Spring into Reading!

Time for my seasonal reading suggestions and as usual, I’ve tried to cover the gamut.

For no other reason that to eavesdrop on some of the biggest celebrities of the last few decades, pick up Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead by Neil Strauss. Journalist Strauss goes back over former interviews and pulls out (sometimes) shocking and often unexpected narratives from interviews never published. Read how Strauss shoots guns with Ludacris, gets kidnapped by Courtney Love, makes Lady Gaga cry,  shops for Pampers with Snoop Dogg, goes to church with Tom Cruise…and that’s barely cracking the surface. Unbelievable!

One measure of a great book for me is if it sends me out in search of more. In the case of Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland, I checked out 5 books on Tiffany glass, upon completion of this book, to learn more about the incredible works of Clara Driscoll and Louis Comfort Tiffany. Set in New York, near the end of the twentieth century, Vreeland takes fact – Tiffany’s debut at the World’s Fair, his employment of women in a largely dominated male field and Driscol’s idea for the now infamous Tiffany Lamp – and layers fictional scenes to create an engrossing and cultural read. Hear author Vreeland on npr discuss how it all happened.

For all you fantasy readers, run – don’t walk – and pick up a copy of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. No matter what you thought of previously published vampire books, this one takes it up a notch. Read the rest of this entry

Screen Time Suggestions

bluebirdbaby

As the days get shorter and kids start spending more time inside, it’s possible that they’ll gravitate to the computer, TV, cell phone or handheld as a remedy to “being bored”.  Of course I tell my kids that if they ever claim “I’m bored” then they can go clean the bathroom but I get busy (lazy) and am trying to incorporate some built in screen solutions to avoid future arguments and debates.

GetNoodles is free educational software which interrupts children’s web surfing, texting or gaming with pop-up educational, multiple choice questions. Parents choose the frequency of the pop-ups and the contents of the questions based on each child’s grade level and subjects selected. There’s a broad range of subjects for every age including some ACT prep for older children.

Instead of TV is a wonderful site offering a plethora of options for unplugged family activities and I also picked up the book, Unplugged Play: No Batteries. No Plugs. Pure Fun. I let my kids pull out 10 ideas each that we have as a go to when they feel that there is “nothing to do” besides sitting in front of a screen. But my absolute new favorite pick up from my beloved indie bookstore, Pudd’nHead Books,  is It’s A Book Read the rest of this entry