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Deb Nam-Krane "dnkboston" RSS Feed (Boston, MA United States)
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Vegan with a Vengeance, 10th Anniversary Edition: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock
Vegan with a Vengeance, 10th Anniversary Edition: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.76
31 used & new from $14.10

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic that just got better, May 27, 2015
Is saying I Love It a cheat because I loved the first one? I say no, since this isn't just a redux of the original but a definite improvement (and not just because the cover is much snazzier). Moskowitz not only added some goodies from her other books (Pumpkin Cheesecake with Praline Topping deserves to be published twice), she also added some delicious looking photographs (ah, that's what the Pomegrante Tofu is supposed to look like, and mmm, the Mashed Potatoes with Chickpea Gravy looks even better than I'd thought).

What's more important is what she took away, namely the laundry list of ingredients which were featured in her first book. Don't worry, there's still plenty of ingredients in Black-Eyed Pea Curry, but the others are somewhat shortened. More importantly, you feel like you have a little more permission to scale down in this release if you don't happen to have everything she lists.

Highly recommended that everyone who had the original replaces their copy immediately.


Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners
Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners
by Lori McWilliam Pickert
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.38
46 used & new from $9.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Good if repetitive philosophy for all projects, whether for adults or children, May 25, 2015
I became aware of this book via the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. I looked at the website before I read the book; because of that, I was expecting a little more- okay, a lot more- as far as examples of projects from start to finish. If you are looking for that as well, please know that there are none.

I think it's unfair to say that this book is an extended blog post (believe me, I've read plenty of those). This is a genuine book, if a little repetitive. The central message of the book: your child will learn more deeply if s/he directs and controls the work they do. Your job as a parent is to help your child identify which work or "projects" your child would like to do. Pickert's methods edge close to the Socratic Method, but unlike the way it's usually practiced, there is no correct answer. "What would you like to do?" "What else can you try?" "Where can you ask to find out?" are all genuine questions to you child.

Being available to your child to ask those questions is only part of the value the parent-mentor brings to the process; the other parts are to help track the work progress, including questions your child has about his or her research. Being able to track those can help restart the project if it stalls later.

One of the messages that Pickert repeatedly emphasizes is the need for what I think of as the four dimensions of creativity: the time, the space, the materials and the work. This is part of why I wish she would have included examples: as I live in a small condo, space is at a premium, and while I can afford "good" art materials now, a few years ago this would not have been an option. But even beyond seeing inspiring examples of children making projects with limited resources, seeing how families dealt with projects that stopped and re-started would also have been helpful.

The first time Pickert admonished parents to model the habits and life we wanted for our kids, I thought it was an appropriate message. By the fourth time I felt as if I were getting a lecture, if not outright condescended to. Ironically, for all of the repetition, it would have been more helpful if she had talked to an important point she made in the introduction: just as it's unrealistic to expect children to make an immediate shift in their habits, it's even more unrealistic to expect adults to immediately change their pedagogy. Again, examples of parents who had to make that shift- and the uncomfortable fits that came in- would have been very helpful.

I'm giving this four stars because in spite of the shortcomings it did spark some ideas as to how I could go about inspiring my children to start their own projects, although ours will more likely involve computers and video than paint and paper. Looking forward to Pickert's next, hopefully more specific releases.


A Short History of Boston (Short Histories)
A Short History of Boston (Short Histories)
by Robert J. Allison
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.37
87 used & new from $5.46

5.0 out of 5 stars A compact, highly informative narrative of Boston's history., May 24, 2015
The best historians use people, place and events to tell an overarching story, and that is exactly what Allison does here.

I disagree with many reviewers and found the writing style not only conversational but thought-provoking. While this is a relatively straightforward history of Boston, this is hardly a dry recounting of facts, and not entirely without (deserved) judgment. It's difficult to read about Native Americans who had previously been allied with English settlers being attacked and then sold to slavery in the West Indies (where it's almost certain they perished) without imagining the author shaking his head (right along with the reader). And while modern readers understand why conflicts arise between poor "natives" and new immigrants, it's clear from the book that Allison does not approve of the poor treatment many new immigrants in Boston received, although he reserves his judgment for the Brahmins who withheld opportunities for so long.

Although I've lived in Boston-proper for two decades and before that was raised in neighboring cities, I learned quite a bit from this thin volume: for instance, while I knew that the Museum of Fine Art, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Museum of Science and MIT had roughly the same contemporary beginnings, I didn't realize that their creations were a direct result of the creation of the Back Bay area (and no, not simply because some of the building are housed in that area). Most importantly, for me, was finally understanding the progression of the project to fill in Boston's shoreline; Allison did an excellent job of narrating that story in such a way that I could finally visualize it after years of research.

I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in American History, but especially to residents of Boston


Self-Directed Learning: Documentation and Life Stories
Self-Directed Learning: Documentation and Life Stories
by Wes Beach
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.18
7 used & new from $13.18

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Holt meets Grace Llewellyn, May 24, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Fifty years after John Holt began publishing, homeschooling is seen as a genuine alternative to traditional elementary and high school. Where it gets murky is what to do with older students who wouldn't be happy in a traditional high school or college. Indeed, the "proof" that your child was successfully homeschooled is usually the happy ending that he or she was accepted to multiple colleges and then went on to get high grades.

While this book does spend some time discussing how to create a transcript for students in non-traditional settings, the bulk of it is about the journeys his former students took as they traced their own path to their definition of "success". Some did go on to college, but others picked up skills through work or alternative training venues, such as corporate institutions, community colleges or apprenticeships. And while some of these stories wouldn't have been possible without significant funding (access to your own plane is probably prohibitive for most parents), others didn't require more than curiosity, a willingness to work and a vigilance about possible opportunities.

Highly recommended for parents of older homeschoolers.


Shabby Chic: The Gift of Giving
Shabby Chic: The Gift of Giving
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars DIY eye-candy, May 16, 2015
This book was exactly what I wanted: project/gift ideas that also serve as soothing eye-candy. Like many other reviewers, I found myself trying to come up with reasons to give people gifts.

Because my space is small and the people I would want to buy for have enough "stuff", I cannot see myself shopping regularly at flea markets or storing away items in my small space until I collect the right mixture of wrappings, ribbons and other objects before I hit upon the right combination for the right person. However, I can see myself haunting some of my favorite shops and saving the containers as attractive but recyclable containers. I could also easily devise some disposable, quickly used gifts centered around tea, coffee, flowers or herbs. I loved the suggestions for floral arrangements for men; while I do have limited space, I could see myself collecting blue and green marbles to fill out small "vases".

While Ashwell has some specific suggestions for gifts, the book is intended to prompt thoughts about what gifts (or decorations) you could devise for your loved ones. I thoroughly enjoyed thumbing through it and I can't wait to get started on some ideas it sparked.


Masquerade
Masquerade
DVD ~ Byung-hun Lee
Price: $19.89
17 used & new from $12.93

5.0 out of 5 stars One explanation for an erratic king, May 16, 2015
This review is from: Masquerade (DVD)
This film provides a fictional reconciliation for the two diametrically opposed facets of the ill-fated King Gwanghae, temperamental, paranoid and abusive on the one hand and reformist on the other. While the truth is that a mental illness may have been exacerbated by the instability of his childhood, the explanation offered here is that a jester/clown stood in for him after a poisoning and that it was he who offered the historic reforms Gwanghae is credited for.

What I love about the best Korean drama is that it commits to all facets of the story it tells. It is at times funny, indulging in some of "gross out" humor that would horrify the most hardened viewer of R-rated American comedies (the toilet scene- just...no), but it balances that with deep emotion (it's hard not to be pulled in by Byung-hun Lee's outrage and sadness) and romance. Lee also does an amazing job of selling both the tyrannical king whom you might not mind seeing assassinated and the jester with a heart of gold, both of whom believably transform in the course of the film.

The supporting roles were also complicated characters; they might not have gotten as long on screen, but they were able to quickly convey what their motivations were, whether through dialogue or expressions. While the young servant Sa-Wol and the Captain pulled at my heartstrings, the quieter Chief Eunuch, Councilor and Queen Consort made a more lasting impression, and I found myself thinking about them long after the film ended.

Finally, the attention to detail in the set design was amazing, from the costumes and settings to the food (I was very excited every time the King was offered a late-night snack). Highly recommended for fans of Korean historical fiction.


White Valentine
White Valentine
DVD ~ Shin-yang Park
Offered by Asian Mall
Price: $24.99
17 used & new from $3.73

3.0 out of 5 stars Unsatisfying quasi-Romance, May 15, 2015
This review is from: White Valentine (DVD)
Jung-Min and Hyun-Jun are both romantics who are trapped by their inability to act. Jung-Min is a twenty year old dropout who wants to draw, but she's discouraged by her disapproving grandfather. Hyun-Jun is a former trader turned animal caretaker suffering from the loss of his girlfriend and feels guilty because he ignored her in favor of a challenging finance career.

The two are bound by the correspondence they used to share when Hyun-Jun was in the army and Jung-Min was a student. Not wanting to appear too immature, she posed as a teacher, then got cold feet when she was to meet him in person because she couldn't maintain the ruse. The two are shyly attracted to each other when they first meet and bond over her dog. They correspond again, without knowing each other's identities, via a white carrier pigeon. Jung-Min discovers who he is close to the same time she discovers the truth about her parents and grandfather: her father was also an artist, and her mother suffered over his lack of practicality. When Hyun-Jun decides to leave their town and begin to live his life, she doesn't share the truth about their connection but leaves a drawing of a white bird that symbolizes their communication.

Years later, Hyun-Jun is an author who writes about birds and Jung-Min is an acclaimed children's author. When Hyun-Jun sees the book she wrote, he realizes she wrote about their story and, at last, that she was his pen pal. He returns to the town they lived as she's leaving. But is he too late?

As much as I wanted to sympathize with Jung-Min, I found her character whiny bordering on screechy. While I could understand her childish resentment of her grandfather, her immature behavior made me wonder why someone like Hyun-Jun could possibly grow to have any interest in her. On the other hand, Hyun-Jun, while understandably morose and easier to sympathize with, also lacked initiative through most of the movie, and when his older brother came to proverbially kick him in the pants, I agreed. Still, his scene coming home drunk into his messy apartment was well-done.

Finally, I found the ending very unsatisfying. While I don't mind filling in some blanks, I would like to know how something ends, and this didn't really do that. We can make some assumptions, but after sitting through their story, we shouldn't have to.


Commitment
Commitment
DVD ~ Choi Seung-hyun
Price: $14.14
35 used & new from $4.24

4.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced Korean espionage thriller- for the teenage set., May 15, 2015
This review is from: Commitment (DVD)
Speed was the most important factor in this movie. I got the impression that the director didn't want to give the audience too much time to think about the plot and explanations. Not necessarily a criticism- this is an action/espionage movie; if you're looking for realism about North Korean espionage in South Korea, watch a documentary.

This movie would have you believe that South Korea is overflowing with North Korean spies, but those spies would be well-advised to stay in South Korea, because there is no going back. When a North Korean spy has completed his mission and is set go home, he's waylaid by South Korean intelligence, who reveal that North Korea gave him up. The spy is killed, but he's labeled a traitor at home and his son (Li Myung-Hoon) and daughter (Li Hye-In) are sent to work in a labor camp. Shortly after, Myung Hoon is given the option to turn spy himself and gain freedom for himself and his sister. A year later, he arrives in South Korea under the pretense of having escaped by boat and uses the alias Kang Dae-Ho. He's taken in by a couple whom we realize are also North Korean spies in Section 8. Meanwhile, someone is executing other agents in their section, and it's revealed through South Korean intelligence that it's a rival faction of North Korean spies, Section 35. Myung-Hoon's mission is to find the assassin and kill him.

Finding the assassin is presented as less of a challenge than maintaining his cover as a high school student, where he encounters a classroom filled with bullies. He befriends a girl, also named Hye-In, who's teased and bullied mercilessly. While Myung-Hoon can maintain his stoic cover when he's attacked, he snaps when Hye-In is robbed and abused.

The question of how he'll survive now that his cover is starting to come apart is irrelevant once the assassin he's been looking for finds him. Disposing of him is difficult enough, but when he's betrayed by his own people and his sister is used as leverage against him, Myung-Hoon is going to have to depend on unlikely allies if he wants to save his sister.

Again, not the most realistic story ever told on screen, but the director and actors did a good job of selling it. (One thing that did ring true: the bullying in high school.) The acting was a little uneven (if I notice acting, that's a bad sign). I suspect T.O.P.'s range was a little limited at the time, so playing a character that wasn't allowed to express a lot of emotion for the most part was a good choice. Ye-ri Han was much more convincing, as were most of the adult leads. Still, I would recommend this for fans of Korean action films, especially those who don't want excessive gore.


Anladia Oilcloth polka Dot Satchel A4 Folder Size Cross Body Large Satchel Messenger Handbag little car star pattern
Anladia Oilcloth polka Dot Satchel A4 Folder Size Cross Body Large Satchel Messenger Handbag little car star pattern
Offered by Fashoutlet
Price: $17.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for my needs, May 12, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm a utilitarian at heart and either made due with backpacks my husband had finished using or gifts from friends for bags. Unfortunately, almost none of those bags met my needs. And while I need a well-structured bag, the last backpack I had was heavy even without anything in it due to the supports (made by Patagonia). I needed something that was large enough to carry a Chromebook and/or notebook, wallet, pens, keys, sunglasses case, hand cream, lip gloss and a thermos and/or a snack and didn't have extra capacity. I also wanted to be able to wear it across my chest and, hopefully, was understated but attractive.

Thanks to the pockets (two in front, two on the side, one in back and one inside), this bag met all of my needs. The strap is also the right width that the weight is well-distributed across my body without feeling like it's digging into my body (although I'm not overloading the bag). I would recommend this to other parents as well as students.


Wish For Me (The Djinn Order #1)
Wish For Me (The Djinn Order #1)
Price: $2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling steampunk romance with a wink, May 4, 2015
Other than the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes movies, I'm not a huge fan of Steampunk. I've also never sought out stories of djinn (genies) because, in general, paranormal is not my thing. But I am a huge fan of A. Star aka Diantha Jones, so I devoured this release. And ooh!

Glory St Pierre isn't just sassy- she's snarky and self-confident, and not easily bullied. So if Irving Amir has a problem with human beings, that's just too damn bad, especially if he's obliged to grant *her* wishes. If only he wasn't as sexy...oh wait, not a problem because he's so smug about it Glory's just a little less tempted. It's going to take nothing less than a mortal threat to get these two to let down their guard- and then the real fun begins. Hunters, renegade djinns and then some very cool automatons are just some of the things Glory is going to encounter as Amir pulls her into his world, but the biggest shock is what she's going to find out about her own.

Star did a wonderful job describing not only the otherworldly settings and contraptions- can I have an bat like that?!- but also the action scenes. More importantly, it only takes her a few paragraphs to convey the essentials of all of her characters; that, more than anything else, made reading this go by all too quickly.

Yes, this is Book One, meaning that there is more to come in this universe (you may gasp when you read the set up for what's coming next). I can't wait.


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