Book Review: Jabari Jumps

Book Review: Jabari JumpsJabari is every child who has made a frighteningly ambitious goal. Jabari will leap off the high dive, definitely, at some point. He prepared for this moment by taking swim lessons and passing his swim test. While it looks easy from afar, it takes guts to face the big moment and Jabari casually puts the task off until he is ready. He stretches, he observes successful jumpers, and he even makes a test run up (and back down) the ladder. Dad recognizes Jabari’s need to do things in his own time and gently provides the support required for Jabari to summon the courage to make a big leap.
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Book Review: The Antiques

The Antiques by Kris D'AgostinoI don’t know much about hurricanes but as an Oklahoman I know all about tornadoes. Hurricanes and tornadoes are swirly, destructive storms caused by unstable atmospheric conditions, and so I can extrapolate how a hurricane might be like family. I have one of those, too! And thus, I understand the Westfall family’s dysfunction in Kris D’Agostino’s The Antiques.
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Book Review: Balanced and Barefoot by Angela J. Hanscom

Reviewed by Jennifer Haas.

Balanced and Barefoot by Angela J. HanscomAngela Hanscom begins Balanced and Barefoot by laying out the current state of American childhood. Without that introduction, I might not have believed that we need more evidence to persuade us to let kids be kids. She then gathers information from diverse disciplines to make her valid, if simple, point.

Kids need to play. Outside. Without constant adult interference.
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Book Review: This Too Shall Pass by Milena Busquets

Book Review: This Too Shall Pass by Milena BusquetsThough This Too Shall Pass by Milena Busquets has a summery cover and a summery length, it would be a depressing summer read for most of us. We lack the leisure time and the leisure locales of the characters. Most of us have no personal hermitage or even access to such. I don’t even have a tent! Even worse for light summer reading, Blanca spends her entire vacation mourning her mother and seeking the attention of men. That’s depressing!
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Book Review: Rich and Pretty by Rumaan Alam

Book Review: Rich and Pretty by Rumaan AlamMy top recommendations for summer 2016 reading will include Rich and Pretty by Rumaan Alam. The story doesn’t seem to go anywhere, but neither does life when you are just getting traction as an independent new adult. In a book with few exciting plot occurrences, it’s Alam’s turn of phrase and believable characters that make this book so enjoyable. Additionally, the affirmation of friendship between people who dream of a relationship going one way and adapting when it doesn’t makes for the best message I’ve read in fiction lately.
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If Donald Trump Inspired a Joseph Finder Novel

FinderFakeAt the 2016 Tucson Festival of Books, Joseph Finder discussed the high-profile sources he tapped into while doing research for his novels. A co-panelist asked, “Who?” “Billionaires,” Finder responded. “Trump?” “He’s not a billionaire.” But not all Finder’s characters are billionaires. Many of them face relative financial challenges. So… what if Trump was in a Joseph Finder novel?
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Scaffolding Challenging Books As an Adult

Back in high school, teachers provided me with the skills that helped when a book challenged my ability to pay attention. Without that influence and as a slow reader, I fell into a pattern with comfort books (easy-to-read books read primarily for relaxation). Tackling a book like Wolf Hall, with its lack of antecedents, or The Good Death, with its dense factivism, diminishes my TBR consumption from slow plow to long slog. I’m not sure why I decided to read Wolf Hall and The Good Death concurrently, but I did. I’ve always had self-punitive reading tendencies. This post is for those of us who choose to go beyond comfort books and need a refresher on tips and tricks to tackle challenging books without returning to the demoralizing practice of gutting through it.

Scaffolding Challenging Books As an Adult: Wolf Hall
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Book Review: The Good Death by Ann Neumann

The-Good-DeathIn her book The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America, Ann Neumann challenges the idea that we must extend human life at whatever cost–financial, physical, emotional or spiritual. I came into this book the same way Neumann did. We provided the intimate work of caring for our dying fathers, the in-home care that allows zero privacy and leaves zero pride. My father may have had a “good enough” death under my roof while Neumann’s father had a “good enough” death at a hospice facility, but our journeys meandered similarly along confused pathways. However, The Good Death is not the end-of-life care examination I preconceived; it covers a great deal more territory.
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