Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Rosie Effect

Yesterday, I wrote about The Rosie Project, a book that I loved so much, that I immediately pre-ordered the sequel, The Rosie Effect, on my Nook.  If you have read this blog, or the literacyconnectionsblog, then you know some of my mixed feelings about e-readers.  If not, I have posted them here:

Nook vs. Book - Round 2
November 30, 2011
On Monday I posted this on e-readers for children.  Now let me clarify, I have a Nook and I love it.  However, before I got it, I wasn’t sure if the Nook and I would hit it off.  The Nook is cool, sleek and modern.  I am old-fashioned.  I like homemade comfort foods like soup, sauce and gravy.  I like opening my gifts on Christmas morning, not Christmas Eve, and I like reading real books.  I like the feel of a book in my hands, the smell of a book, (especially the smell of a library book which can bring me back to childhood) and I like the tactile sensation of turning pages.  How then, could the Nook and I make it work?

And, if I were going over to the dark side of digital reading, what should I wear?  Would I have to give up my sweaters and pearls and wear something edgier, perhaps head to toe black like Darth Vader, cat burglars and intellectuals from SoHo?

And of course there was the bigger dilemma, if I were going leave my tried and true traditional books, what should be the first title I read on the Nook? Should I go with a classic like Pride and Prejudice?  Would a beloved favorite like The Great Gatsby be a digital disappointment?  Finally, since I felt like I was doing something seedy anyway, I settled on an easy beach read called Trouble in Mudbug, in which the protagonist’s manipulative, materialistic mother-in-law finally dies only to come back and haunt her.  And you know what, I kind of liked it.

The Nook and I didn’t really bond though, until a trip to Montauk.  There we spent time on the beach, on the balcony, and curled up on the couch together.  I discovered that the Nook is more than just cool; it is also the perfect travel accessory.  It provides a world of reading in one compact case that easily fits into an overnight bag.  So now I’m asking, why would anyone leave their tried and true traditional Nook for Nook Color?

Nook vs. Book - Round 3
December 6, 2011
Now your students can check e-readers out of their local library!  The West Babylon Public Library has acquired several Nook Color and Kindle e-readers.   West Babylon cardholders can  borrow the
e-readers for up to 14 days.  Books are pre-loaded, and cardholders can download up to 5 additional titles.  Of course, any Suffolk County library patrons can download titles to their own e-readers for free using Suffolk Wave  Live-brary.

Nook vs. Book - Round 4
January 6, 2012
Yesterday, the New York Times parenting blog posted an article calledWhy Books Are Better than e-Books for Children  It was very interesting, and makes the current count in this Nook vs. Book series: Nook -  1    Book  - 3.  To be continued...

Nook vs. Book - Round 5
January 9, 2012
Yesterday,  Newsday  published this piece on social reading.   Not being on Facebook or Twitter, I'd never heard of this phenomonen, but apparently it's big.  Social reading allows book lovers to interact with each other instantly. 
In it's earliest stage of development, social reading consisted of a feature on Amazon's Kindle which allowed the reader to post comments on Facebook or Twitter.  Now, many reader's tablets have evolved to the point where a reader can highlight text, email it to a friend and share comments.  It is like a book club with instant gratification.  I wondered, will social reading take the place of the face to face communication of a traditional book club? 
Curious, I set out to research.  It seems there are online communities such as and dedicated solely to this.  Who knew?   
From a teacher's perspective however, the best aspect of the new apps available on reader's tablets is that theorecticaly, a teacher could highlight a certain part of a text, add margin notes or other comments, and email it to all of her students!  How is that for text-based learning?
So, reluctantly, this round has to go to the Nook  with a haymaker, making the current count:  Nook - 2   Book - 3

Nook vs. Book - Round 6
March 26, 2012
My house is being overrun by books.  Books are stacked neatly on shelves.  Books are placed sloppily over the neatly stacked books on shelves.  Books are on end tables and night-stands.  Books are piled on the floor of the alcove in front of my children's  bookshelf.  I am seriously thinking of asking my contractor to build more shelves. 
Naturally, then, I laughed when I read this piece in Newsday, about a former book-lover who is now a book-hater.  Of course, I could never be a book-hater.  As I've written on this blog before, I love books.  I love the look and feel and smell of them.  I just don't love the clutter.  So, since neatness counts,  ... this round goes to the Nook, making the current count:
Nook - 3; Book - 3!  Stay tuned!  See who takes the next round!

Nook vs. Book - Round 7
April 3, 2012
Yesterday I posted this about a book signing.  Now, I have one question for you, "Have you ever tried to get your Nook signed by an author?"
Obviously, this round goes to Book with a haymaker, making the current 
count:  Nook -3; Book - 4.  Keep reading to see who wins the next round.

Nook vs. Book - Round 8
April 18, 2012
Last week, USA Today  reported that Barnes and Noble will be adding GlowLight technology to the Nook Simple Touch.  This way, a person can read in bed without an external light and hopefully, without disturbing their partner.  (Nook Tablet seems to be readable at night already.)  Pretty impressive.  Therefore, this round goes to...Nook, making the current count Nook -4  Book -4.  Who will the victor be?  Keep reading to find out! 

Nook vs. Book - Round 9
June 26, 2012
Sales of e-books have surpassed sales of hardcovers in some areas!  Read the data tables and full article here
This round goes to..... Nook, making the current count Nook:  5,  Book:  4 

Nook vs. Book - Round 10
October 15, 2012
Confession:  I love Nelson DeMille's John Corey books!  Yes, I recognize that they are testosterone-packed, thrill-rides, filled with Mr. Corey's wry, and sometimes sexist observations, but I love them anyway.  I can't wait until the new book comes out tomorrow, and thanks to my Nook, I don't have to!  I have pre-ordered The Pantherwhich will magically appear on my Nook at midnight.  So, for convenience, suspense, impatience and excitement, this round goes to... Nook, making the current count, Nook - 6,  Book  - 4.  Who will win the heavyweight championship?  Tune in to find out.

                                          Three Generations of Nook Readers

Happy reading,

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Rosie Project

I just finished reading The Rosie Project, by  Graeme Simsion.  This romantic comedy follows the misadventures of a brilliant geneticist in his quest for the perfect wife.  Since social encounters are awkward for this man who, at first,  does not realize that he suffers from Asperger's, he develops a questionnaire to find a suitable life-mate.  Enlisting the assistance of a fellow professor and his wife, he commences "The Wife Project" with the precision of a university study.
Enjoy this funny look at dating rituals and social conventions as your next beach read.

Happy reading,

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Grand Central

I just finished reading Grand Central, a collection of short stories about the various people coming and going through Grand Central Station on a September day in 1945.  I first picked up the book because I love Grand Central; its history, its architecture, the whisper corners, and because I was intrigued by the idea of a book about the stories behind all the people whose paths cross at the busy terminal.  It isn't a light-hearted look at intersecting lives, though.  Because it is set at the end of World War II, there are some very disturbing  stories behind what brought particular characters to the station that day.  Pick it up if you are looking for historical fiction, or if you thought your days of reading short story anthologies were behind you.  It will bring you back to school.  If you aren't familiar with Grand Central Station, itself, here a post that I wrote for literacyconnectionsblog during the 100 Anniversary exhibit at Grand Central:

February 25, 2013
Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Station is home to an exhibit honoring the 100th anniversary of the Grand Central Terminal.  Hurry to see the exhibit before it closes on March 15th, but take time to admire the beautiful architecture of this historic building.  While taking in the beauty and history, why not try some science in the "whisper corners?" 
Kids are sure to love the experience, and you can discuss how the domed ceiling helps the sound waves travel.  For a literary connection, you can read about this phenomenon in the "Whisper Lake" scene of the book, If You're Reading This it's Too Late,  by Pseudonymous Bosch.  And if exploring Grand Central makes you hungry, I highly recommend Michael Jordan's Steakhouse overlooking the Main Concourse.

Happy reading,

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

When Harry Met Sally - 25 Years Later

When I read this USA Today piece on the 25th anniversary of When Harry Met Sally, I couldn't help reflecting on what a great movie that still is.  Of course, if you've read my blog before, you know what a genius I think Nora Ephron is.  Here are a few of my previous posts about her from my Literacy Connections blog:

June 27, 2012
Tonight, from 6:30-9:30 you can join an online discussion of Mark Harris's ballpark novel, Bang the Drum Slowly.  The novel is about a pitcher for the New York Mommoths (supposed to be the Yankees) and his ill teammate.  The discussion takes place at the City Room blog.
The city and the world lost a literary luminary last night when Nora Ephron died of pneumonia brought on by leukemia.  One of my favorite filmmakers and writers, Ms. Ephron was a master of the romantic comedy. When Harry Met Sally is still one of my all-time favorites.  Her movie, You've Got Mail,  is more love-letter to the city of New York than love story.  I want to stroll around Manhattan every time I watch it.  I loved her last two books, I Feel Bad About My Neck: and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, and I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections. 
To the feminists who criticized her for not writing strong enough women in her books and movies, I can only say that Ms. Ephron, herself, should have been a strong enough role model for you.  She was a White House intern at a time when that was something to be proud of, a journalist, and talented writer.  To Carl Bernstein, I can only say, "What were you thinking letting someone like that go?"
Happy reading,

June 28, 2012
Nora Ephron taught us the difference between high maintenance and low maintenance women, and gave us the classic line, "I'll have what she's having," but what she really did was articulate perfectly what so many of us were really thinking.  Her work resonates with female fans because many of her observations feel like someone verbalizing our inner thoughts much more eloquently than we could ever hope to verbalize them ourselves.  Watching her movies, reading her books, seeing her being interviewed felt like spending time with girlfriends.  She got women; she got the importance of female friendships; and she got what we were hoping for in a romantic relationship. 
Some of her most memorable lines are below:
        On Writing:
"I don't care who you are. When you sit down to write the first page of your screenplay, in your head you're also writing your Oscar acceptance speech."

"If you were a college graduate (like me) who had worked on your college newspaper (like me) and you were a girl (like me), they hired you as a mail girl.  If you were a boy (unlike me) with exactly the same qualifications, they hired you as a reporter and sent you to a bureau somewhere in America.  This was unjust but it was 1962, so it was the way things were."
  -I Remember Nothing

        On Relationships:
"Verbal ability is a highly overrated thing in a guy and it's our pathetic need for it that gets us into so much trouble."
                                                                                                                                                            - Sleepless in Seattle
"You don't want to be in love.  You want to be in love in a movie."
                                                                                                                                                            -Sleepless  in Seattle
"Well it was a million tiny little things that when you added them all up, they meant that we were supposed to be together...and I knew it.  I knew it the first time I touched her.  It was like coming home...only to no home I'd ever known...I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew.  It was like...magic."
                                                                                                                                   -Sleepless in Seattle

         On Aging:
"Oh how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six"
                                                                                                                               -I Feel Bad About My Neck
        On Reading:
"When you read a book as a child it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does."
                                                                                                                                -You've Got Mail
"Reading is one of the main things I do.  Reading is everything.  Reading makes me feel I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person.  Reading makes me smarter" 
                                                                                                                                                        -I Feel Bad About My Neck
Check back in tomorrow to see my favorite of all Nora Ephron quotes!
Happy reading,

June 29, 2012

Well, as promised, here it is - my favorite of all Nora Ephron quotes.  Enjoy!

Happy reading,

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Winner in the War Between Amazon and Hachette

I love this story.
If you are unfamiliar with the war between Amazon and Hachette Publishing, you must watch the clip of Stephen Colbert  explaining the issue.  Go ahead, open another tab and watch it right now.  It is that funny. Then, read this New York Times article.  (To fully appreciate it, you have to do it in that order - watch the clip, read the article)

Happy reading,

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Walter Dean Myers

There is a beautiful post about Walter Dean Myers on the beyondliteracylinkblog.  Full disclosure: The blogger, Carol is a friend of mine and the specific book she is writing about is a book that she gave to me.  I appreciate it even more now, knowing how much it meant to her and her teaching.

Happy reading,

Sunday, July 6, 2014


My reading this week has left me feeling sandwiched between two generations.  First I read a book that I gave to my mom, I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50, by Annabelle Gurwitch.  She enjoyed it so much that she let me read it after she was through.   It was a funny look at the terrible crime of getting older in our society.  For all of the wry wit, there was, however, one heartbreaking part that I was not prepared for.
Then, this weekend, I went shopping with my children and some of my nieces and nephews.  Feeling like the young, cool aunt taking the kids to places like American Eagle and Abercrombie, I proudly held up outfits that I thought were cute,  only to have one niece shake her head at me.
"Aunt Chrissy, with a high-waisted skirt like that, a person would need a belly shirt."
Needless to say, I was not a cool enough aunt to buy anyone a belly shirt.  The skirt went back on the rack, and I went home and read two Lauren Conrad books that I have seen my students read, Beauty and Style. And after that reading, am I any more beautiful?  No.  Any more informed about style?  Maybe, but I still wouldn't count on any 'tweens wanting my fashion advice.  My credit cards, yes; my fashion sense, no.

Happy reading,

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Second Sight Saturday

Here is a post from last year:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Declaration of Independence and The Bill of Rights!

Happy (almost) Independence Day!

Yesterday, a friend and I took our children to the New York Public Library to see an exhibit of one of two known surviving copies of The Declaration of Independence, written in Thomas Jefferson's own handwriting.  According to the exhibit, before the Declaration of Independence was ratified on July 4th, a number of revisions were made to Jefferson's original text.  Concerned about the revisions, Jefferson made several copies of the text he originally submitted to the Continental Congress.  He underlined the passages which had been revised.  One of those notable revisions, was Jefferson's lengthy commentary on slavery:

     "of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people, who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the  Christian king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable  commerce and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished dye, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another"

This section, which was omitted to appease Georgia and South Carolina, could launch several class discussions and debates, but there are several other revisions worthy of analysis and debate as well.

Most surprising to me, was how small this 4-page copy of the Declaration of Independence was.  I imagined a large parchment, but each of these sheets seemed no larger than an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper.  The Bill of Rights, on display for the first time with the Declaration of Independence,was much larger, but due to age and low lighting in the exhibit area, it was much harder to read.

Today is the last of this three-day exhibit, so I urge anyone near New York to try to see it.  It was amazing to see these founding documents of our democracy on display in a free public library, which, like a free public education, is a bedrock of democracy.

Happy reading,

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth and a Friday Film Clip

Happy Fourth of July!
On this rainy Independence Day, I've been thinking about my favorite summer movies, and so far my favorite movie of this summer is Blended with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore.  Hysterical!
Enjoy the clip below.

Happy 4th,