Denny chooses Enzo from a litter of puppies. Enzo grows up to be Denny's loyal companion, and tells the story of Denny's life from his perspective. En...moreDenny chooses Enzo from a litter of puppies. Enzo grows up to be Denny's loyal companion, and tells the story of Denny's life from his perspective. Enzo sees himself as a dog with the soul of a man. He learns about the art of racing cars from Denny, a semi-professional racer. He learns about the world by watching cable television while Denny is away. As Enzo tells the story of Denny's marriage, and the tragedies that follow, he uses metaphors from racing and examples from documentaries to explain situations and what keeps Denny going.
I really enjoyed this book. I laughed hysterically when a hungry, dehydrated, delirious Enzo tears apart an evil, demon-possessed stuffed zebra, and cried as Enzo stood vigil beside Denny's dying wife. I think this book is a must-read for anyone with pets, especially dogs.(less)
Loewen's aim in this book is not to correct every misrepresentation or outright lie in American public school history courses. He begins with the 12 m...moreLoewen's aim in this book is not to correct every misrepresentation or outright lie in American public school history courses. He begins with the 12 most commonly adopted high school history textbooks (from the late 80s and early 90s) and critiques how they present specific events, historical figures, and ideas. He finds that much of the lore surrounding our notions of significant events is simply false, and our deification of historical figures often makes them one-dimensional and boring. In fact, much of his argument is that high school students aren't bored by history, but they are totally over the non-stop cheerleading for America. He proposes a curriculum focused on current events or overarching ideas, where students are guided to look at primary and secondary sources of historical information to come to their own conclusions. Every story in history has multiple points of view, and being able to identify those points of view makes history more emotional, which makes it more memorable.
Honestly, this book makes me wish I could go back to school, take a bunches of history classes, and become a high school or middle school history teacher. I have always loved history, though Loewen is right on the mark because I didn't always love my textbooks. I'm posting his five questions teachers should use to teach history here so that I don't forget, just in case I'm ever in the position to use them. 1-Why was this written/painted/created? Who was the audience and what was the creator trying to accomplish? 2-Whose viewpoint is represented? 3-Is the account believable? Do contradictions exist? 4-Is the account backed up by other sources? 5-Hows is one supposed to feel about the America that has been presented?(less)
This is why I shouldn't be allowed to read books! I wanted to cry while reading most of this!!
Kay's life changes when her husband's company sends him...moreThis is why I shouldn't be allowed to read books! I wanted to cry while reading most of this!!
Kay's life changes when her husband's company sends him to China. Their 18 month stay turns into four years. As the family adapts to the very different way of life into which they have been abruptly placed, Kay begins volunteering with other expatriate women at the local orphanage. What she finds there shocks her into action, organizing other women and starting a global crusade to proved much needed donations of clothing and food, as well as money for medical treatment. While she is often discouraged, and sometimes her intolerance of a less emotional culture shows in her writing, she often does go back and and remind the reader that there are only several workers caring for more about 200 children with inadequate (or no) training and too few supplies. While some of their methods are inexplicably harsh, others are eventually explained through the circumstances.
I think Kay's story is amazing. One person really can make a difference in so many lives.(less)
In this collection of short stories, Dean tells the unremarkable stories of completely unremarkable people, but in a way that totally draws you into t...moreIn this collection of short stories, Dean tells the unremarkable stories of completely unremarkable people, but in a way that totally draws you into their stories. Somehow, in the span of about 10 pages, you completely know these characters, understand their struggles (or lack of), and still feel their stories are complete in the end. I really enjoyed this book, and can't wait for Dean's new novel to be available. She is definitely one of my favorite authors now!(less)
I was sure I would enjoy this book, and that it'd be a quick, easy read. And, since my cousin had a copy of the book for me to borrow, I decided I'd g...moreI was sure I would enjoy this book, and that it'd be a quick, easy read. And, since my cousin had a copy of the book for me to borrow, I decided I'd go ahead and read it before seeing the movie.
The book exceeded my expectations. The Help takes place in 1960s Jackson, Mississippi. Hilly Hollbrook is the center of the white women's social world. When she proposes an initiative to create separate bathrooms in all white households for the domestic staff (to protect people from diseases) she upsets her friend, Skeeter. Skeeter, who has aspirations of working as a writer in New York, tries to get the local black domestic workers to anonymously tell their stories. As a white woman, she doesn't completely understand the risk this is for the black women, who are risking far more than their jobs to speak to her. She doesn't realize the threat to her way of life, either. But more than anything, she wants to know what happened to Constantine, the black woman who raised her, but mysteriously disappeared just weeks before she arrived home from college.
The book is further enhanced by a brief acknowledgement at the end of the author's own experience being raised by her maid in Mississippi.(less)
As I've been struggling a lot lately with how I feel about myself, how I view myself, and how I want others to see me, this was a perfectly timed read...moreAs I've been struggling a lot lately with how I feel about myself, how I view myself, and how I want others to see me, this was a perfectly timed read. I picked it up as a bargain buy on Amazon for my Kindle, and I'm so glad I did. Shriver tells about how she felt out of sorts with herself as the First Lady of California, because she felt she was more than that. As she questioned herself, she found that she had at one time linked much of her identity to her career, but that didn't feel right either. As she delved into writing a speech for her nephew's high school graduation, she wrestled with the questions; what did these kids want to hear? who was she that they would ask her to give the speech? I especially enjoyed her pledge to herself at the end.(less)
This has been the best book of daily devotionals I have ever picked up! Each daily reading begins with a brief account of the life of a saint, importa...moreThis has been the best book of daily devotionals I have ever picked up! Each daily reading begins with a brief account of the life of a saint, important person, or an event. Next there is a suggested reading. Most of the readings are from the Psalms, as the book is focused on reading through the entire book of Psalms, but there are readings from other parts of the Bible at times. Each daily reading is followed by more information connecting the Psalm to history, the referenced person/event, and reasons for its importance now. Finally, each month focuses on a different mode of prayer, so each day has a new discipline to try that culminates to a new habitual discipline of prayer for the month. That seems like an overwhelming amount of information to squeeze into a quick morning devotional, but each day is just one page. I hope to come across a similar book of devotionals soon. I can't recommend this book enough.(less)
While I think most people will learn a lot from reading this book, it should be a MUST read for teachers! Medina provides scientific knowledge about t...moreWhile I think most people will learn a lot from reading this book, it should be a MUST read for teachers! Medina provides scientific knowledge about the brain (including what scientists simply don't know or can't explain) in simple enough terms for me to explain why things like exercise and sleep are important to my second graders. However, the chapters on attention, memory, gender differences, stress, using multiple senses, and exploration bring up real issues that every teacher I know has faced in the classroom. Medina also has a website that you can run along side the book with short video slide shows with more or clarifying information on each of the brain rules. I have used these to promote discussion in faculty meetings on my campus.
Medina also outlines ideas in each chapter that he believes would make schools and businesses more effective. Regular breaks for exercise, naps, exploration models, and the idea of Schools of Education becoming more like medical schools (three components: classrooms, real world experience, and co-research assignments with psychologists and neuroscientists) makes a whole lot of sense. This book has been a valuable resource in planning for the second semester of school. (less)
What an amazing book! It concurrently tells the story of Marina, a woman who survived the bombings of Leningrad by living in the art museum during WWI...moreWhat an amazing book! It concurrently tells the story of Marina, a woman who survived the bombings of Leningrad by living in the art museum during WWII through her memories as she retreats from her family at the age of 82 into the abyss of Alzheimers. Not only does her daughter struggle with losing her mother, but comes to realize how little she actually knows about her parents and how they lived during the war. Marina spends her time during the war creating a memory palace, recreating each room, exhibit, and painting from the galleries in her mind. The author is able to create these in such detail, that you can feel Marina's enthusiasm and the beauty of the paintings in the pages of the book. And I'm not even a huge fan of art!
This is the first book by Dean, and I would be interested to read more of her work.(less)
I dropped this book on the floor several times, I was shaking and laughing so hard! These stories start with embarrassing childhood moments and work t...moreI dropped this book on the floor several times, I was shaking and laughing so hard! These stories start with embarrassing childhood moments and work their way up to practical jokes that Chelsea plays on people as her circumstances in life change. I could totally identify with some of the stories she told, and others totally reminded me of situations friends and I have gotten ourselves into. I loved this book far more than Are You There Vodka It's Me Chelsea. She is hysterical!(less)
Last month during our school's Family Math Night, I had the opportunity to catch up with former students who are now sixth graders in middle school. O...moreLast month during our school's Family Math Night, I had the opportunity to catch up with former students who are now sixth graders in middle school. Of course I had to ask them about what they were reading in their English classes, and was a little concerned when they said, "Freak the Mighty." Yeah, that sounds like a real winner.
Freak the Mighty is told through the eyes of Max, an ever-growing boy, placed in LD classes in school, who bears an uncanny resemblance to his criminal father. The summer before his eighth grade year he befriends Kevin, a super-smart boy suffering from a rare genetic disease, making mobility difficult and stunting his growth. Max becomes Kevin's tool for mobility, while Kevin slowly builds Max's confidence in school and in life. Together, the boys form Freak the Mighty, searching out adventure in their small town and helping each other through the difficulties in their lives.
This book is amazing for the middle school age bracket, with it's themes of self esteem, belonging, loyalty...regardless of a child's background they will find something with which they can identify in the struggles of Max and Kevin in this book.(less)
After four years of teaching high school, Jonathan Flores has wrote his letter of resignation. When his students demanded to know why. In response...moreWow.
After four years of teaching high school, Jonathan Flores has wrote his letter of resignation. When his students demanded to know why. In response he wrote this book of stories that span his teaching career. His plain, no-nonsense language describes in gritty detail the physical stress and the emotional pain of carrying the weight of society on your back. He details how teachers' lives often become unbalanced, how the students lift you up so high, and how they beat you back into the ground. Stories about class discussions are hilarious, while the realities of teen suicide are heart breaking. But these are all things that a teacher bears. I definitely recommend this book to all of my teaching friends, and also to anyone considering becoming a teacher. This is how it is.(less)
When I asked a minister at church for devotional recommendations, this was one of many books he handed to me days later in a very heavy bag. It was on...moreWhen I asked a minister at church for devotional recommendations, this was one of many books he handed to me days later in a very heavy bag. It was one of the first books I was drawn to. I love history! And these mini-biographies sparked interest in people, communities, and historical events that had me spending hours on the internet doing research. The more I read about the saints (and other compassionate figures) the more inspired I become to be prayerful and more purposeful in worship and my own life. Not all of the "saints" in the book are saints, and a few aren't even Christian. But the legacies they have left to the world do, or should, affect our Christian points of view, and at least make us more aware of what we are committing ourselves to when we call ourselves "Christians."