Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What is Stephanie Spinner reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Stephanie Spinner, author of Alex the Parrot: No Ordinary Bird.

Her entry begins:
I'm always reading a few books at once--the stacks on my night tables are so high they're embarrassing. Right now I'm in the middle of Jane Gardam's Old Filth, about a retired judge who moves back to England after a long career in Hong Kong, only to find that he's living next door to a deeply loathed former colleague. This is one of those novels that manage to be funny, witty, and sad all at once. Its passages about the hero's childhood in Malaysia (and the British Raj) are rendered with wonderful precision--the author tells us a lot with very few words. By the end of the first page of Old Filth I was...[read on]
About Alex the Parrot, from the publisher:
In 1977, graduate student Irene Pepperberg walked into a pet store and bought a year-old African grey parrot. Because she was going to study him, she decided to call him Alex--short for Avian Learning EXperiment. At that time, most scientists thought that the bigger the brain, the smarter the creature; they studied great apes and dolphins. African greys, with their walnut-sized "birdbrains," were pretty much ignored--until Alex.

His intelligence surprised everyone, including Irene. He learned to count, add, and subtract; to recognize shapes, sizes, and colors; and to speak, and understand, hundreds of words. These were things no other animal could do. Alex wasn't supposed to have the brainpower to do them, either. But he did them anyway.

Accompanied by Meilo So's stunning illustrations, Alex and Irene's story is one of groundbreaking discoveries about animal intelligence, hard work, and the loving bonds of a unique friendship.
Read more about Alex the Parrot, and visit Stephanie Spinner's Facebook page.

Writers Read: Stephanie Spinner.

--Marshal Zeringue