Wednesday, July 25, 2007

TT: 13 Books I Have Read in 2007

Thirteen BOOKS I HAVE READ IN 2007

I've been a voracious reader ever since I can remember. My mom says I taught myself to read at age 3 and from then on it's been one of my favorite leisure activities. Here are some of the books I've read so far in 2007 and some brief thoughts on each.

1. Opting Out? Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home by Dr. Pamela Stone. Excellent study of why so many highly educated women leave successful careers to become stay-at-home-moms. Contrary to the media portrayal of it being by choice and emblematic of a "new traditionalism", Dr. Stone shows how many of them quit reluctantly because they were unable to find positions offering part-time/flexible hours, interesting work, and potential for career advancement.

2. Hothouse Kids: The Dilemma of the Gifted Child by Alissa Quart. Interesting but frustrating book. Problem #1 with the book is that Ms. Quart is childless, so she second-guesses what parents are doing without ever having been in that position herself. Reminds me of that great title I saw of a recently-published book: I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids. I'd like to see whether Ms. "Holier-than-Thou" Quart get a bit more sympathy when she has her own child(ren). She also lumps together a bunch of different issues that don't really have all that much to do with each other. It's like she can't decide what the focus of her book is- true prodigies, garden-variety gifted kids, or the average IQ offspring of affluent parents.

3. The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids by Dr. Madeline Levine. Excellent read for any parent trying to raise children in an affluent neighborhood.

4. The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School by Dr. Neil Postman. Thought-provoking but I did not agree with the author's emphasis on "social cohesion" over individual needs in education.

5. "Doing School": How We are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Kids by Denise Pope. Very interesting profile of how traditional schools, particularly ones in affluent areas, foster a hypercompetitive atmosphere detrimental to true learning.

6. Critical Lessons: What Our Schools Should Teach by Dr. Nel Noddings. Thought-provoking but scary. I found the book to very full of deliberate misinformation about Christianity. The author keeps claiming that she wants to foster "critical thinking" but what she means by that is teaching skepticism towards beliefs with which she disagrees and indoctrination of impressionable young minds in furtherance of her own agenda. This book should be required reading for Christian parents who have children in government-run schools!

7. Reclaiming Childhood: Letting Our Children Be Children in Our Achievement-Oriented Society by Dr. William Crain. I don't agree with everything that the author says, as he's a bit on the permissive side for my tastes. He definitely appears to hold a Rousseauian view of human nature that I do not share. But Dr. Crain does make some excellent points in the book.

8. The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids by Alexandra Robbins. This is very similar to the Denise Pope book mentioned above and just reinforced my desire to keep my kids away from such an unhealthy atmosphere in traditional schools.

9. Tough Choices or Tough Times: The New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce Report by the National Center on Education and the Economy. Definitely not an easy read, but it got a lot of press earlier in the year about the commission's recommendation to end high school in 10th grade for most kids. It contains some interesting ideas but I very much disagree with the vocational focus and the recommendation for universal government preschool. Also, I'm not convinced that the average student is ready for college at 15 or 16.

10. God's Universe by Dr. Owen Gingerich. Another one that is not an easy read as it's written by a Harvard professor of astrophysics adapted from lectures he gave on science & faith. But it's an excellent work on how the two fields are complementary, and some of the evidence for why Dr. Gingerich believes that the universe shows Design.

11. Homeschooling- Take a Deep Breath, You Can Do It! by Terrie Lynn Bittner. I've read a bunch of intro to homeschooling books and this is by far the best! She is very down-to-earth and reassuring unlike certain other authors whose tone comes off as pretty intimidating. She also deals with issues that are pretty common but not generally discussed in homeschooling books such as how to convince a skeptical spouse and how to defuse rivalry between homeschooled and traditionally-schooled siblings. I also appreciated how Mrs. Bittner recognized the importance of religion/spirituality in homeschooling without advocating any one particular faith. The problem I have with most homeschooling books is that they either completely ignore religion or else they are written from a certain worldview (typically fundamentalism). Mrs. Bittner's book is religiously neutral, but recognizes the centrality of faith to the homeschooling of many families.

12. Shadow of the Giant by Orson Scott Card. I took a break from the parenting & education non-fiction genres to read this latest novel in the Ender series. While it's not my favorite in the series, I did find it entertaining.

13. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. Another foray into fiction from one of my favorite series.

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27 comments:

Lara Angelina said...

Your book list reminds me of that joke: "Before I had kids, I had 6 theories of child rearing. Now that I have 6 kids, I don't have a single one."
Great TT -- and neat list!
Lara

jennifer said...

I'm very impressed that you made it though all these books - in 2007, which is only half done! And how you read Harry Potter in one day is beyond me. You do have children? :-) You're amazing, and obviously a very fast reader!

diaryof1.com

Comedy + said...

What a great review of each book. I liked your reasons why you didn't agree with one thing or another and why you didn't. Excellent job. Have a great TT. :)

Special K ~Toni said...

Wow! Looks like you have done some serious and heavy reading thus far! I have...ummm. read blogs... and a book or two...

Happy T13!

Thanks for visiting my blogs!

Air Force Wife

Crux said...

What an impressive list. I'll be checking out at the library. Thanks!

Crux said...

I will be checking out #3. Thanks for the list.

JO said...

i haven't read a single book for a long, long time now...

happy TT

Nicole Austin said...

Wow, what a reading list! My kids are grown, so the books would do me no good. I've already messed the up. LOL!

Joely Sue Burkhart said...

Some very interesting books--I think I could use many of these with the monsters!

Janet said...

loved #13 :-)

The Gal Herself said...

And here I thought I was out of step in my summer reading choice with my 1100+ page examination of the JFK assassination. Your reading list is very serious indeed, and your mind and your family are probably all the better for it.

MamaLee said...

I am impressed.

I have read a couple of magazines, I think...oh, and some Dr. suess books!

Qtpies7 said...

I'd like to read lots of those books, but not Harry Potter. Interesting list!

Denise said...

Wow, that's a lot of reading. I am way behind in the reading this year! :)

Jennie said...

What an interesting list. Another book you might enjoy (it's a tough one though) is Frank Smith's "Understanding Reading." It really is a textbook like book, but it's a fascinating journey into how the brain "reads". It has really informed my teaching, and it's a wonderful book!
Happy TT!

Robin said...

I was wondering if HP was going to sneak in there among all that thoughtful introspective literature.

Janine said...

Wow - What a list...very interested in the 1st book you listed. I picked up Mommy Wars a few weeks ago, and I'm reluctant to read it. I have a feeling the stats can be bent a lot of ways to show why moms are leaving the workplace. Hopefully, part of the exodus is the desire to raise our young children ourselves but I know that is oversimplifying in a lot of people's eyes

Janine @ Moving Mama

Suprina said...

what a great list.
I will have to find a few of those to read.

Happy Thursday Thirteen!

Sue said...

Great list! I think #1 should be mandatory reading for all employers!

Happy TT and thanks for stopping by :)

Joy T. said...

Wow and I thought I was doing good having read only 5 books so far this year. I'm pitiful. Great list for TT and lots of interesting reading choices.

JennieBoo said...

When do you find the time?

I need to check some of these out!

Thanks for sharing.

Happy TT!

pjd said...

I detect a pattern in your reading habits. I, personally, am not the type to read books about parenting as I think my parents (even though divorced) actually did pretty well with me and my siblings. I would be interested in the education books, though... if I had the patience to read them. Me, I prefer fiction or history generally.

Happy Thursday. Today you've got books, I've got TV.

Joyful Days said...

I will have to put some of these on my to read list. They look interesting.

Dewey said...

When I homeschooled, my very favorite book was this one. It's a practical resource book rather than theory, and most of the books you mention are theory, but of course you also need resources! In fact, I think it even gives you lists of theory books, so there you go.

Critical thinking, which I can't imagine not being a part of any home school, does NOT mean questioning faith. Either that guy is on a hobby horse and created his own definition or you misunderstood him. I just hope you won't steer clear of anything attached to the phrase "critical thinking" from now on.

SlipOfAGirl said...

I thought of doing a list like this, but once I put them on the shelves, grouped by subject, I can no longer remember when I read what... I could do a list of favorites (with 13 it wouldn't be as hard as say selecting 2 lol)

There are a few books on your list which I think would suit my sister -- I'll have to send here here!

Happy TT!

impworks said...

That is some serious reading...

Books, Computers & Puppets, Oh My! said...

Interesting list - I'm going to ILL some of the books you mentioned!