Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Books I Read in November (#23-24)

In the month of November, I finished up the book Keeping Kids Reading: How to Raise Avid Readers in the Video Age by Mary Leonhardt. I read this on a recommendation from a friend and got it through the Kindle lending library for a free.

I really enjoyed this book and can speak from experience that these concepts work. I am an avid reader as an adult because I had access to books when I was a kid. There were books around my home, I had a library card at a young age and I was always encouraged to read. I would definitely recommend this book to parents who are trying to encourage their children to read. I plan to purchase the book and keep it for a resource for later because the author includes a wide range of authors that kids gravitate towards at different ages (many were authors I read, in the specific paths she describes). The book also includes interviews with her students in the last chapter. My only complaint, is that the interviews end and I felt like the author could have at least included a chapter to finish the book. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

A few passages from this book that stuck with me:
The top readers are the avid readers, the students who are always reading books of their own choice, above and beyond the requirements of any high school course.  It doesn’t seem to matter very much what they read, although over their years of reading they gravitate to more complex authors and books.

It is better to have children who have a wealth of intellectual curiosity—who are always reading books to find out answers to their questions, or searching the Internet, or stealing your copy of the Wall Street Journal—than to have children who get all A’s in school.
We need the courage to trust that if we open up the world to them, by giving them a love of reading, they’ll grow into thoughtful, literate, independent adults.

The second book I read in November is Economics: The Remarkable Story of How the Economy Works by Ben Mathew. This book provides a very simplistic view of how economies work and why capitalism and a free market continue to pass the test of time while socialism, though good in theory, has repeatedly failed in the countries where it has been implemented. The ideas are simple but powerful. I think Ben Mathews does a good job of simply explaining concepts like why economies thrive, the importance of needing incentives, and why government deficits aren't that great. I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.


I didn't finish the following book, but wanted to share my thoughts... 

I am a pretty curious person and read a wide variety of material. I think it is important to shape my beliefs by reading and then discussing opinions different from my own (typically in person). 

The book in question is Paddle Your Own Canoe, a memoir by comedian Nick Offerman (of Parks and Recreation fame). My problem with this book came in the second or so chapter. Offerman is very clear in his disdain for religion. I get that not everyone chooses to believe in a greater being, or the Bible, or anything for that matter; but I find it childish when adults choose to resort to name calling. 

Offerman calls the Bible a book of fairytales that teach morality that is only believed by idiots. Calling a group of people idiots for believing in something you don't is straight up bullying and I am tired of it. 

There are books and web sites and news stations that I refuse to watch or read because of this type of behavior (even when it comes to ideas that I agree with). I find it very unpalatable to engage in anything that stoops to name calling. I wouldn't allow my son to call other people names and I wouldn't continue a conversation with someone who was resorting to calling people names. 

So, I didn't finish this book and have no intentions to, nor would I recommend it. The world is full of great content, I am not going to waste my time with someone who resorts to name calling while insisting their own beliefs are superior. I gave this book 1 out of 5 stars on Goodreads (I would give it less if I could).

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