Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother – Amy Chua
24

February 24, 2011

battle-hymnThere was a lot of controversy surrounding this book since the day it came out. I had read all about this Chinese mom and how she disciplined her two daughters. I read about her in People Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today and in several other places, and based on all the hoopla, I ran out and got the book! Honestly, the book was pretty much what I had expected and I really liked it. In fact the differences between the Chinese parenting model and our parenting model are quite fascinating. I am a mom of two elementary school age children and yes I fall right into the model. I do not push too hard, I am a bit lax with discipline and follow through, and I am OK for my children to not be “the best”. For me it is important that they do their best and try their hardest. It is important for me to keep their self esteem at a high and it is important that they enjoy their childhood and enjoy being kids. Well according to Amy Chau that is just not necessary or OK. For her (and many Chinese families) being the best and not second best is the #1 most important thing. Being second best is as big a failure as being in the middle or last. An A- is not good enough and she (as well as other Chinese parents ) demand the best and will do what ever it takes to make their children the best. This includes no play dates, no sleepovers and hours and hours literally of practicing, whether it be on a musical instrument, learning Chinese, or school work. Now I have to say what she went through to get her children to achieve these results were not easy. There would be endless hours of fighting an screaming until the work got done and done to her expectations – The BEST.There were not even breaks during family vacations when they were travelling all over the world. As you can imagine this was not a pleasant experience for anyone involved, including both of Amy’s daughters, Sophia and Lulu as well as her unbelievably supportive Jewish husband and Amy herself..

Although her parenting techniques couldn’t be more opposite of mine, I found her techniques and commitment to her daughters, family and heritage fascinating.

I highly recommend this book. I enjoyed it a lot, even though I was shaking my head along the way in disbelief.


Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand
06

February 6, 2011

unbrokenTo say this is a story about survival would be an understatement. I have never read anything like this and I was deeply moved and horrified and brought to tears over and over again. This may be one of the best books I have ever read. OK, let me stop with the

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gushing and tell you a bit about this book. This is another World War II story but instead of the European side of the war which I mostly read about, this is the first book I have read about the Japanese – United States side. The story centers around the life of Louis Zamperini. The story starts out with Louis as a boy. He is quite the little delinquent of the neighborhood, stealing, fighting, bullying. Finally as a teenager, with guidance from his brother, he puts all that negative boy energy into running and he discovers that he can push his body faster then literally most everyone. However, right in the middle of his training and dreams of the Olympics, the war breaks out and Louis heads to the Air

Force. He was trained as a bombardier and was sent to Hawaii to fight. What happens from there will over and over again leave you shocked and shaken. I think I would gasp out loud as I was reading. Through all that Louis endures he remains as the title says so perfectly – Unbroken. I know that sounds corny but once you read this book you will understand. Louis, as well as all the other men in his crew, and those who fought in World War II and are still fighting, are truly the most amazing men and women. I urge you to read this book and learn about this incredible man and his incredible life. This book is truly a story of “survival, resilience, and redemption”.