Friday, April 30, 2010

A Book in Review: Nurture Shock

Nurture Shock: New Thinking about Children By: Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman
Non-fiction: parenting 23 pages
Book Count: 28

This book deals in depth with different new findings on how the brains of children and teens work. It is bases on scientific research both from lab testing and controlled experiments/ data collecting. It deals with many things like how TV watching isn't whats making kids fat, but educational TV may be making them meaner and why teen are wired for risky behaviors but not for being the stereotype angst filled teen. It's findings all boil down to two main points. First, kids do not think/respond/act/"work" like adults, which is why many things that should work, don't. Adults are thinking about what would work for them and why in a case, but for kids it is different. The second point is that positive traits are not always the opposite of negative ones, nor does it necessary stop them. For example, popular kids are the ones that best know how to control others. This is done with a careful balance of actions that are nice and are mean. It also points out how, because kids brains are still learning how complex issues work, things that you wouldn't think are an issue can be confusing to them. Like how lying is wrong, but if you get a horrible gift on your birthday, you still need to smile and say thank you, or even that if your birthday is in a week they may tell people you are 5 when you are still 4.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Book in Review: New Moon

New Moon By: Stephenie Meyer
fiction: teen, fantasy, romance 563 pages
Book Count: 27

First, I reviewed the first book in the series here.
This book was better then the first book in the series. The crush like romance of the first book seams deeper this time making Bella's whinny/deeply depressed inner voice more logical and reasonable after Edward leaves. I did find all of the Romeo and Juliette talk in the book annoying only because of how all the fans talk about it being like the play. If the book says itself that they are like Romeo and Juliette saying that about it is silly.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Book in Review: Stephen Fry in America

Stephen Fry in America by: Stephen Fry
Non-fiction: travel 313 pages
Book COunt: 26

In this book British actor/comic/writer Stephen Fry travels to every state in the USA. As he does so in less then 2 years with a large amount of it driving and leaves the country at least once during the time to work on a different show (this book is a companion to a TV special on the BBC) he misses a lot of major things for each state. In fact he only drives to the state line for Ohio. But, what he does see is a strange mixture of America. He repeatingly talks about how he didn't believe the world's stereotype of Americans before this trip and has grown to love America more after seeing it, but he also makes fun of America's love of over the topness and our cheeses. (Not like I don't also cringe every time the Kraft cheese commercial about American cheese comes on. "Hey look, its a bright orange processed milk based plastic like product, isn't it patriotic?") He does many things you would expect a TV show to do for each state (Salem on Halloween, car things in Michigan, wine tasting in Napa) but also many times just interacting with different people around the country (thanksgiving in a families home, watching a high school basketball game, ice fishing). Most of the book was fun to read. It had a sidebar for each state with information on the state like the capital, nicknames, state motto, bird, drink, tree, etc and famous people from there. It was originally written for a British audience and so often has British spelling, and word usage. It even has an American English word quiz at the end.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Book in Review: Psych: The Call of the Mild

Psych: The Call of the Mild By: William Rabkin
fiction: mystery 279 pages
Book Count: 25

First, this book is based on the TV series Psych. As such, it would be most enjoyed by people who watch the show. There is some explaining of things that you would learn from watching the show, but I don't think that there is enough for the book to make sense without at least seeing the show a few times.
As someone that has seen the show, I liked this book. It did a good job of writing out some of the things that make the show so fun. It uses the start with the flashback to young Shawn and what it adds to the characters background fits with the show. It also has the pop culture you would expect in the show. (Add Lost joke here.)
In this book the guys all have to confront their worst fears/nightmares. Gus is out in the woods being chased by a "monster. " Lassiter has to deal with jurisdictions and working with others. Henry has to deal with his biggest fan, someone that has taken everything that he said in a school assembly and based his life around it. And we later learn what Shawn's nightmare is.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Book in Review: Choosing a Dog for Dummies

Choosing a Dog for Dummies By: Chris Walkowicz
non-fiction: animals 305 pages
Book count: 24

First, I am not getting a dog now, I just felt like reading up on different breeds of dogs. That being said this book had a good amount of basic information on how to take care of a dog and listings on a wide variety of major breeds and a few lesser known ones. It is divided up by the types of dogs; hunting, herding,terrier, hounds etc.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

A Book in Review: Johnny and the Dead

Johnny and the Dead By: Terry Pratchett
fiction: children's, sci-fi/fantasy 213 pages
Book count: 23

This book is book two in the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy. You don't need to read the first book in the series to enjoy this book, although after reading it you will want to read them all. In this book Johnny sees the ghost of all the dead people in his local cemetery. Only they don't want to be called ghosts. One was a communist who doesn't even believe in the possibility of ghost as he is an atheist as are all good communist. When ever confronted with the issue he makes fun excuses/reasoning for how he can be there but still be right about ghosts. The ghost learn that they are going to build over the graveyard and move them. They make Johnny work to save their graves and over time work on spending more time materialized and working to change things on their own. This book is written at about a 5-6th grade reading level.

Monday, April 05, 2010

A Book in Review: Sundays with Vlad

Sundays with Vlad: From Pennsylvania to Transylvania, One Man's Quest to Live in the World of the Undead BY: Paul Bibeau
Non-fiction: popular culture, lit, history 290 pages
Book Count: 22

First, I like this book because it points out what few book that have absolutely nothing to do with the subject say, "Nobody, nobody at all, thinks American Budweiser tastes good." It even suggest other jobs that the company could better spent its time doing like making chemical weapons (which, may still taste better then Bud.)

Besides that, this book is on anything Dracula/vampire related from the historic Vlad to Count Chocula cereal. It also includes the story of how the author researched the book, which is where the Budweiser info comes into play as he actually travels to the Eastern European countries connected with Dracula where one can buy beer made in the city of Budweis (now Ceske Budejovice) It has a lot of funny parts. (Imagine a middle aged man in a minivan going off to the goth clubs.) It has a lot of information as well. And each chapter deals with a different part of the story and starts with a intriguing quote from later on in the chapter.