Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Friday, September 19, 2014
This little book was my introduction to the Instaread series. Since I have not yet read America: Imagine a World Without Her by Dinesh D’Souza, this summary was a good way to find out if that book is different enough from D’Souza’s other books (which I have read) to justify my time and cash.
I was not disappointed. Instaread first gave a broad overview of the book, which is an account of the two different viewpoints in American politics and culture today. On one side are the progressives (also recognized by D’Souza as anti-colonialists) and on the other are the conservatives/constitutionalists. Very brief accounts of key people are also included in the introductory matter, in case the book is read by a political or historical novice. Notable is the summary of Saul Alinsky’s 4-point Lucifer strategy: polarize, demonize, organize, and deceive. D’Souza appears to have nailed the progressive plan.
The body of the book consists of chapter summaries. I can tell from these summaries that the book includes detailed discussions of the value conflicts between conservatives and progressives, including economic freedom v. sexual/social freedom and entrepreneurship/capitalism v. tolerance/entitlement. The chapters cover reparations, foreign policy, bureaucracy, domestic spying, and many other issues relevant to concerned Americans today.
Reading this “30-Minute Instaread Summary” has made me more enthusiastic about making time to read the entire book by Dinesh D’Souza. I also will seek out more Instaread e-books as a supplement to reading reviews on book websites.
I received my copy of America by Dinesh D'Souza - A 30-minuteInstaread Summary free for my review.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
As an older woman and a Libertarian (once a Reagan Republican) I was interested to hear and understand what a younger woman really thinks. Hughes has given me hope that not all women of her generation are dressing in silly vagina costumes and plotting the socialist demise of America while aborting their helpless babies conceived in a one-night stand with a community organizer. Get this book if only for the great chapter on gun control, or the great chapter on what women really want economically, although there is much more to like.
Scottie Nell Hughes is a journalist, trained in the (now lost) art of journalism. One chapter of the book laments the loss of the distinction between news reporting and editorial content. With the lines so blurred in both traditional and new media, objective truth is more elusive than ever.
Hughes has a chapter on being a parent in modern times. As one who lived through the transition from the traditional upbringing (what I got from my family/school/community) to the safety/self-esteem/precious princess/non-competitive/organic world of modern “parenting,” it was nice to hear from a mother with a balanced view: who uses car seats, but doesn’t think we must be forced to keep kids in them until they are 18 years old and 200 pounds, for example. She sums up the dangers of the post-Christian, postmodern society as follows: “…there are more tools to help lead our children astray than there are ways for us to keep them on the straight path.”
Older women, read this to regain an ounce of hope for the future. Young women, read this to know you are not alone in wanting to protect and defend your family and country from those who are tearing them down.
I received a free copy of Roar for my review from Worthy Publishing.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Do our students read enough? Are technologies crowding out recreational reading time? Given the importance of reading in a free society, where an educated population is essential, these are important questions. Reading engages the mind, exercises the imagination, and improves concentration. Through literature we interact with other literate people across time and space. Good literature may reinforce our beliefs or challenge them. Literature provides a model for us as we compose our own essays and stories. Students who do not read great writing cannot be expected to produce great writing. More importantly, children who do not read will become adults who do not read.
It is worth asking ourselves whether school, with its increased emphasis on testing, testing, testing, is crowding out time that students formerly spent reading literature. Is it possible the increased emphasis on skills that can be readily measured by end-of-grade tests means less emphasis on reading and evaluating great literature? Without exposure to literature in school, young people are less likely to be aware of or to read literature outside class. Easy books based on popular culture are the literary equivalent of junk food, yet those are the books children are more likely to access without an educated adult to guide them toward more challenging titles. Here is an area where librarians can help to fill the gap, by actively encouraging young people to tackle great literature.
Another way in which modern education might be endangering reading is the great reliance on textbooks. Students read only excerpts from a literature book or history book rather than reading an entire novel or biography. This is the literary equivalent of a snack instead of a full meal. Good readers can be turned off by textbooks, since textbooks are written to be accessible to the hypothetical average student. A good reader wants to be challenged--to interact with a greater mind. Textbooks are designed to cover a state's standard course of study, not to serve as models of good literature. A better approach than textbooks is the "living books" approach (see Shafer) used by Charlotte Mason and adopted by many modern home schools and private schools. This approach uses great literature and biographies rather than textbooks, and encourages students to learn to write by copying examples of good literature for handwriting practice. For example, students could study American history by using a history textbook, memorizing Patrick Henry's "War Inevitable" speech, and reading great literature such as Johnny Tremain and Carry On, Mr. Bowditch.
Many simply blame the decline in recreational reading on the proliferation of electronics. Television time certainly displaces some reading time for many people. Recreational computer use can also be anti-reading if the internet is used only for watching video clips of silly pet tricks or looking up movie times at the local theater. However, I agree with the Electronic Literature Organization that our electronics are also a tool that can enhance literary reading (see Kirschenbaum 1-2). The computer can even provide quality new literature for our reading pleasure and enrichment. Seek out quality reading material for children online and they will read.
Kirschenbaum, Matthew G. "A Response to Reading at Risk." letter on behalf of Electronic Literature Organization.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Monday, September 8, 2014
Jerry Ross, a Purdue graduate and NASA frequent flyer, generously shares his story in this autobiography. Like many of us who went to school post-Sputnik, Jerry grew up idolizing astronauts and expecting to pursue a STEM career (it wasn't called STEM at the time) in order to keep America number one in science and technology. He joined the Air Force, where he became a flight engineer and successfully applied to the astronaut program at NASA. He logged over fifty-eight hours on spacewalks and is tied for first place for the number of times he was launched into space: seven!
As a Purdue graduate myself (BSIE '84) I enjoyed Jerry's account of his Purdue years and the time he spent with future astronauts (like himself!) In his accounts of the more mundane aspects of student life, I was interested to find that the Purdue I went to in the early eighties was not much different from the Purdue of the sixties: the engineering work ethic, Triple X burgers, married student housing on Nimitz Drive, etc.
Jerry was a college student when the Apollo 1 crew died on the launch pad. He was in the Space Shuttle program when Challenger exploded and on the team that recovered the remains of Columbia. When he gives his account of what went wrong, he knows what he's talking about.
Read this book for a look at a real astronaut. Not just a highly-trained technology beast, Jerry has family, friends, and strong Christian faith as well. He even gives detailed descriptions of what things look like from space: sunrise and sunset, the continents, a thunderstorm. You will feel like you were there.
This book is recommended reading for Purdue fans, space enthusiasts, and anyone from Indiana--as well as everyone else!
I received a free electronic review copy of Spacewalker from NetGalley.