Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why Don't We Listen Better? Communicating & Connecting in Relationships

Why Don't We Listen Better? Communicating & Connecting in RelationshipsWhy Don't We Listen Better? Communicating & Connecting in Relationships by James C. Petersen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes, my mother was right, I DID need to read this book. Actually, EVERYONE should read this book. And now that I've read it, I need to go buy my own copy to keep on hand.

Jim Petersen does a wonderful job of explaining how we go "flat-brained" when we're under stress or under attack, and I love that he also gives concrete steps and techniques to use to recover from that and open communication lines back up by really and truly LISTENING to what other people are trying to tell us. We definitely need the Talker/Listener cards to use in our home, and I may create one to take to work with me, too.

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Anything but Typical

Anything But TypicalAnything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be autistic? After reading this book, I feel like I have a much better understanding of the inner world of autistic children (or at least an autistic 12 year old boy). It was really a fascinating glimpse into the frustrations of a family trying to cope with a child who struggles to communicate, who has a hard time sharing his thoughts and feelings with a world of "neurotypicals," and whose sensory perceptions are attuned so differently from most people's. I sympathized with his mother and at the same time wished I could shake some sense into her because she just didn't get it!

Jason has a hard time relating to the world in real life, but online is a different story. In real life, he is picked on, awkward, and misunderstood. Online, he is an ordinary kid who writes creative stories and gets a crush on the girl who likes them. Imagine his panic as those worlds begin to collide.

For readers' advisors: character and story doorways

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Other Mothers' Club

The Other Mothers' ClubThe Other Mothers' Club by Samantha Baker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading a novel where the main characters were all struggling with variations of step-parenting, although none of the women's stories matched my situation. I think this would make a good book club selection because I really wanted to discuss it with someone when I finished. (I did not agree with some choices some of the characters made, and it would have been fun to get other readers' perspectives and opinions.)

The premise of the book is that Eve is in a relationship with Ian and is meeting his 3 kids for the first time. The oldest doesn't react well, and Eve turns to Clare, a single mother of a teenage daughter, for support. Clare's idea is to bring her together with Clare's sister, Lily, who's learning to deal with her boyfriend's young daughter. Their support "group" eventually adds 2 more women with slightly different dilemmas.

For readers' advisors: primarily character doorway, with story as a secondary doorway. It's set in London, England, but it could take place anywhere, really.

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