Tag: Reading

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Rafe Esquith, an award-winning teacher at Hobart Elementary School in Los Angeles, and the founder of The Hobart Shakespeareans, who annually stage performances of unabridged plays by William Shakespeare. He shares why he founded the award-winning program to teach disadvantaged Los Angeles elementary school students a classical humanities curriculum, the most inspiring experiences and the biggest challenges of teaching highly demanding literary works to young schoolchildren from diverse backgrounds. They explore techniques he uses to help students connect with Shakespeare as well as great authors across the ages.

Stories of the Week: The University of California system agreed Friday to extend its test-free admissions policy through 2025, addressing claims that the use of SAT and ACT results discriminates against applicants based on race, income, and disability. Responding to inequities with regard to internet access that were revealed and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education will subsidize broadband service for millions of underprivileged K-12 students and college students.

My Out-of-Control Reading Queue

 

It’s been a while since I wrote, and I was going to post this to a group, but then things got long and I decided I’m sharing this with everyone. So there. Anyhow, because I can’t just read one thing at a time, like a sane person, I’ve a rather long list of “currently reading” items which I’ll list here (with at least one “just finished”). There are actually several categories and reasons why they appear concurrently in my reading list. If you’re interested in just how distracted my reading mind gets, feel free to read on!

“Peace Talks” by Jim Butcher — The not quite latest in the Dresden saga. Once again, Dresden is in hot water even during Peace Talks amongst the various powers in the magical world. Which makes sense. Nothing is simple for him. The Jim Butcher Exponent of Action remains true in this book — as a Jim Butcher book continues, the action increases exponentially, and thus the longer his books go, the more we approach Infinite Action!

“Galen’s Way” by Richard Paolinelli — An independently published eBook, this falls in the genre of Space Opera, when men are real men, women are real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri are real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. So to speak. This takes place in another galaxy centuries after humanity fled some strange entity’s assault on the Milky Way. There’s action, political skullduggery, and fun stuff like that.

What Killed the Dinosaurs! And You Don’t Look So Terrific Yourself.

 

In 1978, Harlan Ellison published a fine collection of his short stories, called Strange Wine, with an Introduction entitled, “Revealed at Last! What Killed the Dinosaurs! And You Don’t Look So Terrific Yourself.” This was Harlan’s classic broadside against the watching of television.

I was reminded of him while reading a news story headlined: “Almost 40% of university students surveyed are addicted to their phones.” Harlan could have easily updated his Introduction against all of social media. (If you’d like to read the full version of the Introduction, go to Strange Wine on Amazon Kindle, click on the “Look inside” cover image, and scroll down.

NaNoWriMo Victory: I Published a Book!

 

There has been a lot of sadness and negativity in our world so far this year, but I want to share something good with you all: during the stay-at-home months of March and April, I was able to accomplish a goal that I have had for as long as I can remember. All gratitude and praise to Jesus, I have published my first book!

Even before I could read, myself, I was “writing” books. My mom would fold and staple paper into a “book” for me, and then I would draw the pictures and “read” my book aloud. Once I learned how to actually read and write, I didn’t slow down. In fact, my main issue has always been actually finishing something before I move onto another idea. Being a published author is what I have always wanted to do with my life, but I lacked discipline growing up, and then college and working distracted me from my goal.

COVID-19 Symposium: An (Im)movable Feast

 

I won’t pretend that I have a singularly unique quarantine story, or even one anywhere near the hardest. Life could be much, much worse and I am supremely grateful, above all else, that I got a choice in how this happened. When my university decided to move online, a few days after Yale and Columbia began demanding that their exchange students return and we had the first two confirmed coronavirus cases on our campus, my parents began making plans for me to come home before it became impossible. I said no. There were still exams I had to sit in May, I said, and there was no way I was going to be able to study with everyone home, or take my last three weeks of classes over Zoom with our unstable internet connection. One of my classes had yet to go online, and I didn’t want to leave and miss a tutorial. Flight prices were going to skyrocket. And these were all true enough, especially the excuse about exams, but I stayed mostly to keep my family safe. 

This was the first winter and spring in all I could remember that my dad hadn’t caught pneumonia, hadn’t ended up with an inhaler or at the ER, struggling to breathe. So I, who had almost definitely been exposed to the virus on campus, and if not there in our university’s city at large, was going to make a long train trip and go through two airports, one that had been host to thousands of Americans on the continent from heavily infected countries escaping while they still had time, to come home? To potentially kill or do irreparable harm someone I loved? Hell. No. 

Quote of the Day: On the Love of Books

 

“Aren’t we blessed, we who love books?” ― Frances Maureen Richardson

First of all, you’re probably wondering who is Frances Maureen Richardson? I would be shocked if you had heard of her. She’s a friend of mine, a woman in my book club, and a woman who in her senior years wrote and published her first and only novel. The novel is called Not All of Me is Dust. It’s really a fine novel. Twenty reviews on Amazon and all gave it five stars, and other than a couple of friends she has no idea who those reviewers are. You can read about her book here.

Member Post

 

I am trying to read more this year and I have a stack of non-fiction to read. But if I read that before bed I will keep myself awake trying to solve the worlds problems(update: so far unsuccessful)  I need fiction book recommendations that I can read before bed. I would like to find something […]

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Member Post

 

On January 16 I wrote a post about my reading plan for 2019, my failure and my hope ( http://ricochet.com/710920/reading-in-the-winter-of-discontent/).  As the product of the Ricochetti tend to be, the comments were filled with morale-boosting wisdom. Thanks, Clifford Brown, for “hosting” this group! Preview Open

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Reading in the Winter of Discontent

 

BooksA year ago I wrote an article called “Keeping Up” (published elsewhere) about my reading plan for 2019. I noted that since I have fewer reading years ahead of me than behind me, it would be a good use of my time to plan the coming year. It is part of my winter of discontent that I failed to keep that plan.

Not that my plan wasn’t good. To quote myself:

Next, read categories: This year you will read classics, next year economics. I know it is important to read broadly, but not indiscriminately. When I do that, my reading descends into pulp fiction or works of slight worth.

Quote of the Day: Reading

 

“A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.” – Mark Twain

I may have some advantages. I have been a reader since first grade, nearly 60 years. Over that period I have been an engineer, a quality-assurance manager, a navigator, a technical writer, and an author. Reading has been the key to all of those careers. My ability to absorb information through the printed word has allowed me to succeed in each of those fields.

The 5 Best Books We Read in 2019

 

The book-lovers at Goodreads asked their members to select their favorite books of 2019. After 4.7 million votes, here are the top five:

  • The Testaments, Margaret Atwood
  • Daisy Jones & The Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Red, White & Royal Blue, Casey McQuiston
  • The Institute, Stephen King
  • The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides

Didn’t read any of ’em. Over the past few years, I’ve focused on classics since I spent my school years on stuff like The Lord of the Rings and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I created a Goodreads account, which allows you to track and rate what you read, and set goals for how many books you want to knock out in the coming year.

I’ve been setting my annual goal based on the year (17 books for 2017, 18 for 2018, etc). This year I overshot my goal a bit with 21 titles; nothing like last year where I devoured 54 — that was overkill and I don’t recommend it.

Member Post

 

I’m reading some vintage Peter Mayle this summer. I just finished Hotel Pastis. It’s a treasure – crime, romance, humor, wine, a new career, what’s not to like? It would be a great movie. It seems some famous married producer/director couple almost made it a movie, but didn’t – so there’s still an opportunity. I […]

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Member Post

 

“A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.” – Mark Twain Yesterday someone asked me about the books I review, how I decide to pick them, and how I got into reviewing books. I read. Boy, do I read. I have always been a voracious reader – even in first […]

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City Journal editor Brian Anderson joins Vanessa Mendoza, executive vice president of the Manhattan Institute, to discuss Brian’s summer and vacation reading list.

Summer is traditionally a time when Americans can catch up on books that they’ve been meaning to read (or reread). We asked Brian to talk about what books are on his list this year, how he decides what to read, and more.

Member Post

 

“Up in this air you breathed easily, drawing in a vital assurance and lightness of heart. In the highlands you woke up in the morning and thought: Here I am, where I ought to be.” ― Karen Blixen, Out of Africa (Qtd on Goodreads) Out of Africa, by Isak Denison (actually Karen Blixon), was for sale on Kindle a […]

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Summer Reading: What’s In Your Tote?

 

I just finished reading Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. I picked it up for 50 cents this past spring at our local library sale. The movie, touted a “chick flick,” is no comparison to this fascinating book.

Frances Mayes is an extraordinary writer because she writes what she thinks and sees – no filters. You can see, taste, and smell the Italian countryside, and many times cringe, with what it’s like to rescue a 300-year-old piece of abandoned foreign history, and rescue a life. Her love of cooking and great recipes make you want to run to the nearest farmer’s market for fresh peaches, crisp fragrant herbs like basil scattered across mozzarella and drizzled with oil from just pressed olives, and roasted hazelnuts.

While she reveals parts of herself throughout, it’s not until toward the end that her Southern roots start oozing from her pores, setting you up for her openness of growing up in the South, called Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir. Just browsing the pages, it appears a brutally honest, funny and soul-searing experience, next on my reading list.