In this historical novel, a modern day low-level art auction employee researches the art she suspects is the work of her great aunt, an abstract expressionist painter who went missing just before World War II. The author brings the reader into the art world and political turmoil of the 1930s in both America and Europe. Although Dani, the modern protagonist, is not well-developed, the real and emotional struggles of Alizee, the historical character, were captivating and insightful.
Compelling characters draw the reader into the story and issue of slavery from an 1830's perspective. Along with our characters, we weigh the consequences of getting involved in righting this social wrong.
You may remember his previous novel, Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore. In this novel, we follow a robot-programmer turned bread baker. We are drawn into both her story and the mysterious men who give her the "starter" and start her on this journey. The book weaves the science and culture of food with the high tech world. A fun read!
I am also reading Reading for Understanding, our text for the Reading Apprenticeship classes offered by Tiffany Ingle here at GCC. Although the text creates new educational jargon, the classroom examples and charts help illustrate how a different approach to teaching the reading material can help facilitate our students in becoming better, more engaged readers who interact with the text in more meaningful ways. I highly recommend the classes where we practice these ideas and discuss the details of making them work in various scenarios.
Student Success Center
I'm reading Being Mortal by physician Atul Gawande. He tells about the need to seek wellbeing as we get older, not just health and survival. About halfway through, and not disappointed! I didn't know all of those conditions happen inexorably to the body, just by aging. Slightly intimidated ;-)
It's the latest of a series of books that is basically Space Opera but at its finest! Characters are very realistic, there is low level humor, and fascinating plots. This last one is charming. And you care about the characters and root for them!
Would you recommend it?
Recommended, especially for fans of Quindlen.
What do you like or find interesting about it? I've only read Quindlen's nonfiction, which is terrific. She is straightforward and direct. This is the first novel by her I've read, and it's equally good. There's enough description to make it beautiful reading, but it's also a good story that keeps moving. The characters aren't unique, but they're interesting enough to care about them. The main character is a female photographer in her 60s, so I'd say it might be more interesting to women readers, though the male characters are intriguing and not stereotypical.
I was looking for a nice non-computer hobby and discovered this book (by Dan Reeder) on Amazon on how to make papier-mâché dragons.
It was a blast to create the dragon, and I named it Vaqueros because I used unused El Vaqueros newspapers as his stuffing. So he is a GCC dragon!
The Revolution of Marina M. by Janet Fitch reveals a young, idealistic woman open to the world until the horrors of The Russian Revolution and World War I force equally extreme adaptations. Fitch’s writing—always deft, often dazzling, and here sometimes searingly graphic—is perfect for the circumstances, and I sometimes found myself scrawling a sentence from the book on whatever scrap was at hand at 3 AM. In contrast to the quick murder depicted in the opening pages of Fitch’s White Oleander, protagonist Marina’s initial descent is more gradual, but increasingly and often terrifyingly steep. Forty pages into this, I realized both she and I were ensnared. I sometimes read until daybreak, sleepless, and exhausted by her nightmarish internal and external journeys, unable to stop. Riveting.
With a long Winter Break looming in front of us, I thought that I would refer my colleagues to a fun and interesting website. This website has lots of fun things to see. Many of them are historical, while others of them are totally offbeat. The website covers all 50 States. There are plenty of free sites to see. Additionally, you can become part of the site by submitting reports.
I am reading Get What's Yours, The Revised Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security by Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Philip Moeller, and Paul Solman. Mr. Kotlikoff is one of the, if not the foremost authority on Social Security. He is at Boston University where he is William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor and Professor of Economics. Mr. Moeller is a Research Fellow at the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College. He also writes for Money, and the PBS website, Making Sen$e. Mr. Solman teaches at Yale and Gateway Community College, and is a business and economics correspondent for the PBS NewsHour.
I am also reading IRA's, 401(k)s and other Retirement Plans Strategies for Taking Your Money Out by Twila Slesnick, PhD, EA, & attorney, John C. Suttle, CPA. In light of how many teachers know very little about money, the fact that many of us who worked in Social Security paying jobs prior to teaching will see our benefits docked because of STRS benefits, and it’s important to know how spouses and children will be affected and to educate one's self. Knowledge, we all know, is powerful. These books give one much to think about.