Month: February 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society — My Thoughts

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I’m done, and I loved it. Especially the last few pages. I knew approximately how it would end and thought that the authors were taking their time getting to that point, but when the point was FINALLY arrived at, it was charming. Loved it, loved it.

Book Club Selection For March

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In March we are reading The Guernsey Literary And The Potato Peel Pie Society.

I’m on Page 50. So far, it’s good!

Freaknomics Discussion Questions

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Ready for book club? Here are some questions to think about from About.com.

Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner claim there is no unifying theme to Freakonomics. Do you agree? How would you describe the central idea of Freakonomics? What is the purpose of the book?

Why do you think Levitt and Dubner include snippets from the New York Times Magazine article between chapters? What does this add to the book?

Do you buy Levitt and Dubner’s claim that conventional wisdom is often wrong? What is the role of conventional wisdom in society?

Why do you think more parents at the Israeli day care came late after the financial penalty was added? Are their situations in your life where guilt is a better motivator than money?

Do you believe Levitt and Dubner’s findings about Chicago school teachers and sumo wrestlers cheating? Did the findings surprise you?

How do you think the Internet is changing the information advantage of experts and secret societies (like real estate agents and the KKK)?

Were you surprised by how similar the Black Disciples’ organizational structure was to corporations like McDonalds? Why do you think people perceive drug dealers as well off financially?

Do you buy Levitt and Dubner’s argument that the drop in crime in the 1990s was the result of Roe v. Wade? What are the strengths and weaknesses of their argument?

Do you agree that there is little parents can do to influence whether their children are successful? Do you think there are high-end and low-end names?

Rate Freakonomics on a scale of one to five.

Books Every Adult Should Read Before They Die

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This list made me feel smart. It’s the Museum, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA)’s 30 Books Every Adult Should Read Before They Die. I’ve read 8. Guess I cannot die quite yet.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Bible
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
1984 by George Orwell
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
All Quite on the Western Front by E M Remarque
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
Tess of the D’urbevilles by Thomas Hardy
Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Middlemarch by George Eliot
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzenhitsyn

My Review: The Next Thing On My List

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The Next Thing On My List is the story of June who offers a stranger, Marissa, a ride home after a Weight Watcher’s meeting. During the drive, Marissa unbuckles in order to reach her purse. At the same time, June swerves to miss a dresser that has fallen from a truck, flips the car, and Marissa is killed.

Soon after, June finds a list of things that Marissa wanted to complete before her 25th Birthday. Feeling guilty about the accident and lacking direction in her own life, June decides to tackle the list and finish it for Marissa.

Cute but extremely predictable, I recommend this book only if you are looking for a quick, nice read. She does use the F-bomb about 6 times in this book and once June is getting a massage (an item on the list) and she lets her mind wander, but those are the only two things I would warn a potential reader about.

The cover is cute. My daughter thought that it was a book about Fairies.

Enjoy!

ScreamFree Parenting

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I’ve recently been reading ScreamFree Parenting. I’m about 1/3 of the way through the book, and I think that I will quit now since the rest of the book seems geared toward preteens and teens: discussions on respect, privacy, etc.

One of the chapters started with this idea: What kids need are parents who do not NEED their kids.

I have no idea how I feel about that statement. What are your thoughts?

Below is a review of the book if anyone is interested:

ScreamFree Parenting is not just about lowering your voice. It’s about learning to calm your emotional reactions and learning to focus on your own behavior more than your kids’ behavior . . . for their benefit. Our biggest enemy as parents is not the TV, the Internet, or even drugs. Our biggest enemy is our own emotional reactivity. When we say we “lost it” with our kids, the “it” in that sentence is our own adulthood. And then we wonder why our kids have so little respect for us, why our kids seem to have all the power in the family.

It’s time to do it differently. And you can. You can start to create and enjoy the types of calm, mutually respectful, and loving relationships with your kids that you’ve always craved. You can begin to revolutionize your family, starting tonight.

Parenting is not about kids, it’s about parents.
If you’re not in control, then you cannot be in charge.
What every kid really needs are parents who are able to keep their cool no matter what.

Easier said than done? Not anymore, thanks to ScreamFree Parenting, the principle-based approach that’s inspiring parents everywhere to truly revolutionize their family dynamics. Moving beyond the child-centered, technique-based approaches that ultimately fail, the ScreamFree way compels you to:

focus on yourself
calm yourself down, and
grow yourself up

By staying calm and connected with your kids, you begin to operate less out of your deepest fears and more out of your highest principles, revolutionizing your relationships in the process.