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review 2018-01-15 06:19
Rethinking School by Susan Wise Bauer
Rethinking School: How to Take Charge of Your Child's Education - Susan Wise Bauer

From the blurb"

 

"Our K–12 school system is an artificial product of market forces. It isn’t a good fit for all—or even most—students. It prioritizes a single way of understanding the world over all others, pushes children into a rigid set of grades with little regard for individual maturity, and slaps “disability” labels over differences in learning style.

Caught in this system, far too many young learners end up discouraged, disconnected, and unhappy. And when they struggle, school pressures parents, with overwhelming force, into “fixing” their children rather than questioning the system.

With boldness, experience, and humor, Susan Wise Bauer turns conventional wisdom on its head: When a serious problem arises at school, the fault is more likely to lie with the school, or the educational system itself, than with the child.

In five illuminating sections, Bauer teaches parents how to flex the K–12 system, rather than the child. She closely analyzes the traditional school structure, gives trenchant criticisms of its weaknesses, and offers a wealth of advice for parents of children whose difficulties may stem from struggling with learning differences, maturity differences, toxic classroom environments, and even from giftedness (not as much of a “gift” as you might think!).

As the author of the classic book on home-schooling, The Well-Trained Mind, Bauer knows how children learn and how schools work. Her advice here is comprehensive and anecdotal, including material drawn from experience with her own four children and more than twenty years of educational consulting and university teaching.

Rethinking School is a guide to one aspect of sane, humane parenting: negotiating the twelve-grade school system in a way that nurtures and protects your child’s mind, emotions, and spirit.
"

 

This book provides a well-written, interesting and informative assessment of the American school system, how children do not necessarily fit into this system, how parents can help their children better deal with the school system, or by "flexing" the existing system to better accommodate their children.  This book offers a great deal of practical advice in a situation where homeschooling is not an option and where the child does not fit into the school system.  I recommend this book to every parent that has a child still stuck in the current education system.

 

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review 2018-01-14 20:23
Listening In: Cybersecurity in an Insecure Age
Listening In: Cybersecurity in an Insecure Age - Susan Landau

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

An interesting foray into encryption and privacy, especially when considering the point of view of authorities who may need to access data on devices seized upon arrests.

The author makes a case for strengthened encryption, and I feel this makes more sense than the contrary. The book is positioned around the main controversy of including backdoors to allow police and intelligence services to access a device, so that when they need to do it during an investigation, to apprehend a perp or to follow the trail of other people potentially involved, they could do so easily; whereas strong encryption would make it difficult or impossible. However, as has been discussed during actual investigations (an example given in the book involves Apple), there’d be no guarantees that in-built backdoors would be used only by authorities: if they’re here, sooner or later someone with ill intentions is bound to find them and use them, too.

This ties into a general concern about how we have evolved into a digital age, and have to envision security from this perspective. Here also, while not going into deep technical details, the book explains the principles underlying this new brand of security; how this or that method works; the pros and cons of going towards more encryption or less encryption; what other solutions have already been tested, especially in military environments; how cyber-attacks can disrupt governmental operations in many different ways, such as what happened with Estonia and Georgia, and even the 2016 US elections. All very current and hot issues that deserve to be pointed at and examined, because whatever solutions get implemented, if they create less security and impinge on civilian privacy as well, they’re not going to be useful for very long (if ever).

Also interesting, even though it’s not the main focus, is the concept of encryption methods needing to be made public in order to be really efficient: the more people have a chance of poking at them, testing them, and finding faults, the more these methods can be revised and strengthened.

Conclusion: Not a very technical book, but that’s precisely why it makes a good introduction to such matters: easy to understand, while highlighting major concerns that not only deal with national security, but with our own (and with our privacy) as well.

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review 2018-01-08 11:05
mixed
Immortal Christmas - Susan Krinard,Linda Thomas-Sundstrom,Theresa Meyers

The edition I read was a 3-in-one.

 

This is an interesting collection of Vampire Christmas stories, starting with a story that made more sense of some of the Opiri series, Halfway to Dawn by Susan Krinard. This is a story of a mission that almost goes wrong and a vampire who remembers the Christmas Truce in World War I and who really wants to get as far away as possible from his master.  I loved the banter between the two ex-soldiers, they did show how people who have been together because of friendship would work together.  The romance was a bit rushed but good.

 

Bright Star by Linda Thomas came next and it was an interesting romance between two people who had their own obsessions and motives and who have to try to come to an understanding that will make both of them happy.  Enjoyable while I read it but I don't remember much.

 

Last but not least was The Gift by Theresa Meyers and I really liked this one, a cursed necklace and a complicated legacy makes for an interesting pair of people who have different agendas but working together might make them a great couple.

 

This is a good set of stories and I've read Krinard and Thomas before but I'd like to read more by Theresa Meyers.

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review 2018-01-05 23:09
If Only I Could.....
Eating with Peter: A Gastronomic Journey - Susan Buckley

A quite amazing look at the privileged dining experiences of a high-society lady. The author was married to Peter Buckley, a writer, photographer, and world traveler. The Buckley's socialized with the rarified levels of society (think Ernest Hemingway), and made a habit of dining at the world's finest establishments.
As an example, I offer the following quote from the book: "It was a Monday morning in 1973 and we were at the end of The Wedding Special, Part 2. The Wedding Special was Peter's moniker for a honeymoon, a term he feld was too plebian to be used in polite company. Part 1 had been a month in the Caribbean. Part 2 entailed crossing the Atlantic on the France, a few days in London, then three weeks in France, and now another three in Morocco".
Get the idea? I found this to be a world that I could not relate to. But I did find the descriptions of the meals intriguing, and find myself daydreaming "if only I could..." . If one can dispense with the superior attitude and sense of entitlement expressed, you may enjoy this book.

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url 2018-01-04 12:18
New Releases in Book Series - Thursday, Jan. 4
Almost - Danielle Norman
Cold Truth - Susan Sleeman
 Coldbloods - Bella Forrest

Source:  FictFact's new release calendar

Source: www.fictfact.com/BookReleaseCalendar
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