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review 2017-07-08 03:22
Walt heads to Philly for this adventure
Kindness Goes Unpunished (Audio) - Craig Johnson,George Guidall

I was going to try to come up with something original for this time through the book, but mostly, I liked what I said <a href="http://wp.me/p3z9AH-1DD" target="_blank">last time</a>, so let's stick to that. I do have a few new things to say at the end, I should note.

 

It's a sure sign that I need to spend more time reading Johnson than watching the show based on this series in that I'm consistently surprised at how funny these books are. Sure Henry Standing Bear's dry wit is there, Vic is brash and inappropriate -- amusing enough -- but the narration, Walt himself? I chuckled a lot.

 

So, Walt and Henry (and Dog!) are off to the City of Brotherly Love to visit Walt's daughter, Cady, meet her boyfriend, and for Henry to do something at a museum (just an excuse to see Cady). Oh, and conveniently enough, to meet Vic's family (three police officers, one former police officer, and one attractive mother). After arriving in town, Walt doesn't even get to see Cady before she's brutally attacked and hospitalized.

 

Naturally, Walt stumbles upon the one person in Philadelphia who's more knowledgeable and interested in Indians than Henry. It's that interest (obsession?) and his connection to Walt that makes Walt the best man to track down the man who put Cady in the hospital (and other assorted nefarious acts). That's a level of coincidence that you just buy -- like Gideon Oliver vacationing somewhere that a set of bones surprisingly shows up; Nero Wolfe needing information from someone who's a sucker for orchids; or that every falsely accused murderers that Andy Carpenter stumbles upon happen to own a cute dog.

 

There's enough twists, turns -- and one seeming unnecessary but entertaining diversion (that turns out to be not so ancillary) -- to satisfy any mystery reader. Even out of water, this fish can swim. There's some very interesting things that go on in the character's personal lives that should make things interesting down the road (and that I can't talk about while remaining spoiler free) -- enough to make this more than a tale of a father's vengeance.

 

The first chapter (only one in Wyoming) is great -- Walt totally failing to connect with an elementary school classroom, a fun and prototypical Absaroka County shootout, and other things that make up a typical day for Sheriff Longmire on the eve of his trip.

 

One thing that I did take note of last time, but didn't write about was the theme of daughters and parents. There's a lot about Vic and her mother, but the focus is on Cady and the place that she has in Walt's head and heart. I'm not sure how you could read/listen to this without your heart melting a bit -- particularly if you have a daughter who's growing up a bit too quickly, like me. Guidall did a solid job with his narration of this book, but his performance in the last chapter just about broke me.

 

Walt in the big city, like Walt in the least populated corner of Wyoming, is just a pleasure to spend time with -- even if things are going horribly for him.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/07/07/kindness-goes-unpunished-audiobook-by-craig-johnson-george-guidall
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review 2017-04-26 20:55
Identity and belonging.
The Kindness of Enemies: A Novel - Leila Aboulela

It took me quite a while to get into this book, I kept putting it down because it just wasn't grabbing me. Having given four stars to Lyric's Alley by the same author this was a bit disappointing, but I persevered and as a result I have learned about a time in history that I was totally unaware of. And there was a reward - it turns out that during a trip to Georgia I had actually visited the villa where Anna and her children were spending that fateful summer.

 

I had thought when reading, that I enjoyed the contemporary story most, but as I start to write this review, I realise that it is the story of Shamil and Anna that has stuck with me.

Leila Aboulela recently attended our Literary Festival and was talking about the problems of assimilating into Scotland. I wonder if I was relating her experiences to those of Natasha, the main character in the contemporary parts.

 

The main character of the historical section was Imam Shamil, the 19th century Muslim leader who led the anti-Russian resistance in the Caucasian War. Although a warrior leader, the author attributes him with a very genuine, caring nature and he treats his prisoners with respect.

 

This was a book group read and I don't think anyone had heard of Imam Shamil before reading this book. I'm glad to say that the others all gave higher ratings than I did, so you may consider me a minority and ignore my rating if you wish :)

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review 2017-04-07 00:41
My Great-Aunt Arizona
My Great-Aunt Arizona - Gloria Houston

My Great-Aunt Arizona written by Gloria Houston is a 4.0 on the Accelerated Reading leveling system. This story is from the point of view of a young girl telling about her great-aunt named Arizona. Arizona teaches at a one room school house for many years. The children come and go, but she touches each of them in a special way. In the end on the story Arizona dies, but her niece knows she lives on in the hearts of all the students she had an impact on. I think this book is perfect for any teacher at any level to read. It can also be used in the classroom at the beginning of the school year to demonstrate that teachers are not scary, but here to help. It also is a good lesson in a little kindness goes a long way. 

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review 2017-04-07 00:33
The Giving Tree
The Giving Tree - Shel Silverstein

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a 2.6 on the Accelerated Reading leveling system. This story is about a tree who gives everything to a young boy anytime he asks. As a child, the boy loves to play with the tree. When the boy grows older he asks for fruit, leaves and wood as he needs to eat and build a house. In the end the tree gives everything and is just a stump. The story circles back around with the boy as an old man simply sitting with whats left of the tree once again. This story is perfect for a unit on sharing and helping other people when they ask. It could also be expanded upon to teach students not to take advantage of other's kindness.  

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review 2017-04-01 03:01
Big Al
Big Al by Andrew Clements (1997-09-01) - Andrew Clements

 

Lexile Level: 880L

 

This is a picture book about a big, scary looking fish who wants to find a friend. But no other fish will be friends with him because of the way he look, but on the inside he is the nicest fish you will ever meet in the ocean. No matter how hard he tries to be friendly and nice, all the other fish are afraid of him. He is finally able to make friends after one little fish gets caught in a net and Big Al saves them.

I would use this in my classroom on the first week of school and throughout the year to remind students that actions speak louder than words and you can't judge a book by its cover. 

 

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