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Original Essays | August 21, 2014

Richard Bausch: IMG Why Literature Can Save Us

Our title is, of course, a problem. "Why Literature Can Save Us." And of course the problem is one of definition: what those words mean. What is... Continue »
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    Before, During, After

    Richard Bausch 9780307266262


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kas has commented on (17) products.

The Guts by Roddy Doyle
The Guts

kas, March 1, 2014

***The Guts: Not the Literary Fiction Style I Know & Love, But More Valuable Reading Experience for that Very Reason

Bottom Line: Whether old fan or new initiate, I recommend Roddy Doyle's The Guts highly. I believe most readers would be sorry to miss the example of masterful literary craftsmanship that is evidenced throughout this book in the form of Doyle's distinctive dialogue.

Discussion: The Guts wasn't exactly what I expected; I cannot remember the last time I read a novel that included so much dialogue. I read a lot of literary fiction, and certainly the authors of these works typically include a significantly higher percentage of narration than dialogue. One wonders if the author more easily maintains greater control over the text's meaning in a narrative style; is some strength or ability to be direct lost when putting more of the story in characters' mouths?

In any case, it was a very interesting -- and unusually valuable -- diversion in form from most novels I read, but it took some time for me to get used to it. I had to become familiar with the rhythm, local Irish vocabulary and sense of humor of the characters. I got the hang of it eventually and found the novel a decidedly rewarding read. I particularly recommend it to any reader who, like myself, reads narrator-dominated novels. It's good to switch things up I find; it exercises the intellect and the imagination in my experience.

For other readers, this work has plenty of appeal. To understate it grossly, I'll say that Roddy Doyle is a strong writer whose dialogue is not without some semblance to poetry. You can just imagine the effusive praise that would be here if I were totally truthful. Or, just go check it out! Thanks for reading my views. I appreciate the opportunity to explore this major release in advance of official publication provided through the First to Read program of Penguin Books.
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Tireless by Graham Spaid

kas, February 28, 2014

his is an abstract work of literature -- a very good one, mind, but it's not for every taste. The stream-of-consciousness novella, with its playful and mysterious style, is bound to leave impressions at least as varied and numerous as its readership.

During my own reading of tireless:, Nabokov's literary masterpiece Lolita and the 2003 Crispin Glover cinematic vehicle Willard appeared at the forefront of my consciousness more than once. That's what I call some evocative stuff...Cheers, Graham Spaid.

Please be advised I received a free copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway.
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Mecca Pimp: A Novel of Love and Human Trafficking by Bernard Radfar
Mecca Pimp: A Novel of Love and Human Trafficking

kas, February 26, 2014

Mecca Pimp really surprised me. It challenged me, angered me, stimulated me, and I think it deserves another read -- which is a high compliment for a book IMHO. It has a definite point of view, and I was worried author Bernard Radfar would use some gimmicks to draw attention to his ideas. There are no cheap gimmicks here -- just food for thought that may or may not agree with your palate. It definitely earned my respect as a reader.

I accessed this truly unique text through gracious permission of the publisher on NetGalley.
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Kill or Cure: An Illustrated History of Medicine by Steve Parker
Kill or Cure: An Illustrated History of Medicine

kas, October 26, 2013

***Excellent Introduction to History of Medicine--Inspired Interest to Learn More!***

A friend who is very interested in the subject matter of the material of *Kill or Cure: An Illustrated History of Medicine* perhaps summed it up best when he described this book, upon a lengthy perusal, as kind of a coffee table book, which just makes other, actual coffee table books look bad. This is a smart and thorough layman's survey of the history of medicine. I really enjoyed reading this book! It made me interested to seek out more in-depth historical sources on several subjects covered.

One thing I especially appreciated about author Steve Parker's approach to his introduction to medicine's history was his notable attention to several underacknowledged groups' contributions to medicine. I speak specifically of non-Western cultures and women in medicine.

In sum, I highly recommend this book. Thank you for reading my thoughts--I hope they are helpful.

Note: I received an Advance Reader's Copy of this book through a GoodReads Giveaway.
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Parent's Playbook for Learning by Jen Lilienstein
Parent's Playbook for Learning

kas, October 26, 2013

***Practical Tips for the Individualized Needs of Children - Useful!***

There is a lot to like about Jen Lilienstein's book. First of all, it's based on the foundational idea that all children are different learners. Insights into the child's personality, whatever typology is used to describe differences as far as they are explored, would seem to be a source of valuable insight into how to maximize that child's learning. A Parent's Playbook for Learning does a great job of mining the gold of that concept for the reader. Lilienstein gives practical advice about a variety of aspects of a child's learning -- consisting substantially of actual concrete strategies and tips parents and educators can try themselves, as well as in the form of more general insights about particular approaches for children with particular traits. I read the book with a certain child in mind and while I had trouble on fixing on which "type" was the best fit, there were definitely traits in a few types I keyed into based on their accuracy. For those traits, I could see that her insights and her suggested approaches seemed smart and well-tailored to the child I had in mind at least.

Perhaps obviously, the usefulness of this book is grounded in its discussion of educationally relevant aspects of personality that are furthermore common enough that I could recognize most (perhaps all, I just don't remember whether there were any exceptions) by thinking of people I've known. Moreover, I think Lilienstein did a very good job of articulating what each trait looked like, so you could spot it in children effectively. Certainly, the book would be useless if was not consistently successful in this respect.

There was one part of the book that really stuck in my craw, as it were. This would be the fairly extensive discussion of group learning and relevant strategies. I personally think that group learning is best used to teach team collaboration and not traditional academic content. Even assuming a neutral or positive stance on group learning as a pedagogical method among readers generally, Lilienstein's lengthy discussion of related strategies seems to demonstrate her valuation of the method more than it provides tools that every child will frequently draw upon. I may be wrong about that, I admit. If nothing else, it seems weird to give this pedagogy primacy in a book that stresses the needs of children as unique individual learners who need different approaches and not a one-size-fits-all sort of educational approach. Group learning is not fairly described that way altogether, but it doesn't allow for much tailoring to children's needs by informed adults relative to other styles of teaching.

I hope this review is helpful somewhat in deciding whether to read this book. Thank you for reading my thoughts.

Please be advised I received a free electronic edition from NetGalley by permission of the publisher.
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