books


Generation Change book cover

Tengrain at Mock, Paper, Scissors was recently asked to review a book, and because the target audience was people under 30, he asked me if I wanted to take on the project. I agreed, then emailed him and a few other people about how to go about reviewing a book I didn’t like. Taking only some of their advice, this is the result.

Cassie

Generation Change by Jayan Kalathil and Melissa Bolton-Klinger fails in its attempt to encourage the Obama Generation to continue the campaign for change. Published by Skyhorse Publishing and subtitled “150 Ways We Can Change Ourselves, Our Country and Our World” this book is geared toward readers under age 30. The unsigned description on the back cover indicates that the “fun, witty, and optimistic approach [is] sure to attract readers of all ages” but the font size and writing style are more appropriate for middle-class or wealthier sixth graders. If reduced to a size 12 font, with chapter titles at size 14, the book would likely fit into 150 pages rather than the current 210.

Would you pay $12.95 to read a book that tells you to “Stay Young at Heart” and devotes a chapter to flossing? The best suggestion is #5, which encourages us to blog for good. We’re already doing that. “Find the cause that keeps you up at night and get blogging!”

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This case is just wrong. Kids should be able to choose their books at school and at the library. The parents and the administrators here are in the wrong. Let the kids read, especially if it’s a book that has won awards and can teach things and not just a book that is violent for no reason.

Teacher put on leave after book complaint

By ANGELA K. BROWN

TUSCOLA
— A popular English teacher has been placed on paid leave — and faces possible criminal charges — after a student’s parents complained to police that a ninth-grade class reading list contained a book about a murderer who has sex with his victims’ bodies.

Kaleb Tierce, 25, is being investigated for allegedly distributing harmful material to a minor after the student selected Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God off the list and read it.

Tierce, a third-year teacher and assistant football coach at Jim Ned High School, has not been arrested, but his case has caused an uproar in this West Texas town of 700 people. Last week, more than 120 parents and students crowded into a meeting where the school board voted to keep Tierce on paid leave.

Most parents say Tierce should be reinstated, regardless of whether the book is too graphic for teens.

“He’s a great teacher and coach and motivates the kids like no one else can,” said Chris Garcia, whose daughter was in one of Tierce’s classes. “If you’re trying to protect your kids from things in books, you may as well turn off the TV and video games. You try to protect them as much as you can, but these days kids are just exposed to so much.”

Tierce, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing, declined to comment when
asked by The Associated Press about the allegations.

Some students and athletes have worn armbands to school and football games
emblazoned with Tierce’s initials, hiding them under clothing. Others said teens were meeting secretly to decide how to help the teacher they believe did nothing wrong.

“He was the only one who understood us,” said Patrisha Ramirez, 15. “He would joke around. He would make English interesting, for once.”

In Tuscola, south of Abilene, Child of God was on a list of titles compiled by all the high school English teachers for a pre-Advanced Placement class.

Although administrators’ approval was not required for the list, school officials have since removed the book because they deemed it inappropriate for ninth-graders.

The book tells the story of a town’s outsider who is falsely accused of rape, then begins killing people. The character ends up living in a cave with his victims’
decomposing bodies. The 1974 novel “plumbs the depths of human degradation,” according to its back cover.

The parents of one ninth-grade student filed a police report on Oct. 1 with the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office. Before contacting law enforcement officials, they complained to the teacher and principal, said district Superintendent Kent LeFevre, who declined to reveal their discussions.

The superintendent placed Tierce on administrative leave on Oct. 9.

Sheriff’s Sgt. John Cummins said the case will be turned over to the district attorney once the investigation is complete. Distributing harmful material to a minor is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

bush's legacyIt seems that George W is concerned about his legacy, and he is talking to a biographer named Robert Draper:

In book, Bush peeks ahead to his legacy

In an interview with a book author in the Oval Office one day last December, President George W. Bush daydreamed about the next phase of his life, when his time will be his own.

The articles talks about these kinds of issues

First, Bush said, “I’ll give some speeches, just to replenish the ol’ coffers.” With joint assets that have been estimated at as high as nearly $21 million, Bush added, “I don’t know what my dad gets – it’s more than 50-75” thousand dollars a speech, and “Clinton’s making a lot of money.”

Then he said, “We’ll have a nice place in Dallas,” where he will be running what he called “a fantastic Freedom Institute” promoting democracy around the world. But he added, “I can just envision getting in the car, getting bored, going down to the ranch.”

and

The transcripts and the book show Bush as being keenly interested in what history will say about his term despite his frequent comments to the contrary; as being in a reflective mode as his time at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue dwindles; and, ultimately, as being at once sorrowful and optimistic – but virtually alone as commander in chief, and aware of it.

Here is the worst line in the whole article:

And in apparent reference to the invasion of Iraq, he continued, “This group-think of ‘we all sat around and decided’ – there’s only one person that can decide, and that’s the president.”

HE just wants to make money, but I think that his real legacy will include these:

  1. a million people dead because of wars that we started
  2. 3000 dead at Ground Zero, flight 93 and the Pentagon, with bin Ladin still on the loose and not even a suspect by the CIA
  3. an unsolved anthrax terrorism case that killed five people
  4. increased opium exports all around the world
  5. privatization of everything from highways to schools to prisons hospitals to the maintenance of Walter Reed hospital and rehab
  6. many millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans with no access to decent health care when they need it
  7. the drowning of a city and a whole section of another state
  8. hard times for poor people, and a whole lot more poor people
  9. most of his administration resigning on him, and some of them being investigated and tried and convicted for crimes
  10. having the whole world hate us
  11. almost (I hope) starting a war with Iran
  12. stealing elections
  13. having hookers in the white house pretending to be reporters
  14. the giant corporations having a super time while the planet heats up and regular people suffer
  15. high gas prices and high prices to heat houses
  16. spying on Americans without a warrant or even telling the FISA court
  17. locking up Americans for years without a trial
  18. locking up thousands of other people in torture camps with no lawyers and no rights
  19. making students only learn stuff that is tested in April and not the important things in each subject

I bet George won’t talk about those things when he has speaking tours. (He’ll get more for one talk than my whole family has in a year!) What do you think his legacy will be? Can someone please call the Hague?

Like most of my political posts, this is cross-posted at
Political Teen Tidbits and at YouThinkLeft.

a home library full of books

I can not imagine going a whole year without reading a book. Can you? 25% of American adults did not read a single book last year! I hope that they at least read teen political blogs! Ye gads! AND, it turns out that liberals read a lot more than conservatives. That shouldn’t be a surprise! Two stories about this:

POLL: Liberals Read More Books Than Conservatives

my_pet_goat1.jpg

A new AP-Ipsos poll finds that liberals read more books than conservatives. Some highlights from the poll:

34 percent of conservatives have not read a book within the past year, compared with 22 percent of liberals and moderates.

– Among those who had read at least one book, conservatives “typically read eight” books in the past year. Liberals read nine, moderates five.

– “By slightly wider margins, Democrats tended to read more books than Republicans and independents. There were no differences by political party in the percentage of those who said they had not read at least one book.”

Pat Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers, attempted to explain the results: “The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: ‘No, don’t raise my taxes, no new taxes. It’s pretty hard to write a book saying, ‘No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes’ on every page.”

Responding to the poll, White House spokesman Tony Fratto attacked liberals for being too “locquacious”:

Obfuscation usually requires a lot more words than if you simply focus on fundamental principles, so I’m not at all surprised by the loquaciousness of liberals.

A recent Pew Research Study survey also found that viewers of the conservative Fox News channel had the lowest knowledge of national and international affairs.

One in four read no books last year

By ALAN FRAM, Associated Press Writer

There it sits on your night stand, that book you’ve meant to read for who knows how long but haven’t yet cracked open. Tonight, as you feel its stare from beneath that teetering pile of magazines, know one thing — you are not alone.

One in four adults read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Of those who did read, women and older people were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.

The survey reveals a nation whose book readers, on the whole, can hardly be called ravenous. The typical person claimed to have read four books in the last year — half read more and half read fewer. Excluding those who hadn’t read any, the usual number read was seven.

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