart, Before I Forget is a love story illuminating a love of famly, life, and hope.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I wanted to read Before I Forget because my mother suffered, if not from Alzheimer’s (she was never diagnosed), certainly from severe dementia.

Combining their own personal story with conversations with Alzheimer’s experts in the medical field with known facts and research – along with unknowns, this book is very helpful for any family member or caregiver dealing with Alzheimer’s patients. And, sadly, as the baby boomers continue to age and as people live longer because of advanced medical technology and people taking better care of their bodies, there will be even more people diagnosed with this dreadful disease.

One thing I learned reading this book is that a diagnosis could only come after a person died and an autopsy was performed. Now, because of PET (positron emission tomography), a patient can be diagnosed before death. This helps the clinical trials to learn what medications may help cure Alzheimer’s because the research scientists will only test patients with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis and, therefore, won’t waste valuable research time and money on non-Alzheimer’s patients. Sadly, Medicare won’t pay for a PET exam and the cost for a patient is $5,000.

I could go on and on about this book, but I won’t. Again, I highly recommend it to anyone with aging parents or for a man/woman who’s spouse is dealing wiith dementia of any kind. It will help you understand what’s going on with your loved one. I also recommend it to caregivers of any kind – even those who work in hospitals or nursing homes.


The Tank Man’s Son: A Memoir

24345781SYNOPSIS: In the tradition of “The Glass Castle” and “Angela’s Ashes” comes the most unforgettable memoir you’ll read this year!””What did it mean to be the Tank Man’s son? To grow up overwhelmed by my father’s presence and personality? It was as if I didn’t exist, as if I was just something else for my father to crush.””So begins the haunting memoir of Mark Bouman as he recounts the events of his childhood at the hands of his larger-than-life, Neo-Nazi father in brilliant, startling detail. From adventure-filled days complete with real-life war games, artillery fire, and tank races to terror-filled nights marked by vicious tirades, brutal beatings, and psychological torture, Mark paints a chilling portrait of family life that is at once whimsical and horrific–all building to a shocking climax that challenges even the broadest boundaries of love and forgiveness.An epic tale of redemption and reconciliation, “The Tank Man’s Son” is a literary tour de force that is sure to become an instant classic.

Excellent book! I was gifted with a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. And, honestly, it was a fantastic book! The author, Mark Bouman, and his older brother, Jerry, his younger sister, Sheri, along with their mother, were subjected to daily insults and beatings – verbal and physical abuse – by their father/husband. He had an eccentric personality – he owned a tank! – but it was also very volatile. This book is about life growing up – without friends and no real comfort at home. It all ends good and I definitely recommend it.

As I was reading this book, it struck me how good of a home life I had growing up. I lived a sheltered life – and I knew it. I never knew how horrfic some kids had it – until I read this book.

This book was easy to read and had some humorous tales in it.

I give it 5 stars.

The English Girl

The English Girl: A Novel (Gabriel Allon Book 13)

This is definitely not a book I would have read had I known what it was about. That being said, I loved it!

I found this book at a library’s book sale and was intrigued by the title because, after all, I am an English girl by heritage. Well, that’s where the similarities end. This novel is about kidnapping, murder, international espionage, governments, lies, deceit, and so much more.

I have never read a book like this – and never knew I wanted to. But, once I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down. I’m passing on this book to my husband because I think he’ll really like it. Good job Daniel Silva!

After I wrote this review on Goodreads, I found out there are more books with Gabriel Allon as the main character. I must read them all!

A Book Review: The Other Typist

When I first saw this book I was intrigued by the title. I spent my life as a secretary and was blessed by God to be a fast and pretty accurate typist. Although I hated being a secretary (and the more glorified title of “administrative assistant”), I did learn to love to type. I used to say, “Just sit me in front of a computer and give me straight typing and I’ll be happy”.

So, when I saw this book I knew I had to have it.

First, the synopsis as printed on the back of the book: “Confessions are Rose Baker’s job. A typist for the New York City Police Department, she sits in judgment like a high priestess. Criminals come before her to admit their transgressions, and, with a few strokes of the keys before her, she seals their fate. But while she may hear about shootings, knifings, and crimes of passion, as soon as she leaves the room, she reverts to a dignified and proper lady. Until Odalie joins the typing pool.

As Rose quickly falls under the stylish, coquettish Odalie’s spell, she is lured into a sparkling underworld of speakeasies and jazz. And what starts as simple fascination turns into an obsession from which she may never recover.”

To me, this book was a prime example of what can happen if you fall into the wrong crowd. I had my doubts about the type of person Odalie was from the very beginning. I didn’t trust her. And Rose shouldn’t have.

I saw myself in Rose – young (well, I was once!), naive, wanting to fit in and be accepted. And when this new girl comes on the scene who is everything Rose is not – and was accepted by her – well, I can see how Rose followed after her like a little puppy dog just wanting to be petted.

This book was set in the 1920s – the days of prohibiition, speakeasies, and jazz. And sin abounded! By the end of the book, Rose was a changed woman – or was she?

I liked this book. It wasn’t exactly what I thought it was when I first started reading it, but that’s ok. I’m not even sure what I thought it would be. Yes, I would recommend this book. The end is where it gets really exciting!

Blackkatte Blogs About Books

I’ve always been a reader, but in the last year, I’ve stepped up the volume of books I read. Let’s just say I discovered Goodreads and have accepted the Reading Challenge. Last year I set a goal of reading 30 books. I read almost 50. This year I set the reading goal at 60 and have so far finished 8 books. Granted, some of those books were started in 2015.

Something else that has helped me increase my reading volume is the “Book Buddies” at my local church that I joined last year. I’ve enjoyed meeting with these ladies monthly as we discuss the books we read. And, we always visit about other things too. There’s something about the fellowship of like-minded ladies talking about things we have in common.

Last week I discovered “reading to review”, therefore, my blog will include reviews of books I’ve read. Others’ reviews will be better because sometimes I don’t get very wordy. Rather, I think it may be because my brain works faster than my fingers can type.

Probably the best book I’ve read so far this year was The Book Thief. Another book I enjoyed – and it was totally not a book I would have chosen to read had it not been recommended to me – was Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

I’m not going to review those books for this blog now, because I’m just starting to do this. And, I’m not saying I’m going to review every book I read. Guess you just have to stay tuned! Continue reading “Blackkatte Blogs About Books”

Ain’t Modern Technology Grand?

I just got an external Bluetooth keyboard to use with my phone, tablet, or computer. In fact, I’m typing on it right now! This is crazy. What will they come up with next?

I mostly wanted the keyboard because I don’t have Word or any of the Office apps on my computer, but I do have them on my phone. It’s a lot easier typing on a keyboard than it is swiping the letters on my handheld device.

Speaking of typing. I’ve been typing since I was a sophomore in high school. I won’t tell you how many years that’s been, but, suffice it to say, it’s been a while. I’ve made my living my entire life on typing. I’ve scored in the 90s, and even in the 100s once on typing tests. I’m not saying all of that to brag – I know where my typing gift came from and He gets all the glory.

Why I said all that is because I’m reading The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell. It’s set in the 1920s and all they had back then were big, old manual typewriters. I started out in the late 60s typing on manuals, then was introduced to electric typewriters, and finally computers. In the book, the protaganist said she could type 160 words per minute – on a manual typewriter. Right away I yelled out, “Liar!!!”. That’s impossible to do on a manual typewriter. Even on electric typewriters and computer keyboards, I’ve never typed that fast and I’m a fast typist (again, know who I give the glory to).

Regardless of that glaring lie, I’m still reading the book and hope it’s good. I think I’m about to start chapter 5.

Speaking of reading – I’ve challenged myself to read 60 books this year. I keep track of my reading on Goodreads. If you’re on there and want to follow me, please do. I like to see what others are reading as well.