Podcast Listening Assignment:

This week was a little difficult for my listening ear, but perhaps that was due to my weariness from studying too many hours.  I chose to listen to two NPR Books podcasts.  The first podcast was from 1 Oct 2010 and I had a difficult time concentrating on the books.  This was probably due to the fact that the books were not genres that interest me and partially because I had hit a point of exhaustion when I chose to listen to the podcasts.  I guess that’s what I get for trying to cram almost two weeks worth of school work into one in hopes of completing both while maintaining a somewhat normal family life. 

The first book was Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk:  A Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris and Ian Folconer.  The author wrote the book using animals and used the characteristics of people he has met in the community.  One person he wrote about was an airline security woman with no sense of humor and a major case of little man syndrome.  This real life human character was turned into the forest security rabbit.  Who was an imposing bossy sort of creature.  It does sound like an interesting book and could be used in Sociology or Psychology class to identify the many different personalities of people and how we interact with one another. 

Another book mentioned was about the National Lampoon Magazine.  Well um, since this blog is supposed to discuss how I would use books in a school setting I guess all I can say is that this book wouldn’t make the first cut. 

However, the Geometry of Pasta by Caz Hilderbrand and Jacob Kenedy just might make that cut.  This book is about the 1,200 different names and types of pasta around the world and their many geometric shapes.  This could be a very interesting book for a collaborative math meets home economics class.  The students could examine geometry while cooking up some of the yummy dishes.

I Curse the River of Time by Per Petterson is a Norwegian novel about family and life.  Listening to the author I was able to gather an image of a book about change. 

The synopsis of The Tiger by John Vaillant was a little confusing.  I wasn’t able to understand if this was nonfiction or a story of fiction.  During the podcast the story was told in such a way as to make one think the Tiger had been personified.  The creature sought out a particular man because he had wronged it in some way.  However, in the next breath of the interview facts were given about the animal and story as though this incident actually occurred.  Based on this information, I would seriously have to research the book before deciding if this would be good for a science or an English class.  However, regardless of the classification of the story it did sound interesting.

The Runaways by Brian Vaughan is a graphic novel for teens.  This book sounds like an excellent book to add to a library collection.  It is action packed and has a fun story line.  In the story, six kids learn that their parents are runaway super heroes.  Each is a former bad guy and the kids have to deal with this reality.  It’s a series of books with a great sounding twist.  I’m not a huge comic or graphic novel fan, but even I would be tempted to check these out.

Another book discussed in the podcasts was Juliet by Anne Fortier.  It is a book which might be of interest in an English class.  The story goes into detail about the interworking behind

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.  Not such much about how the play was written as about the interworking of the families depicted in the play.

The book, Making Our Democracy:  A Judges View by Stephen G. Breyer would be an excellent addition to a civics class.  The book not only discusses how the Supreme Court judges apply the constitutional values to modern life, but it also goes into detail about the history of Supreme Court rulings.  I think many students would benefit from a non-textbook approach to learning about how the judicial system works.  Aside from actually visiting the Supreme Court, which by the way is an experience everybody should have at least once in their lifetime, books such as this one may be a great way to connect students to those strangely robbed men and women in Washington.


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