Tag Archives: #AmericanLibraryAssociation

Perfect. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Perfect Cecilia Ahern

Perfect by Cecilia Ahern

She was once thought of as Perfect. By her boyfriend, by her teachers, by her sister and by her classmates. Then she was branded as Flawed

One of the last things Celestine North’s mom told her to do was run. Run from Bosco Crevan Celestine ran and hiding at her grandfather’s farm put his life in jeopardy and sent him to Highland Castle. So Celestine is on the run again.

She desperately wants to find Carrick, but instead, he finds her. He takes her to a “safe” place, but they both know that being safe and hidden is not what they want. But leaving safety is a tough decision when your face is plastered on every newscast and billboard as a dangerous criminal and there are whistleblowers looking for you everywhere. 

Perfect. A Propensity to Discuss review.

And then there is the issue of trust. The only people she knows with absolute certainty that she can trust are her mom, dad, and sister and she can’t risk her life or theirs to be near them. She is basically on her own, with Carrick by her side, even when small doubts about him trickle in. She has become the face of a very quiet, very hopeful revolution and it is not something she takes lightly. But the thought that she has no one to trust terrifies her, almost as much as Mary May and Bosco Craven do.

Cecilia Ahern has created a Perfect sequel to the unputdownable Flawed (click here for my review of Flawed) I received this book last night and finished it this afternoon. It was also really unputdownable for me. It was so good that I may go back and read both of them again, and I very rarely, if ever, re-read books. There are just too many others to get out there waiting. But this series, to me, is that great!

Flawed and Perfect are absolutely my favorite dystopian story ever. And I love dystopian novels and have read more than my fair share of them. These are not-to-be-missed books!

5 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

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7 reasons I let my kids read any book they wanted. A Propensity to Discuss post.

7 reasons I let my kids read any book they wanted

If you read my post  One note that rocked my world…for the best, you know that I was allowed to read anything I wanted. As an adult, a teacher, and still a voracious reader, I have come to realize how important reading is to education, growth, and mental development. That being said, the reasons I let my kids read anything they wanted is that I came to realize why my parents did the same for me.

Why am I worried about this, you ask? Kids today don’t read! No, no! Not so fast with that assumption! A study of more than 6,000 Americans by the Pew Research Center proves that Millennials are reading more books than the over-30 crowd. (LaFrance) My worry is that so many parents are blocking kids from reading what they want and that not only terrifies me, but it drives me crazy! Here are my reasons why:

(1) Reading teaches more than any teacher ever will.

Put your claws up, I’m a teacher, too, so I am NOT taking away anything from teachers! Teachers are amazing! But reading, well, reading is so much more!

Think about it this way. A student picks up a fiction book and starts to read. Maybe the book is set in Australia. Does he learn anything about Australia? Yes, climate, culture, the people. A whole geography lesson…and no one forced him to learn it. Another student is reading a fictional account of a girl in North Korea and her eyes are opened to other places where freedom is not something to take for granted.

7 reasons I let my kids read any book they wanted. A Propensity to Discuss post.

There are only so many teacher lectures that will get through to students, and then they have to start seeing things for themselves and experiencing them in order to be able to really understand them. Short of traveling to Australia or North Korea (good luck with that one) reading leads them into that understanding. Even if it is fictional, it has to have a plausibility of truth and that truth is where learning lies.

(2) Reading encourages imagination.

Imagination is a good thing. Kids who have a good imagination are capable of entertaining themselves, and for tired parents, parents who need some adult conversations, or parents who don’t want children who are completely dependent on them for everything, that is a great skill to develop.

Kids who have great imaginations grow up to be adults who are capable of thinking outside the box, a skill that is highly sought after by employers.

(3) Reading helps develop better writing skills and strengthens critical thinking skills.

While thinking outside the box is a great skill, being able to write well and get those thoughts across is just as important when looking for a job. Not to mention getting through high school and college.

There are basically 6 actionable critical thinking skills for which employers look: Interpretation, analysis, inference, evaluation, explanation, and self-regulation. All of these can be fine-tuned through independent reading. Every single one. (Tilus)

(4) For readers, it is not the words, but the story.

“But some books have bad words! And what about ‘inappropriate’ content?” To this my answer has a few parts:

(a) No matter how protective you are, your child is going to hear/read/ and yes, even say those words eventually.

(b) Avid readers generally gloss over the actual words in a story and it is the content they concentrate on, not the individual words.

(c) Read the book at the same time and if there is content that makes you uncomfortable, talk with them openly and honestly about it. That is so much healthier than the head in the sand approach to sensitive topics.

Wouldn’t you rather your kids learn the truth from you rather than the generally uneducated gossiping and giggling in the school bathroom?

(5) Gives them more to talk about and encourages maturity and by the way, the world does not shield them.

Need something interesting to talk to your kids about during dinner that they won’t roll their eyes and tell you things like “I’m fine. School is fine. My friends are fine.”

7 reasons I let my kids read any book they wanted. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Remember I said you could read the same book?  Imagine the conversations from that. No eye rolling (unless you come out with a plot-spoiler).

When was the last time the public as a whole did everything in their power to shield a young child from the realities of the world? Have you seen the news? They show pretty much anything they want these days with a simple “This video may be hard for some viewers to watch” statement. Have you seen what is on TV? Oh. My. Goodness. I do not profess to be a prude by any means, but there are just some things I don’t want to see at 7:30 p.m.

Also, when was the last time you went to a sporting event? The language! So, if you don’t want your child to see and hear these things, are you going to be there with a blindfold and sound-masking headphones for your child every second of every day?

If not, then you need to teach them the good, bad and the ugly long before they reach kindergarten and keep on teaching it to them. Then trust that you have instilled in them a healthy dose of rational “this is good…that is bad…that is disgusting” ideology and let them out of that bubble!

(6) I would rather they know what they are reading is allowed and they can (had to) discuss it with me.

I have a student (I’ll refer to her as Suzy) who loves to read and loves to discuss books with me. One day one of her parents called to tell me that Suzy was far too young to have checked out a certain book and could not believe that it was even an option in the school library.

Parent: That book is full of sex scenes and profanity and people having affairs. I am appalled that you have the nerve to even own that book!

Me: So, you’ve read it, then?

Parent: No, my spouse read part of it and it was so terrible, it was not even finished.

Me: I was wondering, because I have read it and I don’t remember any sex, there were no extra-marital affairs and very little profanity, that I remember.

I then explained the “Not the words, but the story” theory. The parent stated that this 11th-grade student was not mature/smart enough to understand that “real people don’t act like that.”

In the end, Suzy was not allowed to have the book checked out, even though her prior conversations with me about the book allowed me to know that she did, in fact, know that it was a work of fiction, that what they were doing was morally wrong and that, yes, in fact, some people do act like that.

One of my initial reactions is to think “Wow, you don’t have any faith in your own parenting skills, do you?”

Trust your child. Talk to them about the book. Explain why you have reservations, and allow them to make their own decisions. I mean, surely no one reads a book about a fictional bank robbery to learn to become a bank robber. Do they?

7 reasons I let my kids read any book they wanted. A Propensity to Discuss post.

(7) Reading fiction promotes empathy.

A study by P. Matthijs Bal and Martijn Veltkamp entitled How Does Fiction Reading Influence Empathy? finds that reading fiction allows us the ability to empathize with others, which improves our social interactions.

This, my friends, is a total parenting WIN-WIN-WIN situation! Are you wondering how this could be? Follow me here.

First, teenagers are still working on the whole empathy thing. They don’t really have their full-tilt, completely functioning, everything works as it will in a few years brain yet. So, eye-rolling is going to happen, but with empathy, perhaps they can start to see your side of the argument about things like curfew, as well.

Second, the more empathy they learn, the more likely they are to consider the feelings of others. Not just other students, but their teachers, their siblings, their parents…see where this is headed?

Third (and there are probably more), they begin to see how their actions affect those around them. How many of you see a piece of paper on the floor at work and leave it there? How many teenagers leave it? Most of them do. But people who empathize with others may look at that and think, there is no reason why I can’t pick that up. There is one company that leaves a piece of trash on the floor as a test. If the applicant doesn’t pick it up, they don’t get the job. This shows both the level of empathy and work ethic of the applicant. In other words “It is my job to help everyone else around here.”

Whew…that’s a lot of reasoning! So, yes, I was allowed to read anything I wanted to read. Yes, my kids were allowed to read anything they wanted to read. Yes, they had to read…even during the summer. But I also read with them and to them and I read my own books while they were reading. We have even had great road trips with audio books for company. Also, they had to discuss their reading with me as they read. This encouraged conversations with them then and now about anything and everything.

So I hope that you will keep on reading, and I hope that you will encourage your kids to read anything they like. Because if they like it, they will read it. Then they will keep going back for more. The more you/they read, the more you/they benefit.

Happy reading!

Let me know what you think!  Do/did your kids read anything and everything? And what about when you were growing up?

 

Citations:

3 Simple Steps to A Well-Read Life. (2016, August 11). Retrieved September 05, 2016, from https://www.bookofthemonth.com/magazine/post/159

Bal, P. M., & Veltkamp, M. (2013, January 30). How Does Fiction Reading Influence Empathy? An Experimental Investigation on the Role of Emotional Transportation. Retrieved September 06, 2016, from http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0055341

LaFrance, A. (2014, September 10). Millennials Are Out-Reading Older Generations. Retrieved September 07, 2016, from http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/09/millennials-are-out-reading-older-generations/379934/

Tilus, G. (2012, November 12). 6 Critical Thinking Skills You Need to Master Now. Retrieved September 07, 2016, from http://www.rasmussen.edu/student-life/blogs/main/critical-thinking-skills-you-need-to-master-now/

The girl with all the gifts. A Propensity to Discuss Post

The girl with all the gifts.

Had I known more about the story of this book, I am not sure I would have read it. I don’t really like this sort of thing.

Boy, oh, boy, would I have missed out! The girl with all the gifts by M. R. Carey is a phenomenal work of fiction. I loved this book. I want there to be another one like it.

I want to read another right now.

No one, except Miss Justineau talks to her or her fellow students No one touches them. No one loves them. Or even likes them.

Melanie is a very intelligent child with a curiosity that knows no bounds. She has some idea that she is different. But she has no idea just how different she truly is. She loves learning, books, and Miss Justineau. She has friends in her class. Having her legs, arms and neck strapped into a wheelchair  to make her short trek to her classroom is, to her and her classmates, completely normal.

What Melanie does not have is a mother or father. At least that she knows of. She does not have a real home. She lives in the basement on an army base in the middle of no where. Every weekday morning on Base Echo Melanie is taken from the only home she has ever known, a locked cell, to a classroom.

She thinks. She has feelings. She is alive. Or is she?

Ophiocordyceps unilateralis has invaded the bodies and taken over the minds of the majority of the population. There is no cure. Within hours of being infected, the fungus takes over the mind and the body is merely a shell of its former self. With one need: Protein. And one main source: Blood.

Melanie carries the fungus inside her. But for some reason, her brain has not been completely taken over. It is up to scientists to learn why this is so, and to hopefully find a cure, or at least a vaccination.

The children are the key to those findings.

I have never watched a zombie movie. I have never watched a zombie TV show. My nephew has tried to get me into the “Walking Dead” phenomena, but this may change my mind.

This is now one of my favorite books. Add to the terrifyingly beautiful story the voice of Finty Williams in the audiobook version and what you have, in my opinion,  is a true work of literary art.

I was very satisfied with the way the book ended, and extremely saddened by the fact that it did end. A wonderful work that I believe will stand the test of time.

The other woman...A Propensity to Discuss Post

The other woman…

So I spent the day in without power due to an ice storm. Not fun. Except for the fact that I had just yesterday downloaded a new book, The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan.

I have to confess that in the beginning, I was a bit confused. It was at the end of the audio book, during an interview with the author that I realized there are three books before this one. I will have to go back to those to catch myself up. But in this I face a dilemma: Read the next one, or the ones before? Hmmm…I suppose it will have to be all of them!

The audio book version is read by one of my absolute favorite readers, Ilyana Kadushin. I have listened to several books read by her and I searched her name to find a new book to listen to, and that is how I found The Other Woman.

The other woman...A Propensity to Discuss Post

The other woman…A Propensity to Discuss Post

That being said, this was a good book, filled with twists and turns and a few shocks here and there.

Owen Lassiter is running for Senate, his wife Moira thinks he is having an affair.

Moira contacts Jane Ryland, a former television anchor who is now working for a newspaper due to losing a million dollar defamation lawsuit. The lawsuit, based on Jane’s protection of a source that she would never give up, was the reason Moira trusted her to look into the scandal “off the record.”

What ensues is a cat and mouse game of scandal, threats, murder and mayhem.

Add to that Detective Jake Brogan who is only a friend to Jane, no matter how much either of them would like the relationship to progress further. Brogan is investigating a series of murders in the area that all seem connected, although he is certain they are not.

What is connected, however, are the murders Brogan is investigating, and the stories that Jane is chasing.

Bring all of that together and you have a really good story of espionage, disloyalty, deceit subterfuge that is sure to delight thrill seeking mystery lovers of all ages.

The other woman...A Propensity to Discuss Post

The other woman…A Propensity to Discuss Post

I highly recommend this book, and as with all books read by Ilyana Kadushin, the audio version is masterful.

 

The girl on the train.

The girl on the train by Paula Hawkins is a one of the best psychological thrillers I have read in a very long time.

The girl on the train A Propensity to Discuss Post

The girl on the train A Propensity to Discuss Post

The twists and turns leave you shocked right to the very end. And, trust me, you may think you have it figured out a few times during the story, but you don’t. You do not.

Rachel, an alcoholic, is divorced and lives with her somewhat sympathetic roommate, Cathy. Rachel rides train into London each day to hide the fact that she lost her job in a drunken stupor.

In a cruel twist of fate, the train takes her right past number twenty-three Blenheim road where she lived for five years with her husband.

Tom is the long-suffering ex-husband of Rachel who tries his best to keep Rachel’s drunk antics from tearing apart his new marriage.

Anna is the mistress turned wife to Tom and the bane of Rachel’s existence. Of course, Rachel is the person Anna hates most in the world. She fears her, not just for herself, but also fears what Rachel might do to Evie, the daughter Anna has with Tom.

Jess/Meghan lives at number fifteen Blenheim Road. She is beautiful and lively and in Rachel’s mind, she is everything that Rachel misses about her old life.

Jason/Scott is Jess/Meghan’s husband. Handsome, loving, adoring. Rachel’s dream life would include a man who treats her the way he treats his wife.

Of course, Rachel doesn’t really know Jason and Jess, she has only passed their house every weekday on her way to and from London. She has made for them the life she wants for herself.

On a drunken Saturday night, Rachel travels to Blenheim Road to confront Tom and Anna one more time. The next morning she remembers nothing. Has no idea how she came to have a huge cut and bump on her head. And Jess/Meghan is missing.

Terrified that she may actually have seen something from that night and feeling that she “knows” Meghan, Rachel gets herself very well caught up in the investigation. A few lies here and there to cover her excessive drinking, and then a few more to cover the ones she has already told.

Soon she is so caught up in the investigation that she actually puts herself into danger to find out what happened to her and to Meghan that night.

And you will not believe what actually happened.

You will not believe it. Except that you do. You knew the truth in your heart all along. Just as Rachel did.

And you will not believe it.

This book is a MUST for anyone who likes psychological thrillers and mysteries.

An absolute MUST if you liked Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

An absolute MUST if you like to read.

An absolute MUST if you don’t like to read. For this will make you love reading. 

I can only hope and pray that Paula Hawkins is working on another novel and that it is released soon. Very soon!

 

The audio book version of The girl on the train is performed by Clare Corbett as Rachel, Louise Brealey as Meghan, and India Fisher as Anna. These three actors are perfect choices for these characters.

While Clare Corbett is a sensitive voice for Rachel, India Fisher comes across as angry and domineering, which is exactly what I expected from Anna. She was spot-on!

Louise Brealey lends a breathless air to Meghan and at times has quite a Keira Knightly sound to her voice, which I found extremely pleasing. I fell in love with Meghan through the voice of Brealey.

All in all they are exactly as I would imagine these women to speak. I highly recommend the audio version to go along with your reading experience.

Dont try to find me A Propensity to Discuss Post

Don’t Try To Find Me…

Note: If you are reading this in Google Chrome, there may be info missing, as sometimes (I cannot figure why) numbers do not show in my blog posts on Chrome.

Don’t try to find me by Holly Brown

A husband who is caught up in his own world. A wife who needs more from her husband.

A husband with something to prove. A wife with something to hide.

A father who is always working. A mother lost in her problems.

A father who pushes his daughter to excel. A mother who wants to give her daughter space.

A 14-year-old daughter who runs away.

A full-fledged social media campaign to bring that daughter home.

A father consumed with the campaign.

A mother terrified of the campaign.

A daughter who doesn’t want to be found.

When Marley left home, it was of her own free will. But throughout the search, almost no one believes that. When the Find Marley Facebook page goes live, so do the rumor mills, the speculations and the accusations.

Paul, Marley’s father, is a workaholic who focuses all of his energy and ambition at the social media campaign to find his daughter. He knows he and his wife have nothing to hide, so the campaign will do nothing but bring attention to their missing daughter and bring her home.

 

Rachel, Marley’s mother, knows she has something to hide. From Paul. From Marley. From the detective. From the world. A few little white lies won’t hurt anything. Or will they? When those lies are exposed, Rachel becomes chief suspect in Marley’s disappearance.

Marley has everything to hide. From her parents. From the world. And now from the one she left home to be with. Nothing is as it really seems for Marley. But she knows she never wants to go home again.

As the media campaign soars, so does the speculation. The story, told through the voices of Rachel and Marley, shows the damage that can be done when secrets and assumptions are made. When families forget to communicate, or maybe just want to believe that everything is fine. Because admitting problems would mean having to work admit those problems and to work to correct them.

Assuming everything is alright is so much easier.

Until it is too late.

This is a must read book. Along the lines of Gone Girl, but not quite so demented. This is a very good read. This is a really good have-to-find-out-who’s-lying-now page turning book. And I suggest it to you  as highly recommended!

In “real life,” Holly Brown works as a marriage and family therapist blogging at PsychCentral.com.

 

The audio book version of the Don’t try to find me is a terrific accompaniment to the book. For those of you who have never tried an audio book, this would be a great place to start. Hillary Huber, Angela Goethals, James Fouhey are the actors who read the story and each does a phenomenal job with the character they portray.

Hillary Huber is the voice of Rachel and in her voice you believe that she is raw and emotional and that there are a few things in her life she has to hide.

Angela Goethals (one of the former Home Alone siblings) does an amazing job as Marley. There is desperation in her voice that is almost tangible.

Last, but certainly not least, James Fouhey lends just enough of an eerie air to round out the audible version of this book.

All in all, this is one of the great audio versions of books that can be found on Audible.

So you think you know your library/media center? A Propensity to Discuss post.

So you think you know your library media center?

All libraries are the same. In some ways, yes. All libraries have books. All libraries have patrons. All libraries have staff members. And that’s about it. There are different types of libraries/media centers, just as there a different types of stores or doctor’s specialties. Hopefully this post will help clear this one up.

People who work in libraries are always called librarians. Nope. There are librarians, research librarians, media specialists, clerks, paraprofessionals, staff members, and volunteers, to name a few. The terms librarian and media specialist are very similar. Those who work in public libraries are generally called librarians. High schools bounce between librarian and media specialist. Basically, at my school, I am a media specialist because on top of the library services, I perform a great deal of technology related instruction and services. There are also academic librarians (colleges and universities), research librarians (research labs and companies, such as the Centers for Disease Control), special librarians (specific content like the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library).

There is not really any training needed to be a librarian. Actually, I have a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. A master’s degree, or higher, is required to be a librarian/media specialist. Every different type of librarian specialty has its own educational coursework.

Librarians basically just check out books to people. Yes, I do check books out to people, but I do so much more. I help students with research and references. I even proofread their papers, including a large number of them after they head off to college. Gotta love e-mail, even when it drives you crazy. I purchase the books for my media center and no, I don’t just go to a book dealer site and start clicking random books. There is method to my madness, and you can read about that in my post Cute Cover! I’ll take it! I help teachers with lesson plans, even sometimes math plans, and trust me, that is a stretch! I am not a math girl! I spend a great deal of time looking for resources that are helpful to students and teachers, professional development information for teachers. Oh, and e-mail. I read A TON of e-mails! I generally deal with about 180 and 210 e-mails a day. Some days I am still working on those until 10:00 or 11:00 at night. (So sorry to those of you who get my late night answers. I’m a night-owl at heart.)

So you think you know your library/media center? A Propensity to Discuss post.

WFHS MC

Librarians like to keep the library quiet at all times. Those people will “Shush!” you in a heartbeat! Yeah, not all of us. Actually, I have been “shushed” a few times myself, and I am the media specialist! I am a loud person by nature. I like to laugh, sometimes when things don’t go as planned, I make very weird, very loud screeching noises. I have been known to yell across the library to tell a student that the book he/she wanted has just been returned (with a loud “Yippee!” at the end. Are coffee shops quiet? Do people work in those? Yep. So if my media center is a little louder than most, pretend you are in a coffee shop! 🙂

Librarians are boring old women who only like to read. Do I really look old? Wait, don’t answer that! I do have gray hair, but I have had that since I was sixteen years old, and besides, you can only tell that it is gray when I need to re-color it! I have a few wrinkles, but other than that, I am pretty young. I do not have a big gray bun on the nape of my neck. I wear contacts (and sometimes glasses) but that is not due to age! And boring? I am no where near boring! Loud, sarcastic and hopefully funny, yes. Boring? NO! 

So you think you know your library/media center? A Propensity to Discuss post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No one needs librarians anymore because you can find anything on Google. Yes, because everything you find on the internet is true, right? Check out this post from The Daily Banter: This website tricked dumb people with fake news, and is making money doing it. No, there is no religion based on Beyonce. Need another example? Have you heard that Coca-Cola is recalling millions of bottles of Coke with the name Michael on the label? Not true! Of course, if you want to save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus from becoming extinct, check out this website. And if you want to know what is going on in the world of science meets technology meets medicine, go to RYT Hospital’s website. Very interesting things happening on here!

Media specialists don’t really know what teachers do. The majority of media specialist have education degrees and have taught for years before finding out how wonderful it is to be a media specialist. I spent seventeen wonderful years as a classroom teacher. Been there. Done that. Loved i.! Love this even more.

So you think you know your library media center? A Propensity to discuss post.

Said no librarian ever.

It must be nice to get paid to read all day. I would certainly think so! But I have no idea, you’d have to ask someone who gets paid to read all day!When someone finds a job that lets you read all day, please, please, please let me know. I will be the first to apply!

Being a librarian/media specialist must be really boring. Absolutely not! Interesting? Yes. Trying at times? Yes. Fun? Yes. Rewarding? Yes. Having a student tell you “I don’t read.” and then finding a book they love and having them come back to check out different books again and again. That is rewarding! Helping a student research a topic and helping them realize that search engines really don’t have all the answers…that is rewarding. Having former students contact you from college and ask you to help them with a research paper or to tell you they appreciate how you helped them…oh, so rewarding! Collaborating a teacher to help make a boring topic a lesson that students enjoy learning…Awesome! Never doing the same tasks two days in a row? Phenomenal! Boring? NO WAY!