Monday, July 11, 2016

ten beach road series SPOILERS.

I was living on lake time last week which is why I went missing. Since I'm teaching summer school (which starts right now), I decided to take the week of the 4th completely off. No editing, no writing, just a lot of ice cream and s'mores. And of course reading, because I never need a vacation from that.

My first lakeside read was Wendy Wax's latest Ten Beach Road novel, Sunshine Beach. I love the easy breeziness of this series, and this installment even had an air of mystery about it. The ladies are back at Bella Flora, still recovering from Deidra's death and their walking away from the network. Trying to figure out their next moves. After Kyra stumbles upon an abandoned hotel, the crew decides to take matters into their own hands and do the show on their terms, their way. The only thing they are missing is money and permission to renovate the old hotel which has a tragic history. Sunshine Beach was definitely a nice addition to the series, but the end had me more anxious for the next one.

Friday, July 1, 2016

sex in china.

The Incarnations by Susan Barker is a story woven together in 3 parts: A taxi driver named Wang’s present (2007 Beijing) life with his wife and child, Wang’s own (messed up) childhood and early adulthood, and the letters from Wang’s "soul mate", the person (not identified until the end) who has followed him from one life to the next, always meeting and developing some sort of relationship as they go along, not always romantic. They are not star-crossed lovers. There is no, "if you're a bird, I'm a bird." It's not that kind of story. But I promise you, you haven't read a novel about China quite like this one.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

fondest memory of a teacher.

Since I was only a teacher in my own classroom for one year, I haven't left much in the way of lasting impressions. I was just trying to survive. Currently I'm subbing and I do teach summer school every summer, but my sub kids are more my buddies and my summer school kids usually hate me. So there's that. HOWEVER. I personally have teachers I would like to thank. Which leads me to my next review.

Thank You, Teacher is a collection of stories about teachers affecting the lives of their students in really amazing ways. Authors of these stories include MAYA ANGELOU. So you should probably read it just for that reason alone. This collection is separated into four parts, grade school, middle school, high school and college, and I loved them all. I know I kind of missed the ball on the end of the year teacher gifts, but now you've got a great idea for next year!

My favorite memory of a teacher? I'm glad you asked. I actually had a few teachers I really, really loved. My 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Chaya. We would write in our journals every week and she would take the time to write us all back, and I loved hearing what she thought about my 9-year-old life. My 7th grade Social Studies teacher, Mrs. Schulte. She was so sweet ALL OF THE TIME. My 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Tenebruso. When I became a teacher she gave me everything she had on To Kill a Mockingbird and Romeo and Juliet so that I didn't have to start from ground zero. She still helps me get ready for summer school and always calls me to sub for her. My 12th grade English teacher, this is weird but I don't remember her name. But she did something SO amazing when we began class senior year. She passed around a paper with every student in the class's name on it and each of us had to write something nice about each person. Then she collected the papers and she gave back to us the list of all the nice things people said about us, laminated. I still have mine.

Thank you to all of the teachers out there for your tireless efforts to improve the lives of kids. Especially the kids who ask for love in the most unloving ways.

Monday, June 27, 2016

double biography.

Although I'm not really into architecture past How I Met Your Mother reruns on Netflix, I was intrigued by a book that featured the two iconic architects who dominated the 20th century between the both of them. Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) and Philip Johnson (1906-2005) and would love to know what they ate for breakfast because they both lived an awfully long time and I don't think they were solely fueled by their egos. Just kidding. About one of them.

Architecture's Odd Couple by Hugh Howard is a biography that features two men in the same profession who only overlapped briefly in their careers. They were both super talented, polar opposites, yet, they needed each other. For inspiration. For competition. Howard tells both life stories, but waits until the end to put in perspective all that each man accomplished in his career. And although one man was obviously greater than the other, I still enjoyed reading about both.

Friday, June 24, 2016

when the end justifies dessert.

I've never been very good at math. Or baking. But that doesn't mean a gal like myself can't appreciate eating pi. Get it? Anyways. How to Bake Pi: An Edible Exploration of the Mathematics of Mathematics by Eugenia Cheng uses recipes as a metaphor for math and explores different math concepts (and yummy desserts) one chapter at a time. She also talks about herself, which brings a realness to the book and makes it more than just a collection of recipes or math lessons. If you want to know what a quadrilateral is, but also how to make homemade hollandaise sauce, this is the book for you.

If you don't care about what A + B equals (C, duh), well, a ton of smart kids ready to take on the world have graduated recently, give them this book at their graduation party, they'll think it's cute.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

austen re-creation.

First. Love & Friendship is actually a romantic comedy that came out in theaters in May directed by Whit Stillman. The film got great ratings and features Kate Beckinsale as Lady Susan, love her. Love & Friendship: In Which Jane Austen's Lady Susan Vernon is Entirely Vindicated is the novella written by Whit Stillman which came out a few weeks before the movie. I recommend enjoying the book first as per usual.

The whole premise of the two is that a beautiful widow decides to secure rich husbands for her and her coming of age daughter resulting in things getting complicated and hilarious. Many of you loved Lady Susan from Austen's own novella. You'll love her even more this time around I promise.

Monday, June 20, 2016

the perfect summer thriller.

Happy first day of summer! Today's the day to bust out the books you told yourself you would make time to read, but haven't because it wasn't summer, but now it IS summer and you have no excuse. Vitamin D and all that. First up, All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda which comes out on the 28th. The description alone is intriguing (the story is told in reverse), and once you get started you won't be able to do anything else until you finish. Except maybe pour another glass of wine.

Nic Farrell left her sleepy town of Cooley Ridge, NC after her BFF disappeared ten years ago. Without a trace. Never to be found again. When her brother calls to let her know her father is not well (Dementia), Nic goes back to town to take care of him. And shortly after her arrival another woman from her group of friends back then goes missing. No one seems to have any answers, except Nic's dad, which is the craziest part. Or is it?