What is your reading goal this year?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Compliment Quotient

The Compliment Quotient by Monica Strobel

(Summary taken from the back book cover) "Learn how developing the one, simple practice of giving compliments boosts your joy, and sustains and enlivens all of your relationships--especially with yourself. You can achieve: a greater sense of well-being and joy in your daily life , deeper connections with your loved ones, more positive impact in the world, and rekindled romance."

I really liked this book. Ms. Strobel's style is simple and easy to read, yet it is packed with information. I really like the idea that just adding more compliments in your day can change the atmosphere of your home (or wherever you are). It seems so simple, but according to her you can achieve a lot with just that one thing. Ms. Strobel gives many examples in the book, which I liked, and thought it made the book more personal. I liked the breakdown of the book, and that she not only said to do it, but showed you how to do it. It is broken down into relationships as well, which is great because I don't compliment my husband the way I do my son or my father. Ms. Strobel just makes it seem so easy! My one complaint (if you can call it that) is that it is written more towards women. I like that it is geared more toward me, but at the same time I think it would be great for men to read as well.

I have been trying to add more compliments into my day and it is harder than it seems. When you walk into the kids rooms and they are messy, then you walk down the stairs and trip on toys, and then you go to the door and find shoes everywhere, it is hard to find compliments, but when I have held back my complaints and complimented instead it has changed my attitude. I have a long way to go, but I really like the idea.

Rating: PG-13 (No language, she does talk about husband and wife relationships, including "physical intimacy." It is clean, just helping to enhance that relationship.

Recommendation: Married and up (just because it does talk about that relationship between husband and wife). I think it would be great to discuss with children and teach them about compliments and how to give them, but I wouldn't have them read the book until they are older.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Inch Principle

The Inch Principle by John T. Condry and Paul E. Carpenter

(Summary taken from the back book cover) "Each year, John Condry and Paul Carpenter teach thousands of people to manage, motivate, and communicate more effectively. The Inch Principle compresses their training into 21 Million Dollar Inches of Management. Together these 21 inches will increase your ability to confront any management challenge with confidence. If you want to achieve anything big, challenging, magnificent, or unprecedented apply these 21 Million Dollar Inches of Management."

I am a stay at home mom. I do have my degree in elementary education, and I did teach, but I haven't taught since my first son was born. I am NOT in the business world at all. I help with PTA and in my kids' classes, and I help with tutoring at the school, but I'm not in charge of anything and all I have to manage is my family. This book was advertised as being helpful to anyone in any situation, not just business (see above: "If you want to achieve anything big, challenging, magnificent, or unprecedented apply these 21 Million Dollar Inches of Management.") It was an easy read, I understood everything and how it would help in business mangement, but I did have trouble relating it to me. My husband is a manager at his work and I recommended it to him because he deals with these issues every day. He always talks about being in meetings all day, and there is a principle for that, etc. I think for people in business it is a great book and will help a lot. There are a few of the principles that I could maybe see using as a PTA president or even maybe a teacher with a class, but all the examples in the book relate to business. I think if the authors had wanted it to relate to a larger audience they would have added examples to fit other situations, and they did not.

So, this is a business book. There is a lot of information in it, and I think it will help those in managing positions, and also those who want to move up the corporate ladder. If you are in the business world I would recommend reading it. It doesn't take very long and I think it could have some long term and short term benefits.

Rating: G (It's clean!)

Recommendation: High School and up. It would be really good for a high school business class, and for anyone who owns a business or works at one.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Buddy's Tail

Buddy's Tail by K. Anne Russell

(Summary taken from the back book cover) "Buddy Boutonniere, a big-hearted standard Poodle, subsists in the bare backyard of a tract home in the desert city of Yucca Dunes. MacKenzie, a Border Collie, and Javier, a Chihuahua, provide Buddy with companionship and bring him food when his neglectful owners forget to provide for him. When Buddy's owners decide to move, Buddy meets a wonderful lady who visits his house with prospective buyers. The poodle's humans try to sell their dog and Buddy goes through a series of unsuitable living situations. The final family returns Buddy to the tract home not realizing the owners are away. Buddy dies, but is brought back to life by Sonny, the Good Shepherd. Sonny grants Buddy's wish to go live with the wonderful lady, in return for his promise to go with Sonny when he comes back for him. Buddy has a happy life with the lady and her dog, Skootch. Years later, Sonny comes for Buddy. True to his word, Buddy goes without complaint. Sonny takes Buddy to Haven, the canine paradise, where he is reunited with MacKenzie. Their only responsibility is to help guide other dogs to Haven. Buddy excels at guiding, but on a mission to bring back a bomb dog from Afghanistan, Buddy breaks the rules and helps a human, the dog's Marine partner. Buddy is dragged before a tribunal, where MacKenzie defends him. With the help of the marine and a little girl, MacKenzie convinces the judges that Buddy is not an offender, but a hero."

I was really excited to read this book. I'm always looking for good books for my 9 yr.-old to read. As I've stated in the past, he's read all the "Fablehaven" and all the "Harry Potter" books and loved them. I do not read the back cover summary before I read a book, and therefore, I was not prepared for the storyline of this book. I do not know if I would have read it if I had known beforehand what would happen. After finishing the book I read a lot of reviews on Amazon.com and was taken back. Most of the reviewers loved the book and think it is great for children. I, on the other hand, have a very different opinion. I will not be letting my 9 yr.-old read this book. It seems silly, since he has read some pretty scary and dark books and I was fine with it, but this is different. This book disturbed me, as an adult. The only reason I finished the book was because I was reviewing it.

Ms. Russell's writing is good. I like her style of writing. There are some confusing parts because each chapter jumps from time to different time, and different dog, but you eventually figure out what is going on. It's the content of the book that I didn't like. It is fiction, but it is "too close to home." Buddy is very neglected by his owners. I don't like animal cruelty and it is good to teach your children about responsibility with animals, but watching an animal die because of neglect is disturbing. Also, the whole bit with the Hummer man is awful, to say the least. This cruel man, who drives a Hummer, kills one of the dogs' friends and seemed to enjoy it. So all these dogs hate this man. In the book they chase after him barking every time he drives by. Then in the story, you read about this Hummer man who hits a little girl with his car and drives away, leaving her critically injured. This Hummer man also ends up killing another one of the dogs later in the story. It's difficult to read because it is so upsetting. 

After MacKenzie dies, because the Hummer man hit her, she goes to Haven, which is canine paradise. She guides other dogs to Haven when they pass. Buddy eventually passes and also becomes a guide dog. Ok, I'm Christian and I believe in Heaven and life after death, but how do you discuss this book without bringing that up? I have my degree in elementary education and I'm very aware of the separation between church and state. What if there is a child in the class who doesn't believe in Heaven? This book is fiction, as I said, but it is so "real." It's not like discussing a fantasy "Heaven," if that makes sense. In Haven Buddy has to go and get a bomb dog who dies in Afghanistan when a roadside bomb explodes under his vehicle. Ok, I know this is on the news a lot, but that doesn't mean I let my 9 yr.-old watch it! Why would I want him to read about it? He's only nine. He doesn't need to worry about soldiers and their dogs dying in Afghanistan yet. Someday he will, but not yet. And that scene was particularly disturbing for me to read.

The morals of the story are good: be kind to and responsible with animals, loyalty, friendship, helping each other. They are all good lessons to learn, but I do not feel the means to accomplishing this is the correct way. In my family we have had pets die, and it's devastating to children. Even the 1 in. long fish who dies brings out a flood of tears. Reading about these terrible deaths would not help, I don't think, to lessen my children's sadness when a pet dies. I think it just puts disquieting images in their heads and makes them worry about things they don't need to worry about yet. The book states it is for children 9 and up, but it was too much for me. I would not recommend it for 9 yr.-olds.

Rating: PG-13 (Awful doggy deaths, animal cruelty and neglect, a hit-and-run accident, a roadside bomb explosion in Afghanistan that kills a Marine and his dog)

Recommendation: High School and up, maybe. It may be hard for a high school sophomore to handle. Really, this is just too much. I wanted to stop reading after the hit-and-run accident which left a little girl in critical condition in the hospital. Had I not been reviewing the book I would not have finished. The book does state for 9 yr.-olds and up, but I would strongly suggest waiting. I really hope it does not find its way into 4th grade classrooms. I don't think the beneficial lessons learned are worth the painful images in the delivery method.