What Format of Book Do You Prefer To Read?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Prison, My Home


My Prison, My Home by Haleh Esfandiari

(Summary taken from the book jacket) "This stunning arrest was the culmination of a chain of events set into motion in the early-morning hours of December 31, 2006--a day that began like any other but presaged the end of Esfandiari's regular visits to her elderly mother in Iran, and her return to the United States. That morning, the driver arrived on time. Her mother held the Quran over her head for blessing and luck. From the car, Haleh waved good-bye. She checked for her passport and plane ticket. But as the taxi neared the airport, a sedan forced them to pull over. Three men, armed with knives, threatened her and her driver while going through her pockets and stealing her belongings--including her travel documents. She was left unharmed but would not fly home to the States that day. "An ordinary robbery," Esfandiari insisted to friends and family. She took steps to secure a new passport and book a new flight. But it would not be until eight months later that she would leave Iran. Esfandiari became the victim of the far-fetched belief on the part of Iran's Intelligence Ministry that she, a scholar with the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, D.C., was part of an American conspiracy for "regime change" in Iran. In haunting prose and vivid detail, Esfandiari recounts how the Intelligence Ministry subsequently ordered a search of her mother's apartment; put her through hours, then weeks, of interrogation; tapped her phone calls, forcing her to speak in code to her husband and mother; and finally detained her at the notorious Even Prison, where she would spend 105 days in solitary confinement."


To start off, I am so thankful for our country and the freedoms we enjoy. Our government is not perfect, but we are so blessed to be here with a government that at least follows the rule of law. This book is well written and compelling.  I learned a lot about Iran and it's history and government. At times it was difficult to keep track of all the different Iranian leaders and what purpose they have in the government, but Esfandiari writes so well that even though I wasn't 100% sure of who was who, I understood what was going on. She has led a very exciting life, compared to mine. She has lived in Austria, Iran, and the United States. Unfortunately, I do not remember hearing her story when it happened, but I am glad I read the book. It helped me to learn more about world affairs and how different countries rule. It also gave me a personal side to Iran. To me Iran has always been about Ahmadinejad and not allowing him to have nuclear weapons. I have been one to suggest using every option to stop him. After reading this book I still believe, now even more, that Iran should not be allowed to have nuclear weapons, but I worry more about the citizens of Iran and how they will be affected either way. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to be more aware of what can happen in our world, who wants to learn more about Iran and it's history, and who wants to become more grateful for the country we live in and the freedoms we enjoy.

Rating: PG-13  The only reason I added the "13" was because it is difficult to understand and her interrogation and prison life are not happy. She was not physically harmed, but I think it would be too much for younger teens. There is little to no language and no "physical intimacy," but it is about prison life.

Recommendation: I think it would be a great book for high school seniors to read while they learn about world history. I don't know if I would go younger than that. So high school senior and up would benefit from reading this book.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Organizing for your Brain Type



Organizing For Your Brain Type by Lanna Nakone

(Summary taken from the back of the book) "Let your natural inclinations guide you toward gaining control of your environment and learn to live life on your own terms. Drawing on the science of brain function and her experience as a professional orgainizer, Lanna Nakone offers tailored and specific advice that will actually help you tame your desk, unclutter your closet, manage your time, and save your sanity. Take the Brain Style quiz to determine which of the four parts of the brain you rely on the most to process information, and which organizing style complements your brain function. If you rely on the :
1. Frontal left section of your brain, you're a Prioritizing Style. Adept at analyzing data, you prefer to delegate organizing.
2. Frontal right section of your brain, you're an Innovating Style. Artistic and creative, you have a unique stacking system that no one else understands.
3. Posterior left section of your brain, you're a Maintaining Style. You develop and follow routines well and adhere to traditional organizing methods.
4. Posterior right section of your brain, you're a Harmonizing Style. Valuing interconnectedness with your family or coworkers, you need your environment to be peaceful.
Chapters specific to each type offer practical tips and strategies for implementing an organizing system, maintaining your system, and coexisting with different brain types.

Some of you may be laughing right now....hahaha. Why an organizing book? Well, I have children, a husband, a house, food storage, financial records, a dog, a fish, and a bird.  I also have more that I have not listed, and they are all out of control right now. Now, if you know me well you would probably guess that I am a Maintaining Style. I'm fairly good at organizing, and I love purchasing containers and shelves and boxes and such, but it's time and how to do things more efficiently that I hoped for. Her Maintaining Style had me to a tee, but it didn't do all that I hoped for. I'm already pretty good at the paper files and paper trail, but it's the other stuff I wanted help on. She goes into a lot of detail about paper organization and some closet stuff, but it wasn't quite what I wanted. I did think it was helpful and I would recommend it, but I'm still searching for the information I want.

Rating: G

Recommendation: Good for all who want to be more organized! 14 years and up. I don't think a 14 year-old would really want to read it, but, he/she could!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fablehaven #1


Fablehaven #1 by Brandon Mull

(Summary taken from the back of the book) "For centuries mystical creatures were gathered into a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary is one of the last strongholds of true magic. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite...Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken, powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother must face the greatest challenge of their lives to save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps the world."

I liked this book, but I didn't love it. It was good and entertaining, but it didn't capture me from the beginning. It didn't seem "real," which is funny because it's fantasy, but that's how I felt. It was good, clean reading, and it would be a good read-aloud for younger children. I do know some people that LOVED this book, so it may just be me. I think I will read the rest of the series because I know my children will want to read them and I like to preview books before they read them.  I would recommend it for when you want to read a book and don't really want to think, just be entertained.

Rating: PG There are some scarier parts and some gory parts. There isn't any language or "physical intimacy."

Recommendation: 1st or 2nd grade for read-alouds and if the child is reading by himself, 2nd or 3rd grade, depending on the child and his reading ability. My 2nd grader wants to read the series and I think I will let him try, although I do want to read it aloud. It's also good for anyone above that level that wants a fun, entertaining book to read.

Fablehaven #2 Rise of the Evening Star



Fablehaven #2 Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull

(Summary taken from the back of the book) "At the end of the school year Kendra and her brother, Seth, find themselves racing back to Fablehaven, a refuge for mythical and magical creatures. Grandpa Sorenson invites three specialists--a potion master, a collector of magical relics, and a trapper of mystical creatures--to help protect the property from the Society of the Evening Star, an ancient orgainization determined to steal a hidden artifact of great power. Time is running out. If the artifact falls into the wrong hands, it could mean the downfall of other preserves and possibly the world." 

I liked this book a lot more than I liked the first one. I think it seemed more "real," if that's possible. It caught my attention more. There are still some corny parts, but overall I liked it. It's a good, easy read that is entertaining and good when you just want a fun book. It is fairly well written and has some good twists and turns. The last page brings a surprise, even though I had thought about the possibility of it while reading. I like the characters and the story. It is good, clean fun. There is some gore and some scarier scenes, but there is no language and no "physical intimacy."

Rating: PG  There is some gore and might be scary for littler children.

Recommendation: 1st grade and up, if being read to. If reading alone probably 2nd or 3rd grade. My 2nd grader wants to read it. It may be a little too difficult for him, but I think I'll let him try. I think I'll read it aloud though.