So, you had your 2.2 kids and read all the right books, listened to all the right experts, and now you’re an expert too, right? Think again. After raiSo, you had your 2.2 kids and read all the right books, listened to all the right experts, and now you’re an expert too, right? Think again. After raising four children (only one left to put through college) and sitting down to read an adult book or two, I thought there would be nothing new for me to learn about the joys and tortures of parenthood. And then I read NurtureShock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. This book will challenge everything you thought you knew about raising children. This is not a book that proposes the “right way” to raise a child, but rather presents the facts about how the current school of thought on child-rearing actually works (or doesn’t). And just as Steven Levitt accomplishes in his book Freakonomics, which challenges commonly held beliefs on economic issues, Bronson and Merryman support their assertions with reams of research and the results of studies conducted world-wide. Who would have thought that the more you praise a child, the lower their confidence level? Or that an extra hour of sleep may be better for your kid’s IQ than an extra hour of studying? And if your argumentative teen makes you want to pull your hair out, don’t—the alternative is even worse. All this, and more, is waiting for you inside the covers of this intriguing book. The issues covered in NurtureShock concern children at all stages of development, from infancy to the teen years, so all parents are sure to find these insights interesting. But even non-parents will be fascinated by the science behind the information—think of all the fun you’ll have advising your parenting friends and family on what they are doing wrong! Parents love advice from their childless friends . . . Don’t they? ...more
I totally loved the humor in this book, and, although Ryan Dean/Winger is a jerk, I couldn't help loving him! (He is oThis is one of my new favorites!
I totally loved the humor in this book, and, although Ryan Dean/Winger is a jerk, I couldn't help loving him! (He is only 14, after all--let's give him a break.) The author did a fantastic job staying inside Ethan's head, so that his behavior is justified. . . until you consider objectively that he is actually a pretty obnoxious little cuss.
I guess Ryan Dean could have had this A-HA! moment to demonstrate to the reader that he had evolved, but in real life it is often just as Smith writes it--a long, slow, torturous process taking until adulthood.
The other thing I loved about this book was the character of Joey and his relationship with Winger. The way Winger had a very honest curiosity about and acceptance of Joey's homosexuality and yet also still made insensitive remarks about gays was so genuinely high school teen. I also liked that Joey did not fit the stereotype of a gay boy and that he was out, so the subject could be handled openly in the narrative. I thought this aspect of the story was handled very well.
One thing that helps make my long commute bearable is a great audio book, and Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper certainly qualifies! I know the author best aOne thing that helps make my long commute bearable is a great audio book, and Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper certainly qualifies! I know the author best as the writer of fantasy series The Dark is Rising, but I think this historical fiction title is her best yet.
Ghost Hawk starts with the story of Little Hawk, an 11-year-old Pokanoket Indian boy being sent off to spend three months in the winter wilderness with only a knife, a tomahawk, and a bow and arrows. If he survives and returns to his tribe, he will be a man. Little Hawk battles starvation, bitter weather, and wild animals in his struggles to survive on his own. But when he finally returns home to find his village decimated by disease, Little Hawk faces his greatest trial yet.
In an attempt to ensure their survival, the diminished tribal villages negotiate a troubled relationship with the Pilgrim settlers. During a chance meeting between Little Hawk and John Wakeley, a Pilgrim boy from Plymouth, tragedy strikes, and the boys are bound together in a mysterious way. Through this connection, John begins to understand the pain of the Native Americans’ plight and assumes the guilt of their cruel treatment by European settlers.
As tensions between the settlers and the natives escalate, John’s sympathies put him in increasing danger, and he must decide whether to do what is safe, or to do what is right.
Ghost Hawk is filled with adventure, mystery, danger, and even has a little romance. The book is wholly engrossing-- I could not wait to get back in my car to continue listening to it! Cooper’s writing is exquisite and her historical facts are accurate. Many of the major historical figures of the time appear in the story, helping create an air of authenticity.
One thing readers should be aware of: the most pious of the Puritans are presented in a negative light. There are other religious leaders that are more positively presented, but at times I wanted a more rounded point of view.
The author reads a timeline of Native American history and talks a little about her sources at the end of the audio book. So, if, like me, you hate for a great book to end, Cooper gives you some great ideas for where to look next. ...more
From the Amazon.com description: "Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British sFrom the Amazon.com description: "Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother’s death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.
Moving from Addis Ababa to New York City and back again, Cutting for Stone is an unforgettable story of love and betrayal, medicine and ordinary miracles--and two brothers whose fates are forever intertwined."
The twin brothers in this book may be identical, but they are as different in personality as can be. Marion is sensitive and thoughtful, while Shiva is aloof and analytical. Told from Marion's perspective, the story follows the twins as they grow up on the grounds of a missionary hospital in Ethiopia.
Marion is constantly haunted by the mystery surrounding his birth and his missing biological father. As he searches for meaning in his life, his heart opens to another little girl growing up on within the walls of the compound. He cherishes her as Shiva does not, and yet they both vie for her attentions.
As the Ethiopian revolution ramps up, Marion must leave the girl and his country to finish his education in America. There he must continue to find his true self, where he comes from, and where he wants to go while coping with the heartbreak of betrayal.
I loved learning about the culture of Ethiopia through this fictional story. The characters were extremely well developed and the "mystery" of the twins' birth was intriguing. This reads like an epic story, and is very realistic, but with lots of interesting twists and turns.
One of the library's members recommended this book to me, based on the fact that I loved _Cutting for Stone_ (which she also recommended). I loved it.One of the library's members recommended this book to me, based on the fact that I loved _Cutting for Stone_ (which she also recommended). I loved it.
_Snow Flower and the Secret Fan_ shares the story of two young girls who are contractually promised to each other as lifelong friends when they begin the footbinding process at age seven. The girls share the pains of growing up female in a culture that considers women to be burdens on the family. In spite of (or maybe because of)this, they grow to love each other deeply.
One of the fabulous things about this book is the detailed description of 19th century Chinese culture surrounding marriage and family relationships. The matchmaker takes a key role in determining everyone's future relationships, whether through marriage, or as a "laotong"--a young girl's lifelong friend. In the main character Lily's case, the "laotong" is a girl named Snow Flower from another, wealthier village. When Lily and Snow Flower are confined to their houses to begin the long process of learning the women's arts and becoming suitable wives, their relationship begins. This road to womanhood begins with the footbinding process, a ritual that supposedly makes a daughter more marriageable--if she doesn't die from it. Snow Flower visits Lily's home often over the years, sharing the ceremonies that will eventually lead to marriage and becoming a beloved member of Lily's household. Between visits, the girls share their secrets by writing notes to each other on a paper fan using "nu shu," a form of script developed and used by women only. But Lily wonders why Snow Flower never invites her to visit her home.
It is not until Snow Flower's wedding preparation that Lily discovers Snow Flower's ongoing deception about her reduced circumstances. Lily is moved to pity--the beginning of a change in the girls' relationship that continues throughout their marriages to men with very different socio-economic standing. Eventually, a misunderstanding results in catastrophe that will stay with the women for the rest of their lives.
Lisa See did extensive research for this book, which creates a lush and multidimensional setting for her story. The main characters are so deeply developed, that, in spite of their differences in personality, the reader enjoys an intimate understanding of both their behaviors. This is such a well done book, with great historical and cultural detail and with great heart....more
A well-researched novel about a 1930’s era train traveling circus and a young man who escapes the shambles of his life to join it. This story includesA well-researched novel about a 1930’s era train traveling circus and a young man who escapes the shambles of his life to join it. This story includes details on a piece of little-known history (that is well-protected by those who lived it, due to their need to “hide” from animal rights activists, etc.). I think this book will mostly appeal to women. The author creates an exotic setting for forbidden love, and successfully integrates a series of “flash-forwards” to the main character's waning years. I thought the author did a great job making some of the characters very believable--particularly the main characters, although there were times I thought the men on the circus train a little less so. Very interesting, engaging, and well-crafted--be sure to read the end note from the author....more
A Cherokee woman leaves her family to marry a gentle but reserved white mountain man whose brother becomes obsessed with her.
The book contains themesA Cherokee woman leaves her family to marry a gentle but reserved white mountain man whose brother becomes obsessed with her.
The book contains themes such as racism, the difficulty of assimilating into a different culture, adultery, women's independence, and family. It is beautifully written and takes place in a natural setting.
People who enjoy Diana Gabaldon's The Fiery Cross (the saga of Jamie and Claire that chronicles their life in the NC mountains), will enjoy this similar yet more literary story.
A Parchment of Leaves is one of my favorites....more
I listened to this on audio, and it is the best audio book I have ever "read!" British actor Lenny Henry reads the book and is absolutely fantastic, uI listened to this on audio, and it is the best audio book I have ever "read!" British actor Lenny Henry reads the book and is absolutely fantastic, using a variety of voices and accents, making Gaiman's already-compelling characters even more funny and charming. Loved it. I only wish I could find more audio by Lenny Henry . . ....more