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review 2018-06-12 05:19
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
The School for Good and Evil - Soman Chainani

Every year in Sophie and Agatha's village two children are taken away. The children are always opposites of each other: one kind, one mean; one handsome, one ugly, etc. The children never return, but a new book of fairy tales arrives every year, and children will sometimes recognize one of their former friends in the pages of the book.

Most children dread being taken away, but Sophie can't wait to be taken. She knows she will go to the School for Good. She's pretty, does what she thinks are good works, she's pretty, and....Then there's Agatha, who is an outcast, dresses in black and likes cemeteries. Sophie is sure Agatha will go to the School for Evil. Agatha doesn't seem to care.

The one aspect of 'School for Good and Evil' that truly worked was the switching of the obvious roles Agatha and Sophie play in their respective schools. Hideous, hideous Agatha is set down amidst wannabe princes and princesses and taught etiquette and cosmetics use (because she's a girl, the princes learn sword-fighting and whatnot), while Sophie is cast in with the uggos and taught 'uglification' and black magic. At least the School for Evil allows the girls equal opportunities. Within your school you compete to be the leader of the story, while lower-ranked classmates become bit players in new fairy tales. Good and evil compete with each other to see who triumphs in the end. The headmaster(s) is a two-headed dog with a dual nature played for comic relief. Does not scan.

So, the switching of expectations worked for about five to ten pages, but the book doesn't go deep into morality, but focuses mostly on how appearances determine how good or evil you are. The book challenges that assertion, but not soon enough. It makes the argument about appearances for too long and

 

Agatha is celebrated as being super pretty when she embraces her good side

(spoiler show)

 

Boooooo. And don't tell me its self-confidence, either.

Still, the book does raise some interesting questions about the nature of good and evil. It doesn't have any answers, maybe the raising of the question is what matters - even if they're paired with half-hearted answers. It was readable, if regressive. Younger readers probably won't care about the drawbacks. I'm hoping that Chainani addresses a lot of these issues with the Schools in next parts of the series, as part of the resolution of what happens at the end of this book.

Evil had controlled the school for ages. So maybe it threw in the gender stereotypes and the emphasis on appearance.

(spoiler show)

But that seems a little too subtle. The doubt keeps a star on the review, however.

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text 2018-06-11 07:42
How Do You Help Your Students Develop a Good Attitude Toward Learning

Given how long each student is in school, from the years of dedication and hours sat in seats each day, it can be hard to stay motivated. As a teacher, it is your job to foster a productive learning environment. Here are seven ways to help your students develop an attitude about learning:

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review 2018-06-05 03:37
Ali Land: Good Me Bad me
Good Me Bad Me - Ali Land

In her debut novel Ali Land explores how much our parents have the ability to shape us:

Milly's mother was a Serial Killer but Milly still loves her, but she knew the only way to stop her and save other children was to turn her in to the police. This allows Milly to have a fresh start, with a new identity, try to rewrite her past as well as a new foster family. But anyone can see that Milly has secrets and she has to fight to keep them. As Milly's mother's trial comes closer and closer Milly does not know if she will be able to testify against her mother, but more than anything she wants to keep the foster family that she was placed with. Milly begins to wonder how much of an influence her mother has had over her, how much of it has shaped her and whether she is really destined to just become her mother one day. As things become more and more intense in Milly's life she is going to show exactly the type of person she is; Good or Bad.

Wow, this book is insane and intense. Dark, twisted and disturbing on so many levels, but I enjoyed it all. What made this even more impressive is this is Land's debut novel. Honestly I do not know how she will be able to top this novel. This had so many positives in the execution and the way of psychology and the whole idea of nature vs nurture aspect played out that I think it will be hard to top this book. I think Land will have to go in to a completely different direction with another book as anything similar would not hit the mark.

This book did have some writing flaws but I think that because it was told by Milly there were times when the dialogue was sloppy on purpose as Milly tries to adapt not only to her new posh surroundings and the people she comes in contact with, but it also expressed how different Milly was from all of these other people. Milly is such an intriguing character on her own I understand why Land chose not to have other points of view in this book; Milly was more than enough.

I'm not really sure I'm completely happy with the ending, more so when it ended not how it ended. I wanted more, to know what was going to happen next with everyone (I don't want to give  too much away of what I wanted more of as that would give some major things away in the book). Nonetheless, I was able to figure out one of the major plot lines or twist near the end but I think that Land makes it easy to find or realize on purpose, as you as the reader secretly hope that you are wrong. That said it is great that you are right as Land is okay with showing the dark side of human nature.

This was a great debut novel by Land that has you questioning how much your upbringing can shape you and really explores some of the darker sides of human nature. I look forward to seeing what Land comes up with next.

Enjoy!!!

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review 2018-06-04 21:57
The Good Life Elsewhere by Vladimir Lorchenkov
The Good Life Elsewhere - Ross Ufberg,Vladimir Lorchenkov

An absurdist, darkly humorous story about impoverished villagers trying to escape Moldova to go work in Italy. This isn’t as tightly-plotted as your typical novel, but it’s a short and quick read following the misadventures of several unfortunate Moldovans in the late 2000s. Many of the situations are over-the-top, satirizing the situations of would-be migrants and the intensity of their desire to go to Italy. The humor is really dark though, much of it involving death. I imagine this book would be funnier and more meaningful to Moldovans, but as a foreigner I did feel able to appreciate it, and it is an easy read.

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review 2018-06-01 04:02
Knit Along with Debbie Macomber: A Good Yarn
Knit Along With Debbie Macomber - A Good Yarn (Leisure Arts #4135) - Leisure Arts,Debbie Macomber

I love the books that this pattern book is based on. I love the idea of working on patterns based on the characters or designs the characters were knitting or admiring in the book. The patters range from beginner to a a fair isle scarf and hat but most of the designs are not something I would wear or knit for a friend. I will have to think about these patterns and what I could do with yarn choice to make them into something more my style.

 

One thing I don't like about this book is that it doesn't suggest a specific yarn.  I know they probably did this because the yarns get discontinued but I like to look up the yarn to get an idea of what they used in the pictures.  Sometimes I can look it up on ebay and find enough to make the pattern.  I wish I could find some of the self-striping yarn they used to make the socks but I don't even know what it was.  I thought it was Red Heart's Heart & Sole but that is much thinner.

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