The Story of Ain’t: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published

Title: The Story of Ain’t: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published

Author: David Skinner

 the story of ain't My synopsis: David Skinner explores the creation of Webster’s first, second, and third dictionary. He discusses words that were added and words that caused much controversy.

Pro: Readers will learn about how Webster’s dictionary started and about words that were added.

Con: The author likes to repeat himself, and the writing is rather dry.

🧠Lessons learned: I learned the word “colloquial” as the author used it several times. I also learned that the dictionary is not meant to correct people’s usage of words but instead record them. After all, language evolves and the dictionary has to keep up.

Who is this for? This is for language nerds or people curious about Webster’s earliest dictionaries.


Tao Te Ching

3 out of 5 stars

Tao Te Ching

By: Stephen Mitchell

tao te ching  Overview: This version is the English translation of Lao-Tzu’s book. It consists of 81 free verse poems about taoism. The writing is not straightforward; you have to break it down and analyze the poems.

Pro: The Tao Te Ching teaches us about humility, compassion, and forgiveness.

Con: The poems are paradoxical and sound nonsensical. 

Who is this for? This book is essential for those wanting to learn more about taoism.

7 Events That Made America America

3 out of 5 stars

7 Events That Made America America

By: Larry Schweikart

7 events that made america america . Overview: The seven events that the author chose are outlined below.

1. Martin Van Buren’s ideas about political parties 
2. The Dread Scott decision 
3. The Johnstown flood 
4. Eisenhower’s heart attack 
5. How rock n’ roll penetrated the iron curtain 
6. Ronald Regan trying to keep the peace 
7. Obama’s favorable media treatment

Pro: This piece of writing has quite a bit of supporting evidence and references to back up some of the claims presented. The writing is easy to follow and insightful.

Con: There is a conservative undertone throughout the book that makes some of the author’s statements seem more bias. The title is a little misleading due to the events the author chose to include. The events Larry Schweikart chose were not all events that “made America America”. Most would criticize the fact that the author could have chosen more significant events to support his claims about what the founders believed to be right.

Who is this for? This book is meant for people searching for a quick overview on a few mentionable events.

The Hobbit

3 out of 5 stars

The Hobbit

By: J.R.R. Tolkien

the hobbit.jpg  Pro: After reflection, I realized the moral lesson was about greed. The dwarves would sing cheerful songs throughout the novel and were optimistic about reaching the mountain, but what kept the plot moving forward ultimately was treasure the dragon was protecting. Most of the conflict and tension surfaces as a result of greed. The reader also gets to physically see the setting as there is a map provided at the back of the book along with a few illustrations in the chapters of the character’s whereabouts. My favorite part in this story was in chapter 9 when Bilbo and the dwarves escape the Elvenking with the help of barrels.

Con: There is a lack of plot twists in my opinion. I also felt that the plot dragged on as they were trying to reach the mountain.

Who is this for? This was written for a younger audience around maybe 6th or 7th grade. 


Conceptual Physics: 12th Edition

5 stars out of 5

Conceptual Physics

By: Paul G. Hewitt

conceptual physics 12th edition  Pro: Paul G. Hewitt is a great author and physics teacher. I used this textbook for my first physics class. In the very front is a timeline on the history of physics from 320 BC to 2012. When reading the chapters, the illustrations helped me comprehend the concepts better. After reading, I did some of the chapter review questions. The review questions are really great.

Con: None! I found this book to be quite useful for my purposes. 

Who is this for? The targeted audience would be for students studying conceptual physics/fundamentals of physics either in high school or as an undergraduate.  

Human Evolution and Culture: Highlights of Anthropology, 8/e

4 out of 5 stars

By: Carol R. Ember, Melvin Ember, Peter N. Peregrine

25613638.jpg  This book covers multiple areas such as biological anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics. This textbook helped me tremendously on my exams in my intro to anthropology course. I would recommend this book to future students.

Pros: This textbook highlights the most significant terms, majors areas of study in anthropology, and gives you examples of how the content can be applied. There are infographics and other pictures that enhance the reading content. At the end of the chapter, there are bullet points summarizing what the reader should have learned which serves as a great review opportunity. This is a fantastic book for the classroom.

Cons: Since this book gives a brief overview, there are some details that the professor or reader may need to fill in to fully understand the material. There are no practice tests.

Who is this for? This book is better for people with little to no biology or knowledge in anthropology. This book gives a brief overview on varies topics to get students introduced to what anthropology is as a study.

The Jungle Book

3 stars out of 5

The Jungle Book 

By: Rudyard Kipling

jungle book  The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling is definitely different from Disney’s version but given it was written in the 1890’s that would make sense.

Pro: Numerous characters like Rikki-tikki and Mowgli are simply trying to fit in society. As a result, a common theme in this book is about belonging. Courage, bravery, and family are also common themes. One attractive quality this book has would be its moral lessons like don’t be jealous and face your deepest fears.

Con: Along with courage, there is a prevalent theme of fearfulness, as well. There are some rather violent scenes in Rudyard Kipling’s version. I found them difficult to get through personally. Quite a few of the stories are unrelated and are not in the jungle which makes the title misleading.