2-5

Donna Freitas: Happiness Effect

30008258The Happiness Effect: How Social Media is Driving a Generation to Appear Perfect at Any Cost” by Donna Freitas (ISBN 0190239859; 368p.; Goodreads) intrigued me with the title, and then the annotation too. I have not had the pleasure to read anything else by this author in the past, so this was a brand new dive for me in many senses. In short to those who will not read this till the end, and hopefully author too, if she ever comes across this: the book was well meant, but I disagree with the message, and the accidental slander. My disagreement is best expressed by Humble the Poet quote; I love chilling with people who make me forget I have a phone.

Author interviewed a great lot of young students, and gave us, what seemed, the radical extremes. They either take facebook as one-man performance play, a stand-up show where they must become the most “liked” star, or they no longer have social media, and therefor feel superior, to the rest of us, “slaves”. Which then leads me to another quote, by Marilyn Manson, where he spoke of drugs (which fits, because there was one person interviewed, who called facebook: chemical addiction; or something among those lines): there are users, and there are abusers. And, in my opinion, the preached here abstinence is not the solution, for I dearly doubt it is truly the problem.

Author goes on of how we can help young people by giving them the freedom they secretly crave: wi-fi free zones. Can’t stop fidgeting with your phone in class? Hm, why don’t we make a basket and put all our phones in there before class starts? Because why make class more interesting, right? And that’s my damn point. Most of these people in the book admitted they went on snapchat due to boredom. And I do that too when I’m bored. Engage me, and I’m all ears. So, engage your students, and they won’t have the time or will to go check what’s good on twitter. You’ll be what’s good, and it’ll be enough.

So to make it short, if you want to know how far people go for likes, favs, follows, and so on: this is the book you might want to read. And I say “might”, because it’s hard to read through very odd speaking manner, peppered with “like, you know”, and “I don’t know, it’s like”. But other than that, this was rough. Social media is not whole internet. We have whole world, wast libraries at our fingertips. If you really think that pulling the cable out of the back of your pc will solve your kid’s need for video games, you are mistaken. We live in age where we are finally accepting the fact, that one kid has different ways of learning from the other. This book is a great example of how hard it might be to sit down and read a book. But then I have those I couldn’t put down at 4am. And yet you’d have me what? Put my phone in the basket so it’s easier to read dry text? Improve the content, how it is passed along, and not the room it will be presented in. 2 out of 5, mostly because author was well-meaning, and kind.

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John Flanagan – Ranger’s Apprentice 3: Icebound Land

127823Pushed through the book, will push through the review too, I guess. “Icebound land” (Ranger’s Apprentice 3: Icebound Land; ISBN 0399244565; 266p.; Goodreads) is a third book in John Flanagan‘s Ranger’s Apprentice series. And I am having a serious love-hate relationship with them.

Spoilers from previous two books ahead:

Will and Cassandra are taken as captives to be slaves towards some strange land. And while Holt, Will’s teacher, promised him to find him, in that wonderful dramatic episode from the last book, he spent this one mostly trying to start traveling. A problem to solve every two steps, a man to teach manners every five steps, with author kindly marking that months and months have passed instead. But it’s fine, Will and Cassandra are perfectly safe, since wherever they go, there’s an adult feeling for them, who feels a need to take care of two teenager slaves, ignoring all the other ones in the mean time.

Spoilers end here:

This book made me realize they’re more like chapters of one great book, rather than separate pieces. I heard tumbleweeds roll by when nothing happened chapter, after chapter, after chapter. Then, of course, author would remember to show how amazingly skilled his good guys are, and continue with the nothingness. I’m sorry, but 2/5 is the best I can offer. And I’m taking a break from these series here until such a day I feel like allowing my mind a rest again.

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George Sand – The Devil’s Pool

LaMareAuDiable  You’ll have to forgive me, but the book “The Devil’s Pool” by George Sand (La Mare Au Diable; Goodreads) was so boring that I couldn’t get through it any faster than this. There were days when I couldn’t even open it, my mind just refused to submit. It’s well written, well translated and so on, merely no where near my cup of tea.

I’ve read a translation to Lithuanian, so I’m not quite sure what are the names in English. Germaine seems to be our main protagonist, a fairly rich widower who loved his wife and loves his children. His parents in law, yet, push him to go to this other village and marry his father’s-in-law friend’s daughter, who is also rich and a widow, and since they were so kind to him – he agrees to do his best. Before leaving tho this old poor woman asks whether he could take her 16 year old daughter with him (he’s 28 and considered old), since she found a shepherds work in a village nearby the one he’s going to. On their way they find his son in the woods, hysterically begging to come with his father and there you have it, the perfect trio. Marie turns out to be the perfect little girl and Germaine soon falls head over heels for her. Yet she claims he’s too old for her and she doesn’t love him. Besides, he has made a promise to his parents-in-law and should honor it. Who knows, the widow might be even better woman than Marie.

The book ends with the longest description of the wedding ceremony. I powered through it and must say – I cannot give it any more than 2 out of 5. And I dearly hope the next book at last gives me something better, for I just can’t anymore. Mind you, the book is not bad by itself. Just not for me.

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