Thursday, April 26, 2012

How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: And Other Adventures in Parenting by Mei-Ling Hopgood

How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm by Mei-Ling Hopgood
Mei-Ling shares her story of parenting her daughter in Argentina and seeing the difference in parenting styles there from the US. She also shares research and things that she learned from people who live in various countries about the different philosophies and styles of parenting. Here in the US, we tend to study parenting as a science and feel that there is a "best" way to raise children. From eating to sleeping to potty training, play, work and school, children are raised in a variety of ways around the world and they generally do fine with however they are raised. Kids are pretty resilient.
It is interesting to learn how babies are cared for in different ways around the world and the different approaches to sleep schedules, school, work and even bullying. I enjoyed this book very much and recommend it highly to parents!       

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
This is a seriously intense book about 18 year old Lia, who suffers from anorexia. Her best friend Cassie, whom she has been estranged from for the past 6 months, has been found dead in a hotel room.
Lia's cell phone shows that Cassie had called her repeatedly in the last two days of her life.
As Lia spirals further into anorexia, she remembers her relationship with Cassie, who suffered and died from bulimia.
The book is raw and chilling, and shows the insanity that goes on in the thoughts of anorexic girls as it is written in a lyrical, slightly insane sounding style of writing.
Thought provoking discussion questions are included at the end of the book.       

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spirit Fighter by Jerel Law

Spirit Fighter by Jerel Law
This is a fantasy story for Christian kids. I think it is written to appeal to those parents who don't like the Harry Potter type books because they believe anything about witchcraft is evil and who don't like the Percy Jackson books because they are about the Greek (false)gods.  In this book, instead of witchcraft or ancient gods and goddesses, we have kids who are one quarter angel. Their mother is a nephilim, daughter of a human mother and father who is a fallen angel.  So, 12 year old Jonah and his younger sister Eliza are sent on a mission to rescue their mother when she is kidnapped by the fallen angels who have some sort of plot to destroy the world.  With Henry, their guardian angel, and Elohim, the name they call God in this book,on their side, Jonah and his sister are guaranteed victory.  The story is a well-written adventure although it is rather predictable.  The kids, being one quarter angel, have superpowers given to them by Elohim. I am not sure if I am thrilled about God being a character in a book along with angels with superpowers fighting the bad guys.  If that does not bother you though, then you will probably enjoy this book.  I received this book free to review from booksneeze.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fearless Knitting Workbook by Jennifer E. Seiffert

Fearless Knitting Workbook
I can tell that the author of this book likes math. I hate math. Math is my nemesis. I think that I need more right brain friendly explanations of knitting. The concept of this book is great. And it probably works well for people who are good at math and spatial relationships. I know that knitting patterns are mathematical and I like that this author tries to demystify knitting by helping the knitter to learn how to "read" the knitting and fix mistakes. It sounds like such a helpful and wonderful concept. And I really would love to understand it. But it is just way too much like math.
And I just don't get it. It makes my brain hurt to try to understand this book.
However, for those people who like and are good at math, it is probably very helpful. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball

The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball
This is a very interesting story about how Kristin and her husband met and how they began running their organic CSA farm.
Although Mark knew how to farm, he knew little about animals and together they learned how to plow using draft horses, raise cows, pigs and chickens and how to breed, slaughter and butcher animals.
She tells how they ate parts of animals that most of us do not want to eat and how cats helped rid their old farmhouse of rats.
It is quite a different life from how Kristen grew up, but it sounds like she is enjoying it.
The food sounds great, and after reading the book, I am sure I would much rather pay money to participate in a CSA than to actually run one the way they do.      
Here is her blog:

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

This book is written as a series of letters. First, Celie, a poor black girl is writing letters to God, then later, she writes them to her sister Nettie. Shen never gets replies to the letters so they are more narrative than conversational. Celie is raped and abused by her stepfather, then later married off to a man who also abuses her. She meets and falls in love with Shug, the woman her husband loves, and Shug helps Celie learn that she is a worthwhile person. Later in the book, we learn that Mr._____, Celie's husband, has been hiding Nettie's letters and when she finds them, she begins reading them and we learn her sister's story as well. The stories intertwine and through them we see all the characters in the story grow and change and go through a lifetime of hurts and healings and emotions.
I like that the characters are neither all good nor all bad, but rather just human.         

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman

Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots

Deborah grew up in a Hasidic Jewish community in New York. It is a world that most of us know little to nothing about and those who live there know little about the rest of the world. It is a self-segregated community that polices itself, fears the rest of the world and in many ways reminds me of what I have read about the polygamous Mormon communities. Women are not allowed to finish high school, but rather are married off at age 17 in arranged marriages and are expected to have as many children as they can. They are considered inferior to men and in some Hasidic communities, cannot even walk on the same sidewalks with men. Deborah was supposed to read only approved Yiddish literature, but her love for and desire to read books in English, which she sneaks into libraries to check out and hides under her mattress, shows her that another world does exist and plants the seed that will eventually help her to escape from the cloistered and censored existence she has been forced to live in all of her life.
Deborah shares her story in this well-written and gripping story. 

The Bite of the Mango by Mariatu Kamara with Susan McClelland

The Bite of the Mango by Mariatu Kamara
So sad. In 1999, Mariatu was 12 years old when armed rebels attacked her village in Sierra Leone and cut off her hands. She survived and got medical help only to find out that she was pregnant. The story of her survival and eventual education is powerful and inspiring and she is trying to get the story out to help others in her country as well.
I highly recommend this book.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead

The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead
Mystery, intrigue, traveling through time and space! Bad guys who always seem to be a step ahead of the good guys - how do they do that? In this story, Kit's great grandfather appears and tells Kit that he can travel through time and space. After a brief journey, which makes him late to his girlfriend's house, Kit brings Mina, his girlfriend, to the ley line to prove to her that he had been telling the truth and had traveled through time. Mina, however wound up in a different time and place than Kit did and we follow the two of them in their different adventures as Kit tries to help his uncle look for the mysterious skin map and Mina finds that her skills are quite useful in the past. I enjoyed this book very much and am going to read the next book now to find out more about their travels through the Omniverse.        

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Epitaph Road by David Patneaude

Epitaph Road by David Patneaude
In the year 2097, most of the world's male population has been wiped out by a virus known as Elisha's Bear. Women rule the world and don't allow many male children to be born and several repeated epidemics of the Bear have the remaining males fearing for their lives. 14 year old Kellen lives with his mother and other women. Then he learns that the Bear was not an accident. Together with his friend Tia, he faces trials as he tries to find his father and save him from the next epidemic. Together they try to find a way to change the future.        

Floors by Patrick Carman

Floors Book 1
This is a fun fantasy book about 10 year old Leo Fillmore, who works with his father who is the maintenance man at the Whippet Hotel, which was built by Merganzer Whippet and is filled with wacky inventions. The hotel includes a cake room, a pinball machine room, a flying farm room and a haunted room and floors that no one knows about. When Mr. Whippet has been missing for months and things start to go wrong with the hotel, Leo receives a mysterious message that says it is up to him to save the hotel. Together with his new friend Remi and with Betty the duck, of course - one should always bring a duck - Leo tries to save the hotel while keeping out of the way of the rather dreadful Ms. Sparks. Full of fun, this book is an intriguing adventure rather similar to Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.