Coffeechug Book Consumption Week #3

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Blue Gold by Elizabeth Stewart

A book that deals with some very heavy global issues of: child labor, cultural conflict, human trafficking, the price of technology, sweat shops, and digital responsibility. This book weaves the stories of three girls from three different continents and their lives which are all dependent on cell phones or more importantly a substance(coltan) used to make cell phones. What humans have done to either exploit or deny the real issues at hand are exposed in this book. I became quite intrigued to know more about all three situations and to educate myself on what is really going on in the world. The way in which the author addresses these heavy topics in a storyline that keeps a reader engaged is quite a feat. This book is one that would lead to some really fantastic book club discussions. I could not help but a project based learning unit around this book with a driving question of “Is the human price of technology worth the perks?”

 

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Girls Standing on Lawns

Simple, yet powerful book. A collection of art and photographs from the Museum of Modern Art. Pages are minimal with one image/artwork and few words. These images represent an arrange of emotions and time periods. I read through this twice thinking about the images of my own life. The images where I was mad for my parents taking pictures of us. The times I refused to smile. The times I was full of smiles. Time evolves. The world moves on. We change as the world changes. More importantly, do we recognize small glimpses of our life that shed light on more stories from own personal journey? This is what the book inspired me to think about as I studied the images of these women.

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The Art of Start

Who doesn’t love Guy Kawasaki? I read this book with the idea of taking the business ideas and applying to the education world. This was not as easy as I had hoped. A lot of great content with many exercises and questions to process. I took away some key ideas that apply to anyone, anywhere. Mostly, have a plan, but don’t wait for a perfect plan to get started. You don’t have to wait until you are big and massive to get organized. Do this right away. Find the right people. Get Started. Most importantly, be clear and concise and eliminate all fluff and things not needed. Stay on track, chart your progress and make changes as you see fit to reach your goals.

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.42.29 AMThe Book of Five Rings: Graphic Novel

I love reading ancient texts of martial arts, warriors, and the like because I find in their articulately crafted words such great wisdom about life in general. When it all comes down to it life is about that balance and realizing that everything comes full circle. Reading this book I was reminded that we must not focus all efforts into only one thing and to clear the mind of anything that could cause confusion. The illustrations were excellent to help shape the story. Perhaps things can be said best by text from the latter part of the book.

In emptiness exists Good but no evil
Wisdom is existence
Principle is existence
The Way is existence
The mind is emptiness
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Perhaps the time of year where I focused on giving Thanks was not an ideal time to read the book. Michael Davison takes a look at all the things wrong with America and how we are ruining ourselves. Many of the ideas are nothing new if you watch the news or follow politics of any nature. As I read the book I could not help but either nod my head in agreement or disagree which is the goal of any book. I could not help but think that this is probably true no matter the time period as I don’t think we are ever really happy with government and politics.
The author does provide solutions. A key component for me when reading or discussion is that if one complains, then one must come up with solutions. I understand his solutions, but at the end of the read I think he realized along with any reader that solutions are next to impossible. There are just too many things at stake, too many fingers in the pot, and to really shift things just does not seem plausible. I found the reading engaging considering it is a book on politics which is not my cup of tea. More importantly, this book is one that would lead to high octane discussions if you wanted to risk friendships to discuss politics. As an educator it would be interesting to read this book and break down ideas and solutions with a classroom.
In the end I am thankful to live in a country where we can openly talk about these topics and that is what makes America great even if we don’t agree with every policy.
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