Friday, December 2, 2011

Short takes

Some books I've read but don't really have much to say about, so I'll pile them all in together to make a Friday post:

Slave Empire: Prophecy by T.C. Southwell reads like a NaNoWriNo novel; it never looks back even when it detours, clunky passages remain, and emotional detours don't make sense.  It's offered as a free teaser so I tried it on my NOOK, but I won't go back for more.

Y:Last Man 3: One Small Step by Brian Vaughan:  If someone is telling me a story, I want to trust in their choices of character and details.  This whole book is about people who don't really matter  -- the male astronauts who end up dieing trying to return to earth.  It looks like I could have skipped it and not missed anything important to the Last Man story line.  Humph.  But my kid is now into these, so I'll order up the next.

Summer's Crossing (Julie Kagawa): Barnes and Nobles had this in their free-for-the-NOOK section, and I've been eyeing the Iron Fey series for a while.  I bounced off some earlier books by Kagawa so I've been hesitating, and this novella seemed a good way to stick my toe in.  I liked the fey court described and the interactions between Robin Goodfellow and his friends and/or enemies, and I think I'll go after the longer books now.

Effective Curriculum for Underserved Gifted Students, Tamra Stambough: This thin book written for teachers discusses the problems with recognizing and then effectively teaching gifted children from poor or ethnic families.  Gifted programs in general tend to under-represent children from African American, Hispanic, immigrant and Native American populations, and in a related fashion also see fewer poor kids than expected. Chapters also address various curriculum and the research that show their effectiveness for gifted children, especially for the children from unorthodox backgrounds.  The vocabulary and phrasing definitely aim this book at teaching professionals rather than laymen, and I found it more useful as an overview of the field than for any specific recommendations or practices.  Thanks to LibraryThing's Early Readers for sending me a copy.

Night World 2, L.J. Smith: I'm never sure to whether to count this as one book or three -- the three books included are clearly separate novels set in the same world.  Anyway, all three books (Dark Angel, The Chosen and Soulmate), features strong women facing hard decisions complicated by finding their True Love, who tends to have a minor defect like being an evil vampire or something.  But these girls are tough enough to find a solution.  Good books to sit next to the Twilight stories, with less adult squeamishness about "the message."

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