Today, I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on growing joyful learners, mainly bookworms, but also mathematicians and learners of all types. The newsletter is usually sent out every three weeks.
Newsletter Update: In this issue I have three book reviews (two picture books and one young adult mystery), two literacy milestones (transitioning to reading more text and utter satisfaction with a new series installment). I also have a post about what's been working for my family in reducing screen time. I also have three posts with links that I shared recently on Twitter, full of reading- and education-related news.
Reading Update: In the last three weeks I finished one middle grade and six adult titles. I read/listened to:
- Peter Brown: The Wild Robot Escapes. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Middle Grade Science Fiction. Completed October 13, 2018, library copy. This is a lovely sequel to The Wild Robot - highly recommended!
- Reihan Salam: Melting Pot or Civil War?: A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders. Sentinel. Adult Nonfiction. Completed October 12, 2018, on Kindle. This is a thought-provoking book that strives to recommend a sustainable middle ground in terms of immigration policy. I learned a lot from it.
- Stephen Hawkins, Danile Yudkin, Miriam Juan-Torres, and Tim Dixon: Hidden Tribes: A Study of America's Polarized Landscape. More in Common. Online Report. Completed October 14, 2018 (printed the downloadable report). This is the result of a fascinating study that categorized people via a survey into seven "tribes" based on their shared values, and then did interviews. The authors conclude that most of the polarization in the country is actually driven by loud voices at the extreme left and right, representing only a small proportion of the population. The "exhausted majority" is basically tired of the whole thing and wants things to calm down. It's a long report (~150 pages) and a bit hard to read online, but certainly worth a look.
- Adam Alter: Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. Penguin Books. Adult Nonfiction. Completed October 18, 2018, on Kindle. My takeaways from this book: reinforcing my desires to keep my daughter off screens as much as possible and away from social media for as long as possible, and to try to curb my own screen time (especially social media time). But there was a lot in the book that wasn't relevant for me, so it was a bit a of a slow read.
- Joy Ellis: Fire on the Fens. Joffe Books. Adult Mystery. Completed October 19, 2018, on MP3. A suspenseful installment to a series that I enjoy.
- Hector Macdonald: Truth: How the Many Sides to Every Story Shape Our Reality. Little, Brown and Company. Adult Nonfiction. Completed October 28, 2018, on Kindle. I agreed with the author's central tenet ("There is usually more than one true way to talk about something. We can use competing truths constructively to engage people and inspire action, but we should also watch out for communicators who use competing truths to mislead us."). Truth is well-researched and covers a lot of persuasion / spin / truth related ground. But the book itself was a little longer than it needed to be for me. I got bogged down at times and had to switch to something else. But I did learn a few things.
- Steven Johnson: Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most. Riverhead Books. Adult Nonfiction. Completed October 30, 2018, on MP3. There's some useful information in this book about decision-making, but I found the author a bit condescending by the end of the book. I think it might have been better in text vs. audio so that I could skim.
I'm currently reading Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal and Ryan Hoover and also Them: Why We Hate Each Other and How to Heal by Ben Sasse (which I am really enjoying). My non-fiction kick continues unabated, though I did just download a couple of novels that I'm interested in on MP3. In general, I'm on a quest to better understand some things (divisiveness in the country, happiness, impact of screen time, etc.), and the books are helping. I'm listening to a few podcasts, too, and that's been interesting.
My daughter and I are continuing to read picture books together while she eats breakfast. Lately we've been reading through our collection of Halloween-themed books. Our favorites are Just Say Boo! by Susan Hood and Jed Henry and Otter Loves Halloween by Sam Garton. We are also reading and re-reading books from Shirley Parenteau and David Walker's Bears on Chairs series. My daughter flat-out adores these books, particularly Walker's illustrations. I finally had to break down and buy her Bears and Blossoms, after running out of renewals at the library. [I'm sure you can all imagine that this required a lot of arm-twisting.] We're also reading some of the Magic School Bus picture books together.
In terms of her own reading, she has been enjoying biographies (Who Was Anne Frank?, Who Is J.K. Rowling?, etc.). Hmmm. I guess we are on a nonfiction kick together, though I think that's a coincidence. She's reading about Laura Ingalls Wilder right now, and I've suggested using that as a springboard to start reading the Little House books together. We'll see...
She's read the new Dork Diaries book several times and has already finished the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book that came out yesterday. Kudos to Scholastic Reading Club and her teacher for building excitement by getting the books into kids' hands on release day! We continue to visit the library every week and bring home everything from the Hamster Princess to Catstronauts to Lego Ninjago graphic novels to picture books. And Babymouse. Always Babymouse.
Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms!