Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Reading Begins

Since my twitter handle is "bookcrusader," it's time that I posted about a few good books.  In the past few weeks I've read a mix of literary fiction, nonfiction, and young adult fiction.  I highly recommend each of these:

Creating Innovators by Tony Wagner
This interesting and motivating book challenges parents, companies, and schools to nurture innovation by doing things differently.  Parents should encourage their children to explore their passions, even when those passions fall outside the "mainstream."  Parents should give their children freedom (but not at the risk of their safety!) and support, prioritize play, and promote reading.  Educators must overhaul school so that it is a place where children tinker, think, create, play, and collaborate.  Companies must reconsider how they manage and train their employees to leverage everyone's talents.  Tony Wagner's PLAY + PASSION = PURPOSE is an equation we should all be following.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Now, for an escape from reality, this book offers the reader a trip deep into the Amazon and even deeper into the ethics of a pharmaceutical company.  What happens when a scientist knows she is developing a drug that will not bring in a profit for the company but will save thousands of lives?  Can she manipulate the system so that everyone is happy?  There are so many layers of plot in this book, from pregnant 73-year-olds to a mysterious death to a secret romance.  It took me two days to journey through this; I only wish it could have taken longer.
Trouble by Gary D. Schmidt
This YA novel is heavy; Henry learns fairly quickly that his father could not have been more wrong when he said that if you build your house far enough away from trouble, trouble will never find you.  Henry and his family face trouble when Franklin, the oldest son, is hit by a car and hospitalized with "indeterminate brain activity."  Worse, his sister's secret boyfriend, Chay Chouan, a Cambodian immigrant, is accused of driving the truck that hit and eventually killed Franklin.  Henry is left to resolve his feelings for his brother and Chay Chouan without the support of his parents, who are too lost in their own sorrow to be of any use to him.