Search This Blog

Monday, March 19, 2018

Please Stop Helping Us - Jason L. Riley

How has having a black president changed America? What does the American black culture look like and how does it influence those who live in it? Are social programs like unemployment really helping the poor? Does mixing kids from different neighborhoods at school help? Is affirmative action helping people reach goals they wouldn't otherwise reach?

In this provocative work, Riley takes a deeper look at the ideas most people consider are improving opportunities to show how they may just be hurting those they are meant to help. For anybody looking for a different perspective on social and government policies I think this is a fantastic book to get the wheels turning. The author is not suggesting abolishment of these policies by any means, but he is suggesting it's time to revisit them to see if there is a better way to serve those who most need help.

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Book of Joan - Lidia Yuknavitch

In the future the earth is so ravaged from war that humanity has had to retreat to artificial platforms high above the earth. The humans that have survived the radiation are barely identifiable as humans any more,
their bodies hairless and sexless. Among this chaos a personage named Jean de Men emerges, taking control of the CIELs as a corporate police state. An unlikely heroine emerges named Joan emerges and inspires a rebellion. Her martyrdom brings forth a revolution that nobody could anticipate.

With vulgar descriptions of sex and violence many readers may find themselves challenged when reading this book. The book gave me a lot to think about when it comes to sex, gender, sexuality, violence, art, ecosystems, and so much more. I highly recommend this book for somebody who wants to challenge their own thinking.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Red Land, Black Land - Barbara Mertz

Egypt, Red Land and Black Land, is a land with a fascinating history. A civilization who settled and cultivated a harsh land. In this book, Mertz presents detailed descriptions of the every day life of the Egyptians in a natural progression starting from childbirth and up to old age. How babies were cared for, what games children played,
what pets they had, what food they ate, what they did for work and how they worked, what they believed about gods and the afterlife are all included for readers to learn and enjoy.

Mertz style of narration is honest and sometimes humorous. Her writing style is a primary factor in my enjoying this piece so much.
For anybody looking to learn more about the Ancient Egypt and their way of life, I highly recommend this book.

Friday, March 9, 2018

The Absorbent Mind - Maria Montessori

Montessori spent decades observing and challenging children to discovery how their minds work and what methods were most effective in their educational career. Her discoveries changed how we approach not just children's education, but also how we treat children.

Among the many fascinating topics within this work are Four Planes or Development, the development of language skills, physical skill development, character development, and teaching techniques.

Perhaps the most enlightening revelation Montessori revealed with her work, for her time, was how self-driven and capable children can be when given the opportunity to do things themselves.

Montessori's research and results continue to be replicated in controlled environments in child development research, proving the truth in her methods. I hope that for years to come both parents and educators will read, appreciate, apply her philosophy to help children develop into capable and responsible adults.

Books by the Author:
The Secret of Childhood
The Montessori Method
Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook

Recommended Reads:
The Joyful Child - Susan Mayclin Stephenson
Montessori from the Start - Paula Polk Lillard, Lynn Lillard Jessen
Elevating Childcare - Janet Lansbury

Monday, March 5, 2018

Between Two Fires - Christopher Buehlman

In the year 1348 the Black Death is spreading across the countryside. A disgraced knight named Thomas was traveling with a gang of men without incident until they threatened a strange orphan girl with violence. Delphine only proves to be stranger as she tells him of the battle between heaven and the fallen angels. She insists she must travel to Vatican City. Despite his misgivings, Thomas eventually decides to act as her guardian on her journey.

Along the way they see the destruction the Black Death has had not only upon the physical landscape and the people, but also the moral decay that comes with desperation. Eventually, the evil that Thomas sees around him manifests within himself and he must fight it himself.

The first thing I'd warn the reader about is Thomas's creative foul language that goes beyond the typical curses found in most books. This surreal novel captures the horror of the Black Death and the desperation of people living in such dire circumstances. The ending was truly bizarre and even after chewing on it for a while, I'm not sure what to make of it. I enjoyed the journey, but not sure I was satisfied with the ending.

More from the Author:
Those Across the River
The Necromancer's House
The Lesser Dead

Friday, March 2, 2018

Mother Earth - Trista Hendren

Like any parent, Mother Earth is tired. Although she tries her best to nurture us, we continue to abuse her through our actions.

Through the use of allegory, beautiful and sometimes abstract painted illustrations, and accompanying quotes, this book hopes to bring people's awareness to the dangers of our behaviors on the environment.

For those who want to help their children understand environmental concerns in a more humanizing fashion, this is a fantastic piece to read together and discuss how to improve the world.

More by the Author:
The Girl God
Tell me Why
Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak

Related Works:
Children of the Earth Remember - Schim Schimmel

Monday, February 26, 2018

ShadowFighteR I - Nostalgia Edition - Jen Archer

Erin Allen was just a normal high school student until the day a poster goes up in flames from her thoughts. Her newfound powers plunge her straight into a war that has been raging between good and evil since the beginning of time. Her connection to the ancient power that so few possess makes her a precious commodity to both sides. With those powers come memories from another time that will help her in making her decision for this life. Will she choose a life of fame and fortune promised by the Shadow or a uncertain fate of friendship that the Light offers? Either way dire consequences are sure to threaten herself and those she loves.

This story was originally conceived by the author during her teens and written for both herself and her friends to enjoy. I thoroughly enjoyed this the first time through back in the 90s. Rereading this as an adult I found myself giggling at the dramatic dialogue, but also touched by the emotional trauma the Erin and her friends must endure with their fight against the opposing side. Those who still enjoy the 90s version of Sailor Moon will find kinship in this story of good versus evil, filled with destined love, elemental powers, and even time travel.

Books in the Series:
ShadowFighteR II - Nostalgia Edition

Other Works by the Author:
Would Virgins Taste Better?