I'm not sure which of these facts about Zelda McFigg is most pertinent to her character: she's a runaway, morbidly obese, a writer and actress, a teacI'm not sure which of these facts about Zelda McFigg is most pertinent to her character: she's a runaway, morbidly obese, a writer and actress, a teacher with zero credentials, a virgin, and chronically sure of her own abilities when they come to other people's problems, though rarely as applied to personal issues.
Zelda's path in life is a winding one -- after running away from her alcoholic mother to New York City, she briefly lives with the once famous Mike the Poet, bringing him back from his life of booze and poverty. Does he reward her for her commitment to improving his life? No, no he does not. And so begins Zelda's life as an adult, although she is, in fact, only 14.
Zelda finally settles into her niche as a teacher (though without any form of credentials, of course) and stays there for over 30 years. Though her career is a long one, its in her first year of teaching that Zelda meets Donny, the Indian orphan whose life will affect hers for the next 20 something years.
Spanning Zelda's life from the age of 14 to 49 and a quarter, The Last Will and Testament of Zelda McFigg is a funny, wandering, and most entertaining read....more
**spoiler alert** I feel like a not very smart person, but I have no idea what happened in this book. I was going along, reading it, enjoying it, etc.**spoiler alert** I feel like a not very smart person, but I have no idea what happened in this book. I was going along, reading it, enjoying it, etc., and then the last 50 pages happened. I'd like to blame the fact that this was an e-book and I couldn't easily look back to check on things, but really, can someone please tell me what happened? I thought Minnie was the bride's sister. But then Hastings was the bride's father, but somehow NOT Minnie's father? That math just doesn't add up. Also, Hasting's friend who lived alone in a hovel -- was he make believe? Clearly I need to start focusing on my reading a little more. ...more
One question for those that read it -- I found it odd that Mark talked a lot about and used the personal effects4.5. So good, really enjoyed this one.
One question for those that read it -- I found it odd that Mark talked a lot about and used the personal effects his crew mates had brought (Agatha Christie, 70s TV, even a wooden cross) but we never heard about what he had brought onboard. This is totally minor, but it bothered me. Did I just miss something?...more
I'm quitting another book -- I feel like I've been doing a lot of that lately. I got about half way through this one and just wasn't feeling it. ThereI'm quitting another book -- I feel like I've been doing a lot of that lately. I got about half way through this one and just wasn't feeling it. There's so much else out there that I'm moving on....more
Well, I got about half way through, but I think I'm going to go ahead and give this one up. There are so many wonderful books out there, and this is jWell, I got about half way through, but I think I'm going to go ahead and give this one up. There are so many wonderful books out there, and this is just not the one for me. I was really into it in the beginning -- I liked the characters, the setting, and where I thought we were headed. And then we got to where the author was taking us, and I just kind of zoned out. I dunno, it's not the topic, per se, which is sort of a falling into an alternate reality/fantasy land (reminded me a little of The Magicians or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) and it's not the characters (a trio of kids and one super-fast aging 27 year old.) It's partially the writing, which felt a bit sloppy, and the storyline itself, which could be a heck of a lot tighter. And it's also the fact that I have a bunch of awesome-looking titles coming in for me right now, so I'd just rather spend my energies on those....more
As parents, we hope that our children will be smart. We want them to do well in school (and hopefully enjoy it, too), ace the SATs, and thus be high-aAs parents, we hope that our children will be smart. We want them to do well in school (and hopefully enjoy it, too), ace the SATs, and thus be high-achievers throughout life. In short, we equate intelligence with success. When was the last time that we wished that our little ones had grit, or perseverance, or optimism? Author Tough argues that qualities like those might be the ones that really matter in terms of the success of your child.
Having a little one, I browse lot of parenting and child rearing books, and am always on the lookout for something that seems to have an interesting and new perspective. That said, I definitely wouldn’t classify this as a “parenting” book, and would recommend it to anyone interested character.
How Children Succeed shows how character defines us in terms of not only our day to day life, but also our life as a whole – our successes, failures, and ability to thrive in the world. And it’s not just Tough who is interested in character qualities – in recent years, researchers and educators have begun to evaluate and track students based on certain interpersonal indicators. By looking into school systems with value systems different than just test scores, and seeing the successes of the students they produce (in terms of eventual graduation from a four year college,) the book makes a strong case for character.
The changes in my parenting style that will result from this book are subtle, but it has definitely made me more open to allowing my child to fail in order to help her learn perseverance and grit, and to look less at the grades she earns in the future and more at the journey she took to get there. ...more
True fact about me: I’m a direct descendant of Brigham Young. (From the first wife, my mom likes to remind us.) Even though I wasn’t raised Mormon, I’True fact about me: I’m a direct descendant of Brigham Young. (From the first wife, my mom likes to remind us.) Even though I wasn’t raised Mormon, I’ve always been slightly fascinated by my heritage, especially with how often Mormons are put in the limelight. Between Mormon actors, musicians, and even a presidential candidate, it’s been interesting to see Mormonism become decidedly mainstream, even though they only account for 2% of America’s population.
Mansfield’s book gives a great history of the origins of Mormonism and on the life of Joseph Smith, in a concise and easy-to-read fashion. He touches on popular misconceptions about what is important to the LDS community and what it is about the faith that people find important and relevant to their lives.
Alas, the subtitle, “How the Mormon Religion Became Became a Dominant Force in Politics, Entertainment, and Pop Culture” is actually a misnomer – I was 4/5 of the way through the book before it talked about anything current. Still, for a basic history about the values and beliefs of the Mormon Church and how they have evolved over time, this is a good read. ...more
This book had me at “Part Secret History, part Brideshead Revisited.” The Secret History by Donna Tartt is hands down one of my favorite books – it haThis book had me at “Part Secret History, part Brideshead Revisited.” The Secret History by Donna Tartt is hands down one of my favorite books – it has the perfect blend of academia, creepy siblings, and the elite. With that kind of review, I immediately snagged an e-galley of Bellwether Revivals, but didn’t get a chance to actually read it until it had hit the shelves of my library and the cover art caught my eye, leading me back to my Kindle.
Debut novelist Benjamin Wood sets the scene in picturesque Cambridge, moving between the spires and cobbled pathways of King’s College and the lush surrounding countryside that holds the family home of the Bellwethers. The book starts near the end of the story, an ending marked with a cold wind blowing through the grounds of the Bellwether Estate, flashing police lights, and bodies, though we don’t know whose.
And then, as if we had never been a part of that scene, we’re brought back to some previous time, when Oscar, a bookish but working class nurse’s assistant stumbles into the lives of the Bellwethers. Lulled into the college chapel by the melodies of an organ unlike any Oscar has ever heard, he meets Iris Bellwether, sister to the organist, Eden. The Bellwethers exist in a world that Oscar has only glimpsed -- one of privilege and academia and, above all, music. The siblings and their small but tight-knit group of friends are similarly intrigued by Oscar’s life in all its job-holding, bill-paying, apartment-dwelling glory.
It is music that brings them together, and music that separates the six. Eden falls deeper and deeper into his own obsessions, believing that his organ gives him the ability to perform miracles. I don’t want to spoil the ending by revealing much more, but as Eden began his downward spiral, I kept thinking back to the opening scene of the book, wondering when and where those bodies would pop back up.