Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How I Learned English

This book was an interesting look into how one learns a language. (A second language). Working with ESL students on a daily basis, I was able to take a lot away from these stories and relate them back to my students. There were the common similarities; subtitles on TV or movies, reading everything in sight etc. I found it amusing that more than one author talked about National Geographic magazine. What's really funny is at my center, we have a whole shelf of these magazines and my students LOVE them. I just thought it was a funny thing, but now, after reading this book it seems this isn't such a strange thing after all.

Anyhow, this was an interesting read for anyone interested in language learning.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Year of Magical Thinking

I am not sure I liked this book. I had a hard time relating to it. (Yes, I am young and have yet to experience any of the grief that the author obviously felt). The story was very sad, I admit, but that wasn't the part of the book that bothered me. I found the book quite pretentious. One thing that annoyed me was that she makes it quite clear that she and her husband are literary people who take literature seriously. If you haven't spent years in college didn’t study literature, you probably have no knowledge of these references. It was a bit tiresome. And these references would take her off onto stories of places she worked or lived for periods of time and sometimes I forgot what she began talking about in the first place.

Also, all of the medical references. She would go on for pages about all kinds of medical terminology that I just had to skip because I didn't understand a word of it. What was the point? I think maybe she was trying to justify how and why her husband died and what happened to Quintana. It was really actually boring to me.

Another thing was the incessant name-dropping. It was as if every single famous person they knew was mentioned in this book. But there was never a meaningful story to go along with it.. Its obvious she wanted to make sure everyone knew that she ran in a famous circle. It was really annoying.