09. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Cats, Humor, Kira, NonFiction · Tags:

Dear Tabby: Feline Advice on Love, Life, and the Pursuit of Mice by Leigh W. Rutledge, 112 pages, read by Kira, on 10/09/2014

index mq1 20101218-Dear Tabby get-attachment deartabby dear-tabby-header-jan-14-2013Another book by Leigh Rutledge.  This one is a Dear Abby type series of letters that cats (& 1 dog), have written in to Dear Tabby.  Tabby answers a range of questions from how to get your humans to change the stupid funny name they’ve given the cat, to love of birds.  Rutledge, seems familiar with the types of letters that might get written in to an editor, including portraying diverse reactions to a given topic.  Dear Tabby is above all funny, with sharp sarcasm ending most replies.  Now on to find more cat titles by Rutledge.

09. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, 486 pages, read by Kira, on 10/03/2014

emp imagesssThis was a delightful, enjoyable read.  It is the tale of an old jinni, released from his flask after 1000’s of years imprisonment.  He is released by a tinsmith in New York at the turn of the century in New York.  At the same time, a golem created to be the wife of a ship passenger who dies en route to New York, struggles to pass as human in New York in a nearby neighborhood.   I really enjoyed this tale of historical fiction with a touch of magic.  You get a lot of backstory on several of the characters.  I heartily recommend this title. golemandjinni_pbk  772720 istock_000009314476small.jpg NOL-Read-Sliders-The-Golem-and-the-Jinniimages

09. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kira

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, 501 pages, read by Kira, on 10/05/2014

dsafdsafasdfThis is the story of Alma Whiteacre a scientist of moss and evolution.  It starts with her father’s life, an unscrupulous lad, who starts prospering by stealing botanicals.
His life is interesting, though he is not a likeable character.    The next 3 segments of the book cover Alma’s life, a very intellectual but very lonely life.  Her mother and secondary mother figure, are all about being tough, and stoic.  Her father is pretty self-centered, and behaves however he pleases.  An interesting, if uneven read.

05. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kira, Multicultural Fiction

One Night @ the Call Center: a Novel by Chetan Bhagat, 310 pages, read by Kira, on 10/02/2014

clltr - Copy1340699569_9780552773867  one night - Copy IMG_3975 index2 - CopyI read about this bestselling title in the book Globish  He is the biggest selling English language author in India.  In 2010 Time Magazine listed him as one of the 100 most influential people of the world (along with Barack Obama and Steve Forbes).  I’d never heard of him before. the story takes place over the span of about 8 hours, examining the lives of 6 call center employees, most of whom are adults.  It was an ok book.  Not bad, but Not something I’d recommend.

 

01. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, History, Kira, NonFiction

The Mental Floss History of the World : An Irreverent Romp through Civilization's Best Bits by Erik Sass and Steve Wiegand with Will Pearson and Mangesh Hattikudur., 416 pages, read by Kira, on 09/23/2014

3242424mental-floss-forbidden-knowledgeMentalFloss500mentalfloss   This was a far more interesting history of the world, or most any history than I’ve previously read. The downside, is that I will have difficulty remembering all the individual facts.  The narrative was constructed more like Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader including Harper’s Magazine Index-type lists of comparative statistics that really make you think. Much more attention is given to Asia, Africa and South America than your standard Euro-centered histories of the past.   Did you know that the Khan that Marco Polo visited was the same Kubla Khmentalfloss2an mentioned in Coleridge’s poem?  I listened to this title and thus missed some formatting and organization that would have been communicated on the page.   Apparently, they had sidebars that listed who-or-what was up at a given point in time, who/what was down. They also had important events listed within a given time-period.  These interesting tidbits didn’t translate as readily to the audio version, they needed more verbal placemarkers, such as these highlights apply to this time period.  Still I really enjoyed this book, and will look for more Mental Floss titles.

29. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Cats, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Diary of a Cat : True Confessions and Lifelong Observations of a Well-Adjusted House Cat by Leigh W. Rutledge., 176 pages, read by Kira, on 09/28/2014

indexcat-housecats-in-sinkcat-reading-newspaper-445x299    nosy-dogThis was a delightful tale written in the form of diary entries by a cat.  The cat introduces us to the various neighbors on the block.  These include a squabbling mother & teenage daughter next door, an agoraphobic older woman desperately trying to get her shoes to walk her more than a few feet down the block, a crazy cat lady, with a house full of cats, and an abused young boy 26-dta-markhillary-2826736533and his unsparing father.  There is humor a-plenty, though its Not all fluff.  I really enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading Rutledge’s other titles.

25. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Cats, Children's Books, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

The Chinese Siamese Cat by Amy Tan, 32 pages, read by Kira, on 09/20/2014

I’d been looking for a cat book available in MP3 downloadable format (so many are in the aggravating & useless WMA format) so when I found one in MP3 format and that Amy Tan had written it, I was delighted.  It is a brief tale of the ancient heroic cat Sagwa who had changed the emperor into a less self-centered ruler.  MV5BMTUyMzYxMTg0MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDU1NjYxMQ@@._V1_SX640_SY720_tumblr_l6ye02v1qX1qz8haeo1_400

15. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, How To's, Kira, NonFiction · Tags:

How we learn the surprising truth about when, where, and why it happens. by Benedict Carey, 272 pages, read by Kira, on 09/14/2014

how-we-learn-by-benedict-careylearn_3019445a mgtjVsu 0824-bks-Hurley-master495 download After reading the book The Smartest Kids in the World: and How They got that Way, I started wondering how much can pedagogy be taught, and how much of it is just having a good personality.  And by “good personality” I was thinking of the charismatic “hail fellow well met type”.   I should have remembered that people with  “hail fellow well met” type of personalities, usually get more credit than they deserve see the book Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.  Should teachers be required to get a good education or does getting a degree in physical education, qualify you to teach math in high school.  How much can Blond girl learning Chinese 4training benefit a teacher?

Science reporter Ben Carey provides us with a user’s manual for how our brains work.

Some of the methods I learned from this book seemed intuitively correct, but I didn’t know why they worked; other methods were new to me.  I did know that studying for two hours straight is less effective than studying one hour on one day and then another hour a couple of days later.  The deeper we have to dig to retrieve a piece of information, the more likely it is to stick.  This explains why comprehensive exams are better for you, though less popular.  I did know that when you reach an impasse, you should stop, take a break, then go back to the problem.  I’ve advised my husband to do this, but now I have evidence to back me up.

I didn’t realize how important it is to mix things up, what author Carey calls interleavement.  Drills are fine, but you don’t want to spend a long period of time on the same one, or same type of problem.   For example when practicing music do some scales, then some etudes, then play a piece through, then work on tone, then go back to scales, etc.  Carey posits that this is really critical in math because you need to be able to figure out which type of formula to apply to different problems.  Often in school, students do fine on an individual section, but then fail the comprehensive test because now they have to select which formula to apply.  Another way to mix things up is to study in different places and under different conditions, though if you can study in the room where you will take the test, this will assist you when you take the test, but not in the long run.  You want to know if you are merely studying to pass a given test, or want to retain the knowledge for the long run.

I enjoyed the way Carey wove together academic research studies with real world applications.  I liked this book a lot, and wish more of my teachers and professors had imparted this type of knowledge.

15. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, Kira, NonFiction, Science

Zoom: How Everything Moves: From Atoms and Galaxies to Blizzards and Bees by Bob Berman, 323 pages, read by Kira, on 09/05/2014

Zoom download (3) 513k+gGpDAL._SY300_ j=0125_UBobBerman Berman explain the scientific workings of things that move.  From the movement of the Big Bang, to the sound that moving sand makes at the base of a dune, to the speed of different insects, Berman explains the science of movement.  This was an engaging read that I enjoyed.

12. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Children's Books, Children's Books, Kira, NonFiction · Tags:

From Slave to World-Class Horseman: Tom Bass by J. L. Wilkerson., 135 pages, read by Kira, on 09/10/2014

downloadimages (12 Bassahs7  This is a short biography of a African American born into slavery, then emancipated with his family, who loved working with horses, and ended up owning his own stables and showed horses at major events.  Bass was able to overcome a number of racial barriers because of his great skill with horses, and because other people, whites, stood up for him.  He was a quiet, gentle man, and one wonders if an African American with a different temperament would have succeeded in his place.

I liked the fact that so much of the story took place here in Mid-Missouri, in Columbia, Boonville, etc.  download (1) download (2) images

12. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

Blood Ties: Spirit Animals Bk 3. by Garth Nix and Sean Williams, 186 pages, read by Kira, on 09/11/2014

blood ties elephantlarge_1download (2)This time the team heads to an Asian jungle with nasty leeches, snakes, crocodiles, and deadly insects, in search of the elephants talisman.

This book, was Not as well written as others, the tension was problematic, where I just wanted to skip ahead, and Not endure the will this person succeed at jumping high enough, or some such thing.  I suspect Garth Nix didn’t contribute as much as Sean Williams, having read Nix before.  Still I’m looking forward to the next in the series.

09. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags: ,

Fat Cat by Robin Brande, 330 pages, read by Kira, on 09/07/2014

Overweight teen Cat takes on a high school science project where she takes up the diet and physical habits of hominins.  In the process she loses lots of weight, dates a number of guys, and tries to recover from an old emotional injury.

The books starts out well enough, but gets pedantic towards indexsthe $_72end.    images36090411 index

09. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Wild Born: Spirit Animals Bk1 by Brandon Mull, 202 pages, read by Kira, on 09/06/2014

In
images Spirit Animals_thumb[4] Animal_spirits_squares_black_detail AnimalSpiritCircle The beginning of the Spirit Animals series.  At the start of the adventure, 4 11-yr olds drink the special honey liquid and are able to call spirit animals.  But Not just any spirit animals appear to these 4, rather the Great 4 Fallen, who died in the old battle with the Destroyer.  Each youth is from a different country on Erdras and from a different segment in society.

 

This is a fast moving, action filled adventure.

03. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Cats, Children's Books, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Humor, Inspirational, Kira

Instructions: everything you'll need to know on your journey by Neil Gaiman, 36 pages, read by Kira, on 08/20/2014

indeximg-thing 6a00e54efdd2b38834015393b5f173970b A delightful set of guidelines on how to live your life, especially if you live within fairy tales.  Some of the wisdom applies to our reality on this earth as well.

01. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags: ,

Dragon Avenger: Book Two of the Age of Fire by E.E. Knight, 400 pages, read by Kira, on 08/31/2014

index wistala_by_3l3ctr0head-d46r954 51pxnUyqBPL._ In this 2nd book, we hear the story of the dragon sibling Wistala, the female clutchling who survives the attack of the nest.  She attempts to rescue her father whom she finds near death on an outcropping.  She has an adventure with a cat, and eventually takes up  residence with a wise old elf named Rainfall, from whom she learns great wisdom and a gentleness of spirit.  She spends some time in a traveling circus learning to tell individual’s fortunes. Eventually she is able to manipulate the downfall of her parent’s and sister’s murder by gaining the trust of her enemy and setting him up for a fall.

01. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Science Fiction · Tags:

Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik, 323 pages, read by Kira, on 08/31/2014

Dragon, Temeraire and Capt Lawrence are asked to return to the British Air Force (where dragons serve as airships), after having been dishonorably discharged.  Temeraire is delighted, Capt Lawrence is less thrilled.   Iskierka and her Capt Granby and Kulingile with his Capt Demane.  After several day and nights of storming, the drunken sailors catch the transport ship on fire, and sink the transport ship. More mishaps occur, but eventually they persevere.  I love these characters, and the way they play off each other, though there are so many of them, that it can get confusing.  Here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Temeraire_characters is a list of characters in case you need some refreshing, though it seems to be slanted toward the middle of the series.  I also really enjoyed the humor, arising from the clash of duty/protocol and doing the right thing; the humor arising from the clash between Temeraire and Izkierka.  Novik has developed these wonderful characters.  There are also some realistic losses experienced by these military engagements.
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31. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, Inspirational, Kira, NonFiction

A House for Hope: The Promise of Progressive Religion for the Twenty-first Century by Rebecca Ann Parker and John Buehrens , 184 pages, read by Kira, on 08/30/2014

download  download (1) Rebecca Parker West President of the Star King Ministry, as well as a Methodist Minister co-writes this with John Buehrens (co-author of A Chosen Faith).  They examine the commonalities of liberal Christian theology, exploring what is fruitful among various interpretations.

Progressive Protestants are committed primarily to the healing and creative transformation of themselves, their neighbors, and their world. They often experience ‘theology’ primarily as ideas and teachings that are authoritatively presented and hamper more than they help the work of the followers of Jesus. Their lack of a positive theology is one reason for their marginalization in today’s religious scene. Buehrens and Parker begin with the life of service and work for justice and deepen it to show the implicit beliefs that it assumes and that are implicit in it. They show that progressive Protestants can be proud and articulate about their beliefs

One of the themes woven throughout this book, is that we are called to build Heaven on Earth.  The structure of the book did Not work for me, they assigned different aspect of liberal Christian religion to various structures of a house.  The foundation or the floor makes sense, but I just wished they had defined their terms (I’ve encountered eschatology, but don’t remember what it means), and Not attempted the metaphorical bridge.  However, I really enjoyed this book, Christian-Leftwanting to incorporatedownload (2) it into my life.

27. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, How To's, Informational Book, Kira, NonFiction · Tags:

The Beginner's Guide to Dream Interpretation by Clarissa Pinkola Estés , 100 pages, read by Kira, on 08/24/2014

indexindex2Estes guides you in how to interpret your dreams.  First she gives you guidance in remembering your dreams, including writing them down, having a tape recorder near your bed, and vowing to remember your dreams.  She discounts, using standard dream dictionaries to interpret symbols.  She advises paying attention to the nouns in your dreams, and then looking for synonyms to figure out what they might represent. Often, I find there is a major difference in the tone or feeling of my dream, compared to what actually happens in my dreams.  Sometimes, there are really yucky feelings, without anything ominous actually happening.  So I wasn’t sure the noun approach would really work for me.

She also covers specific dream narratives that lots of people experience, like flying dreams, or waking up late for a test, of finding yourself without your clothes.  The one recurring dream that I have that she didn’t cover is the one where I am choosing my bed in a dorm room, or some variant thereof.

I tried her methods and got some advice from my subconscious that I’ve ignored, that I know I should take care of, but don’t really want to.  So much for amplifying my subconscious.

butterfly-dreams goddess3 images4indexpI have really enjoyed this authors work and will continue to keep an eye out for her.

23. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

Hunted by Maggie Stiefvater , 195 pages, read by Kira, on 08/23/2014

I love Maggie Stiefvater’s work.  So when I discovered that she had written one of the stories in the Spirit Animal series, I had to read it.  In the series, some individuals are able to bond with animals at their 11th birthday.  4 young children have bonded not just with any animals but with the great beasts from the legends.  Abeke has bonded with a leopard, Connor a shepherd boy bonded with a giant wolf, Meillinthb82245f4ab30dd370f3e95ec7e3954eeeeth kh Animal Spirit Guides 2-T 9th rrth bonded with a giant Panda, and Rollan a street urchin bonds with a falcon.llth eth the This was a fast-paced  enjoyable story.

23. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags: , ,

Bras & Broomsticks by Sarah Mlynowski, 320 pages, read by Kira, on 08/22/2014

home_hdrbras-and-broomsticks-sound41eB3vGFWRL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_   9789892310312 Cute story.  Protagonist Rachel learns her younger sister is transitioning into witch powers.  Rachel pressures her younger sister to use her magic for things like making Rachel more popular, getting their dad to Not marry the Stepmonster… Problems are neatly wrapped up, with authentic relationships the prize.home_nav_spellsimages