Sonderling Sunday – Jinx und der magische Urwald

June 7th, 2015

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday! That time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books.

This week, I’ve got the third book of the Jinx trilogy waiting for me to read it, so in the spirit of anticipation, today I’m going to look again at the translation of the first book, Jinx und der magische Urwald.

Jinx

When I started looking at Jinx, we left off on page 6 in the English version, Seite 12 in German.

It’s all in the name of handy-dandy phrases to know:

“valuable curse” = wertvollen Fluch

“the fear was ripply with greed” = seine Angst kräuselte sich vor Gier

“a crunching sound” = ein Knacken zu hören

“terrifying gloom” = schaurige Finsternis

“a rotten cabbage leaf” = ein verfaultes Kohlblatt

“the hollow scrabble of clawed feet on the forest earth”
= das dumpfe Scharren von Tatzen auf dem Waldboden

“Several things happened at once.”
= In diesem Moment passierten mehrere Dinge gleichzeitig.
(“In this moment passed more things at the same time.”)

“heavy, ragged breathing” = schwerem, keuchendem Atem

“a smell like rotting meat” = Verwesungsgeruch
(I like that there’s a single word for this. “Decay-smell”)

“they were so big and tusky”
= sie waren riesig und hatten gewaltige Stoßzähne
(“they were giant and had huge tusks”)

This is more dramatic in German:
“The wizard reached out and grabbed Jinx.”
= Blitzschnell packte der Zauberer Jinx.
(“Lightning-fast grabbed the magician Jinx.”)

And here’s another cool single word:
“cloud of calm” = Ruhewolke

And again:
“howled with glee” = johlten

But then this takes more:
“and danced about” = und vollführten einen Freudentanz
(“and performed a joy-dance”)

“breeze” = Luftzug

“swallowed up” = verschluckt

This time the translation seems slightly stronger:
“the smell of rotting meat” = der Verwesungsgestank

“a very small thing” = eine Winzigkeit

Interesting! The translator completely left out a sentence: “He assumed that everyone did this and that everyone could see what he saw.” Then again, I’m using an Advance Review Copy of the book, and it’s quite possible that sentence was left out of the final version of the book.

A sonder-sentence:
“I don’t expect you’ll miss him very much”
= Du wirst ihn bestimmt nicht sonderlich vermissen
(“You will him certainly not especially miss”)

“a red cloud of anger” = eine rote Wutwolke

“But now what?” = Aber was nun?

“clearings” = Lichtungen

“stealthy rustlings” = verstohlene Geräusche

“I have some bad habits.”
= Ich habe ein paar schlecte Angewohnheiten

There! That finishes Chapter One of Jinx

Aber was nun? Here’s hoping this week you encounter more Ruhewolken than Wutwolken.

Review of The Unmapped Sea, by Maryrose Wood

June 5th, 2015

unmapped_sea_largeThe Unmapped Sea

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 5

by Maryrose Wood

illustrated by Eliza Wheeler

Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins), 2015. 404 pages.

Aaugh! The story is still not finished! Yes, I love spending time with the Incorrigibles and their dauntless governess Penelope Lumley, but when will the story end?

The plot has progressed, so you really should read these books in order. We now know the exact words of the curse on the Ashton family – but we don’t know how to break it. Penelope’s fate has taken a dramatic turn, and the Incorrigibles are in danger.

Meanwhile, we’ve got the usual silliness. Lady Ashton is expecting a baby, and when a doctor suggests a holiday by the sea, they go to Brighton in the middle of winter. Lady Ashton is sure that her Frederick actually intends to take her to Italy, which starts a long and silly charade by the staff. Penelope gets in educational moments throughout, and they meet a family of badly-behaved Russians also vacationing in Brighton.

I decided that I should have patiently waited until my library purchased the audio version of this book. I listened to most of the books, and I’m much more patient with audio. The narrator reading the books in a perfectly serious way milks the silliness and makes it much more fun. As it was, though by now I hear the narrator’s voice in my head, I got a little impatient with the pace when I was simply reading it myself. So any future books, I will try to restrain my eagerness (not sure I can – I really am interested in Penelope’s fate!) and wait for the audio version.

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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

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Review of Four Ways to Click, by Amy Banks

June 3rd, 2015

4_ways_to_click_largeFour Ways to Click

Rewire Your Brain for Stronger, More Rewarding Relationships

by Amy Banks, M.D.
with Leigh Ann Hirschman

Tarcher, 2015. 320 pages.
Starred Review

The premise of this book is an easy one to believe: We are wired for connection. Connection with people is good for us. However, the authors point out that this seemingly obvious truth goes against accepted wisdom about mental health.

The book begins like this:

Boundaries are overrated.

If you want healthier, more mature relationships; if you want to stop repeating old patterns that cause you pain; if you are tired of feeling emotionally disconnected from the people you spend your time with; if you want to grow your inner life, you can begin by questioning the idea that there is a clear, crisp line between you and the people you interact with most frequently.

The authors expand on that idea further in the introductory chapter:

This book is going to show you a different way of thinking about your emotional needs and what it means to be a healthy, mature adult. A new field of scientific study, one I call relational neuroscience, has shown us that there is hardwiring throughout our brains and bodies designed to help us engage in satisfying emotional connection with others. This hardwiring includes four primary neural pathways that are featured in this book. Relational neuroscience has also shown that when we are cut off from others, these neural pathways suffer. The result is a neurological cascade that can result in chronic irritability and anger, depression, addiction, and chronic physical illness. We are just not as healthy when we try to stand on our own, and that’s because the human brain is built to operate within a network of caring human relationships. How do we reach our personal and professional potential? By being warmly, safely connected to partners, friends, coworkers, and family. Only then do our neural pathways get the stimulation they need to make our brains calmer, more tolerant, more resonant, and more productive.

The good news for those of us whose relationships don’t always feel so warm or safe: it is possible to heal and strengthen those four neural pathways that are weakened when you don’t have strong connections. Relationships and your brain form a virtuous circle, so by strengthening your neural pathways for connection, you will also make it easier to build the healthy relationships that are essential for your psychological and physical health.

This book consists essentially of information about the four main neural pathways and ideas for strengthening each one. There’s a self-assessment at the start to see how your brain and relationships are doing.

The author calls her approach the C.A.R.E. Plan. C. stands for Calm; A. stands for Accepted; R. stands for Resonant; and E. stands for Energetic.

Each of these four pathways is a feedback loop. Supply the loop with good relationships, and most of the time, the pathway will become stronger. Strengthen the pathway, and your relationships become more rewarding. There are plenty of places in each loop to step in and boost the entire system.

I came away from the book feeling that I’m in a pretty good place. This book looks at the relationships to which you give the most time – in terms of thought and energy – so you aren’t counted “down” if you are not in a romantic relationship. Living alone, I wasn’t quite sure if I was cheating by counting the three people I email with daily or almost daily, but I do give them a lot of thought energy, and filling out the questionnaire confirmed that this connection is good for me.

The book did give me things to think about. For example, if I’m feeling a need for a pick-me-up, it might be a good idea to reach for the phone rather than play a game of Candy Crush. If I reinforce getting dopamine by reaching out and connecting, that pathway will become all the stronger.

This book is about all relationships – with family, friends, and coworkers, as well as with a “significant other.” It gives you plenty to think about for strengthening this crucial part of human life.

I’m thinking this might be a great gift for a college graduate. Rather than giving the message, “Okay, time to stand on your own two feet!”, this book reinforces the message that they will need other people in their lives – and will be healthier and happier the more they learn to connect with others.

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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of If . . . by David J. Smith

June 1st, 2015

if_largeIf . . .

A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers

by David J. Smith
illustrated by Steve Adams

Kids Can Press, 2014. 40 pages.

The author of the brilliant If America Were a Village is at it again, using scale to give children a feeling for enormous numbers. Here’s what he says on the first page:

How big is Earth or the Solar System or the Milky Way galaxy? How old is our planet and when did the first animals and people appear on it? Some things are so huge or so old that it’s hard to wrap your mind around them. But what if we took these big, hard-to-imagine objects and events and compared them to things we can see, feel and touch? Instantly, we’d see our world in a whole new way. That’s what this book is about – it scales down, or shrinks, huge events, spaces and times to something we can understand. If you’ve had a doll or a model airplane, you know what scaling down means. A scale model is a small version of a large thing. Every part is reduced equally, so that you don’t end up with a doll with enormous feet or a model plane with giant wings. And when we scale down some really huge things – such as the Solar System or all of human history – some of the results are quite surprising, as you are about to see…

The book goes on to look at such scenarios as:

If the Milky Way galaxy were shrunk to the size of a dinner plate…
If the planets in the Solar System were shrunk to the size of balls and Earth were the size of a baseball…
If the history of the last 3000 years were condensed into one month…
If the inventions of the last 1000 years were laid out along this ruler…
If all the water on earth were represented by 100 glasses…
If all the wealth in the world were represented by a pile of 100 coins…
If average life expectancy (the number of years people live) were represented by footprints in the sand…
If today’s world population of over 7 billion were represented by a village of 100 people…
If your whole life could be shown as a jumbo pizza, divided into 12 slices…

With each scenario, graphics on a double-page spread show how the hypothetical object would be divided up, with some surprising results.

In the your-life-as-a-pizza example, 4 of the 12 slices would be work and school and 4 of the 12 slices would represent sleeping. In the wealth example, we see one person standing on top of a pile of 40 coins, 9 people on top of the next 45 coins, on down to 50 people standing on the one lone last coin. With footprints in the sand, we see the footprints from some continents don’t go nearly as far as those from others.

The population example may be the most interesting, because the author goes back in time. If today’s population were represented by a village of 100 people, the village in 1900 would only have 32 people, in 1500 only 8 people, and in 1000 BCE, there would have only been 1 person.

kidscanpress.com

You get the idea: These ideas and images give you a grasp of the large proportions between these things and a handle for understanding enormous numbers.

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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of With a Friend by Your Side, by Barbara Kerley

May 30th, 2015

with_a_friend_by_your_side_largeWith a Friend by Your Side

by Barbara Kerley

National Geographic, Washington, D.C., 2015.

Barbara Kerley takes amazing photographs. (And what else do we expect from National Geographic.)

The text of this book talks about all friends can do and be. The photographs make it shine. Barbara Kerley catches the sparkle in the eyes of friends having fun together.

Looking at the pictures, you’ll notice she’s got all skin colors represented, and friendships between people of all different shapes and sizes and ages. But the pages at the back really bring it home. She’s got a world map and tells where every photo originated. They are truly from all over the world.

Some of my favorite photos are Clowning around in Bamako, Mali, Slip sliding down a muddy hill near Jakarta, Indonesia, Getting ready to fly in Pacific Palisades, California, U.S.A., About to get wet in Lake Cerknica, Slovenia, and Cozying up to a good book in Sarsy, Russia.

This book is a work of art celebrating people – celebrating Friends.

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Review of All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

May 27th, 2015

all_the_light_we_cannot_see_largeAll the Light We Cannot See

by Anthony Doerr
read by Zach Appelman

Simon & Schuster Audio, 2014. 13 compact discs.
Starred Review
2015 Alex Award Winner
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

All the Light We Cannot See is a rich, gently moving novel about some extraordinary people in wartime.

The book begins at the end of World War II, with the bombardment of Saint-Malo. The author spotlights two people caught in the siege, and later a third who is looking for something there. The scenes in the spotlight move slowly, inexorably through the book – coming just often enough to keep us fascinated.

In between, we get the history of these people through the war years. Marie-Laure is blind. She lived in Paris with her Papa, and went with him to his work at the Museum of Natural History. He carved a complete model of their neighborhood in Paris which Marie-Laure could navigate with her fingers, and then he taught her to navigate the actual streets.

When Paris falls to the Nazis, they flee to Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s crazy great-uncle Etienne lives. Her Papa is carrying something for the museum. Is it a fake, or is it the Sea of Flames, an amazing diamond with a curse on it? The curse promises eternal life to its keeper – at the cost of disasters happening to all the ones they love. Is this why disasters are striking their family?

Another main character is a young orphan named Werner. He is fascinated with radios and soon gets the attention of the authorities with his ability to repair radio equipment. This attention gets him enrolled in the Hitler Youth and then in the army before his time.

Uncle Etienne has a radio transmitter, and Werner ends up in a unit looking for illegal transmitters.

Meanwhile, an expert on gems is looking for the Sea of Flames. He is patient, and follows one lead after another, during all the war years.

This audiobook was a wonderful choice. The narrator captured the tone of the book perfectly. The detailed descriptions had me mesmerized. I felt like I knew what it was like to be a blind girl in World War II France and a brilliant orphan drawn into the Hitler Youth.

The story is mostly wonderful and transcends wartime – but it did have some horrible moments, because this was wartime. I didn’t find the ending satisfying. Perhaps I read too many young adult books – I wanted things tied up a little more neatly than they were and hated at least one part of the ending.

I also wasn’t entirely sure what happened with one aspect. I wondered if I’d missed something because of listening rather than reading. But when a character speculates about what might have happened, I figured the reader was supposed to speculate, too. I’m not sure I like it that way.

So I’m not sure I completely liked where the journey took me – but I definitely enjoyed the journey. Marie-Laure and her Papa and Uncle Etienne and Werner and his sister Jutta are characters who will live on in my heart.

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Source: This review is based on a library audiobook from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of 5 to 1, by Holly Bodger

May 26th, 2015

5_to_1_large5 to 1

by Holly Bodger

Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2015. 246 pages.

This book takes place in the not-so-distant future in Koyanagar, a country carved out of India. For years, India had a one-child policy – with the result that baby girls were aborted so families could have sons. Now the ratio is 5 boys to 1 girl, and girls are at a premium.

Koyanagar was founded by women to make things right. But essentially, they’ve just turned the tables. Men have no rights. The best jobs and money go to women. And now Sudasa is facing the Tests – where one of the five boys competing to marry her will prove his worth.

The losers will face a life with no prospects. They will give their lives on the Wall, keeping others out (or keeping people in), unless they have sisters who can bargain for their lives.

But she has every indication that the tests are rigged.

I picked up this book because the language is enchanting. Sudasa’s thoughts are written in poetry, and it’s poetry with creative touches and interesting typography. Her thoughts are interspersed with prose from Contestant Five – who has plans of his own, and has no intention of being chosen.

I have some arguments with the book. I found it hard to believe that a society founded to right injustice would turn out so very unjust itself. Men are second-class citizens, and their lives are cheap. Giving birth to girls is now the only way to gain status. Besides that, with the poetry format, some details were unclear. There’s a Registry that’s important to the leaders of the country, and it’s not clear why it is so important or what it’s loss would actually mean. I wasn’t clear exactly how things were going to work out at the end or even exactly what the characters meant to do.

However, that said, the writing in this book is simply beautiful. It’s short (with so much written in poetry), so I didn’t at all feel cheated having given my time to reading it. Although I didn’t buy all the details, I was won over by the characters and enjoyed spending time in their company.

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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of One Plastic Bag, by Miranda Paul and Elisabeth Zunon

May 25th, 2015

one_plastic_bag_largeOne Plastic Bag

Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of Gambia

by Miranda Paul
illustrations by Elizabeth Zunon

Millbrook Press, Minneapolis, 2015. 36 pages.

In 2012, Isatou Ceesay won a World of Difference 100 Award from the International Alliance for Women for her work establishing the Njau Recycling and income Generating Group in her village in Gambia. This picture book tells her story in a way that children can understand – but which adults will also appreciate.

The book begins with Isatou as a child when a basket breaks. When a basket breaks, people could simply drop it and it would crumble and mix back with the dirt. However, then people in the village began using plastic bags. When you drop a plastic bag on the ground, it leads to a problem with trash.

Goats began to die from eating the plastic bags. There was a bad smell. Isatou and some other women gathered up plastic bags, washed them – and made plastic thread from them. Then they used this plastic thread to crochet purses. And selling the purses made money to buy a new goat – a goat that was not confronted with plastic trash it was tempted to eat.

The note at the back tells more about Isatou Ceesay’s work. I like the way the story is told simply, with beautiful collage art, and then details are given at the end for adults. This is an inspiring story of a woman making the world a better place.

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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Sonderling Sunday

May 24th, 2015

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday! That time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books. Sort of a Traveler’s Phrasebook for Very Silly People.

Sonderlinge3

This week, I’m back to my stand-by, The Order of Odd-Fish, by James Kennedy, the most Sonder book of them all, Der Orden der seltsamen Sonderlinge. However, it’s already quite late, so I’m promising myself I’ll stop after only a half-hour. Let’s see what we can find in that time.

Last time, I left off on page 232, Seite 293.

“forced” = gezwungen

“the Hat of Honor” = dem Hut der Ehre

I really think they left something out here:
“a prancing throng of cockroaches” = einer Horde Kakerlaken

And these are just not as good either:
“dragon of deceit” = Drachen des Betrugs
“kingdom of calumny” = Königreich der Verleumdung

A phrase everyone should know:
“silly hat” = albernen Hut

Oh, and you certainly want to be able to say this:
“We must be gracious in our victory.”
= Wir müssen großzügig sein in unserem Sieg.

Nice long words for Aunt Lily’s research specialty:
“irregular contraptions” = unvorschriftsmäßige Apparaturen

“scavenged appliances” = geweideter Geräte

“gears” = Zahnrädern (“tooth-wheels”)

“spindles” = Spulen

“homemade batteries” = selbst gemachten Batterien

“bottles stuffed with nails and bolts and wires”
= Gläsern mit Nägeln, Drähten und Nieten

Oops! My time’s up. I’m going to try to be good and stop while it is still Sunday.

Meanwhile, always remember to be gracious in your victory.

Review of Waking the Dead, by John Eldredge

May 23rd, 2015

waking_the_dead_largeWaking the Dead

The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive

by John Eldredge

Nelson Books, 2003. 244 pages.
Starred Review

My church Small Group has been going through this book since last Fall, so eight months. The accompanying workbook is longer than the original book – quoting most of the book along the way! But it has been a fruitful, deep-digging study. I highly recommend this for small groups.

This book gives us the message that our hearts are good, but we are at war.

John Eldredge leans heavily on the message of myth, and that resonates with me. This book is all about awakening our hearts. Working through these ideas with a group of fellow-travelers has been wonderfully inspiring and uplifting.

He talks about four streams: Walking with God, receiving God’s intimate counsel, deep restoration, and spiritual warfare. All of these are needed in helping our hearts come alive.

The overall message is one of life, true life.

To the weary, Jesus speaks of rest. To the lost, he speaks of finding your way. Again and again and again, Jesus takes people back to their desires: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7 NIV). These are outrageous words, provocative words. Ask, seek, knock – these words invite and arouse desire. What is it that you want? They fall on deaf ears if there is nothing you want, nothing you’re looking for, nothing you’re hungry enough to bang on a door over.

Jesus provokes desire; he awakens it; he heightens it. The religious watchdogs accuse him of heresy. He says, “Not at all. This is the invitation God has been sending all along.”

This is a provocative book, as it should be with that title! You’ll encounter some ideas that aren’t necessarily widely taught. It shook up the members of our group, in a very good way. We looked at our own hearts, and the ways we are being attacked, and had our eyes opened to many things.

Read this book and get woken up.

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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?