Category Archives: day in the life

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March 27, 2017 · 7:48 am

Give them books – not Google

Original article published at Wired.com on March 8, 2017

When Your Kid Asks a Question, Hand Them a Book—Not a Phone

When my 5-year-old asks a question, is there a difference between looking it up in a book and just using my phone?

Recently, I watched David Kwong do some sleight of hand in a crowded theater lobby. Kwong is a magician who often consults on Hollywood films. (When a director needs, say, Jesse Eisenberg to learn a magic trick, they send him to Kwong.) Anyway, Kwong sauntered over to a guy with a deck of cards and asked him to pick one.

Honestly, I don’t know how to describe what happened next. For 30 minutes, Kwong made cards materialize in outrageous, stupefying ways, as though he were nonchalantly sliding them in and out of a parallel universe. Someone’s card flew out of the deck, spinning through the air. Another turned up in a guy’s back pocket—and not just in his back pocket, but buried deep, between his wallet and a bundle of crumpled receipts. Kwong asked someone to rip a card into four pieces, then hold them in his fist; when he opened his hand, the card was reassembled!

Maybe this doesn’t sound that impressive, written down. We all know card tricks are a thing. But the way Kwong kept relentlessly confronting us with the impossible—seeing this sorcery at close range—seemed to not just entertain people but to make them feel vulnerable and a little scared. People mewled and screamed, “No!” One poor man was reduced to crouching on the floor, laughing so euphorically he couldn’t catch his breath. (OK, that was me.) The guy with the ripped-up card in his fist refused to open it at first, shaking his head like a child terrified to look at his boo-boo, afraid of what he’d find. “He has total power over us,” one woman said quietly, gravely. She sounded creeped out. It was so much fun!

Now, I’m sure everyone in that crowd wondered how Kwong was doing it, but it’s a rare bird who goes home and actually labors to understand the mechanics of how such tricks are engineered. (Those rare birds become magicians—it’s how Kwong got his start.) Most of us perceive magic tricks to be unreplicable, to violate the reality we inhabit. They’re, you know, magic.

To a 5-year-old, phones are magic. The internet is magic. An older kid might be able to understand the technology and infrastructure involved, the nature of Wikipedia, and so on, but for a child so young, the answer just appears, miraculously, like a playing card yanked from a bystander’s back pocket. Leafing through a book together, by comparison, is a more collaborative, tactile, self-evident process. It’s a journey toward the answer, one that your child gets to go on.

What I’m talking about is the difference between learning and being told, between answering a specific question and getting a child excited about answering it on their own. It’s fun to amaze your 5-year-old, sure. But it’s more gratifying to set your kid up to one day amaze you.

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Filed under 3+, children, current news, day in the life, fun facts

What’s on my holds list?

I haven’t done a post about my holds list in awhile. My last one was April 2015. Geez! I love reading other blog posts about what people are excited to read so here’s my current hold list.

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Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller. This was a Book of the Month Club choice in December. I wasn’t a member yet but it sounded interesting so I put it on hold. Other people must be thinking the same thing because I’ve had it on hold for awhile.

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Waking Lions by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen. I have no idea how I heard about this book but the description reminded me a lot of Little Bee by Chris Cleave and I loved that book. So I’m on board.

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The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue. I do remember how I heard about this one. Emma Donoghue is the author of Room, the book that spawned the Oscar winning movie (my review). This is her first children’s book and I’m very excited to read it.

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4321 by Paul Auster. This isn’t technically on my holds list, I have it checked out right now. But it is soooo long (880 pages!) that I’m going to have to return it before I finish and subsequently put it on hold again.

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Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama. I typically hate scary books. However, someone compared this book to The Man from Beijing and I loved that book. Scary, yes, but more suspenseful than anything. It’s also a translation, which is one of the requirements on a lot of my reading challenges for 2017. Also not technically on my holds list, I have it checked out right now.

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A Separation by Katie Kitamura. Ok so apparently this is just a “books I want to read post” because I have this checked out too. But since I have barely opened the three I have checked out that are on this list I still consider them to be on hold. I’m not sure I’ll actually finish this one. Rebecca from All the Books is who told me about this book, and it sounds like it’s a slow and steady kind of book. Not climactic. But it’s very short, so we’ll see.

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Filed under adult, day in the life, fiction

Happy 2017!

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My husband and I have made some resolutions this year. I typically hate resolutions. I participate in book resolutions of course, Goodreads, Book Riot & this year Modern Mrs. Darcy, but that’s about the extent of it. This year we’ve decided to cancel cable to save money. We could read of course, but he doesn’t really like to read. I know, unacceptable. So this year we’re trying to be semi technology free when at home. Although some nights I’m sure we’ll watch TV or binge on something. After all, we still have Netflix and Amazon Prime.

It’s hard to find games that are good for only two people. I researched two person games and asked for them for Christmas so we have something to do other than stare at each other. So far we’ve played Dominoes and Cribbage. I have Hive, a game I’ve never played before, in the mail. We’ll see how that one works with two people. We played a great game on New Year’s Eve, Qwirkle, with some friends but I’m not sure how it would work with two people.

What are your resolutions? If you need some ideas I found this article to be super awesome. I will probably adapt some of them myself!

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Filed under adult, current news, day in the life, fun facts

Happy Blogiversary

It’s my blogiversary today y’all. Or so WordPress tells me. Who knew blogiversary was even a word?

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Happy 4 year blogiversary to me and thanks for reading!

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Filed under current news, day in the life, fun facts

Reading Slump

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You guys. I have been in the biggest reading slump. Literally, I’ve read nothing. In order to get myself back on the bandwagon I re-listened to Discovery of Witches. That book always gets me. I love it. The last time I listened to it was in February. Before it was a once every two years thing. This year is a twice in one year thing. But I’m okay with it. Typically I don’t continue on to books two and three but I think I might this time.

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Filed under adult, audiobooks, current news, day in the life, fiction

Food Musings

I’m not a cook. And this is not a food blog. But I have been very excited about the weather turning towards fall temperatures and I wanted to tell you about my favorite soups. I also wanted them readily available in one post for my own personal gain so I can stop googling each website when I want to make them. Do with this information what you will.

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Signature Spicy Smoky Sweet Chili by Iowa Girl Eats

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White Chicken Chili by Add a Pinch

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Best-Ever Black Bean Soup by Iowa Girl Eats (I don’t make the rice portion – I just use regular white rice because I’m lazy)

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Baked Potato Soup by Two Peas and their Pod

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Carrot Soup with Tahini and Chickpeas by Smitten Kitchen – Disclaimer : I have never personally made this soup but it’s been served to me and I’ve dreamt about it ever since

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Filed under day in the life, fun facts