Bowman does a good job with the tall tale of Pecos Bill, making a mythical American demigod to rival Hercules and Theseus, with talents and personalitBowman does a good job with the tall tale of Pecos Bill, making a mythical American demigod to rival Hercules and Theseus, with talents and personality as large as the American west. ...more
I used this book to teach vocabulary to a group of five high school homeschooled students. While it had enough strengths that we completed it, the weaI used this book to teach vocabulary to a group of five high school homeschooled students. While it had enough strengths that we completed it, the weaknesses made it my least favorite of vocabulary-building books I have taught up to this point.
One weakness was its dearth of exercises for the students to work through. My favorite books incorporate many different exercises with words, using different definitions, synonyms/antonyms, and sentences, to help them grasp and gain ownership of them. Otherwise, word retention can be low.
By far the greatest weakness, however, was Peter Funk's mnemonic techniques. They consisted of groaner-type puns that failed to help us remember the definitions. For example, the memory key for "sine qua non" was, "In looking for the ESSENCE of a surrealistic painting, you make out the shape of a nun in an aqua-colored habit. In other words, you SEE AN AQUA NUN (SINE QUA NON). Funk must like nuns because they appeared frequently in the puns. Many times we could remember the words and the definitions, but not the mnemonic and its connection to the meaning. What's the purpose of a memory device you can't remember a few days later?
Now to why I used the book despite its huge flaws. I loved the words and the way they were grouped together. Cute chapter titles like "Weather to go or Not" taught words like precipitate, miasma, occlude, tectonic, and halcyon. "People's Choice" covered political words like constituent, incumbent, scapegoat, hustings, caucus, filibuster, and plebeian. These words matter in different aspects of contemporary life and differ from typical vocabulary-book words. So we completed the book, which kept me busy supplementing with extra materials, and I do feel that the students learned new words that they will find frequently in their reading....more
Questions about the roles of faith, sacrifice, and redemption in the modern world keep resurfacing in my mind since I completed this book a couple ofQuestions about the roles of faith, sacrifice, and redemption in the modern world keep resurfacing in my mind since I completed this book a couple of weeks ago. Julia chooses to give her own happiness up for God, and I find something beautiful in a novel where romantic fulfillment is not the only end. I'm sure much more could be said, but I need more time to digest and comprehend this complicated masterpiece....more
We love Sam. He begins as a newborn infant, and we get to hear his perspective as he grows from babyhood to toddlerhood to nursery-school age. First,We love Sam. He begins as a newborn infant, and we get to hear his perspective as he grows from babyhood to toddlerhood to nursery-school age. First, there's the frustration of trying to communicate when everything he tries to say ends up sounding like "Waaahhhh!" He learns to walk and talk, hide food like broccoli that he doesn't want to eat under the living room rug, and make typical mistakes like getting into his big sister's things and cutting his own hair. This would be a great book for older siblings with a new baby because it can help them try to see things from a baby's point of view. It's also just a joy for anyone to read because of the way Lowry captures so well the irrepressible joys and frustrations of childhood....more
I'm not sure if I gained anything from my reading of this book, except perhaps that it led me to focus more on raising my sons. I'm trying to build myI'm not sure if I gained anything from my reading of this book, except perhaps that it led me to focus more on raising my sons. I'm trying to build my relationship with one of my "tweens" right now. Gresh is a tolerable but not articulate or eloquent writer. The six ways she outlines seemed unoriginal to me and didn't add anything new to my parenting approach. Here they are: #1: Get Him Outside to Play, #2: Give Him a Book So He Can Discover a Real "Call of Duty," #3: Host Wing Nites and Fantasy Football Parties, #4: Celebrate His Entrance into Manhood, #5: Unplug Him from a Plugged-In World, and #6: Let Him Open the Car Door for You. In my words: your son should play outside, read good books, spend time with dad and other men, have conversations with parents about the birds and the bees, have limits on electronics, and respect women. No novelty there and not expressed profoundly either. Gresh's one strength seems to be in biblical exegesis. She interpreted a couple of scriptures, Proverbs 22:6 and 2 Timothy 3, by going back to the original Hebrew and Greek and gave me new insight into those passages. I will forever see those scriptures differently, and for that I am grateful. This could be a good selection for Christian parents wanting help in guiding their sons but is not a place to seek out new ideas or quotable passages....more
Dorothy Sayers called it "the very finest detective story ever written." I believe it may be. The intricacies and twists of its plot seem classicallyDorothy Sayers called it "the very finest detective story ever written." I believe it may be. The intricacies and twists of its plot seem classically Victorian in many ways, yet much of the novel indicates the attitudes and ideas of a postmodern world.
The events unfold with a series of ten different narrators, eleven if you count the reading of a letter by another character within one of the narratives. Many of the narrators are biased and unreliable, each with a distinctive voice. Some are endearing, like the house-steward, Gabriel Betteredge, with the quirk of veneration for Robinson Crusoe and a belief that what he reads in its pages will be prophetic. Others are less likable, like Miss Clack, who is rude in her constant religious proselytizing and full of hypocrisy.
The story concerns a stolen diamond that originated in India. At last the diamond returns home to India. Justice has been restored, and I was left with the sense that the grasping British imperialists who stole it have been overcome at last. Those who inherited this stolen jewel have the knowledge of how it left England but are unable to recover it....more
Medea lacks the grandeur and power of other Greek plays I have read. However, her concerns as a powerless woman struggling within the limits of the chMedea lacks the grandeur and power of other Greek plays I have read. However, her concerns as a powerless woman struggling within the limits of the choices available to women in Ancient Greece render it fresh and relevant. Finally, her choice to seek revenge by killing first her husband's new wife and then her own children is chilling. A good epigraph for the book, although written 2,000 years later by William Congreve, could be, "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned." ...more
Because I am teaching a class on the history of theater, because Aristotle's Poetics has been referred to in so many classes I have taken before, andBecause I am teaching a class on the history of theater, because Aristotle's Poetics has been referred to in so many classes I have taken before, and because this is the first work of literary criticism ever written, I thought I needed to go to the source and read it at last. I'm not sure if all the summaries and interpretations I have heard over the years were necessary. Poetics is brief and not an extremely challenging read. Aristotle's influence on the history of theater and on literary criticism was huge, and I am glad I now read his ideas in his own (albeit translated) words. Anyone with a love for literature and theater should give it a perusal at least once in their lifetime....more