In these last two weeks, I had the pleasure of reading four books. One was the book given to me by my student Adam from my Wish List: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell. Since finishing it, I found a rebuttal book called Think which is now on my Wish List.
Two of the books were in my opinion, horrifying portraits of families that have gone amok similar to Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs. Read the book, avoid the movie. Two books that no current or former Child Protective Services worker should read are:
2.) The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
The first book was given to me by Elizabeth Nelson, the wife of a former Fulbrighter, Murry Nelson when they returned for a conference. She suggested the second title, so Ron picked it up in the states. Can I honestly say that I cringed, cried, and almost had nightmares over the pitiful youthful experiences of these two women. I think Walls portrayal was much closer to emotional honesty.
The fourth book was a mind candy book brought to me by one of our guests who actually read my wish list. It is called The Last Suppers by Diane Mott Davidson. I have read a few of her other books, really enjoyed them, so now I have to read them all.
On the topic of reading, Ron forwarded a NY Times column to me that is so very apropos. Using a longitudinal study of 3 years, researchers gave 852 students twelve books each at the end of the school year. This was repeated each of the 3 years. They monitored the test scores of these 852 students which showed that they significantly higher reading scores than students who did not receive books. (Significantly was not defined as other data was not in the column).
Alternatively, other researchers who looked at the use of computers over a similar time period and before Facebook and Twitter were in vogue, found that students with Internet access actually had lower test scores. For the full article with links to the research, you can read it here.