Sunday, March 2, 2014

My Current Reading: Parenting, Pedagogy and Raunch

I know most people are watching the Oscars tonight but we are not really a TV family.  We cannot exist without high speed internet, Netflix, Hulu, PS3, Xbox and of course of all of our books. 

*Photo of Boone Library 

Kids Books (Harry Potter & Percy Jackson)

We (me and my two kiddos) just finished the first five Harry Potter books.  We have moved on to Percy Jackson because of length and dark material in HP is just too much at this point.  I am okay with discussing death with my little ones but monsters, teenage angst and institutional oppression is a little more difficult to explain at bedtime to my 5 and soon to be 7 year old. 

Percy Jackson is fun, first person and easier to read so that Nara (7) can read the first page aloud each night.  I am still lamenting that I have not found a book with a strong enough heroine that I want to read it to my kids.  It makes me want to write a kids book that is a girl with super power: that is a cross between Buffy, Zoe, and Hermione and is kicking some kind of monster butt. 

Adult Books (I heart Mercy Thompson)

Even titling this section “adult books” seems a little sketchy when I write the words but we all need guilty pleasure entertainment.  For a while I was avidly following the “VaginalFantasy” reading vlog on Google plus with Felicia Day but lately I have been too busy to keep up.  I was also not super happy with the book selection and deviated slightly.  When I start a book I finish it just based on principle even if its end up being total crap. 

I must admit I like a good balance of fantasy and a little bit of romance/borderline raunchy.  There is a fantasy romance continuum with Anita Blake on one end of the spectrum and Harry Potter on the other:  I usually fall somewhere in the middle but end up reading everything people recommend or lend.  This month I cannot wait for the new Mercy Thompson novel to reveal what is going on in the world of my favorite shape-shifting mechanic who married into a werewolf pack.

Pedagogy and Professional books (Teaching Naked)

I am reading two books currently that relate to teaching in Higher Education: One is Teaching Naked and the other is What the Best College Teachers Do.  Both titles provide practical thoughts on how to improve my teaching practice.  Later this week I am attending a symposium where Jose Antonio Bowen is the keynote speaker so I am excited to finish the last two chapter of Teaching Naked, but probably won’t get to it until I am on the train on the way there.  Of course my favorite chapter so far is about “Designing College Courses more like a Video Game.”

What the Best College Teachers Do has been full of surprises like the best teachers on specific subjects are not always those with the longest list of publications (Chapter 2).  I like that this book makes communication a key element of what good teachers do.  Communication and teaching is an inclusive conversation not a solo performance (p. 119).

I know many of you are looking forward to taking in fancy Oscar gowns and listening to moving speeches.  I am getting ready to enter the fantasy of greek mythology followed by a little grading and a pedagogical chaser. 

*I chose to only include only my non-dissertation reading list.  Though most of my life revolves around my dissertation it was fun to reflect on things that don’t. 

*Photo of moving my doctoral/dissertation books into new house 


  1. My son LOVES the Percy Jackson series and his Kindle makes it so easy for me to appear to be supermom. He finishes a book and I am able to purchase the next without leaving the comfort of well... my dining room table splattered with a dissertation disaster. Any other recommendations for my young reader? He is obsessed with Greek mythology as well as video games, both of which are quite foreign to me.

    1. My daughter has been saving her chore money since Christmas and on her birthday she finally got enough for a kindle this week. I am still working out all the parental settings I would love some advice. I do like the feel of a book because its just so normal to me. But when I go on vacation I read on my nook. It is interesting how digital readers make more sense in so many ways but its hard to let go of the familiarity of paper books. I wonder if they next generation will have the same issues?

    2. My oldest son accesses online resources and participates in online discussion groups (about things like Pokemon) on his Nintendo DS. -1 Mom Point for me, because I didn't even know that was possible until I looked over his shoulder.

      He is also a big reader, so I take him to the Goodwill used bookstore and buy him whatever he wants. He thinks it's a big reward:) He's been reading the Warriors series, because he's a big fan of cats. He also loves mysteries and suspense. I think he would love a Kindle!