A parenting-relationships book recommendation: Little Soldiers: An American Boy, a Chinese School, and the Global Race to Achieve by Lenora Chu

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2Ds5sFa.
Chu vividly sketches these differences in terms that will make readers ponder what they actually think about rote memorization and parents question their preferences for their own children.
Book description from Google Books:
New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice; Real Simple Best of the Month; Library Journal Editors’ PickIn the spirit of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Bringing up Bébé, and The Smartest Kids in the World, a hard-hitting exploration of China’s widely acclaimed yet insular education system—held up as a model of academic and behavioral excellence—that raises important questions for the future of American parenting and education.When students in Shanghai rose to the top of international rankings in 2009, Americans feared that they were being “out-educated” by the rising super power. An American journalist of Chinese descent raising a young family in Shanghai, Lenora Chu noticed how well-behaved Chinese children were compared to her boisterous toddler. How did the Chinese create their academic super-achievers? Would their little boy benefit from Chinese school? Chu and her husband decided to enroll three-year-old Rainer in China’s state-run public school system. The results were positive—her son quickly settled down, became fluent in Mandarin, and enjoyed his friends—but she also began to notice troubling new behaviors. Wondering what was happening behind closed classroom doors, she embarked on an exploratory journey, interviewing Chinese parents, teachers and education professors, and following students at all stages of their education. What she discovered is a military-like education system driven by high-stakes testing, with teachers posting rankings in public, using bribes to reward students who comply, and shaming to isolate those who do not. At the same time, she uncovered a years-long desire by government to alleviate its students’ crushing academic burden and make education friendlier for all. The more she learns, the more she wonders: Are Chinese children—and her son—paying too high a price for their obedience and the promise of future academic prowess? Is there a way to appropriate the excellence of the system but dispense with the bad? What, if anything, could Westerners learn from China’s education journey? Chu’s eye-opening investigation challenges our assumptions and asks us to consider the true value and purpose of education.
The book is rated 4.14/5 at goodreads.com, from 366 ratings. See 76 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2CZPFfO.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2D0flZH.

A parenting-relationships book recommendation: Little Soldiers: An American Boy, a Chinese School, and the Global Race to Achieve by Lenora Chu

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2Ds5sFa.
Chu vividly sketches these differences in terms that will make readers ponder what they actually think about rote memorization and parents question their preferences for their own children.
Book description from Google Books:
New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice; Real Simple Best of the Month; Library Journal Editors’ PickIn the spirit of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Bringing up Bébé, and The Smartest Kids in the World, a hard-hitting exploration of China’s widely acclaimed yet insular education system—held up as a model of academic and behavioral excellence—that raises important questions for the future of American parenting and education.When students in Shanghai rose to the top of international rankings in 2009, Americans feared that they were being “out-educated” by the rising super power. An American journalist of Chinese descent raising a young family in Shanghai, Lenora Chu noticed how well-behaved Chinese children were compared to her boisterous toddler. How did the Chinese create their academic super-achievers? Would their little boy benefit from Chinese school? Chu and her husband decided to enroll three-year-old Rainer in China’s state-run public school system. The results were positive—her son quickly settled down, became fluent in Mandarin, and enjoyed his friends—but she also began to notice troubling new behaviors. Wondering what was happening behind closed classroom doors, she embarked on an exploratory journey, interviewing Chinese parents, teachers and education professors, and following students at all stages of their education. What she discovered is a military-like education system driven by high-stakes testing, with teachers posting rankings in public, using bribes to reward students who comply, and shaming to isolate those who do not. At the same time, she uncovered a years-long desire by government to alleviate its students’ crushing academic burden and make education friendlier for all. The more she learns, the more she wonders: Are Chinese children—and her son—paying too high a price for their obedience and the promise of future academic prowess? Is there a way to appropriate the excellence of the system but dispense with the bad? What, if anything, could Westerners learn from China’s education journey? Chu’s eye-opening investigation challenges our assumptions and asks us to consider the true value and purpose of education.
The book is rated 4.15/5 at goodreads.com, from 351 ratings. See 73 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2CZPFfO.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2D0flZH.

A parenting-relationships book recommendation: Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult by Bruce Handy

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2CV2doF.
If Handy is not always ambitious or thorough, he puts extraordinary care into replicating and preserving those feelings. “Myself, I wouldn’t eat a Sendak,” he writes, “but I honor the gesture.”
Book description from Google Books:
An irresistible, nostalgic, insightful—and totally original—ramble through classic children’s literature from Vanity Fair contributing editor (and father) Bruce Handy. “Consistently intelligent and funny…The book succeeds wonderfully.” —The New York Times Book Review “A delightful excursion…Engaging and full of genuine feeling.” —The Wall Street Journal “Pure pleasure.” —Vanity Fair “Witty and engaging…Deeply satisfying.” —Christian Science MonitorIn 1690, the dour New England Primer, thought to be the first American children’s book, was published in Boston. Offering children gems of advice such as “Strive to learn” and “Be not a dunce,” it was no fun at all. So how did we get from there to “Let the wild rumpus start”? And now that we’re living in a golden age of children’s literature, what can adults get out of reading Where the Wild Things Are and Goodnight Moon, or Charlotte’s Web and Little House on the Prairie? In Wild Things, Bruce Handy revisits the classics of American childhood, from fairy tales to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and explores the backstories of their creators, using context and biography to understand how some of the most insightful, creative, and witty authors and illustrators of their times created their often deeply personal masterpieces. Along the way, Handy learns what The Cat in the Hat says about anarchy and absentee parenting, which themes link The Runaway Bunny and Portnoy’s Complaint, and why Ramona Quimby is as true an American icon as Tom Sawyer or Jay Gatsby. It’s a profound, eye-opening experience to reencounter books that you once treasured after decades apart. A clear-eyed love letter to the greatest children’s books and authors, from Louisa May Alcott and L. Frank Baum to Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss, Mildred D. Taylor, and E.B. White, Wild Things will bring back fond memories for readers of all ages, along with a few surprises.
The book is rated 3.77/5 at goodreads.com, from 566 ratings. See 159 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2DjPEnP.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: .
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A parenting-relationships book recommendation: Every Third Thought: On Life, Death and the Endgame by Robert McCrum

A critic review (source The Economist) can be read at: http://econ.st/2ChxD8t.
Mr McCrum’s bravery in staring into the abyss cannot be overestimated; reading his book inevitably brings moments of terror. But “Every Third Thought” has something positive to offer, too.
Book description from Google Books:
AS READ ON BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK’Thoughtful, subtle, elegantly clever and oddly joyous, Every Third Thought is beautiful’ Kate Mosse In 1995, at the age of forty two, Robert McCrum suffered a dramatic and near-fatal stroke, the subject of his acclaimed memoir My Year Off. Ever since that life-changing event, McCrum has lived in the shadow of death, unavoidably aware of his own mortality. And now, twenty-one years on, he is noticing a change: his friends are joining him there. Death has become his contemporaries’ every third thought. The question is no longer ‘who am I?’ but ‘how long have I got?’ and ‘what happens next?’ With the words of McCrum’s favourite authors as travel companions, Every Third Thought, takes us on a journey through a year and towards death itself. As he acknowledges his own and his friends’ ageing, McCrum confronts an existential question: in a world where we have learnt to live well at all costs, can we make peace with what Freud calls ‘the necessity of dying’? Searching for answers leads him to others for advice and wisdom, and Every Third Thought is populated by the voices of brain surgeons, psychologists, cancer patients, hospice workers, writers and poets. Witty, lucid and provocative, Every Third Thought is an enthralling exploration of what it means to approach the ‘end game’, and begin to recognize, perhaps reluctantly, that we are not immortal. Deeply personal and yet always universal, this is a book for anyone who finds themselves preoccupied by matters of life and death. It is both guide and companion.
The book is rated 3.61/5 at goodreads.com, from 31 ratings. See 9 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2CMieOx.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2CMiFbD.

A parenting-relationships book recommendation: To Siri with Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines by Judith Newman

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2CfZaaa.
What follows are 200 pages of powerfully wrought indelicacies about life with Gus, her autistic teenage son, that will make readers squirm and laugh — yes, out loud.
Book description from Google Books:
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2017From the author of the viral New York Times op-ed column “To Siri with Love” comes a collection of touching, hilarious, and illuminating stories about life with a thirteen-year-old boy with autism that hold insights and revelations for us all.When Judith Newman shared the story of how Apple’s electronic personal assistant, Siri, helped Gus, her son who has autism, she received widespread media attention and an outpouring of affection from readers around the world. Basking in the afterglow of media attention, Gus told anyone who would listen, “I’m a movie star.”Judith’s story of her son and his bond with Siri was an unusual tribute to technology. While many worry that our electronic gadgets are dumbing us down, she revealed how they can give voice to others, including children with autism like Gus—a boy who has trouble looking people in the eye, hops when he’s happy, and connects with inanimate objects on an empathetic level.To Siri with Love is a collection of funny, poignant, and uplifting stories about living with an extraordinary child who has helped a parent see and experience the world differently. From the charming (Gus weeping with sympathy over the buses that would lie unused while the bus drivers were on strike) to the painful (paying $22,000 for a behaviorist in Manhattan to teach Gus to use a urinal) to the humorous (Gus’s insistence on getting naked during all meals, whether at home or not, because he does not want to get his clothes dirty) to the profound (how an automated “assistant” helped a boy learn how to communicate with the rest of the world), the stories in To Siri with Love open our eyes to the magic and challenges of a life beyond the ordinary.
The book is rated 2.90/5 at goodreads.com, from 872 ratings. See 231 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2CHkPcu.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2CItpYI.

A parenting-relationships book recommendation: To Siri with Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines by Judith Newman

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2CfZaaa.
What follows are 200 pages of powerfully wrought indelicacies about life with Gus, her autistic teenage son, that will make readers squirm and laugh — yes, out loud.
Book description from Google Books:
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2017From the author of the viral New York Times op-ed column “To Siri with Love” comes a collection of touching, hilarious, and illuminating stories about life with a thirteen-year-old boy with autism that hold insights and revelations for us all.When Judith Newman shared the story of how Apple’s electronic personal assistant, Siri, helped Gus, her son who has autism, she received widespread media attention and an outpouring of affection from readers around the world. Basking in the afterglow of media attention, Gus told anyone who would listen, “I’m a movie star.”Judith’s story of her son and his bond with Siri was an unusual tribute to technology. While many worry that our electronic gadgets are dumbing us down, she revealed how they can give voice to others, including children with autism like Gus—a boy who has trouble looking people in the eye, hops when he’s happy, and connects with inanimate objects on an empathetic level.To Siri with Love is a collection of funny, poignant, and uplifting stories about living with an extraordinary child who has helped a parent see and experience the world differently. From the charming (Gus weeping with sympathy over the buses that would lie unused while the bus drivers were on strike) to the painful (paying $22,000 for a behaviorist in Manhattan to teach Gus to use a urinal) to the humorous (Gus’s insistence on getting naked during all meals, whether at home or not, because he does not want to get his clothes dirty) to the profound (how an automated “assistant” helped a boy learn how to communicate with the rest of the world), the stories in To Siri with Love open our eyes to the magic and challenges of a life beyond the ordinary.
The book is rated 2.90/5 at goodreads.com, from 871 ratings. See 231 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2CHkPcu.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2CItpYI.

A parenting-relationships book recommendation: The Futilitarians: Our Year of Thinking, Drinking, Grieving, and Reading by Anne Gisleson

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2CEQPxS.
This search for purpose and connection amid chaos and loss permeates even the most heart-wrenching moments of The Futilitarians — and it’s what turns the book from a meditation on reading to a celebration of being.
Book description from Google Books:
Recommended Summer Reading — Louise Erdrich, New York TimesA memoir of friendship and literature chronicling a search for meaning and comfort in great books, and a beautiful path out of griefAnne Gisleson had lost her twin sisters, had been forced to flee her home during Hurricane Katrina, and had witnessed cancer take her beloved father. Before she met her husband, Brad, he had suffered his own trauma, losing his partner and the mother of his son to cancer in her young thirties. “How do we keep moving forward,” Anne asks, “amid all this loss and threat?” The answer: “We do it together.” Anne and Brad, in the midst of forging their happiness, found that their friends had been suffering their own losses and crises as well: loved ones gone, rocky marriages, tricky child-rearing, jobs lost or gained, financial insecurities or unexpected windfalls. Together these resilient New Orleanians formed what they called the Existential Crisis Reading Group, which they jokingly dubbed “The Futilitarians.” From Epicurus to Tolstoy, from Cheever to Amis to Lispector, each month they read and talked about identity, parenting, love, mortality, and life in post-Katrina New Orleans,In the year after her father’s death, these living-room gatherings provided a sustenance Anne craved, fortifying her and helping her blaze a trail out of her well-worn grief. More than that, this fellowship allowed her finally to commune with her sisters on the page, and to tell the story of her family that had remained long untold. Written with wisdom, soul, and a playful sense of humor, The Futilitarians is a guide to living curiously and fully, and a testament to the way that even from the toughest soil of sorrow, beauty and wonder can bloom.
The book is rated 3.85/5 at goodreads.com, from 185 ratings. See 44 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2CfugPa.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2CFa625.

A parenting-relationships book recommendation: The Futilitarians: Our Year of Thinking, Drinking, Grieving, and Reading by Anne Gisleson

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2CEQPxS.
This search for purpose and connection amid chaos and loss permeates even the most heart-wrenching moments of The Futilitarians — and it’s what turns the book from a meditation on reading to a celebration of being.
Book description from Google Books:
Recommended Summer Reading — Louise Erdrich, New York TimesA memoir of friendship and literature chronicling a search for meaning and comfort in great books, and a beautiful path out of griefAnne Gisleson had lost her twin sisters, had been forced to flee her home during Hurricane Katrina, and had witnessed cancer take her beloved father. Before she met her husband, Brad, he had suffered his own trauma, losing his partner and the mother of his son to cancer in her young thirties. “How do we keep moving forward,” Anne asks, “amid all this loss and threat?” The answer: “We do it together.” Anne and Brad, in the midst of forging their happiness, found that their friends had been suffering their own losses and crises as well: loved ones gone, rocky marriages, tricky child-rearing, jobs lost or gained, financial insecurities or unexpected windfalls. Together these resilient New Orleanians formed what they called the Existential Crisis Reading Group, which they jokingly dubbed “The Futilitarians.” From Epicurus to Tolstoy, from Cheever to Amis to Lispector, each month they read and talked about identity, parenting, love, mortality, and life in post-Katrina New Orleans,In the year after her father’s death, these living-room gatherings provided a sustenance Anne craved, fortifying her and helping her blaze a trail out of her well-worn grief. More than that, this fellowship allowed her finally to commune with her sisters on the page, and to tell the story of her family that had remained long untold. Written with wisdom, soul, and a playful sense of humor, The Futilitarians is a guide to living curiously and fully, and a testament to the way that even from the toughest soil of sorrow, beauty and wonder can bloom.
The book is rated 3.87/5 at goodreads.com, from 184 ratings. See 44 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2CfugPa.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2CFa625.

A parenting-relationships book recommendation: Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man’s Voice from the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida

A critic review (source The Economist) can be read at: http://econ.st/2D2Vqca.
Mr Higashida’s latest book, “Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8”, provides a similar guide to the “immutable beauties” of the autistic mind. Now in his 20s, the author offers a wider perspective on life with a disorder.
Book description from Google Books:
From the author of the bestselling The Reason I Jump, an extraordinary self-portrait of life as a young adult with autism Naoki Higashida was only thirteen when he wrote The Reason I Jump, a revelatory account of autism from the inside by a nonverbal Japanese child, which became an international success. Now he shares his thoughts and experiences as a twenty-four-year-old man living each day with severe autism. In short, powerful chapters, Higashida explores school memories, family relationships, the exhilaration of travel, and the difficulties of speech. He also allows readers to experience profound moments we take for granted, like the thought-steps necessary for him to register that it’s raining outside. Acutely aware of how strange his behavior can appear to others, he aims throughout to foster a better understanding of autism and to encourage society to see people with disabilities as people, not as problems. With an introduction by bestselling novelist David Mitchell, Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8 also includes a dreamlike short story Higashida wrote especially for this edition. Both moving and of practical use, this book opens a window into the mind of an inspiring young man who meets every challenge with tenacity and good humor. However often he falls down, he always gets back up. Praise for Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8 “[Naoki Higashida’s] success as a writer now transcends his diagnosis. . . . His relative isolation–with words as his primary connection to the outside world–has allowed him to fully develop the powers of observation that are necessary for good writing, and he has developed rich, deep perspectives on ideas that many take for granted. . . . The diversity of Higashida’s writing, in both subject and style, fits together like a jigsaw puzzle of life put in place with humor and thoughtfulness.”–The Japan Times “Profound insights about what the struggle of living with autism is really like . . . Once again, the invitation to step inside Higashida’s mind is irresistible.”–London Evening Standard “Naoki Higashida’s lyrical and heartfelt account of his condition is a gift to anyone involved with the same challenges. . . . Higashida shows a delicate regard for the difficulties his condition creates . . . and is adept at explaining his experiences in language that makes sense to neurotypicals.”–The Guardian “Wise and witty, [Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8] offers a second insider’s insight into the mysteries of non-verbal autism–but this time from the vantage point of a young adult. . . . Moving . . . Higashida’s reflections are at times refreshingly hard-nosed [and] his self-awareness is uplifting.”–Financial Times “[Naoki Higashida’s] thoughtful, syntactically complex writing puts the lie to the already dubious characterization of such individuals as ‘low-functioning.'”–Toronto Star
The book is rated 4.11/5 at goodreads.com, from 437 ratings. See 88 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2BW7TiE.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2D3ECSl.

A parenting-relationships book recommendation: The Incest Diary by Anonymous

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2D5dbI1.
The prose in “The Incest Diary” is clear and urgent. This is not a major book but it has genuine intensities of thought and feeling.
Book description from Google Books:
“In the fairy tales about father–daughter incest—‘The Girl Without Hands,’ ‘Thousand Furs,’ the original ‘Cinderella,’ ‘Donkey Skin,’ and the stories of Saint Dymphna, patron saint of incest survivors—the daughters are all as you would expect them to be: horrified by their father’s sexual advances. They do everything in their power to escape. But I didn’t. A child can’t escape. And later, when I could, it was too late.”Throughout her childhood and adolescence, the anonymous author of The Incest Diary was raped by her father. Beneath a veneer of normal family life, she grew up in and around this all-encompassing secret. Her sexual relationship with her father lasted, off and on, into her twenties. It formed her world, and it formed her deepest fears and desires. Even after she broke away—even as she grew into an independent and adventurous young woman—she continued to seek out new versions of the violence, submission, and secrecy she had struggled to leave behind.In this graphic and harrowing memoir, the author revisits her early traumas and their aftermath—not from a clinical distance, but from deep within—to explore the ways in which her father’s abuse shaped her, and still does. As a matter of psychic survival, she became both a sexual object and a detached observer, a dutiful daughter and the protector of a dirty secret. And then, years later, she made herself write it down.With lyric concision, in vignettes of almost unbearable intensity, this writer tells a story that is shocking but that will ring true to many other survivors of abuse. It has never been faced so directly on the page.
The book is rated 3.54/5 at goodreads.com, from 337 ratings. See 117 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2D5H8HE.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2D5dORT.