Sunday, October 23, 2016

Children's book on Malala Yousafzai in library at local church

While at Mt. Olivet Methodist Church this Sunday morning, I saw a children’s book “Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words”, by Karen Leggett Abouraya, with illustrations by L.C. Wheatley, published by  Star Walk Kids.  The basic biography is here.

The book communicates her being shot and recovering toward the end, in a gentle way appropriate for children.

This is an example of a very serious subject being crafted into a children’s book. This not a genre that I do, but I see that it can be very profitable and useful.
See Movie reviews, Oct. 9, 2015 for major film review.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"Mission to Mars: Our Journey Continues": nice illustrated supermarket book from Time

Time special editions sells a coffee table closs book “Mission to Mars: Our Journey Continues”, 96 pages, with a Foreword by Buzz Aldrin.

The three parts are “The Journey”, “The Plan”, “The Allure”.

Many of the articles are by Jeffrey Kluger. But one of the most interesting appears on p. 66, “How to sneeze in space”, about the medical challenges people would face during the six month journeys and living for years (maybe for a lifetime) at 38% gravity.

Artificial gravity on a spacecraft doesn't really work when the traveler is not in touch with the "ground".  This is a problem in my own screenplay "Epiphany".

The health problems are considerable, with mineral loss and bone changes, and loss of muscle tone.  The journey might not be approved for people with families;  you wonder if only single and childless people would go.

The section on the other interesting places in the Solar System leaves out Titan, the most interesting moon of Saturn;  instead it focuses on Enceladus and Europa (Jupiter).  The closeup of Pluto is interesting.

It’s interesting that sunsets on Mars would look blue.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Is meritocracy sustainable? This, and a true story about a gay murder mystery go onto my reading list; also, more on demographic winter

Here are a couple more for my reading list:

Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy” (2013), by NYC professor Chris Hayes (Broadway Books) views individualized moral values based on meritocracy, as valued by the libertarian right, as unsustainable.  Vox has a post-dated review today by Henry Farrell, link here.    Sounds like Twilight of the Gods?  One trouble with meritocracy is that parents tend to pass it on by class (also an argument of Posner in “Our Kids”).  But is the moral sustainability of a free society the “sum” of the moral compasses of all its free individuals, or of their karmas – and of their willingness to walk in one another’s shoes, sometimes?

The Vox review notes the irony of Trump's appeal to those left behind -- the racism and tribalism, the "take care of your own" -ism that riles David Brooks, despite the idea that Trump himself benefits loudly from inherited wealth and privilege.

The second book is a non-fiction mystery that sounds worthy of Dateline, “Cobra Killer: Gay Porn Murder, and the Manhunt to Bring the Killers to Justice”, by Andrew E. Stoner and Peter A. Conway, which appears to be self-published on the hard copy (paper) which arrived today. ReelAffirmations is showing a film “Cobra Killer” which a schedule problem will keep me from seeing, but I hope there will be a DVD or Netflix or Amazon video soon. (I also hope to find a video for “Retake” as I had a conflict tonight.)  The story concerns the murder of Bryan Charles Kocsis aka Bryan Phillips aka Brent Corrigan, as explained on imdb here. I’ll try to get to this book soon (which can work about as well to convey the newsworthiness of the story as a film).

Update: Oct. 20

I picked up Jonathan Last's "What to Expect when No One's Expecting: America's Coming Demographic Disaster". 2013, from Encounter Books, paper.  The book will get into why immigration is not a good substitute for having your own children (in the U.S.).  Will this be the "more White babies" argument?  About demographic winter, as Carlson and Mero call it? The last chapter is titled "How to Make Babies" and an earlier chapter is "SEX! (and Maybe Marriage"). 

Monday, October 03, 2016

Quick intros to three more books: A novel by a retail owner; a parents' handbook; a warning about low birth rates

I continue my “two-tiered” practice for book reviews by presenting some books when I buy them, if it will take some time to get them read before doing full reviews on Wordpress.

I’ll introduce three books right now.

One is a novel, “Diana’s Magic,” by David A. Hicks, owner of the Westover Market in Arlington VA. Published by Oitskirts Press, 2016, 459 pages, 23 chapters, paper.  You can buy this at the checkout line of the neighborhood market, and it has been covered in the Beer Garden Book Club in Arlington.

The first chapter actually starts on p. 1, and it is indeed intriguing.  Sarah is preparing to become an elementary school teacher, and helps coach basketball with her fiancĂ© Eric. They both have to deal with another coach, Stan, bigger and taller and a big of a bully.  Stan seems to have a “Donald Trump” personality and believes that winning is everything.  As the first chapter ends, Eric is in a serious auto accident that appears to be going to test their intimate love.  Sarah has also envisioned an innovated class art project for the kids.  The whole setup seems intriguing to me because I worked as a substitute teacher in the Arlington and Fairfax County school systems 2004-2007.

Transgender Teen: A Handbook for Parents and Professionals Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Teens”,2016,  by Stephanie Brill and Lisa Kenney, was sent to me free for review by Cleis Press.  The book is paper, 338 pages, indexed, with a 20 pages roman introduction.
The book looks like a handbook inasmuch as there are gray panels to highlight teaching points and sidebars. It does not offer blank lines for note-taking, which other handbooks do, as if they thought their readers were grade school pupils.  The book begins by reviewing what is now taken as science, but has only been so recently.  There are mathematically many combinations of gender, sexual orientation, perceived gender identity, and (by Rosenfels) polarity.  They all happen in nature for humans and parents have very little to do with it.  (The authors say there are 51 identities, but it should be a power of 2).

Even as shown by, finally, a willingness by the US military to accommodate transgender soldiers (when until 2010, gay soldiers were such a big deal under “don’t ask don’t tell”), advanced democratic societies are much more willing to accommodate inborn inclination than they were a few decades ago (or are most authoritarian, religious or tribal societies), where those who are “different” were scene as forcing others to take more risks for them.

 I’ll also mention Jonathan V. Last, “What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster”, from Encounter Books, 240 pages, paper (or Kindle).  I mentioned this on the News Wordpress blog Sept. 30 in conjunction with a piece on adoption and foster care.  The books seems to have a similar thesis to Philip Longman’s “The Empty Cradle” from 2004.