January 31, 2010

Mr. Asato's reading recs and other thoughts

Our history teacher Mr. Asato is living in Peru for a year, "teaching Economics online, exploring pre-Columbian archaeological sites, and learning a little Spanish. That, and trying my best not to disrupt U.S.-Peruvian diplomatic relations. :D " AND, he adds, he's reading as much as he can.

Mr. Asato keeps me and his other Facebook friends abreast of his reading recommendations on WeRead. Pictured is the latest book he recommended just today: Spice the History of a Temptation by Jack Turner. Mr. Asato's review is short and sweet -- "If you enjoy food, quality research, and history, you'll enjoy this book."

He notes: "The list of books that I have on WeRead are ones that I've read this past year, but there are others that I love--like Jared Diamond's Collapse and Guns, Germs and Steel. I also think Flow by Csíkszentmihályi is one of my all-time favorites about optimal performance (his follow up to Flow is also worth reading. In conjunction with Emotional Intelligence, these reads help one think about how to achieve one's best, whether in work or play (think gambaru! Something an elderly village lady--and my former student in Japan--taught me through her life). A People's History is also worth reading (RIP Zinn!)."

Mr. Asato apologizes needlessly: "Sorry that most of my reads are non-fiction. I think it's a bad habit, but I'm picky about fiction. I'll say, however, that My Antonia has touched me deeply. Reading Willa Cather's prose is like diving into a gorgeously rich pool of color, light and shadows; where a smile, an eye askance, or nod conveys as many possibilities for reflection as the breadth of Cather's Nebraskan plains offers the dreamy peripatetic a place to roam."

On an added personal note, Mr. Asato muses:

"You know, I think I blindly hit one of the historical/archaeological 'jackpots' living in Peru. I've read that there are over 100,000 huacas (pyramidal sacred structures) throughout Peru. One can see them everywhere in Northern Peru! Moreover, I've learned things that aren't even in the textbooks that will necessarily change how we view the development of human civilizations."

Thanks, Mr. Asato, for taking the time to share with the Seabury reading community your thoughts on reading and Peru!


January 20, 2010

A Dialogue about this year's Newbery Medal Winner

More serendipitous dialogue, this time with a Seabury alum who was FAMOUS for reading morningnoonandnightnonstop, in the mid 90's (which is before, I was reminded today, our current sixth graders were born!).

The Reverend Joy Caires, now an Associate Rector at Church of Our Saviour in Akron, Ohio, leads a pre-teen reading club. They read a book a month and include fun activities like overnights and food!

This is what Joy posted this morning: "4.5.6 book club tonight! Our author just won the Newbery for our pick this month!, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (great book!)."

Joy's friend sent her the New York Times' January 18 article
Rebecca Stead Wins Newbery for a New York Children’s Novel, to which Joy replied: "Huzzah!"

We have two copies of Newbery Medal winner When You Reach Me on the New Books pyramid (pictured above) -- it's science fiction, mystery, and adventure rolled into one. And it's a quick read too. My guess is you're going to love it!


January 19, 2010

Talking about Dialogue and Historical Novels

This morning, Rebecca Serle, Seabury alum writer who lives in New York City and owns Nurturing Narratives, posted For the Love of Libraries in her blog. She talks about the magic of libraries and the dialogue that happens there, in a variety of ways.

So when our history teacher Mrs. C. came in to the library this afternoon to recommend a book for purchase that had been recommended to her by a student, I thought to myself, now this is what Rebecca (pictured above) was talking about: books do indeed encourage dialogue, and oftentimes, the lines between student and teacher can (happily) become blurred in the process.

Mrs. C. loved the book! "It's a great historical novel that steps into the lives of women in the Middle East. I couldn't put it down!" The book has romance, mystery, and history (it takes place in 19th century Iran, then Persia). Mrs. C. would recommend the book for mature middle school readers and above, and she thinks that girls would probably enjoy it more than boys.

The title?
Anahita's Woven Riddle by Meghan Sayres


Feel free to comment here about historical novels you would recommend.

January 15, 2010

Bestsellers We Love

Here are some best sellers that have been popular with our readers:

The Twilight series
Harry Potter series
The Da Vinci Code

Seabury alum Krish McIntosh Renauer writes: "Aunt Patricia gave me a book for Christmas. I finally picked it up 4 hours ago & I couldn't put it down. The Art of Racing in the Rain. Brilliant."


Feel free to comment on bestsellers YOU like.

January 14, 2010

What's So Funny?

Our art teacher Ms. Huff reported today that she's in the middle of reading The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World and one of the reasons she just loves it is because it's FUNNY. Her daughter Vanessa let her borrow the book with a warning not to give it away, a sure sign, Ms. Huff says, that the book is GOOD.

I'll be ordering copies for the library, of course, so check out the New Links in the IPAC (available on campus only), or look for it on the New Books Pyramid, in the next week or so.


Feel free to comment here on a book you think Seabury (and other) readers would enjoy, that's FUNNY.

Remember the Bookmobile?

To say that 1980 Seabury alum Sarah Bott is an avid reader is a HUGE understatement!

She sent me this photo, and this is what she relates about her small-kid experiences with the bookmobile on Maui. (This was when Kihei consisted of kiawe trees.)

"Living in what was then a very rural place (Kihei in the old days, about a mile uphill on Ohukai Rd, before school busses showed up), the Bookmobile was a huge deal for me. I checked out many books at a time and I doubt I ever missed the Bookmobile. It came every Wednesday, if I remember correctly. Everyone in my family read. I was reading Beverly Cleary books in 1st and 2nd grade largely because I had older brothers and sisters reading all the time. When I was in 5th grade at Kihei School, the librarian told my teacher (Mrs. Oishi) that I had at some point checked out every single book in the school library - they had me write down the entire list of books. (That didn't mean I had great grades, LOL - getting into Seabury was a struggle for me. But I did love to read.)"

Thanks, Sarah, for sharing your wonderful story.


January 12, 2010

11 Nonfiction Reads that Read Like Fiction

Seabury (and other) readers would enjoy these books.

Two copies of each are on their way, so look for them on the New Books Pyramid sometime next week!

Chasing Lincoln's Killer
by James Swanson

The Hot Zone: A Terrifying Story (the ebola virus)
by Richard Preston

Left for Dead
by Peter Nelson and Hunter Scott

She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall (Columbine shootings)
by Misty Bernall

Sightings: The Gray Whale's Mysterious Journey
by Linda Hogan, Brenda Peterson

The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage
by Cliff Stoll

The Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia
by Esther Hautzig

The Radioactive Boy Scout: The Frightening True Story of a Whiz Kid and His Homemade Nuclear Reactor
by Ken Silverstein

The Upstairs Room. A Dutch Jewish girl describes the two-and-one-half years she spent in hiding in the upstairs bedroom of a farmer's house during World War II.
by Johanna Reis

No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row
by Susan Kuklin

And here's #11, thanks to Mr. Hodara (see his comment below):
The Last Days of the Incas
by Kim MacQuarrie


Feel free to comment on a book you think Seabury (and other) readers would enjoy, in this category.