Wendy (here_be_dragons) wrote,
Wendy
here_be_dragons

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Books #s 38 though 40


# 38 - Killing Monsters - by Gerard Jones

gail_b told me about this book, and I'm really glad she did. This was an interesting book offering an alternate view of the effects of entertainment violence on children. Rather than putting forward the mainstream opinion that TV and movie violence, "shooter" video games, and children playing with guns and army men is harmful to both the children and potentially to society, Jones suggests that allowing children to experience these things can actually be a healthy and empowering; that allowing children to indulge in fantasy violence helps them to learn to deal with the real violence they see and experience in the world, and can give them a safe outlet for their rage and feelings of inadequacy while they're growing and developing. Rather than trying to summarize his take on the scientific research, I'll just say that much of what he said really resonated for me, particularly when I think back to the ways that I myself used fantasy and entertainment in my own youth - and I didn't grow up to be a serial killer, now, did I? ::grin:: It's also made me think twice about some of my own parenting decisions, and to understand that just because my son likes to pretend he's Jafar (rather than Aladdin), he's not already on the path to being a serial killer, either. I found his argument to be very reassuring on the whole - the media has done a great job of convincing us that children today are more violent than in past generations, but crime statistics show that that this is just not true. I'd recommend this book to anyone who has concerns about children and violence. (Library book)


#39 - Babyville - by Jane Green

I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read (I started it two nights ago, and read most of it during downtime at rehersals), and kept me turning the pages past my bedtime. She follows three different women through various stages of parenthood, and I found her characterizations of the situations to be really spot-on, touching and funny. She touches on issues of whether or not a baby can "heal" a suffering romantic relationship, the decision women make between career and children, and the unadulterated hell that is the first few months with a new baby. ::grin:: (At least it was for me at times, and for lots of other women I know). One of the women in the book had an experience very much like my own, in that I stayed home with no help, no baby-sitter, no nearby grandparents, so I could especially identify with her character. And even though she talked about some serious stuff, it was all told in Green's typical light-hearted, ironic voice. A good book. (Library book)


#40 - Divine Sarah - Adam Braver

This is the first book I received as an advance copy from the HarperCollins "First Look" program; a novel about a week-long period in the life of actor Sarah Bernhardt. I enjoyed this book, and found myself turning pages even when I should have gotten up to do other things. I enjoyed the author's use of words - rich descriptions which caused the book to affect me at a visceral level at times. I did find myself feeling a bit deflated at the end, but I think this is to be expected because of the subject - it's a look at Bernhardt's life as she was contemplating the end of her youth and perhaps her career. Having grown up in Venice, CA, the setting was particularly of interest to me, as were the historical things added to the novelization. It makes me want to learn more about Bernhardt in her younger years. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Bernhardt, or who enjoys this sort of "historical" fiction. (Received as ARC; have BookCrossed)
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