WWW Wednesdays – October 30, 2013

WWW Wednesdays

My bookshelf

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough– What I’m currently reading
How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough. A fascinating read so far. It really throws a lot of preconceived ideas of what/how we should teach our children out of the window.
A Wind In The Door by Madeleine L’Engle. After enjoying A Wrinkle In Time so much, I thought I’d go ahead and read the other books in the series. You can read my review of A Wrinkle In Time here.

– What I recently finished reading
Operation Family Secrets: How a Mobster’s Son and the FBI Brought Down Chicago’s Murderous Crime Family by Frank Calabrese, Jr. I probably wouldn’t have picked this book off the shelf out of my own curiosity but I had to read it for my book club. And in the end, I’m glad I read this book and this fascinating true story about the lives and deaths of Chicago mafia mobsters. It was interesting to learn how families got into the “business”, and how hard it was/is to get out. Reading about the many cold-blooded executions, the money schemes, the corruption, all of whom have inspired the famous movies we’ve all seen felt surreal. I just kept turning the pages thinking, wow, that stuff really happens in real life. I can’t imagine how much courage it took Calabrese Jr. to take down most of his family and associates, including his own father and uncle.

The Seneca Scourge by Carrie RubinThe Seneca Scourge by Carrie Rubin (at The Write Transition). I have two words to describe this book: page turner. I usually don’t read medical thrillers, not because I don’t like them, but rather because I don’t know which ones I should read. The last one was Coma by Robin Cook, and even though it had its faults, it kept me on the edge. And that’s what The Seneca Scourge did too. I got sucked right in from the beginning and had a hard time putting the book down. I actually read the last 100 pages in one night because I wanted to know how it all ended before I went to sleep! I enjoyed the medical content, which was explained quite clearly, and the story twist was a great addition, giving the book a touch of sci-fi. Rubin describes the disease and its effects on people very well, and I command her for not including any gruesome details about dying children to try to make her book more sensational. I should add this book contains plenty of suspense, which definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat. I could totally picture this story turned into a movie, by the way. If you’re looking for a good medical thriller to add to your list, this is a good one.

Defending Jacob by William Landay. An interesting story on a district attorney’s teenage son being accused of murder, but in my opinion, nothing more. This book is easy to read but could have used a lot of editing, especially as some of the dialogs go on and on. Maybe they can go on like that in court, but reading them gets tiresome. The same goes for dialogs between people. How many times can you ask the same question to your spouse or child in one conversation? I’m also not crazy how the author decided to tell the story: the father narrates today what happened in the past, hinting at things “he should have seen”. Well, duh, they’re pretty obvious to see as you read them. And really, the ending was no surprise. It wasn’t a shocking twist either. I guess if you’re a big fan of legal thrillers, you’ll like this book. Otherwise, it’s good, but not great.

– What I think I’ll read next
1984 by George Orwell. I haven’t read this book for years and it will be nice to read it with a fresh perspective.

My kids’ bookshelf

What they’re currently reading
Bats at the beach by Brian LiesBats At The Library and Bats At The Beach by Brian Lies. We’ve read these books before and we loved the story and the illustrations so much, we wanted to read them again. Once darkness settles and the moon comes out, bats know how to entertain themselves, whether it’s by spending the night at the beach, making sandcastles, surfing, or roasting marshmallows and telling stories by the bonfire, or by flying to the library and enjoying a night of reading, storytelling and imaginary play. The rhythmic text and the enchanting paintings make these books pure magic.

We’ve fans of Jonathan London’s Froggy books so we had to catch up and read his latest ones: Froggy Builds a Tree House and Froggy's Worst Playdate by Jonathan LondonFroggy’s Worst Playdate. In Froggy’s Worst Playdate, Froggy’s friends are all busy and can’t play with him, so his mom decides to set up a playdate with… Frogilina, who really likes Froggy, but the feeling is not so mutual. Dad takes them to the movies and everything that could go wrong does, including a popcorn fight, bathroom breaks and a stolen kiss. Oh, and let’s not forget how Frogilina enjoys eating Froggy’s ice cream by crunching the bottom of his cone, making his ride home a “perfect” ending for his worst playdate! In Froggy Builds a Tree House, Froggy and his friends want to build a tree house (Froggy’s dad has to help out, a lot) but watch out, this house is for boys only! That makes Frogilina very upset but it doesn’t take long for her to save the day.

Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo– What they recently finished reading
Kate DiCamillo’s brilliant Bink & Gollie’s new series, which includes Bink & Gollie, Bink & Gollie: Two For One, and Bink & Gollie: Best Friends Forever. Even though these books feature two female characters, my boys enjoyed them very much. Gollie is tall and fashionable, and a little snobbish and bossy. Bink is much shorter, loves pancakes and is always looking for a new adventure. I love how the two characters balance each other. Bink tends to act as a reality check for Gollie, who in my opinion is not the greatest role model for friendship. The funny illustrations are a perfect match to the characters and the stories.

– What I think they’ll read next
I don’t know but I’m sure it will be good stuff. What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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21 responses to “WWW Wednesdays – October 30, 2013

  1. Thank you for including my book. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. As my first novel, my only hope was that it would keep people turning the pages. Glad it did for you. You are kind to review it here! :)

    As you know, I’m reading ‘NurtureShock’ recommended by you. Given my background, it’s rare a parenting book offers me new information, but this one does. Some of these research findings are eye-opening. I’m just finishing the section about lying. Very interesting.

    I’m also reading a novel by a fellow blogger–Beneath the Satin Gloves by Britt Skrabanek. It’s not my usual genre–more romance than I’d typically read–but the author has a breezy style and smooth prose, and the premise is interesting.

    Thanks again! I look forward to ordering my calendar(s). :)

    • You’re very welcome! It took me way to look to write this update but I finally got to it. And now I feel compelled to reach out to my copy of Nurture Shock and read it again. It’s been a few years and I’m sure I could grab a few things out of it that could be useful with my kids.

      Ah, the calendars… Yes, I still have to work on these. I need to ask for feedback on a flower calendar and a generic calendar, and then I’ll move on to finalizing all of them and creating them. I was hoping to be done by early November but I’m running behind. I’d better get things going!

  2. Great list ~ “How Children Succeed” sounds great, as does Carrie’s book. (Go Carrie!)

    Hope you’re all rested up now & on the road to recovery.

    • I feel better, thank you, although still tired a bit. With your law background, you should read Defending Jacob so I can hear what you think. The author is actually an attorney.

      • The reasons you listed for not enjoying it convinced me I wouldn’t enjoy it either.

      • Argh, sorry. The “twist” was just too obvious from the beginning. A little disappointing because it would have been a good twist.

      • Don’t be sorry! My reading time is limited enough that I hate wasting time and/or money on badly written books.

        And I didn’t just take your word for it ~ I swung by the reviews on Amazon. The 1-star reviews share your misgivings about the missing plot, etc. The first, written by an attorney, had nothing good to say about it.

      • I think people who really like the legal thriller genre liked this book. But if you’re used to reading mysteries and having to guess until the end, this book isn’t it. The same thing happened to me when I read Gone Girl. So many people liked that book and the story twist, which I figured out after about 20 pages. The ending wasn’t very believable either.

  3. I loved The Seneca Scourge too! I couldn’t stop reading it. I really loved the mystery of Casper and the science fiction twists. The only thing was that I wanted to keep reading it after it ended.

    I’ll have to read A Wind in the Door now too since I never did get to that one.

  4. Carrie’s book was a great one. Can’t wait for her next one to come out now. I’m starting The Language of Flowers and liking it so far. It’s for book club, so gets me into new genres (which is good).

  5. I have so much to catch up but I would love to read How Children Succeed. Sounds like a great patenting resource of knowledge. Thanks. Have a fun weekend,

  6. Hmmm . . . good, but not great. Rats. I dislike reading books where I think, “Someone get me a red pen! This book needs editing!”

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