The last of my May reads

These are two non-fiction reads this month.  Wake up was read in a sitting and it certainly shed light on many aspects of our use of digital technology.

“Your essential guide to the biggest revolution of the past century. David Fagan was at the forefront of this revolution as he helped take one of Australia’s largest media organisations from print to digital. In Wake Up, he explores the challenges and opportunities of the digital age from his position on the front line. He chronicles the rise of social media, online shopping, the Uber and Airbnb phenomena and the upending of traditional industries. Fagan observes the big emerging trends and examines the technologies leading this change, as the arrival of robots and artificial intelligence affects the way we live, work and play. If you haven’t been paying attention, now is the time to wake up.” (Goodreads)

This is a great read and it will be interesting to see if his predictions come to pass.

Screen Schooled I borrowed as I had recently read an article where a school in Melbourne had returned to using textbooks rather than texts online.

“As two veteran teachers who have taught thousands of students, Joe Clement and Matt Miles have seen firsthand how damaging technology overuse and misuse has been to our students. Rather than becoming better problem solvers, kids look to Google to answer their questions for them. Rather than deepening students’ intellectual curiosity, educational technology is too often cumbersome and distracting, causing needless frustration and greatly extending homework time. Rather than becoming the great equalizer, electronic devices are widening the achievement gap. On a mission to educate and empower parents, Clement and Miles provide many real-world examples and cite multiple studies showing how technology use has created a wide range of cognitive and social deficits in our young people. They lift the veil on what’s really going on at school: teachers who are powerless to curb cell phone distractions; zoned-out kids who act helpless and are unfocused, unprepared, and antisocial; administrators who are too-easily swayed by the pro-tech “science” sponsored by corporate technology purveyors. They provide action steps parents can take to demand change and make a compelling case for simpler, smarter, more effective forms of teaching and learning.” (Goodreads)

This is a book, which if given to a group of parents or teachers would certainly provide lively debate.  Well worth the read.

I liked this comment from Maya on Goodreads.

“Just as dropping off a child at a library doesn’t guarantee that child will learn to read, so too does giving a child technology not guarantee that child will know how to use it appropriately.”

I suggest you go to Goodreads and read the reviews there if you are unsure if it is a book you need to read, particularly if you have school aged children.

I have also just finished A Gentleman in Moscow, apparently a mega bestseller about to be made into a tv series.  I gave it five stars so it was definitely one I loved but I will write about it in my June reads.

When your body aches. . . .

We have all at some stage had a body that aches somewhere.  This particular book is one that explains what particular aches might be and what might have caused the ache.  It also offers some remedies.  You can look up particular parts of the body and find out what the pain is or might be. eg if you have a pain in your calf or in your elbow.

When Your Body Aches presents solutions to 100 most common sources of pain in bones, joints and muscles: from sprains, bruises and breaks to arthritis and osteoporosis.  If you work out, play sports, are the parent of a child with “growing pains” or are feeling the effects of an ageing body, this book offers practical advice on how to be pain-free.  This book is an essential guide for the health and wellbeing of you and your family.

Again this was an easy read, well set out and easy to find the sections that you wanted to refer to.  I did read the whole book but it would be a handy book to have if you wanted to look up a specific ache that you had.  I will just pop down to the library and check it out there!  Assuming that the book is not out on loan. 🙂

When your body aches


Almost a month ago!

I have been seriously neglectful of my blog recently but I have been busy visiting and being visited.  I think things are now back to normal and hopefully I will get back into the swing of my blog.  I will start off with an update on my reading challenge for 2016.  For those of you not aware of my challenge it was to read more non-fiction.

I have indeed done so and the books I have read have been a mixed bunch.  Here is the first.The spycatcherThis book I selected because the Spycatcher was mentioned in the Michael Kirby autobiography I read. Malcolm Turnbull is our present Prime Minister and he had been mentioned in the Michael Kirby book as the attorney who represented Wright in his trial.

The British government’s efforts to block publication of Peter Wright’s Spycatcher climaxed in a sensational trial in Australia in 1986 that cast a shadow of disrepute on the British legal system, the Official Secrets Act and the government itself.   Excerpts from the trial testimony reveal that Turnbull uncovered mendacity, hypocricsy and cynicism at the highest levels of the British government, principally during his cross examination of Sir Robert Armstrong, cabinet secretary and adviser on intelligence matters.  In 1987 the High Court at Canberra dismissed the case and ordered the Thatcher government to reimburse legal costs to Wright and Heinemann Publishers Australia.  Turnbull calls the British conduct in the affair “quite disgraceful” and adds that the experience “galvanized my determination to see Australia rid herself of its sic remaining constitutional links with England”

Had this book not been mentioned in the Kirby book I read I doubt whether I would have read it but I am glad that I did.  It reveals the real business of the spyworld that most of us would only know from film and books. It made we want to find out more about the link between the USA and Britain in the Cold War years and it also made me want to find out more about the Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko who was poisoned in London in 2006.

The book was read quickly and I found it really absorbing.  If you can find a copy in a secondhand bookshop I recommend that you buy it.