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?

Friday, June 17, 2016

celebrate the journey.

I've loved Cameron Diaz since I first saw her in My Best Friend's Wedding (and then fully fell in love after seeing her in The Sweetest Thing). She is so gorgeous and versatile and hilarious, there is literally nothing NOT love about her. And now, she has a book.

The Longevity Book: The Science of Aging, the Biology of Strength, and the Privilege of Time is a book about the aging female body (working as a sequel of sorts to The Body Book). I know that none of us want to think about aging, but it's happening so let's embrace it, shall we? (Says the 30-year-old). But really, Cameron is not going to tell us how to look 20 years younger in 3 weeks. She is however going to tell us what we can do now so that we can age more gracefully and mindfully, while also lessening our health risks. With research to back up her claims.

No, this is not wildly new information, BUT Cameron is the perfect voice to make my generation listen.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

summer lovin'

I haven't read a Melody Carlson book in ages, and I missed her, so when my mom told me about her new (or not so new) Follow Your Heart series, I was like GIMME. And although it was a little weird reading a romance novel that was heavy on the sweet instead of the skanky, it was a nice change of pace. A little corny sometimes, but in a good way.

Anna Gordon had a rough childhood. She lived with her grandparents for most of it due to her drug addict parents. She was smart, gorgeous, went to college, started to design a life she loved until her grandpa died and she moved in with her grandma and then two years went by and she just felt....stuck. She was managing a grubby motel in her small town and her dreams of being in the legit hospitality business seemed to get further and further away. Until she ran into a childhood friend who hooked her up with a job in New York City working at a chic boutique hotel. In a week, Anna's life went from blah to gah! Because not only does she move to the big city she also meets a guy. Or re-meets. Gets reacquainted. Anyways, you'll have to see for yourself.

Monday, June 13, 2016

oh canada.

I'm not going to get into all the gory details, but I've actually been to Banff National Park, in the middle of winter. Kind of strange because I live in Buffalo, and don't enjoy outdoor winter sports. At all. But here I found myself roughly 8 years ago, smack in the middle of the park, being pulled around by dogs. You'll never truly know until you read my memoir.

I highly recommend seeing the park by dogsled in the winter if you don't particularly enjoy skiing or snowboarding. It was a super cool experience. I would love to travel back during the warm weather months to hike, and see Lake Louise. Bucket list material.  For more info on this area, including Jasper and Glacier National Parks, look to the updated Lonely Planet Travel Guide because it is amazing. Everything you need to know is right on the beautiful pages. Where to hike, where to shop, where to drive, where to eat, all of the popular tours, the MUST see's and do's. There really is something for everybody in Lonely Planet Travel Guides.

Friday, June 10, 2016

starts slow but give it a chance.

Silence in the Dark is the final book in Bradley’s Logan Point series, I definitely recommend scarfing the others up before reading this one.

Bailey Adams is a flight risk, she's a runner (we have this in common). So after she broke off her engagement to Danny Maxwell, she did the only thing she could think to do. She ran. Taking off to the mission field in Mexico. But when she makes plans to return to the States, Bailey discovers that she's going to have to run again, but this time, she's being chased. Leaving her with no one else to trust but God and surprisingly, Danny. Will Bailey and her heart make it home safely?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

bird's the word.

Skipper Supreme: Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles is a light read about a coach and how he completely turned around a team in the midst of a major losing streak. Readers will get to know Buck Showalter as a person, but this read mostly focuses on his life in Baltimore. When he took over late in the season of 2010, he brought with him the kind of energy that rouses an entire city. Showalter restored the Orioles organization, and any fan of the team and the game will appreciate every short story.

Monday, June 6, 2016

quirky inventions of 19 century britian.

As a lover of Shark Tank, I was super entertained by Julie Halls' Inventions that Didn't Change the World. When I first received the book, I thought to myself, what people come up with now makes me laugh, reading about what inventions people came up with in the 19th Century will be even more amazing. And I was right.

19th Century Britain was a hub for bizarre inventions as design protection was the new rage and everyone wanted in. Halls book is filled with authentic illustrations and descriptions of strange inventions such as an umbrella with peep holes so you can see your surroundings in case of a mugging, and even a collar with spikes sticking out of it  (that were concealed by cloth) that worked to help you defend yourself if you were grabbed around the neck during a mugging which apparently was a thing because there are a lot of self defense inventions. My personal favorite? The corset with the inflatable bust that also gives you an hourglass shape. So the Kardashian's did exist two hundred years ago...

Friday, June 3, 2016

jojo before me.

REPOST: Because it's in theatres today and I can't wait to see it!
Check out this trailer, I cry every time I watch it.

Guys. Jojo Moyes. I can't even properly put into worlds how much her book-to-movie (out in June) Me Before You affected me after I turned the last page. I literally had NO idea how it was going to turn out. And I am not planning on spoiling it for you, but I am still recovering.

Louisa Clark grew up in a lower class home in a small tourist town outside of London. Her life was small. She worked at a café for six years, was in a mediocre relationship for seven. Lived with her parents, who honestly needed her to help pay the bills. She was twenty-six and had never done much of anything at all. Until her café closes, she's forced to find another position, and she finds Will. A former wild child/successful businessman turned quadriplegic because of a careless accident and is now forced to live out his life in a wheelchair, unable to even feed himself. Louisa becomes his caregiver, and discovers soon after why she was hired by his mother with absolutely no experience. Will gave his parents six months. Six more months for him to live, and then he was going to end things. Will's mother hoped that Louisa might be the person to show Will that life is worth living, even his.

I honestly feel like I can't say anything else. But this is quite the love story.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

both sides of war.

Honestly, I didn't think The Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukake would be a book I would enjoy. I typically like to read books I can relate to, or a,t least wrap my head around and although I could not see myself in her shoes, 13-year-old Aya Shimamura was such an interesting character, I could not put this book down.

Set in post-war Japan, it's 1947. Aya and her father have been deported back to Japan after living in Canada all of Aya's life and now she must adjust to an entirely different culture that is supposed to be hers. In school, where she barely speaks Japanese, Aya is seated in class next to Fumi, who's older sister disappeared after leaving home to become a dance girl because jobs are so scarce. Together, with the help of an unlikely source, these two girls set off to find this missing girl, and a coming of age adventure begins.