Awesome biography of a one-of-a-kind person. Gerald Martin apparently had hundreds of sources. The best parts were the explanations of how real life i...moreAwesome biography of a one-of-a-kind person. Gerald Martin apparently had hundreds of sources. The best parts were the explanations of how real life informed each monumental work. The worst parts were overly detailed descriptions of political figures and organizations. It definitely makes me want to read all of Garcia Marquez's books that I haven't read yet.(less)
Unlike every other book I've read, this is a cognitive psychology textbook. I'm a high school language teacher, and I read it for a research project t...moreUnlike every other book I've read, this is a cognitive psychology textbook. I'm a high school language teacher, and I read it for a research project that I'm doing on students with working memory problems. Not recommendable to the general public, but it is very well written, with clear language and plenty of charts and references to back it all up. My favorite part was the history of what we understand memory to be, and the explanation of its relationship to long term and short term memory.(less)
I thought this was hilarious. The artwork isn't the best, but the parallel stories are simultaneously comical and heartbreaking. It touches on several...moreI thought this was hilarious. The artwork isn't the best, but the parallel stories are simultaneously comical and heartbreaking. It touches on several of the struggles that Asians have to deal with. I'm familiar with one in particular--I can't tell you how many times a student has asked me to say something in Chinese after I mention that I lived in Japan for two years. Anyway, it's a great book, and I'd love to read more of Mr. Yang's work.(less)
Spanish/English Review: Ojos de Luna no es una novela; es una colección de ocho cuentos. Son bastante cortos; uno no tiene tiempo para aburrirse antes...moreSpanish/English Review: Ojos de Luna no es una novela; es una colección de ocho cuentos. Son bastante cortos; uno no tiene tiempo para aburrirse antes de que empiece el siguiente cuento. Lo que me atrajo a esta obra fue la riqueza del lenguaje. Aprendí un montón de palabras nuevas y útiles. Sra. Arroyo Pizarro logra crear varios escenarios creíbles, y, por primera vez, leo una escritura puertorriqueña que no tiene lugar completamente en Puerto Rico. Es claro que la autora está tratando de llamar la atención a los desafortunados y las víctimas. El tema de control sexual se repite en varios cuentos aquí, algo que disminuye su efecto. Al comienzo de cada cuento, ya está claro quién es el tipo malo y quién su víctima. Sin embargo, el control que mantiene Arroyo Pizarro sobre el lenguaje es un placer.
Ojos de Luna isn’t a novel; it’s a collection of eight short stories. They’re pretty short; you won’t have time to get bored before the next story starts up. I was attracted to this book by the richness of the language. I learned a ton of new useful words. Ms. Arroyo Pizarro manages to depict several believable settings, and, for the first time, I read a work by a Puerto Rican author that doesn’t take place in Puerto Rico. It’s clear that the author’s main subjects are the downtrodden and innocent victims. The theme of sexual control recurs in several of the stories here, which detracts from its effect. At the start of each story, you already know who is the bad guy and who is the victim. Nevertheless, Arroyo Pizarro’s control over the Spanish language is a pleasure to read. (less)
This is another book from my students' library that I felt I should read. The point of view here is a little odd because you see things through the ey...moreThis is another book from my students' library that I felt I should read. The point of view here is a little odd because you see things through the eyes of an older woman recalling how she saw things when she was a child. Still, it's a good personal look at the strain that the internment of Japanese-Americans had on the families that had to go through it, and of course it illustrates the shameful injustice done to our fellow citizens. (less)
I read this book because it pops up so often on high school must-read lists, and I wanted to be able to recommend it after reading and liking Fever 17...moreI read this book because it pops up so often on high school must-read lists, and I wanted to be able to recommend it after reading and liking Fever 1793. I definitely enjoyed Speak's lyrical language and the few metaphors that ran throughout the story. The main character, Melinda, speaks and thinks enough like a teenager to be believable. Too many teen books sound like adults trying to play the revisionist part. On the other hand, I wish the villain weren't so cartoonishly evil. That may be the biggest shortcoming: we have a fascinating central character surrounded by a cluster of stereotypes with a couple of exceptions. Still, the pacing of the book is fantastic, with slow growth and multiple frustrations and revelations.
Here's a note I wrote to myself partway through: I've read four chapters and would love to put this book down for good. Everyone says Kazuo Ishiguro is...moreHere's a note I wrote to myself partway through: I've read four chapters and would love to put this book down for good. Everyone says Kazuo Ishiguro is amazing and the reviews for this one are great. So far, though, almost nothing has happened, other than the present day intro to the flashback and some painfully repetitive dialogue. It reads so awkwardly that I can't believe this was written originally in English. I can't think of a Japanese translation that feels stiffer.
I managed to finished the book, and I haven't changed my opinion. This was a chore to read, despite it being short. I kept thinking something remotely interesting was about to happen, and then the book ended. You'd think that the author would write with an interesting style to make up for the lack of plot, but that's not the case here. It's dull and dreary. Among its missteps, I'll list a few: a series of flashbacks that have nearly no bearing on the present events; an overly obvious chess metaphor; the boring subplot of an old man's indignance at a newspaper article; and a part with kittens that I just didn't see the point of.
If this is what Ishiguro's other books are like, I just saved a lot of time.(less)
I don't typically enjoy child-rearing books, so the fact that I didn't have a great time reading this doesn't say much about the usefulness of the inf...moreI don't typically enjoy child-rearing books, so the fact that I didn't have a great time reading this doesn't say much about the usefulness of the information. In short, it's very helpful.
The good: the main argument, that children can't always interpret the subtleties of adult communication, is well made. We need to show our love to our children in unmistakable ways. Mr. Campbell seems to have written the book with the chapters in a very particular order. For example, loving eye contact and focused attention must come before discipline. In fact, he makes the point that parents often want to interpret behavior as being defiant or ill-willed, but the problem can often be resolved by asking, "What is the child really asking for?" and giving the appropriate amount of attention and affection.
The bad: at times the points he makes are extremely unscientific, supported by conjecture rather than by any fact. In one terrible example, he cites what a boy would have felt as an adult if he hadn't died as a child as evidence for how we need to love our children today. Pretty creative. He also uses his own interpretation of a family relationship (that the mother is actually jealous of the father/daughter bond) as evidence of his hypothesis (that sometimes parents are jealous of their children). Pretty circular.
All in all, though, I know that there are several elements that my wife and I can take from this as we raise our two young children. We'll be sure to show our real love.(less)