All book cover images courtesy of Amazon.com
Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Review: A magical fairy tale set in the English countryside. Gaiman interweaves this fantastical story with humor, thrills, and mystery. American Gods, but without the unnecessary prose.
Good for my library: Nope. An adult fairy tale.
Author: Walter M. Miller, Jr.
Review: Three stories set at varying points in our future. Science fiction, fantasy, philosophy, and humor mingle together to tell the story of the human race. Asks the question, are we doomed to repeat ourselves?
Good for my library: Older students should be capable of reading it, but it has a lot of existential humor and the storyline veers around without context on several occasions.
I'm going to review all these books at once, because they're basically the same thing.
Author: Lee Child
Review: The male version of a romance novel: easy to read, interesting plot line, he always gets the girl, the bad guys always get what they deserve. Reacher is a likable main character and is always ending up in somewhat insane situations. They're not anything challenging, but perfect for reading at breakneck speed while you're riding on the metro.
Good for my library: Probably not, mostly for violence and adult situations. Although, some of my students have read The Godfather, and they've all played Grand Theft Auto, so it's not really something they aren't familiar with.
Title: The Yiddish Policemen's Union
Review: Imagine if Israel never existed, and the Jewish people were instead forced to live in Sitka, Alaska, now their lease on the land is coming due, but first there's a crime to solve. I didn't like this as much as I hoped I would. It had great noir elements, but got bogged down in Yiddish lore and tangents.
Good for my library: Nope, not even remotely.
Author: Emily Pilloton
Review: This TED book delves into the story of Studio H, a revolutionary design-based carpentry program started in North Carolina. How and why we should be implementing design-based education in our schools. A perfect, short, fascinating, and inspiring read.
Good for my library: Definitely for teachers, although we don't have Kindles.
Title: The Handmaid's Tale
Review: The story of a near-future America where radical Christians have overtaken the government. Woman are second-class citizens (if even that high) and we follow the story of a hand-maid, tasked with bearing children for barren couples. A terrifying and all to possible story (have you heard about the new abortion laws in Texas, they're so close), female empowerment, but without overt feminism.
Good for my library: Probably not, although some of these kids could use a lesson in feminism, they definitely wouldn't understand the Christian undertones.
Why School?: How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere (Kindle Single)
Author: Will Richardson
Review: In this ever-changing world, with instant access to information, how is an education system based on wrote-learning and regurgitating the right answers going to survive? The thing is they're not going to, but we're at a precipice now where we can help mold the educational future for everyone. Is public education, such as the US system, going to survive; more importantly, should it?
Good for my library: Definitely for teachers. If we want to see schools make a difference, we need to change the way we learn. New technology tools can help us change them for the better, if we use them right, we can hook an entire generation on learning collaboratively and cooperatively.
Title: Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and
Other Things That Happened
Author: Allie Brosh
Review: The award-winning Hyperbole and a Half blog features homemade (using the Paintbrush program on a Mac) cartoons about the hilariously heartbreaking life of Allie Brosh. The novel is equal parts humor and memoir, incorporating previously published comics with brand-new ones. Brosh's battle with depression is the most moving and relatable stories of depression I've ever come across.
Good for my library: Hmmmm...yes, with caveats. I feel that Brosh's writing about depression in particular would appeal to students who are struggling with similar problems.
Right now I'm trying to finish up Allegiant, the third novel in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. Unfortunately, it's also time for end of quarter comments and grades, so I haven't had as much time to read as I would like.