I am reading this as part of a book club and this book was chosen because it fit the wants of the group perfectly - a quick book to read for the DecemI am reading this as part of a book club and this book was chosen because it fit the wants of the group perfectly - a quick book to read for the December Book Club meeting that focuses on a cookie and gift exchange. While we were not looking for a book that will trigger long conversations, this book does have some themes worthy of discussion. The Christmas Cookie club meeting of the Cookie B*tches celebrates the friendship of women and how friends come into our lives at different times. It also pays tribute to how friends support us through all the hard times and the wide range of hard times that individuals can face. Finally, it speaks to the power of building your own traditions and how meaningful those traditions can be for the participants.
The book includes cookie recipes (I haven't tried any yet, but I intend to. They look yummy.) It also includes information about the key ingredients for cookies such as cinnamon, ginger, chocolate, and butter). You can skip over these sections if they don't interest you.
All in all, this is a good choice for book clubs and individuals who are looking for a cozy Christmas read....more
Shoring feels left out as she is the only member of her family not fasting for Ramadan. She feels old enough this year. She has lots of questions andShoring feels left out as she is the only member of her family not fasting for Ramadan. She feels old enough this year. She has lots of questions and struggles to find a way to make a significant offering of her faith to Allah. Shirin overcomes a bout of sibling rivalry and supports her brother as he struggles to keep the tradition that she so desperately wants to be part of. This well crafted story is best suited for 1st graders and up because of its length. Listeners and readers will learn a lot about Muslim beliefs and traditions...more
Sarah finds the perfect gift for her mother for Eid, a lovely flower growing in the snowy woods. She leads her family to the woods to appreciate the fSarah finds the perfect gift for her mother for Eid, a lovely flower growing in the snowy woods. She leads her family to the woods to appreciate the flower. This simple story is filled with reverence for God and nature. Children of all faiths will appreciate that Sarah is a girl like them. A good book to build interfaith awareness...more
In 2011, DC Comics cancelled all of their existing titles and re-launched their entire series branding them The New 52. Animal Man was the surprisingIn 2011, DC Comics cancelled all of their existing titles and re-launched their entire series branding them The New 52. Animal Man was the surprising breakout hit of the new series. I frankly didn't know about Animal Man until I read this version of his story and I am kicking myself. Animal Man is a stand-up family guy, a hero turned activist, who struggles with the challenges of being a good husband and father. Jeff Lemire creates a story with strong female and male characters of all ages, themes of animal rights and environmentalism, and a potent mix horror and action. In this story Buddy Baker, Animal Man, learns a thing or two about his origins and his destiny from his four-year-old daughter, Maxine.
The storyline is a bit macabre - blood flowing, distorted bodies, guts - it is definitely written with an adult/teen audience in mind. Those seeking top-notch storylines in the comics will be drawn to this series. ...more
Sammy, a young Wilson's Warbler meets many other animals during his migration from Alaska to Panama. These include mammals (humpback whale, reindeer),Sammy, a young Wilson's Warbler meets many other animals during his migration from Alaska to Panama. These include mammals (humpback whale, reindeer), reptiles (snake), insects (dragonfly, monarch butterfly, and other birds. It's difficult to find a good picture book that introduces migration to children with the concept of many species migrating. Jan Thornhill's, Is This Panama?: A Migration Story nicely fills that gap! Too long for most story times or for younger listeners, this book is meant for Kindergarteners on up....more
**spoiler alert** Ramadan is over and Nabeel, the shoemaker, decides to buy his wife, his mother, and his grown daughter each a special gift of clothi**spoiler alert** Ramadan is over and Nabeel, the shoemaker, decides to buy his wife, his mother, and his grown daughter each a special gift of clothing. At the end of his shopping, the shopkeeper convinces Nabeel to replace his worn pants with a new pair. Nabeel agrees even though the new pants are too long and the shopkeeper has no time to hem them. He asks each of the women to hem the pants for him, but they are all too busy preparing for the feast. For a while, it seems that Nabeel will not have a new pair of pants to wear for Eid. Nabeel's love for his family and their love for him, however, win the day and Nabeel ends up with a new pair of pants that he can wear for Eid.
The colorful illustrations and storyline reminded me a bit of Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback. This timeless story reads like a old secular folk tale. It is a wonderful introduction to Indian Muslim culture, and includes the Indian words for some items of clothing and food. ...more
The title and book jacket don't describe this book accurately. I would describe it as a daughter seeking to find out about her mother's life in SouthThe title and book jacket don't describe this book accurately. I would describe it as a daughter seeking to find out about her mother's life in South Africa. She knows that her mother has had a troubled past but she does not know the nature of what her mother has escaped. Through research and family connections she begins to understand more about her family. A good book to illustrate the power of genealogy and family connection. ...more
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, read it, and gave it to a lovely friend of my daughter who is in love with all things French. I love how thisI won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, read it, and gave it to a lovely friend of my daughter who is in love with all things French. I love how this book builds upon basic French skills and focus on phrases for situations. Rather than the standard French class situations, these are more fun and aimed at getting you out and about enjoying Paris and meeting people. If Paris is on your bucket-list, you will find it moving up in priority after you savor this book. Highly recommended for all young women heading to Paris who love fashion and fun!...more
Michael collects words. He sees how a word somehow doesn't fit - (e.g., the word is small but describes something large). One days he picks up a veryMichael collects words. He sees how a word somehow doesn't fit - (e.g., the word is small but describes something large). One days he picks up a very inappropriate word. While there are consequences but his teacher honors his love of words.
This book is the perfect introduction for a parent-child discussion about inappropriate words (a situation that almost every parent will face!) Teachers will also enjoy this book as it celebrates language. Teachers, too, will appreciate the opening it provides to classroom rules about language. Most importantly, kids will enjoy this book. They will identify with Michael's temptation: "Michael could see there was something kind of bad about it. But there as also something about it that he kind of liked." Kids (and adults) know the viral nature of trouble. There is also the sense that this kind of mistake is temporary and that almost everyone makes it. It's fabulous to find a book that discusses a common life experience in a humorous, kind manner! ...more
I read about this book in The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. There is a tremendous need for a book that addresses how to best support peI read about this book in The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. There is a tremendous need for a book that addresses how to best support people with serious illnesses. In addition to providing valuable phrases (the "what to say when you can't find the words" of the title), Susan Halpern provides the stories of many caregivers and people dealing with a variety of illnesses. These stories may provide comfort and confidence to those seeking the words to ask for what they need.
Halpern does not provide a succinct rules of etiquette. Instead, advice is found throughout the point. Here is a small list of the do's and don'ts found in the book:
1. "It is tempting with illness, to quickly pass on what we know. But it's important to check carefully each time to learn whether the person with the diagnosis wants it known. Why do we violate the privacy of others so freely with illness? .... it is not our place to relieve our discomfort by intruding on someone else's privacy." Allowing people to share their own story with whom they want when they are ready preserves dignity. If someone was raped or assaulted, would people share that story so freely? Or, would they be protective of the attacked individual's privacy during a difficult time? The same ethical considerations apply. 2. "In the arena of helping, it is important to gauge your giving. ...I am a strong advocate for doing something when you hear a friend is ill, I would add that it is important to keep your assistance in line with what's possible for you and respectful of your sick friend's ability and desire to care for himself or herself, as well as congruent with your relationship." 3. "Family and friends, out of their own desire to fix, cure, and be helpful, often give advice...This directives arise from the best of intentions, but they are not respectful of the needs of the diagnosed person." 4. "To ask, "How did you get this?" is not appropriate. ...There are few of us who know what caused our cancer or chronic illnesses. Whatever we did, millions of other people do without getting sick." 5. "Let the wishes of the person who is ill be the guide, not your agenda. Over time, a person who is ill has changing needs and the ability to help changes. From time to time, ask the question, "What can I do?" again."
Halpern's basic advice is to be honest, kind, caring, and respectful of the ill person's wishes. If you or someone you know if not behaving in a manner that is in keeping with these principles, then you are behaving in hurtful manner to someone who is already struggling. If you are sharing information about a persons illness without their consent and asking others hide this revelation from the sick person, than you are asking others to join you in treating the ill individual disrespectfully and in a manner that will foster distrust. If you are the person receiving the information, you can always tell the "sharer" that you will let the person know that the "sharer" has told you about the illness. In that way, you need not participate in gossip or a request that compromises your integrity. Halpern says that if you are worried that you have made a mistake, you can always try again.
One out of every two Americans will have a chronic or life-threatening illness in their life. Learning how to ask others to treat us when our turn comes, is incredibly important. Improving our ability to respond politely and compassionately is important both professionally and personally. Everyone can benefit from reading The Etiquette of Illness: What to Say When You Can't Find the Words.
Near the island of Samos lies the Icarian Sea, the watery grave of the Icarus of Greek myth. Icarus’ father Daedalus was banished to an island prisonNear the island of Samos lies the Icarian Sea, the watery grave of the Icarus of Greek myth. Icarus’ father Daedalus was banished to an island prison and where his son joined him. Daedalus, a master craftsman, fashioned wings for himself and his son out of wax and feathers in order to escape. Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to the sun. Icarus disobeyed his father and flew too close to the sun, melting the wax, and causing Icarus to tumble to his death. As Seth Godin, points out in his latest book, The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?, most people are familiar with this part of the myth. But, Daedalus gave Icarus a second warning. He cautioned Icarus not to fly too low because the water would ruin the lift in the wings and cause him to sink into the sea. It is this second warning about flying too low that Godin has chosen as the theme for this book.
Godin states that it is far more tempting to fly too low because it feels safe. Workers settle for low expectations and small dreams. Settling guarantees that full capability won’t be achieved. Setting the bar too low causes individuals to shortchange themselves and those that might benefit from our work. Godin discusses a shift in employers’ expectations of workers. “The safety zone has changed, but your comfort zone has not. We settled for a safety zone that wasn’t bold enough, that embraced authority and compliance. We built our comfort zone around being obedient and invisible, and as a result we were too close to the waves.”
Godin explains that the new pillars for society/work are creating ideas that spread and connecting the disconnected. He believes that “Connection begins with dignity.” Consumers/employers are no longer satisfied with good work or a good product. “Quality is assumed. What is scarce is trust, connection, and surprise.”
In order to succeed in this new marketplace, Godin exhorts his readers to be an artist. The way of the artist is difficult. Godin states, “Artists are never invulnerable” and “there are no pain-free ways to achieve your goals.” Being an artist is an approach to work and life – not a career choice. Godin says that “art is the act of a human being doing generous work, creating something for the first time, and touching another person.”
One characteristic of an artist is that they pick themselves. Godin writes, “You want the authority to create, to be noticed, and to make a difference? You are waiting for permission to stand up and speak up and ship? …No one is going to pick you. Pick yourself.” Artists don’t adjust their work to please others. Instead, they refine constantly and identify their audience. Godin’s ideas of the artist melds with his experience in identifying his “tribe”. After discovering that he hyper-focused on his critics, Godin no longer tries to please his critics, but instead focuses on the people that “get him” and his art.
Workers in all fields and at all points in their career can learn from Godin’s musings on the intersection of creativity, work, and connection. Primarily focused on the individual and their relationship to work and others, this book will particularly resonant with individuals seeking renewal, affirmation, and encouragement. In a down economy when many employees are frustrated by limited opportunities and budgets, Godin is saying to keep on refining your art. Eventually, your art will be noticed or their will be a shift and you will be ready to take advantage. Your hard-work and persistence will pay off. The idea of “Pick Yourself” is transformative and works for those happy in their careers and struggling to find their place in the workforce.
Libraries, museums, and archives managers can learn something about their employees. Employees who approach their work as art work beyond the time clock. Traditional ideas of work/life balance don’t apply when your work is integrated into view of yourself as an artist. In regards to their relationship with customers, Godin stresses that institutions should evaluate themselves in terms of the meaningful connections that they create. Traditional measures of quality will fail to predict loyalty and continued support. Playing it safe is no longer an option for institutions or individuals. ...more
"Disgrace" is an excellent example of straightforward, spar writing that is not simple or light. Coetzee won the Booker prize for his tale of a middle"Disgrace" is an excellent example of straightforward, spar writing that is not simple or light. Coetzee won the Booker prize for his tale of a middle aged man, David Lurie, who has sex with one of his students, admits to this sin, and fails to show the proper amount of contrition. Because he fails to repent, he loses everything. Lurie retreats to his daughter's house in the countryside of South Africa and finds an unfamiliar and sometimes brutal way of life.
This is a story about uneasy transformation and transition. Violence and rejection force David to confront the new South Africa power structure. He isn't sure if he or his daughter should remain in this place that is no longer ordered by western values. In its place, is a new order that debases women and the rule of law and fails to protect the weak.
Some regard "Disgrace" among the best contemporary literary fiction produced by the British Commonwealth. It should be read by all who enjoy novels dealing with moral ambiguity and human frailty....more