Loved, loved, loved the book (SOOOOOOO romantic!!!), but... (view spoiler)[WHY Frump?!? What is it with authors and the sick, twisted trend of killingLoved, loved, loved the book (SOOOOOOO romantic!!!), but... (view spoiler)[WHY Frump?!? What is it with authors and the sick, twisted trend of killing off the dog? I know Frump wasn't technically a dog, but still! (hide spoiler)] Still, loved the book....more
What if I'm An Atheist is interesting, informative, and, most importantly, respectful toward all "sides." This book deals with how to "come out" about What if I'm An Atheist is interesting, informative, and, most importantly, respectful toward all "sides." This book deals with how to "come out" about one's non-belief, how to handle bullies and backlash, and how to become comfortable with one's personal viewpoint in an, otherwise, very religios world. The quotes and personal accounts throughout make this book relatable to the teens who would likely pick it up. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to teens (or adults, for that matter) who are either questioning or seeking advice for how to haldle their own personal lack of belief....more
When I was a Freshman in college, I was required to take a Psychology 101 class in order to meet Gen-Ed st2.5 Stars for Effort--and good storytelling.
When I was a Freshman in college, I was required to take a Psychology 101 class in order to meet Gen-Ed standards for my Minor degree. During the first class, the professor asked everyone to write their full name, birthdate (inclding time--as close to the minute as possible), place of birth (city/state/country), and nationality (if we chose to reveal it) on slips of paper and turn them in at the end of class. An odd request, I thought. The mystery was solved the following Monday when the professor handed everyone a personal horoscope/personality analysis. These, he explained, were calculated based on the information we provided the previous week. These horoscopes, he said, were highly personal and detailed and would very accurately determine how well we would do in his class--and in other classes.
As everyone read, heads nodded. People muttered things like, "Wow!" and "This is SO me!" and "I can't believe how accurate this is!". When we reached the part of the horoscopes/personality alalysis that predicted academic success or failure, some people breathed a sign of relief while others looked like they were about to cry.
Then we received a surprise quiz.
When the quizes were graded (right there in class) and the results were announced by a show of hands, some people "aced" it while others did abysmally.
The professor then asked everyone to hand their horoscope/personality analysis to the person directly behind them (the last person in the row, bring theirs to the front). We were soon to discover that every horoscope said the exact same thing except for the academic prediction, which predicted either "pass" or "fail" based on the personality traits outlined in the horoscope. Not surprisingly, those with positive predictions did well on the pop quiz while those with negative predictions did poorly.
The professor then told us the quiz would not impact our grade. Rather, this was a hands-on experiment about both self-fulfilling prophecies and how people tend to grasp for random things (like horoscopes) to explain how they act or feel, whether they will succeed or fail, and how they believe the world will treat/see them. People tend to let things like horoscpes (and other random data) guide them through life. But, really, horoscopes are so general (even the ones that seem personal and detailed) they could apply to anyone. People are wired to need to know why things happen, my professor explained, so they try to make "scientific" connections between random things (ANY random things)--like Ice Cream Sales and Crime Rates. Like astrological signs and academic success.
Twenty years later, this is one of my most memorable college experiences. It's the experience that taught me to question everything and never take anything for granted...to look at all the data, even the random freaky stuff, and STILL look deeper. STILL question. It's an experience that really helped shape who I am and how I think even all these years later.
Outliers reminded me a lot of that experiment. Malcolm Gladwell uses a lot of seemingly scientific data to explain why some succeed at life while others fail (or don't do as well). And I'm sure much research went into this book. But while the anecdotes were highly entertaining, it felt like Gladwell was grasping at, well, at horoscopes to explain the successes of those he writes about. He writes almost believablly. Things almost make sense, almost line up. But... Just the same, I'm more inclined to put more stock into natural talent, ambition, intelligence, and even dumb luck (being in the right place at the right time) than I am into astrological signs or place of birth.
Sorry, Malcolm. You're a good storyteller, but I can't buy your theories.
I stumbled upon this book when my library got it and thought to myself, "That cover looks quirky and compltely spazzed out. I think I'll read it!"
AndI stumbled upon this book when my library got it and thought to myself, "That cover looks quirky and compltely spazzed out. I think I'll read it!"
And I confess I was completely unprepared for my reaction to it.
I read the book all in one sitting, laughing so hard at it that tears streamed from my eyes and snot came out of my nose and I didn't even care (well, I cared, but I was too entertained--and too paralyzed by my own laughter--that I was unable to do anything about it). The last time that happened was when I encountered Bad Cat, a book of funny/freaky cat pictures that preceded LOL Cat by several years, in a now out-of-business Mom & Pop bookstore. My sensible husband stood by and shook his head, unable to comprehend my powerful and, quite honestly, disgusting, reaction to what I was reading. Of course, he probably snuck off to read it in secret after I'd gone to bed.
So what DID I find so funny? I'm not entirely sure. This book isn't the Comedy of the Year. There's no elaborate plot or hilarious set-ups or slapstick Three Stooges-esque situations. There's just the author's stories of real-life situations and her observations about the world around her...including some stuff about Depression that, really, shouldn't be all that funny at all.
What will YOU discover by reading this book? A little girl who will die if she doesn't eat some cake NOW; An encounter with a rogue goose; Attempts to train two very special dogs--and then moving across the country with theose same dogs; Retroactively autobiographical letters to the author's childhood self; And more. My only complaint is there are no Ninjas.
Or maybe there ARE Ninjas and they're just so stelthy they're hard to find....more
I received an ARC of this YA paranormal thriller in exchange for an honest review:
Shortly after her 16th birthday, Sunshine's mother moves them to RidI received an ARC of this YA paranormal thriller in exchange for an honest review:
Shortly after her 16th birthday, Sunshine's mother moves them to Ridgemount, Washington (not D.C.). Almost immediately, Sunshine feels it: A creepy, almost menacing watchfulness and a damp cold she can't shake no matter how many sweaters and scarves she layers. This feeling has nothing to do with the dreary, foggy weather. And within the first 24 hours in her new home, Sunshine has her first encounter with a paranormal being.
But this is not a story filled with sparklerific vegetarian vampires or uber-buff angsty werewolf boys. No way! Based on the YouTube show of the same name, The Haunting of Sunshine Girl is a good, old-fashioned ghost story, packed with plenty of spine-tingling moments and edge-of-your-seat suspense. And, on a very refreshing note, there are absolutely NO love triangles. Or any romance at all.
Sunshine soon discovers her new home is inhabited by not one ghost, but two: There's the little girl in the soggy dress who cries in the night and seems desperate to communicate something important to Sunshine. Then there's the dark spirit who latches onto Sunshine's adopted mother, Katherine. These ghosts are connected, but how?
With the help of a local boy with an interest in the paranormal and a creepy teacher who seems to follow her everywhere, Sunshine learns she is no ordinary girl. She is a rare type of spirit guide who's mission is to help the spirits of the recently deceased move on. She also has the ability to vanquish demons like the one possessing Katherine.
On top of dealing with the hauntings, this is almost too much for Sunshine to take in, much less believe. But she must embrace her newfound powers if she's going to save Katherine's life. And she must do it SOON, because time is running out.
Regardless of if you're a fan of the YouTube show, The Haunting of Sunshine Girl is a worthwhile read and a great recommendation for those looking for a paranormal story sans romance. Debut author Paige McKenzie, who is also the star of the YouTube show, does a stellar job bringing characters and setting to life on the page. A cliffhanger ending will leave readers eager for the next installment.
The Final Verdict: A great ghost story that reminded me of the suspense/mystery books I loved as a teen back in the 90s. I devoured the whole thing in two sittings and wanted more at the end. My only complaints, and these are minor to be sure, were constant mentions of Sunshine's frizzy hair (overdone, I thought) and references to Jane Austen that seemed to add nothing to the story. Overall, though. An awesome first novel by a teen author. I'll expect great things from the next two books in this planned trilogy!...more