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review 2017-06-23 16:22
The Three-Body Problem, Liu Cixin (trans. Ken Liu)
The Three-Body Problem - Liu Cixin,Ken Liu

What would you do if the laws of physics, of the universe, turned out not to be laws at all? Imagine you're a scientist confronted with this realization. This is one of the more disturbing realities that characters must contend with in The Three-Body Problem, the first of a trilogy by Chinese author Liu Cixin.

 

The book does an excellent job of making the scale of the universe, from its immensity to its sub-atomic particularities, conceivable and real. One of the scientist characters has a gift that allows him to visualize numbers, and in a note the author reveals that he has a similar gift. The book is very intelligent and detailed in its explanation of science; I can't say I could follow it all, but I understood the larger picture and was fascinated by the minutiae.

 

The book begins in China's cultural revolution and fast forwards to the present, shifting perspectives from the scientist daughter of a persecuted university professor to a man working in nanotechnology. Most of the significant characters are scientists, with the exception of Da Shi, a corrupt, wily policeman who became my favorite character. The protagonist, Wang, learns of the deaths of prominent scientists and starts seeing strange things, such as a countdown that appears visible only to him. He is tasked with helping to investigate a shady scientific organization, which involves his playing a strange video game called Three-Body. Nothing is what it seems, and Wang falls down a rabbit hole (more like a black hole) that leads to knowledge of extra-terrestrial life.

 

This Chinese SF novel was something unique; I found its different style of storytelling often engaging, though sometimes odd. The translator explains in a note that there may be narrative techniques unfamiliar to Western readers, and I could sense them. For example, much is explained through pages of dialogue, and the narrative can feel interrupted by the video game chapters, as much as I enjoyed them. I struggled with the fact that, after a brief appearance earlier in the book, Wang's wife and child do not re-enter the narrative, not even Wang's thoughts. His thoughts themselves are often unknown--for a time I wasn't sure where he stood in the quiet war going on.

 

Nevertheless, I do look forward to reading the next book in the trilogy (after a break) and to seeing the movie adaptation.

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review 2017-05-08 15:06
One Less Problem Without You
One Less Problem Without You: A Novel - Orlagh Cassidy,Beth Harbison
I Picked Up This Book Because: I love Beth Harbison’s writing.


The Characters:

Chelsea: Up and coming actress
Diana Tiesman: Wife of Leif Tiesman who has had enough
Prinny Tiesman: Half sister of Leif Tiesman (IDK why the book constantly calls her a step sister they have the same father)

The Story:

These three women have exactly one thing in common, Leif Tiesman, the asshole who is trying to systematically ruin their lives. They ban together and don’t let him. That’s all I can say without revealing too much of the story. It is not overt and it is not a full fledged march for women’s rights but they get it. They go through a lot but they get it.

The Random Thoughts:



The Score Card:

description

4 Stars
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review 2017-04-08 03:09
Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale - Mo Willems

This book is hilarious! It’s a simple story about a dad who takes his baby daughter with to the laundromat. There, the daughter accidentally leaves her knuffle bunny in the washing machine. She realizes it on the walk home and tries to tell her dad, but she can’t talk yet, so the dad just hears babbling. After returning home, the parents realize that knuffle bunny is missing, so they go back to the laundromat to find it. The baby babbling is sure to make the reader laugh!

 

In the classroom, this book works great for learning problem and solution.

 

  • Lexile Measure: 120L
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review 2017-04-02 22:57
Howl's Moving Castle
Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones

I was first introduced to this tale in movie form, however, to my great pleasure I stumbled across it at the book store on April Fool's day. To say I had to pinch myself to make sure I was not being tricked is an understatement. I whisked it to the front desk to purchase immediately and could not put it down! In this book, things like witches, wizards, kings, spells, seven-league boots and fire demons were everyday normal things.  The Hatter sisters, Sophie, Lettie, and Martha knew the warnings and stories. So, when a big black castle showed up on the horizon that moved warnings were whispered about in the village but life remained the same that is until the Witch of the Waste paid Sophie Hatter a visit and cursed her! From that moment on Sophie had to set out to find someone to break the curse and return her to her normal 17 year old self. Her mission is not as easy as it seems though as she finds the Wizard Howl and gets tangled up in all sorts of trouble. 

 

This book would be another good book to do an in-depth class study on and breaking it down into chapters for character analysis, plot, theme, problem/solution studies and much more. I foresee the students being activity engaged in trying to figure out the poems and untwisting the plot. 

Reading Level: 3rd to 6th grade

LEX 800L

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review 2017-04-02 22:43
Dumb Bunny
Junie B., First Grader: Dumb Bunny - Barbara Park,Denise Brunkus

Junie B. Jones is an average first grader. However, one of her classmates, Lucille is having Easter egg hunter at her house and everyone in class is invited.  The Easter egg hunt is a Lucille's mansion and the winner that finds the golden egg wins a play date to swim in Lucille's heated indoor swimming pool! Only, there's a small problem. Well a big pink fluffy problem. Lucille insists on Junie being the Easter rabbit complete with floppy ears and a cotton tail. Junie hates costumes and keeps tripping over her own too big rabbit feet. She just feels like a big old dumb bunny and has no hopes of winning the prize. Will Junie give up or does she have something up her basket? 

 

This book has a super fun activity to go with it. I would have my class hunt for eggs, however, they are in for more than just candy with this fun activity. They would be on a scavenger egg hunt and only the reading clues inside the eggs will help them get to the grand prize at the end. 

Reading Level: 1st grade through 4th grade

LEX 410L 

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