Tuesday, February 2, 2010

January 2010: Reading List

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's, by John Elder Robison
Reading John Elder Robison's childhood memories feels a lot like peering into the brains of several autistic students that I've worked with over the past few years. (Except I hope that none of my students wind up working for KISS one day. I'm just saying.) 3/5

Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable, Patrick Lencioni
Patrick Lencioni has a knack for taking a core principle and hammering it home by way of a light narrative. I read this mostly becasue my brother Nathan recommended it and loaned it to me, but now I'm wondering why he thought I in particular would benefit from it. Have filed away the lessons on meetings for future reference in the event that I ever have to lead them on a regular basis. (Classes don't count... Although integrating drama and conflict directly into lessons by mining for them during class discussion is something that I've intrinsically developed over the years.) 3/5

Pride and prejudice and Zombies, by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen
Although on the whole, I found the overall concept hilarious in theory, I found it somewhat lacking in execution. The zombie bits felt patched in rather than being part of the unified whole. Despite the detractions, several parts of the story did make me laugh, with Charlotte's storyline being far and away the best part of the new tale. The illustrations, incidentally, were superb. 2.5/5


The Power of Crying Out: When Prayer Becomes Mighty, by Bill Gothard
Good thoughts to chew on. 4/5

The Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins
I love reading GMH, even though I can't say that I understand everything he's saying. He stretches me, though, and gets me to think, guaranteeing that I will always keep coming back for more. 4/5

Heretic (The Grail Quest, Book 3), by Bernard Cornwell
Maybe I didn't enjoy it because it was the third in a series and I had only read half of another book in the trilogy. Maybe I didn't enjoy it because I needed soft escapism this week, and the story was full of death. Unfortunately, I haven't yet had any luck with Bernard Cornwell despite giving him several chances. 2/5

Cranford, by Elizabeth Gaskell

I think I started this collection a few years ago but must never have finished, because from about the third story onward, I had absolutely no recollection of what happened.

How Gaskell developed these characters so fully in such compact stories is beyond me. Rich and delightful. 4/5

Curse of the Kings, by Victoria Holt

On a certain level, Victora Holt novels are predictable: there will be a young girl (generally an orphan), she will stumble upon some sort of mystery, and she will travel to distant lands - generally an island.

The details vary slightly( for example, this time the distant land in question was Egypt) but what I do appreciate about Victoria Holt is that I can never tell who the "bad guys" are until the very end. And one never knows for certain, either, whether or not everything will come out all right or not. It's that uncertainty that keeps me reading. 4/5

Kilkenny, by Louis L'Amour
This works well enough as a stand-alone, but I think it was the last in a series (trilogy?), of which I only read the first and the last. Wish I had known, but don't regret the read. 3/5

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