Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Post Baby Reading

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Katniss is quite the tragic hero, isn't she? My favorite line of the book was when Haymitch tells tells her this is why we don't let you make the plans. I liked this book more than the first book. Still I had an easy time putting it down, but it was entertaining while it lasted. I think I quite enjoyed it. I'm going to be disappointed if she doesn't end up with Gale in the end of the next book, then again it is dystopian lit so maybe it doesn't have a happy ending.

The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - and WhyThe Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - and Why by Amanda Ripley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is fascinating. Its about the different human reactions to disasters.  Why we do the different things we do during tragedies, what evolutionary traits service us well, and what ones create more harm now that society has progressed.  This book infuriating me when it discussed how public works plans for disasters. I think that is the point if more people knew how organizations ridiculously plan for disasters we would all be outraged.  Officials have so little faith in the average person. They often plan complicated methods that make no sense, think the color warnings for terrorist threats.  When in actuality, simple planning which teach all people what to do and how to train are the most effective.  The average person and average group is capable of surviving almost anything as long as they have practice. The only group that actually accomplishes this is school children in fire drills.
Here are the quotes I like,
"Once we factor in emotion, then, the human risk equation is actually more sophisticated, not less.  Damasio's discoveries convinced me that the way for people to get better at judging risk is not to avoid emotion-- or wish it away-- but to capitalize upon it.  Dread, properly tapped, can save our lives." p.42
"This curious sense of aloofness, call 'dissociation,' can feel subtle. [...] At its most extreme, dissociation can take the form of an out-of-body experience That's when people describe feeling as if they were watching themselves from above. [...] Extreme dissociation seems to be the brain's last line of defense, and its particularly common among victims of childhood sexual abuse. 'It's a way to survive,' says Hanoch Yerushalmi, an Israeli psychologist.. 'People are saying, 'You have my body but you don't have my soul." p. 61
"The brain is built to focus on one thing at a time, whether in a traffic jam or during an emergency landing.  We have built technology for multitasking, but the brain has not changed." p. 75
Survival of disasters is mostly about money.  "People need roofs, roads, and health care before quibbles like personality and risk perception count for much.  ...for those who survive, money is a form of liquid resilience: it can bring treatment, stability, and recovery." p.90
Often victims have three responses. "One would laugh it off.  Another would be enraged. Still another would be emotionally traumatized."
"Resilience is a precious skill.  People who have it tend to also have three underlying advantages: a belief that they can influence life events; a tendency to find meaningful purpose in life's turmoil; and a conviction that they can learn from both positive and negative experiences. These beliefs act as a sort of buffer, cushioning the blow of any given disaster.  Dangers seems more manageable to these people, and they perform better as a result. p.91
"Contrary to popular expectations, this is what happens in a real disaster.  Civilization holds.  People move in groups whenever they can.  They are usually far more polite than they are normally.  They look out for one another, and they maintain hierarchies.  'People die the same way they live,' notes disaster sociologist Lee Clarke, 'with friends, loved ones, and colleagues in communities.'" p.110
The story "The Making of a Gunfighter, on pages 67-70 was also fascinating.
Also the book mentioned that women are more liking to report injuries in disasters.  It has nothing to do with physical strength, it has to do with poor foot wear.  Survivors of the 9-11 reported tripping on discarded high heals, left in the stairwells. When I told my husband this, he told me that he recently read something that suggested women keep an old pair of tennis shoes in their car because rarely are women wearing shoes that they could walk a few miles in.
Also it turns out even when told to leave everything and evacuated immediately humans naturally wander around trying to bring items with them, even if the items are worthless. Unless trained to do so human do not leave immediately.  They go through a period of denial. Humans also move like water when evacuating, they do not move like a simple equation.
This book made me wonder how I would react and how my husband would react.  I drew on my previous experiences, which weren't many or that traumatic.  Experiences like falling out of a car when I was 6 or 7, being lost with two other children in the forest when I was 8.  Being in a car accident, and witnessing the driver's flight or fight response, of trying to walk the last 3 miles to make it to an appointment on time.  When family members/friends were in accidents and my response.  My neighbors in college setting off the fire alarm at 2 am.  My illogical thought process while in labor before each of my children were born, all give me clues on how I would responded, at least I think. Or the fire this past summer in which we prepared to evacuate in case the fire jumped to our mountain. Also the book discussed that the secret to remaining calm is relaxed breathing, the breathing you learn in stress relief or Lamaze.

The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder by Carol Stock Kranowitz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very useful book to read considering my child has Sensory issues. It shed a lot of light on why my child does the things she does, and helped me think of ways to help her adjust to life, or maybe just help me accept her for who she is, no matter how challenging she makes life. You may wonder what sensory disorder is, that is a complicated question to answer. The way sensory disorder presents itself in one person could be completely different then another person. At first glance it may seem like almost anyone can relate to some sensory issues, but its when a person has many complications in processing what their sense are telling them, and it interferes with life. I'm sure my child's sensory disorder is genetic from me, but I think it is more sever in her, and complicates her life in ways it has never effected me. The book has a hideous cover, so don't judge the book on that. Unfortunately this book is really quite boring, and this is coming from someone who reads a fair amount of non-fiction from child development, social sciences and self help genres. I'm disappointing the book is boring, because I think there are quite a few parents who could benefit from this book, but I'm hesitant to make a referral. That being said if you can push your way through I've found it quite useful.

 Crossed (Matched, #2)Crossed by Ally Condie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think I liked this book slightly more than the first. It was less teenage imagined drama/her thoughts and more actual plot. But honestly in the month that has pasted since I read it I can't remember much. In a way I feel like the dystopian teen fiction with the clueless girl, who has two boys in love with her is slightly over done. That being said, the book is a quiet easy read that was fairly entertaining.

 The Gifted Kids' Survival Guide: For Ages 10 & UnderThe Gifted Kids' Survival Guide: For Ages 10 & Under by Judy Galbraith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this book while trying to help my gifted child find non-fiction he was interested in at the library. Even though this book is written for children, I found this book very useful as a parent of a gifted child. Its designed for probably 8 or 9 year olds to read. The number one useful thing I read in the book was gifted children deserved to be told they are gifted, and how that might mean they differ from other kids. I had been purposely not telling my child he was in "gt program". After discussing the gt program, and his giftedness, I swear overnight my child relaxed and started behaving better with me. When thinking about it I realized the disservice I was doing for him, by ignoring "his giftedness." That is just one example of how useful the book was for me. It helped me understand what is going on in his brain a little better. A very useful book.

Matched (Matched, #1)Matched by Ally Condie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was a nice easy read to get me back into reading after having a baby. It wasn't really my favorite teen fiction out there, but it wasn't bad either. I thought this was on the supreme light side of Dystopian fiction. Out of all the dystopian fiction I've ever read, if I had to choose a society to live in, this would definitely be the one. Even though they match you and place you in your profession, etc etc, for the most part most of the characters carry on normal lives with families. There is still some amount of love and/or affection in society. Sure life sucked for Ky, but in normal capitalistic society life also sucks for some people. And isn't that the point of dysopian fiction to propagate the idea that capitalism is good, and we want choice and the free market? I'll be honest though I was rooting for Zander not Ky. Is that a spoiler? I don't know if I'm just defiant like that or what? Even though the author described them oppositely I pictured Zander as the actor for Gale from Hunger Games and Ky as Peeta. Although Peeta is a nice enough character in Hunger Games, I didn't like the actor they picked for him, so the character of Ky was ruined for me. Sorry. But part of the reason I liked Zander better than Ky, was because Ky was exciting and romantic for Cassia, while Zander was more safe and reliable, and so the book made me think that the newness of Ky would eventually wear off, and then what would she be left with. Zander seemed to me the person you could build a life on. Yeah, I know I let my imagination run off in a direction the book did not lead me too, since the book says Ky would have been her match if he wasn't a whatever the term was. So indeed this review does contain spoilers.

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Eat Cake: A NovelEat Cake: A Novel by Jeanne Ray
And now I'm reading Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray, who knows if I will like it or not.  It was last months book group selection.  I got an email from the library saying it my hold was ready to pick up the day after book group meeting, luckily my brother was in town that night so it didn't matter I never got the book.  I do like page 2, "Cake have gotten a bad rap.  People equate virtue with turning down dessert.  There is always one person at the table who holds up her hand when I serve the cake.  No, really, I couldn't, she says, and then gives her flat stomach a conspiratorial little pat.  Everyone who pressing a fork into that first tender layer looks at the person who declined the plate, and they all think, That person is better than I am.  That person has discipline.  But that isn't a person with discipline, that is a person who has completely lost touch with joy.  A slice of cake never made anybody fat.  You don't eat the whole cake.  You don't eat a cake every day of your life   You take the cake when it is offered because the cake is delicious.  You have a slice of cake and what it reminds you of is someplace that's safe, uncomplicated  without stress. A cake is a party, a birthday a weeding. A cake is what's served on the happiest days of your life. ...so, of course, if sides are to be taken, I will always take the side of cake."  We have lots of desserts other than cake on the happiest days of my life, but nonetheless I love cake and agree about the getting fat part.  Its like what Jess from New Girl said, "I find it fundamentally Strange that you're not a dessert person.  That's just weird and it freaks me out."
Plus I like the authors writing style so far, its been I awhile since I've read a book and thought this author writes beautifully.

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