Monday, March 28, 2011

I Am JI Am J by Cris Beam

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first book I have read Other than Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil that had a transgender character. J is the main character and is a transmale, although physically female. I found this book to be compelling and real. The struggle that J goes through, but his internal conflict, the familial conflict and the problems that arise with J's relationships with peers are told in such an unflinching and forthright manner that they seem honest, real and natural. I did not get that air or fakeness or preachiness not one might from a novel that is ostenstibly telling us about what it is like to be a transgendered teen.

I cannot imagine the heartache. There is one particular scene that take place midway through the book when J is having what he thinks is a heart to heart with his father. They are both talking about college and dreams and being what you want to be, then he father destroys it all inadvertantly by saying "You'll always be my baby girl." He has no idea how hurtful these words are. Each family member is in their own cocoon afraid to share anything. J is afraid to make a connection with anyone. It is no way to live.

It really makes one think about how difficult LGBT teens have it in school and how they need books for role models and they need librarians to have those books available for them. They need adults to read those books and at least get a small feeling for the confusion and pain they are going through.

Those kids are so brave just to go to school everyday. I can't imagine it. I just can't bear it if they didn't also have adults around to be safe havens for them to go to for help.

Read the book.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Discovery of WitchesA Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Well, I had high hopes for this one. It was touted as the next Harry Potter for adults, sort of an urban fantasy for intelligent women. Hmm. I should have know that it was too good to be true. There is no action. Very little romance and the mystery is buried so deep you almost don't even care.

Frankly, when the author of a vampire novel makes her vampires able to walk in the sun, YOU HAVE SCREWED UP THE BOOK. So you better have some amazing romance or something else to make up for the fact that there is now NO DANGER to the vampires. OK? NO DANGER.

Honestly. I was so bored I finally just stopped reading. The vampire wouldn't even make out with the main character, Dr. Diana Bishop. Something about you humans being so eager to get on with things. You should take your time. Blah blah blah.

You are boring me!!!!

Nope. I'm bored.

I stopped reading.

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Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates UsDrive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Interesting. I really liked it and it was a quick read. I think it has some fascinating points on how to be an exceptional new leader and how companies can move past their paradigms that aren't working. I doubt this is going to work however because the corporate man is never going to believe that the little guy is going to be responsible enough to work without supervision or wants anything but money.

now i'm depressed.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Another Site to Add to List for Students to Research

I came across an interesting site the other day while grading the Honors Chemistry annotated works cited projects. It was for the Citizens Commission on Human Rights or CCHR. Since the student was doing their project on sleeping pills and this site has a particular view of psychiatry and the use of prescription drugs. Here is what the citation and annotation said:

"Lane, Christopher, Ph.D. "Pharmaceutical Scandal in Britain Sheds Disturbing New
Light on Benzodiazepines." Mental Health Blog . Citizens Commission on
Human Rights International , 12 Nov. 2010. Web. 23 Feb. 2011.
I did not find this website through one of the databases provided in the LibGuides. However, this source is credible because it is an organization with a .org website.

My head ALMOST exploded. How many times had I said that a .org meant nothing? About 1000 times. So I went to the site and sure enough there seemed to be a particular bias against prescription drugs. The paper calls for objective scientific facts, not persuasive argumentation. They are supposed to use library resources and since they are an honors class, I had also granted them the ability to use the science search engine with the admonition that they still needed to use their head when selecting sites.

So, I did what I always do. First, a link check. Go to google, put in and see who is recommending the Commission as a credible source. Then I do a search to see who owns the site and see if they have a PO Box or a street address. Then I look them up on wikipedia.

Interesting. What do you think? I think I will add them to my list of example sites.