Thursday, April 24, 2014

for the brain geeks.

As a follow up to her The Human Body Book, Rita Carter has come out with The Human Brain Book. If you read the first one, you know that Carter has a knack for covering more material than her peers subsequently answering more reader's questions as well. 

The Human Brain Book is broken up into several chapters beginning with general information about the brain and body. Carter then goes into the anatomy of the brain, moving on to a discussion on the senses and how the brain interacts with the environment. Carter covers the more abstract topics such as memory, thinking, and consciousness, which is my favorite section. And the last few chapters go into detail on the possible development and diseases of the brain. In a nutshell. 

Carter does an excellent job introducing readers to neuroscience. Derek Shepard would be proud. Genius's should keep in mind that this is very much an introduction. As for the rest of you, this book is a wonderful overview, easy to understand, with great illustrations, and will be added to my classroom library to spice things up a bit. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Spider-Man, Wolverine, X-Men, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, the gangs all here!

My kids at school literally fight over Matt Forbeck's Marvel Encyclopedia in study hall. It's like cat nip and so incredibly well done, filled with background stories on all of their favorite characters (1,200 profiles all together) and some amazing artwork. This edition is fully updated and necessary for any marvel comic book fan's library because honestly, nothing currently compares. It's exactly what your superhero obsessed kid (or man child) is looking for, and more.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

for the serious snowboarders and skiers.

Since the weather is finally breaking in WNY and spring is here, I thought now would be the perfect time to review Backcountry Ski and Snowboard Routes - Washington by Martin Volken, naturally. Back in the day, backcountry skiing was all there was, and it wasn't viewed as a sport nor did it include fancy hotels, chair lifts, and bearskin rugs.

In this guide, Volken presents some of the fantastic ski touring, backcountry snowboarding, and ski mountaineering that Washington has to offer, if that is your sort of thing. He includes information on routes in National Parks and Washington State Lands, and also takes time to educate and equip readers with useful tips, like where to park, what to pack, and when to poop. After reading, you will feel confident enough to venture out on your own and complete your tour safely. Emergency exits are included.

Monday, April 21, 2014

every parent can relate.

Parents lose their children when they become teenagers. They begin to drive themselves places, would rather spend their time hanging out with friends, kids simply need parents less and less as they grow. In Lisa Scottoline's latest thrilling page turner, Keep Quiet, Jake Whitmore is going through what every parent goes through at some point, and he's trying to win his teenager back. Jake's attempt to bond with his sixteen year old son, Ryan turns tragic when a devastating car accident with Ryan at the wheel kills a young girl. Jake, who like any parent would do anything to protect his child, makes an impulsive decision to save his son's future. This leads to a sort of domino affect throughout the rest of the story showing us how important one decision can be, especially if you make the wrong one.

Friday, April 18, 2014

the latest in brain research.

The human brain is the most complex organism there is. It causes all sorts of crazy, and the brilliant people of the world are still trying to fully understand it. Michio Kaku's The Future of the Mind is pretty mind blowing, pun intended. In the past few decades, science fiction books are coming to life in laboratories all over the country. Kaku shares the discoveries in neuroscience that could lead to new capabilities in this century such as telepathy, telekinesy, and literally uploading memories in our brain. He goes a tad Ray Bradbury on us when considering the implications of a world filled with even more intelligent machinery than we have now. It's honestly kind of wild to think about. Kaku and his impeccable research does an excellent job of opening even the simplest minds to the times that are a changing. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

at 86, MHC has still got it!

Mary Higgins Clark novels are ALWAYS something to look forward to, and her latest thriller, I've Got You Under My Skin is no exception.

Reality television producer, Laurie Moran has an idea to create a reality series that opens cold cases anywhere from twenty to thirty years old. Her plan is to get the point of view of the people who were closest to the victim. The whole premise of this series hits close to home with Laurie because her own husband was brutally murdered five years ago, and the only lead they have is that he has blue eyes and is planning on coming back to kill her and her son, Timmy. Timmy was only three years old when his father was shot and killed, and he is the only one who saw the killers face.

Timmy's now eight, and off to summer camp while his mom launches "Under Suspicion". The first episode is about the murder of Betsy Bonner Powell at her daughters graduation party. Her husband, Robert who has never remarried is still searching for his wife's killer, suspecting it was someone who attended the party. As close friends and family recreate the scene for other's viewing pleasure, Laurie doesn't realize that she is being stalked by Mr. Blue Eyes while she works. And MHC does what she does best, keeps the tension mounting and creates the kind of suspense that will keep you up at night. Get it girl!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

couples bible study.

My fiance and I have been attending premarital mentoring classes about once a month, which is mandatory through the church we are marrying at in July. We are actually getting a lot of out the experience. We meet with a couple who have been married for 30 years, and we talk about all of those things you should discuss before you get married. They also give us advice, and it's nice to bring up some of our issues and get other people's perspectives.

Uncommon Marriage Bible Study by Tony and Lauren Dungy is a 5-week guide that I have perused, but I plan on really getting into it with my guy after our mentoring is complete. This couples Bible study explores Scripture and how it relates to the good, the bad, and the ugly in relationships today. After reading through the pages myself, I noticed that it would actually work really well in a small group discussion, if that is your thing. This marriage resource does have similar advice and Scriptures used in other relationship-based Bible studies that some of you may be familiar with, Chapman, Townsend, etc. but as someone who hasn't read any other books on the topic of marriage and relationships other than The 5 Love Languages (which I totally recommend as well), I found these cute Dungy's and the way they share their personal experiences that are relatable to real life and Scripture, very helpful.