I grew up with these characters, and they hold a very special place for me. I have always felt that this simple daily comic strip, looked at as a whole run, becomes a beautiful, hilarious, poignant portrait of an authentically and archetypically American youth.
And I thought maybe part of that was bias from just my nostalgia for my childhood and the 90s, but I was very happy to discover how untrue that is.
My little brother turned 7 recently, and between the fact that 7 is a special birthday in my eyes and that fact that he had just gotten some great Christmas gifts two weeks earlier, I decided to get him this as a gift that would keep on giving for years to come.
When he first saw that the big, heavy, exciting mystery package was just books, he looked utterly disappointed. I saw that and explained to him why I chose the book, and how much I had loved it as a kid, and that he should give it a try even if some of the writing was still a little hard for him to read.
And nothing could have ever made me happier than when he opened the book, started reading from the beginning, and found himself cracking up so hard that for the rest of the night he couldn't put it down, dragging it all around New York City, trying to scrounge up enough light to read by in the car.
And after just seeing him several weeks later for the first time since the gift, I am overjoyed and proud to say he's *still* dragging that absurdly huge book around everywhere, finding anyplace to put it down and read it as soon as he's not on the move. My mom says he's been reading it every night before bed, waking up early to read some in the morning, and when I saw him he was already over 200 pages into the first book.
So there you have it. He doesn't understand all the big words without a little help, and some of the jokes do fly over his head, but he seems to think it's the funniest thing he's ever seen.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7)
There's no question that the contents of the books inside this so-called chest are of the highest order. The entire Harry Potter epic was ingenious, brilliant, engaging, and encouraged hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of young readers to read when they might have rather played with their Xbox. But this is about the packaging, and the packaging is just horrid. I wasn't expecting something that was as heavy and substantial as, say, a pirate's chest, but I certainly was hoping that the box was more sturdy than a few flaps of cardboard rather cheaply assembled, and easily DISassembled. I bought this so that I would have a full set of unread hardcovers with the original artwork, for the sake of posterity. In one of the worst marketing decisions I've seen regarding the Harry Potter series, the publishers thought it would be a good idea to include the extras (decals and whatnot - things I'm not interested in) shrink wrapped with the books. To get at them, you have to tear the shrink wrap, and thus compromise the books over time (a long period of time, and admittedly not much would be compromised). Also, the clasp on the box was cheap plastic. Horrible. I almost broke it when undoing it. Is a metal clasp too much to ask for? Apparently it is. I'm not completely dissatisfied with the purchase, because the books are phenomenal. I would have purchased a compilation of all seven books at some point, but I wish I had waited until they offered such a product without the sadly and unfortunately shoddy "chest". When I bought this product, I absolutely, 100% was buying the packaging, and the packaging was dismal
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)
This new edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5®), used by clinicians and researchers to diagnose and classify mental disorders, is the product of more than 10 years of effort by hundreds of international experts in all aspects of mental health. Their dedication and hard work have yielded an authoritative volume that defines and classifies mental disorders in order to improve diagnoses, treatment, and research. The criteria are concise and explicit, intended to facilitate an objective assessment of symptom presentations in a variety of clinical settings -- inpatient, outpatient, partial hospital, consultation-liaison, clinical, private practice, and primary care. New features and enhancements make DSM-5® easier to use across all settings: • The chapter organization reflects a lifespan approach, with disorders typically diagnosed in childhood (such as neurodevelopmental disorders) at the beginning of the manual, and those more typical of older adults (such as neurocognitive disorders) placed at the end. Also included are age-related factors specific to diagnosis. • The latest findings in neuroimaging and genetics have been integrated into each disorder along with gender and cultural considerations.• The revised organizational structure recognizes symptoms that span multiple diagnostic categories, providing new clinical insight in diagnosis. • Specific criteria have been streamlined, consolidated, or clarified to be consistent with clinical practice (including the consolidation of autism disorder, Asperger's syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder into autism spectrum disorder; the streamlined classification of bipolar and depressive disorders; the restructuring of substance use disorders for consistency and clarity; and the enhanced specificity for major and mild neurocognitive disorders).• Dimensional assessments for research and validation of clinical results have been provided.• Both ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM codes are included for each disorder, and the organizational structure is consistent with the new ICD-11 in development. Why 5 stars, you might ask? Because my review is based on DSM 5 as a book, not anything else having to do with DSM as a concept or tool. This particular edition 'reads' well, in that the text and lay-out is clear. In contrast to previous editions, the reader will be given more orientation to the book and how to use it. The diagnostic criteria is familiar and through the Table of Contents, Index, and quick-view pages, it is easy to find the diagnosis or category you're looking for. Yes, it's bulky and expensive, but you should have the large edition in your library for now; later, when you're more familiar with the changes, you can buy the quick-reference guide.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Atlas of Human Anatomy: Including Student Consult Interactive Ancillaries and Guides, 6e
Frank H. Netter was born in New York City in 1906. He studied art at the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design before entering medical school at New York University, where he received his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1931. During his student years, Dr. Netter’s notebook sketches attracted the attention of the medical faculty and other physicians, allowing him to augment his income by illustrating articles and textbooks. He continued illustrating as a sideline after establishing a surgical practice in 1933, but he ultimately opted to give up his practice in favor of a full-time commitment to art. After service in the United States Army during World War II, Dr. Netter began his long collaboration with the CIBA Pharmaceutical Company (now Novartis Pharmaceuticals). This 45-year partnership resulted in the production of the extraordinary collection of medical art so familiar to physicians and other medical professionals worldwide. Icon Learning Systems acquired the Netter Collection in July 2000 and continued to update Dr. Netter’s original paintings and to add newly commissioned paintings by artists trained in the style of Dr. Netter. In 2005, Elsevier Inc. purchased the Netter Collection and all publications from Icon Learning Systems. There are now over 50 publications featuring the art of Dr. Netter available through Elsevier Inc. Dr. Netter’s works are among the finest examples of the use of illustration in the teaching of medical concepts. The 13-book Netter Collection of Medical Illustrations, which includes the greater part of the more than 20,000 paintings created by Dr. Netter, became and remains one of the most famous medical works ever published. The Netter Atlas of Human Anatomy, first published in 1989, presents the anatomic paintings from the Netter Collection. Now translated into 16 languages, it is the anatomy atlas of choice among medical and health professions students the world over. It's been years since my medical school days but I still need my Netter now and then, and I swear my old textbook still smells like formaldehyde. Not to mention it's hard to lug around. I was worried the ebook would not do justice to these fantastic illustrations, but I was wrong. And I love being able to zoom in and out on the illustrations and labels. It's easier to see exactly which structure has been tagged when you can zoom. I'm biased toward Netter because I used it as my med school text, but this indispensable reference is now at my fingertips whenever I need it thanks to the ebook. I love it. Just one more note, I have been viewing the book on my Kindle app for iPad, so I don't know how well the zoom works on other platforms. With the iPad app its very easy to navigate and zoom in and out.
All the Light We Cannot See
It has been a while since I have found a book that I wanted to read slowly so that I could soak in every detail in hopes that the last page seems to never come. When reading the synopsis of this novel, I never imagined that I would feel so connected to a book where one of the main characters is blind and the other a brilliant young German orphan who was chosen to attend a brutal military academy under Hitler's power using his innate engineering skills. This novel was so much more than the above states. The idiosyncrasies of each individual character are so well defined and expressed in such ways that come across the page almost lyrically. I was invited into the pages and could not only imagine the atmosphere, but all of my senses were collectively enticed from the very first page until the last. I was so amazed with the way that the author was able to heighten all my senses in a way that I felt like I knew what it was like to be blind. In most well-written books you get of a sense of what the characters look like and follow them throughout the book almost as if you are on a voyage, but with this novel, I could imagine what it was like to be in Marie-Laure's shoes. The descriptives were so beautifully intricate that I could imagine the atmosphere through touch and sound. It was amazing, really. There were so many different aspects of the book that are lived out in separate moments and in different countries that find a way to unite in the end. What impressed me most was that I could have never predicted the outcome. It was as though all cliches were off the table and real life was set in motion. Life outside of books can be very messy and the author stayed true to life but in a magical and symbolic way. I have said in other reviews that just when I think that I have read my last book centered around the Second World War, another seems to pop up. I should emphasize that this book created an image of war in a way that I have never imagined before. I truly got a sense of what it must have been like for children who lived a happy life and then suddenly were on curfew and barely had food to eat. It also showed the side of young children who are basically brainwashed by Nazi leaders and made into animals who seem to make choices that they normally wouldn't in order to survive. And by survive, I mean dodging severe abuse by their own colleagues.
Saturday, July 9, 2016
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
As the title of the book implies, Covey describes the seven habits of highly effective people and techniques for adopting the seven habits. Covey makes clear that an individual must make a paradigm shift before incorporating these habits into his/her own personal life. A paradigm is essentially the way an individual perceives something. Covey emphasizes that if we want to make a change in our lives, we should probably first focus on our personal attitudes and behaviors. He applies different examples via family, business, and society in general. This book's focal point is on an approach to obtain personal and interpersonal effectiveness. Covey points out that private victories precede public victories. He makes the example that making and keeping promises to ourselves comes before making and keeping promises to others. Habits 1, 2, and 3 deal with self-mastery. They move an individual from dependency on others to independence. Habits 4, 5, and 6 deal with teamwork, cooperation, and communication. These habits deal with transforming a person from dependency to independence to interdependence. Interdependence simply means mutual dependence. Habit 7 embodies all of the other habits to help an individual work toward continuous improvement. Habit 1 discusses the importance of being proactive. Covey states that we are responsible for our own lives; therefore, we possess the initiative to make things happen. He also points out that proactive people so not blame various circumstances for their behaviors but they realize behavior comes from one's conscious. Covey also explains that the other type of person is reactive. Reactive people are affected by their social as well as physical surroundings. This means that if the weather is bad, then it affects their behavior such as their attitude and performance. He also explains that all problems that are experienced by individuals fall into one of three categories, which are direct control, indirect control, or no control. The problems that are classified under direct control are the problems that involve our own behavior. The problems classified as indirect control encompasses problems that we can do nothing about. The problems classified as no control are those that we can do nothing about. Habit 2 focuses on beginning with the end in mind. Covey wants the reader to envision his/her funeral. This may sound disheartening but his goal is to help you think about the words that you wish to be said about you; it can help the individual visualize what you value the most. To begin with the end simply means to start with your destination in mind. That gives an individual a sense of where he/she presently is in their life. One has to know where they are going to make sure that they are headed in the right direction. Covey also mentions that the most effective way to begin with the end is by developing a personal mission statement. After doing that, you should identify your center of attention. Are you spouse centered, money centered, family centered, etc. The he tells you depending on you core of interest, your foundation for security, guidance, and power. Habit 3 is the practical fulfillment of Habits 1 and 2. Covey accentuates that Habits 1 and 2 are prerequisite to Habit 3. He states that an individual cannot become principle centered developing their own proactive nature; or without being aware of your paradigms; or the capability of envisioning the contribution that is yours to make. One must have an independent will. This is the ability to make decisions and to act in accordance with them. Habit 4 deals with the six paradigms of interaction, which are win/win, win/lose, lose/win, lose/lose, win, and win/win or no deal. Win/win is a situation in which everyone benefits something. It is not your way or my way; it is a better way. Win/lose declares that if I win then you lose. Simply put, I get my way; you don't get yours. Win/lose people usually use position, power, possessions, or personality to get their way. The win/lose type of person is the person that feels that if I lose; you win. People who feel this way are usually easy to please and find the strength of others intimidating. When two win/lose people get together both will lose resulting in a lose/lose situation. Both will try to get the upper end of the stick but in the end, neither gets anything. The person that simply thinks to win secures their own ends and leaves it up to others to secure theirs. The win/win or no deal person means that if there is not a suitable solution met that satisfies both parties then there is no agreement. Habit 5 deals with seeking means of effective communication. This habit deals with seeking first to understand. However, we usually seek first to be understood. Most people to not listen with the intent to understand but with the intent to reply. The act of listening to understand is referred to as empathic listening. That means you try to get into the person's frame of mind and think as they are thinking. Habit 6 discuses combining all of the other habits to prepare us for the habit of synergy. Synergy means that the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Possessing all of the habits will benefit an individual more than possessing one or two of them. Synergism in communication allows you to open your mind to new possibilities or new options. Habit 7 involves surrounds the other habits because it is the habit that makes all of the others possible. It is amplifying the greatest asset you have which is yourself. It is renewing your physical, emotional, mental, and social nature. The physical scope involves caring for yourself effectively. Spiritual renewal will take more time. Our mental development comes through formal education. Quality literature in our field of study as well as other fields help to broaden our paradigms. Renewing the social dimension is not as time consuming as the others. We can start by our everyday interactions with people.
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