Reading List June 2009

1.  Math Doesn’t Suck by Danica McKellar:  “Winnie” from The Wonder Years is all grown up and sharing her love of math with teenage girls.  It’s a fun little tutorial for girls that are struggling with math-phobia with lots of encouragement to no longer fear being labeled “smart”.  Personally, this was kind of like a trip down memory lane.  Terms like “prime factorization”, “greatest common factor”, and “lowest common multiple” have had no relevance in my life in close to 15 years.  As I looked through this book, I became increasingly aware that one reason most people despise math is because it is taught in ways that have no relevance to students beyond its effect on their grade point average.  I use math every day in cooking, shopping, and budgeting, but I vary rarely think about the terminology or protocols involved.  Again this reinforces, the ways my children should be able to experience math in more real-world situations by being homeschooled than they would by studying it strictly in textbooks and on blackboards.  I guess I already wrote that post, though.  (See “Mathematician’s Lament”)

2.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling:   After re-reading Half-Blood Prince last month, it seemed natural to re-read book 7.  I spent one late night hyped up on caffeine pondering where they will split the book, what scenes will be omitted, and which concepts will be combined when they make it into two movies.  That might require its own Harry Potter Predictions post down the road.

3.  Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs by Molly Harper:  Harper is a fellow WKU graduate who apparently used to write for the  College Heights Herald, although a year or two after my time on the Hill.  Her debut novel is a cross between Meg Cabot and Anne Rice, which is a good thing in my opinion.  The book is slightly racier than my usual taste but was a fun read, and I plan to keep an eye out for the sequel coming out in a few months.  And who knew that there was actually a genre called “paranormal romance”?

4.  The Well-Trained Mind by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer:  Got its own post.

5.  Lentenlands by Douglas H. Gresham:  An interesting insight into the marriage of C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman through the eyes of Joy’s younger son.

6.  Darth Bane:  Path of Destruction by Drew Karpyshyn    :  I’ve never really been inspired to read the Star Wars prequel novels very much.  I much prefer to keep up with Han, Leia, Luke, and their kids.  This one caught my eye for some reason, and I look forward to reading its sequel soon.

7.  It’s All Too Much by Peter Walsh:  I scanned this book but it’s less about reorganizing your house and more about reorganizing your mindset.  He made a good point about how the cost of replacing something you “might need someday” is often less than the cost of keeping clutter around.

8.  Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready by  June R. Oberlander  :  I was not impressed with this book which lists activities to do each week with your child from birth to age 5.  I found some of the activities really unrealistic for the ages to which they were assigned.  This might be a good book for the first time parent at a loss for something to do or as a random book of ideas, but I don’t think much of it as designed.

9.  Everything You Know Is Wrong by Russ Kick (editor)  : This collection of essays makes one question the difference between a conspiracy theory and good detective journalism.  Of course, it’s easier to believe some of the ones that have actual documentation.

10.  Freedom’s Landing by Anne McCaffrey:  I love McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern series, and I really like the Rowan series, too.  I’ve been kind of hesitant to try some of her other series until now.  I really enjoyed this offering, and I look forward to reading the sequels.

11.  Weapons of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto:  I have so many thoughts about this book swirly in my mind I don’t know where to start.  It definitely needs its own post…or two.

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