A Trip to Australia Without Leaving Home #Thursday Book Feature

In a Sunburned Country

by Bill Bryson

Copyright 2001


From the author of Notes from a Small Island and other travel memoirs comes an account of the author’s experiences traveling in Australia. He explains how he traveled across the country by train, drove through the Outback, and visited museums and other tourist attractions. He also provides some history and describes venomous snakes and other creatures, even seashells, that can kill you in Australia, contrasting this with the friendliness of most of the people there.

I enjoyed being able to swim and boogie board without leaving my recliner. I was fascinated by the idea that children in the Outback, who are isolated on cattle stations, receive their education via short-wave radio through “schools of the air.” It’s also interesting to note that Australians once treated the Aboriginal people not much differently than we treated the Native Americans in our country. If you’d like to visit Australia and don’t want to spend money on a passport, plane tickets, train tickets, rental cars, food, and hotel rooms, Bill Bryson’s book is the way to go.



New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.


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Thursday Book Feature: The Sleep Revolution

The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time
By Arianna Huffington
Copyright 2016.

The founder of The Huffington Post shares her insights on sleep. Using scientific evidence and other sources, she describes what she calls a sleep crisis, in which many Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. She explains how people in the trucking and medical industry and even politicians can be adversely affected by sleep deprivation. She discusses the correlation between not getting enough sleep and diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other disorders.

She talks about how even Benjamin Franklin didn’t get enough sleep and the attitude that sleep wasn’t important. She explains why sleeping pills and caffeine are NOT the solution to the problem of sleep deprivation and, in some cases, can exacerbate it. She discusses sleep disorders and how they can be treated.

She then outlines what we can and shouldn’t do in order to get a good night’s sleep. She describes how hospitals, colleges, and hotels are helping people sleep better, also talking about what is being done in the workplace to promote good sleep habits among employees. The book includes a sleep questionnaire, suggested meditation techniques, information about hotels around the world that will ensure you get a good night’s sleep, and matrress recommendations.

I found many of the facts in this book fascinating. For example, did you know that the Beatles song “Let It Be” was inspired by a dream Paul McCartney had in which his mother, Mary, told him everything would work out? Here I thought he was referring to the Virgin Mary. Who knew?

I’d never describe myself as sleep-deprived, although I’ve had occasional trouble falling asleep and staying that way. Nevertheless, I decided to take the sleep questionnaire at the end of the book. I discovered, to my amazement, that my sleep was in good shape. I encourage everyone to read this book and spread the word about the importance of getting a good night’s sleep.


Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
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Review: A Week in Winter

A Week in Winter

by Mave Binchy

Copyright 2012.


After living in New York City for twenty years, Chickie returns to her home town, a seaside village in Ireland. She buys an old house and turns it into a hotel with the help of the elderly woman who owned it, a former gangster, and her niece. Despite the skepticism of family and friends, her business venture is a success. The hotel’s first guests are a cast of interesting characters including an American actor, a couple of English doctors, a Swedish accountant, and others. As their stories unfold, the hotel becomes a place of healing for most of them.

I like the way the author tells the story from the point of view of each of the characters, providing plenty of back story to help us understand them. In a way, it reminds me of Debbie Macomber’s Rose Harbor Inn series. Unfortunately, this is one of the last books Mave Binchy wrote before she died. It’s too bad because I would like to have read more books about Chickie and her hotel and each guest whose outlook on life change after staying there.

Before my late husband Bill suffered his first stroke, he and I enjoyed traveling together. In 2005 before our wedding, we took an early honeymoon trip to California, and in 2006 just before his first stroke, we spent two weeks in Colorado. He might have enjoyed a trip to Ireland to stay in a hotel like Chickie’s, although I doubt we could have afforded it. You can read our story in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.


Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.