Sunday, January 14, 2018

Screened Schooled

    Screen Schooled is a book written by Joe Clement and Matt Miles. They are school teachers with over thirty years of experience. This book tells us about the detrimental effects of technology overuse among school aged children. By comparing research from the past few years, the authors tell how technology is effecting millennials in academics, social life, relationships, critical thinking skills, focus and overall mental health of millennials. They also discuss the financial costs that new technology may have on schools. Their goal is to question the the claims made by corporate tech companies regarding the role of technology in education and show what's really happening in our classrooms.

My review:

     Screen Schooled is narrated in a conversational voice and uses illustrations that are completely relatable to almost anyone. The authors use real life examples that help us get a better glimpse of how and why technology overusers are the way they are.
     One of the chapters explains how technology overuse effects critical thinking. I thought this was interesting because many people say that the younger generations are dumber. In an increasing number of cases, this is becoming true. One of the reasons lies in the fact that kids don't play without technology anymore. Instead of playing with toys or using their imaginations for fun, they use electronics. The authors proposed the idea that such early childhood play may be important for developing critical thinking in children. They also mentioned how students turn on their phones the minute classes end and rarely allow themselves to hear their own thoughts. They constantly must listen or do something on their phones instead of using free moments to think.
     Another chapter talked about focus. Researchers are introducing the idea that technology overuse is hurting our kids' focus. Part of it is due to so called "multitasking." Although the authors do not claim that multitasking is bad, they indeed reference the idea that the extent in which we do it could be problematic. We have a need to multitask constantly all the time. We multitask while doing school work, doing chores, using the toilet, taking a shower, and at this point, while doing everything. Lightly multitasking here and there is okay. But heavily multitasking constantly all the time ruins focus because are brains try to adjust. Our brains really can't focus on two things at once like we try to make it do. In reality, multitasking not only prohibits us from concentrating on one thing, but it also slows us down in both activities.
     Screen Schooled is a must read for all adults. The best part of the book is the fact that it brings out that adults too must watch our technology use. As a matter of fact, I feel focused already just by reading this book. It even inspired me to write my previous post, "Why You Should Read Nonfiction Books." What do you think of Screen Schooled? Let me know in a comment below.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Why You Should Read Nonfiction Books

     Copying isn't praised in our world. But what if I told you that my greatest accomplishment for 2017 was learning to copy someone else? I guess you're not impressed. But I am. Learning to copy is actually something that successful people actually do. Many of our modern inventions mimic things that nature does. So, learning to copy isn't a bad thing.
     Out of all the things we could potentially copy in 2018, I would say that the habit of reading nonfiction books is number one. It is actually one of the habits that majority of America's most successful people share according to the huffingtonpost. No doubt this habit contributes to their success.
     It is unrealistic to expect everyone to be as successful as them, but even avid readers often overlook nonfiction books. I was one of them. I dreaded these kind of books. They led me to think of my high school days where I was reading boring textbooks and shortly after forgot the information. As a result, I absolutely refused to voluntarily read nonfiction from front to back. That was until I stumbled upon the book Screen Schooled while scanning through my local library one day. I think it is helping me out big time. 
     This year, I learned that nonfiction books don't have to be boring. To begin with, they could teach you a lot. Fiction books, on the other hand, are primarily for entertainment. They could also teach many things, but since they put amusement first, they usually can't teach as much. Nonfiction books teach life lessons as well as things that will help us adapt to our environment. That's why we should read them. I will definitely copy this habit in 2018.

Friday, November 24, 2017

End of the Year Book Releases for 2017!

     2017 has passed by so fast! No it's the end of the year when families are going on vacation. Below are a few December releases from Goodreads to kick start the end of the year:


Though she tries to focus on her duties, Mei becomes increasingly distracted by the family’s problems and her own complicated feelings for Ella’s brother, Henry. But most disturbing of all are the unexplained noises she hears at night—the howling and thumping and cries.

Mei is a sensible girl. She isn’t superstitious; she doesn’t believe in ghosts. Yet she can’t shake her fear that there is danger lurking in the shadows of this beautiful house, a darkness that could destroy the family inside and out… and Mei along with them.

The house on Arrow Island is full of mystery.

Yet, when Mei arrives, she can't help feeling relieved. She's happy to spend the summer in an actual mansion tutoring a rich man's daughter if it means a break from her normal life---her needy mother, her delinquent brother, their tiny apartment in the city. And Ella Morrison seems like an easy charge, sweet and well behaved.

What Mei doesn't know is that something is very wrong in the Morrison household.

Though she tries to focus on her duties, Mei becomes increasingly distracted by the family's problems and her own complicated feelings for Ella's brother, Henry. But most disturbing of all are the unexplained noises she 

Many children have grown up in the shadow of Louisiana’s Greenmount State Penitentiary. Most of them—sons and daughters of corrections officers and staff—left the place as soon as they could. Yet Ginny Polk chose to come back to work as a prison cook. She knows the harsh reality of life within those walls—the cries of men being beaten, the lines of shuffling inmates chained together. Yet she has never seen them as monsters, not even the ones sentenced to execution. That’s why, among her duties, Ginny has taken on a special responsibility: preparing their last meals.

Pot roast or red beans and rice, coconut cake with seven-minute frosting or pork neck stew . . . whatever the men ask for Ginny prepares, even meeting with their heartbroken relatives to get each recipe just right. It’s her way of honoring their humanity, showing some compassion in their final hours. The prison board frowns upon the ritual, as does Roscoe Simms, Greenmount’s Warden. Her daddy’s best friend before he was murdered, Roscoe has always watched out for Ginny, and their friendship has evolved into something deep and unexpected. But when Ginny stumbles upon information about the man executed for killing her father, it leads to a series of dark and painful revelations.

Truth, justice, mercy—none of these are as simple as Ginny once believed. And the most shocking crimes may not be the ones committed out of anger or greed, but the sacrifices we make for love.


Her name means “miracle” in Sanskrit, and to her parents, that’s exactly what Kimaya is. The first baby to survive after several miscarriages, Kimi grows up in a mansion at the top of Mumbai’s Pali Hill, surrounded by love and privilege. But at eleven years old, she develops a rare illness that requires her to be confined to a germ-free ivory tower in her home, with only the Arabian Sea churning outside her window for company. . . . Until one person dares venture into her world.

Tasked at fourteen-years-old with supporting his family, Rahul Savant shows up to wash Kimi’s windows, and an unlikely friendship develops across the plastic curtain of her isolation room. As years pass, Rahul becomes Kimi’s eyes to the outside world—and she becomes his inspiration to better himself by enrolling in the police force. But when a life-saving heart transplant offers the chance of a real future, both must face all that ties them together and keeps them apart.
As Kimi anticipates a new life, Rahul struggles with loving someone he may yet lose. And when his investigation into a black market organ ring run by a sociopathic gang lord exposes dangerous secrets that cut too close to home, only Rahul's deep, abiding connection with Kimi can keep her safe—and reveal the true meaning of courage, loss, and second chances.
Infused with the rhythms of life in modern-day India, acclaimed author Sonali Dev’s candid, rewarding novel beautifully evokes all the complexities of the human heart.


Two sisters: Miranda, the older, responsible one, always her younger sister's protector; Lucia, the vibrant, headstrong, unconventional one, whose impulses are huge and, often, life changing. When their mother dies and Lucia starts to hear voices, it's Miranda who must fight for the help her sister needs — even as Lucia refuses to be defined by any doctor's diagnosis. 

Determined, impetuous, she plows ahead, marrying a big-hearted Israeli only to leave him, suddenly, to have a baby with a young Latino immigrant. She will move with her new family to Ecuador, but the bitter constant remains: she cannot escape her own mental illness. Lucia lives life on a grand scale, until inevitably, she crashes to earth. And then Miranda must decide, again, whether or not to step in — but this time, Lucia may not want to be saved. The bonds of sisterly devotion stretch across oceans, but what does it take to break them?

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

What Goes Around

     I had it good. Real good...until I messed up. That was about ten years ago now. I wish I could go back. But now I can't. If only there was a way to fix that huge mistake.
     I met him while I was in high school. He was studying at a local college to work in the video game industry. He was passionate and multitalented. Aside from video games, his interests included sewing, sculpting and legos. He sewed all the suits he wore to church and his dorm was crowded with both clay and lego sculptures. Yet, it was organized. Neat and tidy was the way he was.
     When I graduated high school, I went to the same college as him. Somebody had suggested that I joined the college's video game club. That's how I got to know him. I made a few good friends at the club. But I lost all of them except one. I don't even have him anymore, but at the time we were all good friends. They used to be my favorite people with whom I played games with and we were very close. At first, we would just talk about the games. Gradually, we would talk about school, family friendships, tv shows and even our own personal problems. He, out of all of them, was the one in whom I felt was most similar to me. We seemed to like almost the same things. The same books, movies, topics, you name it. We seemed alike in almost every way.
     One day, he decided to have a movie/game night at his house during one of the holiday breaks. He invited me and the rest of his friends to come. At his house, his family was nice and we had a dinner of barbecue ribs, tacos, chips, pizza, mac and cheese, veggies, potato salad and desserts. Come to find out, he actually helped his parents cook the dinner. I was impressed to see a college boy who could cook. He even gave me cooking tips! I enjoyed the time at his house so I asked if I could come again. And so he invited me.
     We started hanging out more and more and soon, we were dating. We had a great time together and he became my favorite person to hang out with. He shared everything with me including his deepest thoughts. We met each other's families, friends and associates. Soon his family felt like my family and my family felt like  his. Of course, we would talk about our futures. He would talk about the gaming industry and I would talk about my career. He even proposed that I helped him self publish a game. And so the project was started.
     For the first few weeks, progress was slow since he could only afford a few minutes a day to work on it. With his self discipline, he somehow found more time despite going to college, working a job, and doing an internship. But my level of persistence with this project foreshadowed the future of our relationship.
     Sometimes, we would talk about how our lives would be like if anybody ever married us. This included whether or not we wanted kids, if we wanted to buy a house, and all the other things we thought were related to marriage. It took two years of dating before he finally said he was cosidering  proposing to me. I told him I would marry him If he decided to do so. But he said he would think  while longer. A while longer turned out to be a few months. Within that time, he graduated from college and got an entry level job in the gaming industry. The job was not prestigious, but it was enough for him to live in an apartment by himself.
     Meanwhile, I was getting increasingly irritated at my parents. They would upset me often and frequently. I literally believed I couldn't take it anymore and that's one of the reasons I said yes to him.
      He wanted to wait until after I got out of college before marrying him, but I managed to convince him to do it earlier. He graduated two years before I was going to and I didn't want to wait that long. If I was not so determined to leave my parents house, I likely wouldn't have pushed to have the justice of peace so early. My parents urged me to wait a few years since they believed I needed some "growing up" before actually being ready for such a move. Of course, they couldn't stop me. So two months after he moved into the apartment, we got married. By the third month, I had completely moved in with him.
      We were doing good for a bit after that. My new husbands income was enough to support the apartment so  I was able to attend college full time like I had when I was still living with my parents. My husband insisted that I worked a part time job for the sole purpose of saving money. He wanted this money for three things: emergencies, a small house, and his in progess video game. I agreed, but I did not succeed at giving him what he wanted.
     He and I continued to be close, but this gradually start to change. First, he would stop cooking dinner for the both of us, and would only cook for himself. I was annoyed at this. "I consider you when I make stuff!"
     "You don't 'make' anything," he said. And continued doing the same thing. As time went on, he would slowly stop talking to me about his projects even though he was still working on them. He made much progess, but he struggled to do it by himself. I would help him...sometimes but I wasn't helping enough. So I stopped directly helping him and told him that when I get a part time job, I would use the money to fund his projects.
     The arguments came next. He would complain that I didn't appreciate anything. This made me feel that nothing was good enough for him at the time. What I didn't realize was that he was right. I was being ungrateful. I was going to college full time and didn't have to work. All I had to do was keep my grades up and do domestic work. I searched for a part time job, but the one I got was not of my own doing. My mother convinced the managers to give me that job. My husband was unhappy when I quit. I thought the job was hard despite the fact that I was only there a very short time. My husband said I quit out of laziness. He knew this because of the way I handled the apartment. My dinner cooking was reserved to quick to make stuff and my cleaning was done with partial effort. He began complaining about this as well as the fact that I wasn't helping him enough with his projects. Most of his complaints reciprocated the problems I had with my parents. The only difference was that he was worse at it. He was more bold and frequent with his protests whereas my parents were more indirect and less complain less often. Instead of working to improve myself, I would complain to my friends about him.
     After a year of marriage, I told my parents I wanted a divorce. They told me to let them know when I made my final decision. I filed for a divorce and was back at my parent's house within a month. What I didn't expect was for them to tell me "I told you so". It was especially embarrassing since they new that I divorced him because he had the same problems with me that they had. They said that I was lazy, inconsiderate, and unappreciative. They also said if i had done things differently, I would have never divorced. Worst of all, they were right. I had lost a good husband over my own actions. I realized my error after I graduated. It was too late. What goes around comes around. I had lost both him, and several of my friends. And I can never fix it. I hope no one else makes the same mistakes as me.

This short story was originally posted on goodreads for a short story competition.

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Not So Earth-Friendly Ebook industry

The Not So Earth-Friendly Ebook Industry

     E-books are very new in comparison to printed books. Environmentalists often promote them as eco-friendly since they could replace print books. I am led to believe that e-books have lot of advantages but eco-friendliness is not one of them . The primary advantages of e-books is the ability to get them faster and cheaper than printed books as well as their ability to be read everywhere and anywhere. But those of us who use e-books under the idea that they are greener may not be helping the environment after all. After reading several news articles, I have decided that it is better to simply enjoy reading what you prefer. I believe that we all should look at various sets of sources and make the decision ourselves on what to read. Today, I will list several factors that most people don't consider when buying e-books.

1. Using Less Paper May Mean More Deforestation

     Many of our power plants are still powered by coal . In fact, claims it's about 57% percent. Coal mining is a major contributor to the destruction of mountain top forest and other plants. Explosives are used to blow up the actual mountains leaving local streams and rivers polluted(source: The electricity used to power our devices use the power that leads to such destruction. Therefore, we are not saving trees by reading on electronics.

2. Electronic Readers Are Often Retired Too Early

     Some individuals buy an electronic device every year. Others buy one every few years. E-waste is a known environmental hazard. Electronics are being thrown in our landfills and we are not yet effectively recycling them. Paper, although still a major part of our landfills, is one of the most recycled items in our society. Although paper products are not pollution free, it is estimated that a book lover would have to read at least 100 books to offset the environmental costs of reading electronically. Most people will not read that many books before they retire their devices.

3. E-book purchases are rising with print book purchases

     Both E-books and print books are rising in sales. The use of e-books have not decreased the amount of print sales, but rather, they have grown alongside of print sales. This means that the environmental impact of e-books has not slowed the production of print books at all. As a matter of fact, publisher often burn unsold copies of print books. In turn, your book purchase might have saved a book from the dumpster or furnace. 

4. Possible Solutions

     Both E-books and print books give pollution to the environment. Therefore, neither is completely green, but there are things we can do to reduce our carbon footprints. The first thing we could do is stop buying so much stuff. Part of our problem is the amount of stuff were are throwing away. If we reduce our waste, we can help the environment. At the same time, going extreme does nothing to help at all, so we should, therefore, be reasonable. The easiest and most reasonable way to help the environment is to keep the stuff we already have and take good care of it to make it last as long as it can. We can also avoid buying things we don't need. When we decide to buy things, we should search for better quality items since they are usually more durable. Buying used items can also help the environment. A print books could be read many times before it is retired. It may also help to keep your current electronic device for as long as they are properly working.

     Individual efforts are not enough to help the environment. The companies producing our products need to change they way they are doing things as well. In the case of books, publishers should use recycled materials and stop doing print runs. When publishers do print runs, they print hundreds, possibly thousands of book copies in hopes a book store or reader will buy them. Instead, they could print books as they are sold so there is no excess. Are E-books greener than print books? What do you think? 

Friday, August 25, 2017

New in September

     Just a few days until September! Exciting month! New school year, new job, and soon, new adventure! I learned a lot in this past year. Despite the fact that I didn't accomplish what I wanted, the things I have learned brings me some hope. Anyway, September has is a fresh new start for me, and one of the things that will start me off is the following list of book releases. They are all coming in September and I hope to read some of them. Enjoy.

                                      1. Little Fires Everywhere

                                                 Publication Date: Sept. 12, 2017
Image result for little fires everywhere google books

Little Fires Everywhere is written by Celeste Ng. The story takes place in a peaceful, happy suburb. Elena Richardson's family rents out a house to Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl. The Richardsons and the Warrens become friends, but this is threatened when old friends of the Richardsons decide to adopt a Chinese-American baby. This leads to a custody that divides the town. Suspicious of Mia's motives, Elena investigates Mia's past which comes at devastating costs.

2. The Black Tides of Heaven

Publication Date: Sept. 26, 2017 
Image result for black tides of heaven

    As infants, the Protector's twin children, Mokoya and Akeha were sold to the Grand Monastary. Mokoya developed a strange prophetic gift while Akeha saw what moved adults into action. They saw the sickness at the heart of their mother's protectorate. 
     Rebellion grows. The Machinists discover new levers to move the world everyday, while the Tensors fight  them and preserve the state's power. Unwilling to continue  be used in her mother's schemes, Akeha leaves the Tensorate behind and follows the rebels. But every step Akeha takes towards the Machinists is a step  away from Mokoya. Can Akeha find peace without shattering the bond they share with their twin?

3. I Eliza Hamilton

Publication Date: September 27, 2017

Image result for i eliza hamilton
     Elizabeth Schuyler, a general's daughter, is used to socializing with dignitaries and soldiers. But no other visitor to her parents' home has affected her as much as Alexander Hamilton, a charismatic, ambitious aide to George Washington. They quickly marry and despite the uproar of the American Revolution, Eliza is confident in her brilliant husband and her role as his helpmate. But it is in the aftermath of war, as Hamilton becomes one of the country’s most important figures, that she truly comes into her own.  
     In the new capital, Eliza becomes an adored member of society, respected for her fierce devotion to Hamilton as well as her grace. Behind closed doors, she astutely manages their expanding household, and assists her husband with his political writings. Yet some challenges are impossible to prepare for. Through public scandal, betrayal, personal heartbreak, and tragedy, she is tested again and again. In the end, it will be Eliza’s indomitable strength that makes her not only Hamilton’s most crucial ally in life, but also his most loyal advocate after his death, determined to preserve his legacy while pursuing her own extraordinary path through the nation they helped shape together.

4. Once an Heiress

Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Image result for once an heiress renee ryan
     Boston society darling Gigi Wentworth leaves behind everything she holds dear for the sake of love—only to learn that the man with whom she’d planned to elope is nothing but a thieving scoundrel. Abandoned in New York City and saddled with debt, Gigi must sell a prized family heirloom, but even that sacrifice isn't enough to get her home. Her determination drives her to take on work as a lady’s maid, keeping her identity a secret…until she’s discovered by a former friend with a hidden agenda.

Although dealing with his own serious family issue, Christopher “Fitz” Fitzpatrick sets out to return the missing heiress to her rightful place in society. But the more he interacts with this new Gigi, the more shocked he is to find her so changed. Gone is the frivolous beauty in expensive gowns. In her place is a woman he could grow to love. When secrets are revealed, will Gigi and Fitz find the trust they need to confront the past and open their hearts?

5. Little Soldiers

Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Image result for little soldiers lenora chu

When American mom Lenora Chu moved to China with her little boy, she faced a tough decision. China produced some of the world’s top academic achievers, and just down the street from her home in Shanghai was THE school, as far as elite Chinese were concerned. Should Lenora entrust her rambunctious young son to the system?

So began Rainey’s immersion in one of the most extreme school systems on the planet. Almost immediately, the three-year-old began to develop surprising powers of concentration, became proficient in early math, and learned to obey his teachers’ every command. Yet Lenora also noticed disturbing new behaviors: Where he used to scribble and explore, Rainey grew obsessed with staying inside the lines. He became fearful of authority figures, and also developed a habit of obeisance outside of school. “If you want me to do it, I’ll do it,” he told a stranger who’d asked whether he liked to sing. 

What was happening behind closed classroom doors? Driven by parental anxiety, Lenora embarked on a journalistic mission to discover: What price do the Chinese pay to produce their “smart” kids? How hard should the rest of us work to stay ahead of the global curve? And, ultimately, is China’s school system one the West should emulate? 

She pulls the curtain back on a military-like education system, in which even the youngest kids submit to high-stakes tests, and parents are crippled by the pressure to compete (and sometimes to pay bribes). Yet, as mother-and-son reach new milestones, Lenora uncovers surprising nuggets of wisdom, such as the upside of student shame, how competition can motivate achievement, and why a cultural belief in hard work over innate talent gives the Chinese an advantage.

Lively and intimate, beautifully written and reported, Little Soldiers challenges our assumptions and asks us to reconsider the true value and purpose of education.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

China Dolls Review

China Doll by Lisa See

     Last month I read China Dolls. China Dolls is the story of three girls(Helen, Grace, and Ruby Tom) who have the goal of becoming dancers. They become friends as soon as they meet and face the challenges of being Asian Americans during the 1930s and 1940s. They all struggle through the ups and downs of being night club dancers. The story takes a major turn when a betrayal threatens to tear their friendship apart. 
      The story was good and I had a good time reading it. Sorry for the short post but today I have a hard time writing. I will get around to writing a follow up post.