Saturday, January 17, 2009

#'s 27 & 28: From Mrs. Lyons, 8th Grade Language Arts

# 27: The Gate House by Nelson DeMille

This is a continuation of the Gold Coast story. A family on Long Island is hounded by Mob neighbors and this picks up the lives of the husband (who got dragged into being a Mob lawyer) and his wife (who got “involved” with said mobster and ended up shooting and killing him). The mobster’s son wants to re-involve the lawyer in Mob business and get revenge for the murder of his father. Nelson DeMille has a knack for creating wise-guy characters that I really enjoy (does this have something to do with the kids we teach?). Purely for entertainment value – not a brain-stretcher.

#28: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

This is the story of a Baptist missionary family that heads to the Congo in 1960 to “save” the locals. It is a tale of how Americans charge in and botch things up without a clue as to the way of life that currently exists in a foreign country. The US government was very involved in the assassination of the elected leader, Lumumba. The American choice for his replacement was Mobuto, who was a cruel thief who built palaces for himself while the African people starved. The missionary children all were deeply affected, in entirely different ways, by their early experience in the Congo. In a way, this is also an environmental tale as well as a good story and commentary on US foreign policy. Thanks to Jen Powell for recommending it during our CAR-PD class!

Monday, January 5, 2009

#26: From Mr. Kohler, Data Coach

The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein, is a gem of a book. The story is told from the point of view of the dog. Sounds quirky but it works. The dogs name is Enzo, and he is named after none other than Enzo Ferrari. If you love, dogs, racing, family and tales of redemption this is the book for you. This book if very poignant and at the same time is very funny. I highly recommend it!