I got this book after my best friend highly recommended it to me. Truthfully, I was hesitant because of Roxane Gay's Twitter feed. She has an opinionI got this book after my best friend highly recommended it to me. Truthfully, I was hesitant because of Roxane Gay's Twitter feed. She has an opinion about everything, and it doesn't matter if it's interesting or not, she will tweet it. Kids, I learned a lesson: don't judge a book by the author's twitter feed.
Yes, she's opinionated, but she made sure to write about her views on everything from race, gender, and pop culture with a personable and thoughtful style. Many of her essays made me think a whole lot deeper about a lot issues like, what's at stake behind the label, "women's fiction." I have a feeling this is going to be a book that will be looking tattered and dog eared in my library in a few years....more
I'm still making good on my New Year's resolution with consistent meditation practice. This book has been a huge help in supporting my goal.
SalzbergI'm still making good on my New Year's resolution with consistent meditation practice. This book has been a huge help in supporting my goal.
Salzberg presents a range of different meditations to try. She even has accompanying recordings that you can listen to on the book publishing company's website. The descriptions do not contain any religious or mystical allusions. It's grounded and accessible. I love this quote about what you can get from meditation practice:
"We take delight in integrity, and we feel at home in our bodies, our minds, our lives. We see that we really don't have to look outside of ourselves for a sense of fulfillment."...more
The subtitle of Teach Us to Sit Still: "A Skeptic's Search for Health and Healing" is what caught my eye. This past fall I felt like no matter how mucThe subtitle of Teach Us to Sit Still: "A Skeptic's Search for Health and Healing" is what caught my eye. This past fall I felt like no matter how much I exercised or tried to eat right, I was constantly feeling anxious and tired. I was beginning to wonder about how much scientists and doctors even know about the human body. Then I started thinking about meditation and how I used to practice it in my early 20s as a way to deal with some overwhelming stress at the time. I wanted to educate myself again on the practice of meditation and it's proposed effects on the body.This book seemed like a good start.
Prior to reading this, I knew little about the author, Tim Parks. I knew he wrote for the NY Times Book Review and started googling past articles. I found out he is a serious scholar of literature and writes frequently about the role of reading in our daily lives. He refers to many classic writers and their lives in Teach Us To Sit Still as well,and while some of it is interesting, a lot of it feels like high-brow conversation. This did put me off at times, but I was able to overlook it. It was way better than having to read about the detailed descriptions of the prostate.
The book is divided into two parts. The first part felt like a chore to read or like I was studying for a test about men's bodily functions. Tim talks at length about the pains he had in his pelvic region and prostate. Tim includes many photos and diagrams that gives it a textbook experience -although, I think the intention was to help the reader see the story through Tim's eyes. It's the second part of the book, that finally gave me the momentum I needed to continue reading the book. This is the part where Tim choses to experiment with meditation and see if it can help him avoid surgery to relieve his pain. His frank honesty and humor describes the act of mediation in a plain, refreshing way. Too often, when I hear people talk about meditation it sounds like they are trying to be super spiritual or enlightened. Parks is dedicated to telling the truth (even if you would rather not know it)....more
My first read book of 2015! And, wow, what a trip this story is...
The illustrations by Fiona Staples alone will blow your mind. Her style is wildly imMy first read book of 2015! And, wow, what a trip this story is...
The illustrations by Fiona Staples alone will blow your mind. Her style is wildly imaginative and colorful. I see the Star Wars influence in many of the character portraits. There is also a lot of provocative imagery which makes this a tricky book to read in public ( I say this because I read most of this on public transportation and became afraid many times of someone looking over my shoulder during the wrong time and thinking I must be a total perv).
So with that, I also recommend this be read by ADULTS (18 and over). As a middle school teacher, I feel like I must say that. This is not a book I will add to the classroom library. However, this is a beautiful book that I am proud to have in my personal library.
If you like fantasy, science fiction, romance, drama, adventure (almost any genre!), I think SAGA will sweep you away. ...more
I like Amy Poehler even more than I did before I read her book. Part memoir, part self- help advice, Amy lays it all down with an honesty that I findI like Amy Poehler even more than I did before I read her book. Part memoir, part self- help advice, Amy lays it all down with an honesty that I find so smart....more
#1 John Green book for me is FIOS, then I put this book at #2.
I have not seen the FIOS movie, because I feel like there is no way a movie can capture#1 John Green book for me is FIOS, then I put this book at #2.
I have not seen the FIOS movie, because I feel like there is no way a movie can capture the depth of emotion that book contained, and I don't want to associate any negative feelings to the story.
THIS BOOK though, Paper Towns, was made to be a movie. It practically comes with its own soundtrack (hello, Woody Guthrie, Billy Bragg/Wilco, Mountain Goats, and Bob Dylan) and it has enough teenage monologues that hint at finding purpose in living through embracing beauty and imagination (like "Perks of Being a WallFlower and The Outsiders-also appropriately referenced in this book). So, I'm excited that it is indeed being made into a film, as I type this.
I like that the characters here, Quentin (the protagonist), Margo (his crush and catalyst for growing self-awareness), Radar and Ben (Quentin's best friends) are relatable, smart, and funny without being too pretentious (something I feel that Green's other characters can be).
More than that, I think that no matter how old you are, you are wondering about who you really are, and how others see you. This book explores the notion that we can never really know ourselves and others. At best we are "mirrors and windows" and it takes imagination to have faith that we are living the best life possible....more
Being able to talk about race with a sense of humor requires sensitivity, intelligence, and a commitment to truth, all of which are in this collectionBeing able to talk about race with a sense of humor requires sensitivity, intelligence, and a commitment to truth, all of which are in this collection of short fiction, memoir, and poetry.
My favorite of them all is a memoir piece by Mitali Perkins, called "Three-Pointer," which describes how Mitali and her sisters got educated in the "Guy Game" in America. In it she talks about how her and her sister gave each other points for guys asking them out, compliments, and a kiss. Mitali also talks about how race affected the way she could play the game: "I didn't get why I immediately ranked so low on the social ladder, but in retrospect it's not hard to figure out. I would have crushed the competition in a Fresh Off The Boat poster contest. I was the whole FOB package- parents with lilting accents, super-strict father who didn't accept grades less than an A, house that perpetually smelled like turmeric and cardamom, ultra-traditional mother whose idea of party garb was six-and -half yards of silk saree and a forehead dot that mesmerized our neighbors. Plus, my skin was a color writers usually describe with food products like chocolate and coffee. At least my metaphors were addictive and tasty, right (p.45)?"
I think the best audience for this is high school kids, but there are also a few stories here that would also be appropriate for middle schoolers. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a way to open up discussions about race in a nonthreatening and relatable way....more
A beautifully told story of the classic hero's journey adventure. I love the change between third and first person point of view. Kvothe is an interesA beautifully told story of the classic hero's journey adventure. I love the change between third and first person point of view. Kvothe is an interesting and admirable narrator but he will also admit that his doubts and pride get in the way of always being reliable. So it's great that the storytelling shifts in order for the reader to see Kvothe as others see him. Patrick Rothfuss is a stylish and playful writer who understands how to give a story an epic feel. Fans of Harry Potter will definitely get into the University story arc in the book, but this book offers a lot for fans of many other different types of stories. It's a coming of age, it's an adventure, horrific, and poetic. ...more
Cather is living in the world of her favorite fiction series around a magician named, Simon Snow. She is a popular fanfiction wrKeep calm and read on.
Cather is living in the world of her favorite fiction series around a magician named, Simon Snow. She is a popular fanfiction writer on the Internet, where she is celebrated for her interpretation of the underlying story lines. However, a couple of things are intruding on her Simon Snow fanfiction writing life namely, COLLEGE, BOYS, A MANIC DAD, AN ABSENT MOTHER, AND A TWIN SISTER KEEPING HER AT A DISTANCE AS SHE TRIES TO FIND HER OWN WAY. It's way dramatic, and it's not at the same time. This is due to Rainbow Rowell's writing style which keeps things from ever feeling too heavy.
As a protagonist, Cather does not dwell too much on her troubles. Her ability to write and have that as an outlet, makes her someone you admire. Another character describes her best as someone who does not force things to happen, instead she observes what is happening.There is nothing in this book that ever really feels climatic to me. Instead, I get many moments of warmth. I enjoyed experiencing Cather's grounded way of navigating all the pressures around her. Though, it did feel like the book could have been shorter.
Many of my students are into fanfiction and this is the first book to help me see its appeal. I have a feeling this is going to be a hot addition to my classroom library....more
Did you hear about the guy who survived after a three foot long iron rod went through his head? And that although he lived, his personality changed anDid you hear about the guy who survived after a three foot long iron rod went through his head? And that although he lived, his personality changed and he became a foul-mouthed grouch? His story is one that has passed on for years as an example of how scientists figured out how the brain works. However, till this day more and more research on Phineas Gage's case has come out. Now, it is understood that there is not enough evidence to say that Phineas Gage actually changed that much. His accident, while gruesome, seemed to prove that Phineas was indeed more of a lucky man than not. Certainly. the field of brain science has benefited from it. John Fleischman's well-researched nonfiction book on Phineas Gage is framed by the essential question: was Phineas Gage lucky or unlucky? Fleischman provides an objective look on Phineas Gage's life and its impact on brain science through the years.
The book begins with a detailed description of Phineas' accident in 1848 and then moves into how the understanding of the brain has evolved. While doctors knew what the brain looked like in the 19th century, they were divided about how the brain actually worked. Complimenting the different theories, Fleischman provides plenty of photos of the doctors, scientists, phrenology maps, and current brain diagrams discussed.
It is easy to hook young readers with the first 10 pages of the book, but after that there is a lot of technical language used that can be confusing. It's important to give students a heads up that they will need to use context clues and slow down to make sure they understand what they are reading. Ultimately, the story of Phineas Gage is engaging enough that many students want to know more about the brain science part....more
I suspect that Jessica Lamb-Shapiro really wanted to explore the self-help genre to help delve into her feelings surrounding her mother's death and heI suspect that Jessica Lamb-Shapiro really wanted to explore the self-help genre to help delve into her feelings surrounding her mother's death and her relationship with her father. Even though she had to endure and participate in her father's self-help studies, she maintained a cynical distance to it all. She used this cynical voice to make sure readers understand that she never meant to take her journey into "self-help culture" too seriously. However, as other Goodreads reviewers have already mentioned, she does use this self-help research to parlay into a memoir about losing her mom and grieving with her father. Her smart, candid, and funny voice is never lost throughout the book, so I stayed engaged throughout it all. ...more