For Nafisi's group of brave, young Iranian women, classic literature becomes the forbidden fruit.
Weekly, the veiled girls would meet, in their sanctuaFor Nafisi's group of brave, young Iranian women, classic literature becomes the forbidden fruit.
Weekly, the veiled girls would meet, in their sanctuary - Nafisi's living room - remove their scarves, laugh, argue, bond, learn, grow and escape through James, Nabokov, Fitzgerald and Austen. It was an indulgent luxury, worth the risk.
Nafisi weaves her real experience as the group's teacher and mentor with literary allegories and parallels - all while the world they know in the Islamic Republic of Iran, right outside Nafisi's living room window is becoming more and more intolerable for contemporary thinkers, especially women.
At times I felt that Nafisi was insensitive and judgmental, and an overall man hater, but the information shared is presented in an interesting manner, especially if you enjoy literature. ...more
“Callie Vea,” or Calpurnia Tate wonders if she is the last of her species. With no interest in housewifery, she dreams of bigger things than her small“Callie Vea,” or Calpurnia Tate wonders if she is the last of her species. With no interest in housewifery, she dreams of bigger things than her small, Texas town – seeing the Atlantic Ocean, Niagara Falls, a kangaroo, and becoming a female scientist – all things that most eleven-year-old girls just before the turn of the 20th century are not concerned with. The summer of 1899 becomes a turning point in this spirited heroine’s maturity. Her newly found friendship with her naturalist grandfather proves to be the greatest gift of all and the beginning of her evolution. This Newbery Honor book will be an inspiring, light-hearted read, full of spunky dialog for middle school aged girls. ...more
A beneficial book, although I haven't had success implementing with my children, yet. The one thing that this book has made clear to me is that I needA beneficial book, although I haven't had success implementing with my children, yet. The one thing that this book has made clear to me is that I need a lot of practice and patience to pull these communication tricks out in the heat of the moment. Good thing that the chapters are easy to reference, and the examples are very helpful. I definitely took down notes and will hang them on my fridge for reference. I think I may need a lot of reminders - everything this book suggests is against my natural, anxious reaction.
Some of my favorite passages:
“There is a direct connection between how kids feel and how they behave. We are two separate people capable of separate feelings. It is much easier talk to a grown-up who accepts your feelings instead of one who presses you for explanations.”
“Once a child does something wrong, and they have gotten over the initial remorse, the child needs a way to restore their good feelings about himself and see himself as a respected, responsible family member once again. As parents we need to give them the chance.”
The whole world will tell a child what is wrong with them; it is our job to affirm rightness. (Paraphrased)
“One of the built in frustrations of parenthood is the daily struggle to get our children to behave in ways that are acceptable to us and to society. It can be a maddening uphill work. The problem lies in the conflict of needs. The adult need is for some semblance of cleanliness, order, courtesy and routine. The children couldn't care less. And somehow the more intense we become, the more actively they resist.
Resist the temptation to “make better” instantly. Instead of giving advice continue to accept and reflect on your child’s feelings.
“Don’t try to push the child’s feelings away, the more you push unhappy feelings away the more he becomes stuck in them. The more comfortable you can accept the bad feelings, the easier it is for kids to let go of them."...more
As a botanical enthusiast, I was thrilled to discover Gilbert’s Novel.
The first chapter read much like a Dickinson novel. A man*May Contain Spoilers*
As a botanical enthusiast, I was thrilled to discover Gilbert’s Novel.
The first chapter read much like a Dickinson novel. A man of little means outsmarts/outworks the world and rises to fortune through botanical trade. I found this part fascinating. Enter his daughter, Alma.
Things started getting a bit tedious once she appeared in the plot. I’m not a prude, but too many thoughts regarding her “quim,” which just seemed disjointed to the rest of the plot – more like they were included it make moss and plants sexy. I’m sure Gilbert intended many juxtaposed metaphors to Alma’s struggle - her lonely, persevering existence and that of her asexual moss (although not all moss are asexual), but there were too many underlying subplots to try unravel in Alma’s mind: The nature of God or God as nature; the mysterious Ambrose and his ethereal existence; abolitionists and her bizarre sister and of course later the mystery of Tomorrow Morning.
Overall it was an entertaining indulgent read, but at times I was a little embarrassed to be reading it and found myself skimming through the long pages of Alma's mental self-degradation. It was clear that Gilbert had conducted a lot research, which I appreciated, but I didn't even like Alma and found her boring and irritating, so it was hard to cheer her on to the end. ...more
I think I would have found this book more shocking if I read it before I saw Food, Inc. But, there was a bit of overlap. I still found it an interestiI think I would have found this book more shocking if I read it before I saw Food, Inc. But, there was a bit of overlap. I still found it an interesting read, especially the technical aspects of the book that detailed the origin of items in our fridge. I sort of skimmed through the personal narrative of Polan's farm and hunting experience. At the end of the book I learned that yes, organic is better, although Polan questions better for what - health or environment. Certainly not a grocery budget. Since reading this our grocery bill has almost doubled. I am also reading labels more carefully and trying to avoid big bulk, processed foods. But the real dilemma is that this items are almost impossible to avoid in our lives.
Some of the more important ideas gained from this book if you really want to make a difference: try to buy directly from the farmer. Polan calls this relationship marketing, reconnecting with your food source. Reconnecting with Earth.
A sweet little story that takes the reader on a road trip with 13 yr-old Salamanca and her grandparents. While they tear-up the road on a journey to LA sweet little story that takes the reader on a road trip with 13 yr-old Salamanca and her grandparents. While they tear-up the road on a journey to Lewisville, Idaho to reunite with Sal’s mom, Sal "spins them a yarn" - a strange tale about her friend Phoebe Winterbottom, the lunatic and her first kiss. Full of wacky dialog, “gol-dang,” and nicknames, “Gooseberry,” that brings the characters to life and add a touch of humor to rather delicate and sad subjects. Perfect book for a younger tween group. ...more
After reading several articles about raising happy, successful kids I noticed the mention of “grit” in multiple instances, which lead to Paul Tough’sAfter reading several articles about raising happy, successful kids I noticed the mention of “grit” in multiple instances, which lead to Paul Tough’s book, How Children Succeed. In Tough’s book he describes “grit” as all the non-cognitive character traits that you can’t necessarily teach, but can possibly be fostered in the right environment – optimism, motivation, extroversion, openness to experience, conscientiousness, discipline, self-control, determined, persevering, delay of gratification (shows ability to stick to long term goals).
All these characteristics are a better indicator of a child’s future success (even at age 4) than IQ . There are smart gritty people and dumb gritty people, but all gritty people succeed.
For the most part these characteristics are something that you’re either born with, or you’re not. Tough describes them as, “a mysterious interactions among culture and family and genes and free will and fate.”
Basically these traits are not exactly something that can be taught, but as parents we can help strengthen natural tendencies by providing a child with a secure, nurturing relationship with at least one parent, ideally two, providing after school adult supervision, low levels of parental criticism, letting children experience failure (more importantly teaching them to learn from their failures by making them confront how they messed-up).
“Overindulging kids, with the intention of giving them everything and being loved, at the expense of character… What a kid needs more than anything is a little hardship; a little challenge, some deprivation, that they can overcome, even if just to prove they can.” - pg. 84
I found this book reassuring at a time when I was personally struggling with the academic choices I was making for my four-year-old son. I wasn’t sure if I was doing him a disservice by not buying into the NYC $30K+ a year private school hype by sending him to our local public school. After reading this book, I think that possibly going to a public school and fostering character traits at home may be more advantageous in the long run.
A lot of things to ponder, especially the meaning of "success." In this case it is the kids ability to succeed in a traditional high achieving sense, but this must also be considered in tandem with encouraging moral character like compassion and kindness. ...more
I purchased this book because I just read The Fault in Our Stars, and needed a light-hearted read. I assumed by the cute cover, title and vague descri I purchased this book because I just read The Fault in Our Stars, and needed a light-hearted read. I assumed by the cute cover, title and vague description, “captures in perfect pitch what it's like to be a young woman coming of age in America today,” that it would probably be a cute,story about an awkward teen at summer camp trying to get the guy and ultimately learning that all she had to do was be herself. Well, it was not.
There was no summer camp or cute, clumsy youthful scenes. It was a metaphor, for a desperate WOMAN trying hunt and catch her guy. Jane was a 20-30ish woman awkwardly navigating the NYC dating scene. She was that obnoxious office colleague that won’t let you work, instead forces you to listen to their blow-by-blow dating drama, all the while you are thinking what a complete idiot she is and wish she would just shut-up.
The book is divided into small vignettes – two of which do not even relate to the story (but you keep waiting for them to). They weren’t that cheerful; in fact I found most of them pretty depressing –(spoiler alert) alcoholic boyfriend, dying dad, breast cancer and extreme insecurity. It was an easy read, I finished it in three hours, but left me drained. ...more