Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

Archive for August, 2010

Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl

Posted by nliakos on August 13, 2010

by  Stacey O’Brien.

This really is a remarkable book.  It tells the story of how a young Stacey O’Brien was given a 4-day-old barn owl to raise, and how the owl imprinted on her as its mother (improbably learning how to wash its face and take baths–owls do not normally even drink water, and their feathers do not repel it) and then when it reached sexual maturity, fell in love with her.  She devoted her life to the owl for an astonishing 19 years.  The book is full of fascinating owl facts and funny and touching anecdotes of life with an animal completely different from those we are used to living with. It’s a quick, educational and very entertaining read.

Here is a link to the website.

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Posted in Non-fiction, Recommended for ESL or EFL Learners | 1 Comment »

Assignment: Rescue

Posted by nliakos on August 13, 2010

Varian Fry. Scholastic; original pub. date 1945.

Varian Fry was an American who traveled to Marseilles 1940 to set up a committee (Le Centre Americain de Secours) to coordinate the rescue of political figures, artists, writers, scientists, and others trapped when the Nazis took over France. He used his neutrality as an American citizen to save over 2000 refugees over a span of 13 months.  In this small book, he tells the story of how he became involved, of the others who helped him and of some of those he helped, and of how he was eventually forced out of France. Sadly, it was our own FBI that blacklisted Fry upon his return to the US, making it impossible for him to find work with the government.  He died in 1967, his heroism mostly unrecognized in his own country (although France and Israel both recognized his contributions before his death).   A fast read: it took me a little over a day.

Posted in Non-fiction, Recommended for ESL or EFL Learners | Leave a Comment »

The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way

Posted by nliakos on August 13, 2010

by Bill Bryson. Perennial 1990.

Reading this book was like reviewing my History of the English Language course in graduate school (but funnier).   Bryson covers it all: vocabulary, pronunciation, spelling, English as a world language, English names, swearing, wordplay…. &c.  Although I found some errors (such as Elliniki Dimokratia becoming Ellinki Dimokratia, and claiming Pennsylvania Dutch is a dialect of English) which make me distrust other facts I can’t check, it was a fascinating trip through the history of English, with lots of fun facts for the lover of language. Bryson can make pretty much anything laugh-out-loud funny, and this book is no exception.

Posted in Non-fiction | Leave a Comment »

NLD From the Inside Out: Talking to Parents, Teachers, and Teens About Growing Up with Nonverbal Learning Disabilities

Posted by nliakos on August 13, 2010

by Michael Brian Murphy with Gail R. Shapiro.  Booklocker.com, Inc 2008.

Michael Murphy started writing this book as a psychology paper when he was in college, and his mother collaborated with him to make it into a full-length book.  It’s a nice addition to my NLD library.  Murphy is writing for a mixed audience of teens/young adults with NLD and the adults that live and work with them.  For me, the best chapter was “Your NLD Brain”, which explains the anatomy and functions of the brain very clearly and taught me some things I did not know, like “The putamen is responsible for procedural memory, such as knowing how to tie shoes….”  Who knew?

The book features extensive quotations from other young adults with NLD whom Murphy interviewed.

Posted in Learning Disabilities, Non-fiction | 1 Comment »