On “Round Teachers” and Round Batteries

Round…

*** Note: A downloadable letter for students on the topic of batteries for electronic dictionaries can be found at the end of this post. The letter is in Hebrew.

The latest buzzword at our school is ROUND.

Reopening schools under the conditions deemed necessary due to the pandemic is a very complex thing, requiring things no one is used to.  Therefore, all of us teachers are asked to be ROUND.

Repeatedly.

Round – Round – Round

Personally, I think the imagery could be improved on.

Obviously, we teachers are supposed to be “rolling with the punches”, hence we need to be round.

But round things can easily roll away and get lost.

Round things aren’t particularly known for being flexible.

Aesop’s fable about the oak tree and the reeds comes to mind when we are looking for flexibility in challenging times.

How about “going with the flow”?

Go with the flow

 

However, since ROUND it is, let’s talk about round batteries and “round” teacher behavior when the lack of the aforementioned becomes a problem.

Round Batteries

All students today from 7th grade onwards may use an electronic dictionary on their EFL exams. Many students use these dictionaries during the lessons too.

All is well during the first year following the date of purchase, as the two most common models I see used today come with batteries that usually last more than one school year.

But then – the shocking revelation!

The dictionary isn’t “ruined” and you don’t need to buy a new one.

I suspect that it’s not just my Deaf and hard of hearing students who find the concept of a device that isn’t rechargeable totally incomprehensible. Particularly if one of the models requires (oh horror of horror) LITTLE ROUND BATTERIES…

“Wait a minute”, you say.

“One of the models can be plugged into an electrical socket, remember? ”

To which I must reply:

“Schools are obliged to do many things for the students. Providing rooms with multiple  desks close enough to electric sockets during exams is not one of its obligations.”

There’s no way around the round objects – they are needed.

Even in times of a pandemic, batteries are really easy to purchase. They are sold in a great many stores, including those which are deemed essential and always remain open.

A fact that is neither here nor there for those kids who have never replaced a battery in any device in their young lives!

AND WHAT ABOUT THIS PROBLEM?

At work…  (Naomi’s Photos)

Take a moment to think about those “model students”, well organized, responsible, and industrious, whose dictionary suddenly stops working in the middle of an exam.

A stressful situation indeed.

“Round” Teacher Behavior

“Round” as in being flexible and not dealing with the same problem in the same way with all the students.

Some of the points mentioned below are good for everyone, others are for certain students.

One

Show the students that the Oxford electronic dictionary displays the state of the battery when you go into the menu. Show them what AAA batteries look like.  I DON’T CARE IF THEY SAY “DUH”! I’m even tempted to add pictures of stacks of batteries by a cashier at a supermarket but haven’t gone that far yet…

When you announce a date of an exam, send the students a picture like this on your platform of choice as a reminder.

In relevant cases, send this explanation to the parents of students who use this model.

Two

Show the students the little round batteries CR2032 (two) needed for the  “Babylon -Texton” electronic dictionary.

I  have not located a battery indicator on this model. In addition, a small screwdriver is needed in order to replace the batteries.

I’m still looking into the question of which additional tools can be used to do this ( a coin doesn’t seem to work) and whether I should keep a little screwdriver in the English Room for this purpose.

Any suggestions?

Sometimes you have to grow up… (Naomi’s Photos)
Three

There’s a thin line between helping a student in times of need and “learned dependency”.

Some students really, truly, need you to give them a dictionary (or batteries) for the exam because of their dire home situation. Particularly in times of a pandemic.  Not that I have enough for them all… But I don’t make a fuss.

These students are often the ones who don’t say a word and don’t ask for anything.

Then there are the students who are just “testing the limits” – they won’t do anything about their dictionary unless it “bites”.

I hand them a printed dictionary if they show up for a test without a working dictionary. They hate that.

You may not be “on to them” the first time it happens but by the second time…

However…

A teenager who presents himself as ” such a poor thing“, who is unable to purchase batteries because they are not sold in the store right next door to his home (true story!) is a call for action!

I found that asking the homeroom teacher to send a message to the parents can be very effective in some cases.

Even if it results in having a student complain that “because of me” he had to spend  15 whole minutes walking to a store one afternoon!

Here is a downloadable letter for students:

Dictionary letter for students PDF

 

What do you do? Share your “round” advice!

 

 

Three Books Related to “Doorways”, by McGuire, Greer & Yu

Ok, it’s a gate, not a door. And it looks like windows. It will do!
Naomi’s Photos
“Every Heart a Doorway” by Seanan McGuire

One of our sons recommended I read this book after we both read “The 10 Thousand Doors of January” by Harrow. He liked McGuire’s book better.

I myself have mixed feelings about both books.

This book has doorways that lead to other worlds but the story takes place in this world.  A world where teenagers who have spent time in other worlds and desperately want to return there, are stuck, unable to find the right portal again. Their parents, who don’t know what to do with them, have sent them to a special boarding school, where they meet each other.

At first, I was quite enthusiastic about this book as the reading flows and the movement between present-day reality and the descriptions of truly interesting “other worlds” was quite engaging.  The names of the worlds were of interest as well (compared to some of the names in Harrow’s book). The angst of being a teenager and the struggle to find your place in the world is certainly portrayed cleverly.

However, the book then morphed into two things which I’m less fond of, and left me with no desire to continue reading the series:

a – a “whodunnit” crime mystery

b- a classic boarding school tale of a small band of kids or teens who form a group, supposedly the oddballs of the school but always end up saving the day…

Nevertheless, the book is worth reading and I’m not sorry to have read it. In addition, it is always a pleasure to share book experiences with family members.

Will you still love me when I’m going on 50?
Naomi’s Photos
“Less” by Andrew Sean Greer

This showed up on my LIBBY account as an available audiobook just when I needed a book to listen to.

All I knew about “Less”  in advance was that it had won a Pulitzer Prize. I must admit that at first I went and checked again that it really had won the prize, as it took me some time to figure out what was going on in this book.  My first impressions were that there didn’t seem to be a plot at all!

But once I realized that “Less” is also about “doorways” and “coming of age” (except this time the age to contend with is turning 50!) I started enjoying myself, particularly as the audiobook reader was so good at presenting the colorful characters that appear in the book.

Arthur Less is about to turn 50 and the man he loves has invited him to his wedding with another man. Each stage of his comic journey (not laugh aloud comic but full of misadventures and comic characters)  around the world (his excuse for not attending the wedding), he basically sheds layers of his fears, beliefs, and insecurity while moving toward a new stage in life.

And…

Just so you know (without it being an actual spoiler):

There is a very real, actual  (an ancient, thick) door the writer goes through at the climax of this story, so “doorways” are not just metaphorical in this book.

Together doesn’t mean “the same”.
Naomi’s Photos
“Interior Chinatown” by Charles Yu

It is fortunate that I had this book as an audiobook (once again, courtesy of Libby!) as the talented reader helped me deal with this book. It was somewhat of a struggle for me.

On one hand, this is clearly a clever book. It is told as if you are watching a “police/crime” T.V show being filmed in the fictional “The Golden Palace” Restaurant in Chinatown, getting the “behind the scenes” story as viewed by the protagonist, who is usually known as “generic Asian Man”.  By using this show, the author hammers home a message of discrimination against Asian people in the United States in general and its reflection in Hollywood.  You are made to understand every nuance of the term “Generic Asian” – not only are the individual people not visible, but people from so many different places and cultures are also lumped together as if they were one –  “Asian”.

As someone who is interested in genealogy and immigrants, I found the personal histories of the people very interesting.  While I had known a bit about immigrants from China to the West Coast, I was not aware of all the discriminatory LAWS that existed in the USA. Another thing you don’t learn in school perhaps.

On the other hand, I’m not particularly interested in Hollywood,  and aspirations of “making it” in Hollywood. I found bits difficult to get through and had fleeting thoughts of not finishing the book despite it being a comparatively short book. I felt that the message was already clear enough.

But then I would have missed the ending.

An ending that is worth reading.

Once again, I thank a library for getting me to read books outside of my “comfort zone”.

 

 

 

 

Visualising School – A Photo Pause (The Pandemic Version, 2021)

Define “Lockdown” (Naomi’s Pictures, not taken at school”).

January 2021, yet another “lockdown”.  I never imagined that we would be in this situation almost a year later.

A “Visualising School- Photo Pause” without a single picture taken at school!

Too many circles… (Naomi’s Photos)

I am a part of so many CIRCLES – I am a teacher and a national counselor. I am a mother who strives to cook healthy food for a family and the daughter of an elderly mother. I need to exercise for my body and take pictures for my soul, particularly as my circle of friends has become socially distant…

Work-Life balance has become trickier than ever with the addition of “Zoom”  meetings and in-service training courses that only begin late in the evening…

Crumbling plans (Naomi’s Photos)

 

Teaching during this pandemic is causing the very firm and solid structure of my learning center for Deaf and hard of hearing high school students to shake and blur.  I’ve been a teacher for more than 35 years now – each year I replace a story we teach, incorporate a different method of practicing vocabulary, experiment with using more dramatic elements when teaching poetry, or begin a new method of visualizing students’ progress.

But those are examples of a controlled, well-planned process of remodeling specific rooms which are part of a permanent and reliable structure. A structure that worked well!

Even the simple fact these particular students can’t keep their books and notebooks in the classroom anymore has caused an upheaval!

“Teacher Love”  (Naomi’s Photos)

“Showering” the students with “teacher love” used to be SO MUCH EASIER …

You can do it!
Naomi’s Photos
Watch Out! (Naomi’s Photos)

I know I’m supposed to be the dwarf (some of my teenage students tower over me and I’m not a short woman!) inspiring the students to believe in a “YES YOU CAN DO IT” attitude. But it’s hard to stay constantly full of inspiring energy with all that is going on in the background….

So many differences… (Naomi’s Photos)

My students have always been diverse, with different needs, learning abilities, and emotional issues.  Those have always been the “building blocks” we have to work with.  One plan never fit everyone.

Distance learning’s addition of “new building blocks” that  need to be taken into account (such as technology available to the student, a quiet space to study) when planning a lesson nowadays has complicated matters even further…

Waiting online (Naomi’s Photos)

 

Late again… (Naomi’s Photos)

Waiting for the teenagers who don’t wake up for their lessons…

Winter sun… (Naomi’s Photos)

… going  outdoors and enjoying the winter sun sounds more appealing!

Hang in there and be healthy!

 

Time for a Book: “Disappearing Earth” by Julia Phillips

Lockdown, again…
Naomi’s Photos

You know a book is really good when you keep thinking about it after you have read it, mulling over details, realizing details in the book are metaphors for more things than you realized before.

This is one of those books.

Even the title still resonates with me – there are so many ways to “disappear”…

The book is cleverly written.  There is the “official” story, about two sisters, young girls, who disappear one day, in Kamchatka, Russia. They seem to vanish without a trace.

But that is not the only story, or even (at least to me) THE story of the book, though it is certainly there and you do get your “whodunnit” satisfaction.

Using the framework of the case of the missing sisters the author introduces us to a variety of women. We peek into their personal lives – everything about them is so vivid I feel as if I had met them. Through these characters, Phillips gets across strong messages (and thought-provoking questions) about women, about their control or lack of control over their own life (control can vanish too…), about racism, corruption, nature, and more.

All this while moving the dramatic plot forward. I was not able to predict the final chapter at all, even though I’m often quite good at doing that!

I heard the audiobook version so I didn’t have the helpful character guide I later discovered was included in the book. It didn’t make much difference insofar as understanding what was going on but for a time I did wonder if the author would ever stop introducing characters!

They really do all connect!

In short, don’t read about the book, read the book, and let it speak for itself.

I had never heard of the book but it was available on Libby so I thought I would give it a chance.

So glad I did!

Time for a Book: “Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder”by Fraser

Naomi’s Photos

This book is fascinating in so many ways.

I too read “The Little House” series by Laura Ingalls Wilders avidly as a child. I think I read the entire series three times before the age of 10.  I tried several times to create a “china doll” out of clay for the mantlepiece at a family friend’s art studio (even though I have never owned a mantelpiece!). When someone mentioned the word “Calico” I thought of the dresses from the book, not cats. The “older-me” later watched the TV series with the neighbor’s children who would come to us after school.  The names of the family members have been etched into my brain.

I had assumed that this book would interest me as I would learn more about Ingalls Wilder’s real life compared to the one she portrayed in the books she wrote. I had no expectations regarding anything else.

I learned far more.

Away from fairy tales…
Naomi’s Photos

Fraser (who shares the name Caroline with Laura Ingalls Wilder’s mother) ties in the in-depth research into the family’s history with the history of the United States in a clear and engaging way.  The historical context not only highlights what happens to the family but echoes current events.

Seriously. What is going on in the U.S.A today is complicated, but some of the origins of it seem clearer after reading this book.  If you were wondering why STARVING  people refused help from the government’s New Deal in the 1930s, you need to go back to the late 19th century.

For example, scientists of the day warned the government NOT to encourage settlers /homesteaders to settle in the Dakota territory. It’s not that these scientists were concerned about the rights of the Dakota Indians (it doesn’t seem that anyone was…) but they clearly laid out information that the climate and the soil were not suitable for farming wheat. But those who sought to reap benefits from the westward move (both in the government and out of it) scoffed at scientific information and advertised ads tempting impoverished people looking for a break: “The rains will follow the plough”.

Does scoffing at information from scientists sound familiar?

Well, guess what. The process of farming where the thin topsoil took forever to form caused severe droughts, horrific fires, and widespread starvation.  The same government now reminded the starving people that government is not about supporting the people as pioneers are self-sufficient…

Waiting for the white rabbit… Naomi’s Photos

There was a great deal more going on than a simple tale of” the small pioneer family that went West and overcome all problems all by themselves because they worked hard and lived off the land.  Even Laura’s origin family and her married one survived only thanks to additional non-farming work. While Laura herself first turned to writing columns in farming newspapers as a means of supplementary income, she continued to promote the myth that living completely off a farm income was within anyone’s reach…

The only part that I found difficult to read in the book was the far too lengthy details regarding the daughter, Rose. She is an inseparable part of the story of how the “Little House Books” were written, but this part of the book was tedious.

Otherwise, I was fascinated!

Oh, and I had never heard the origin story of the Japanese version before! Who knew!

“No longer” & “Still” – A Simple Template for Discussing Life in Times of a Pandemic

 

Living with the Pandemic -1
Naomi’s Photos
Living with the pandemic – 2
Naomi’s Photos
Living with the pandemic – 3 Naomi’s Photos

 

The year 2020 may be coming to a close, but THE pandemic is still with us.

Still here…

There are now many kinds of activities we can “no longer” do but there are some things that we are “still” able to do.

I would pass on the experience of living in times of a pandemic but here’s a chance to connect language learning to a real-life situation. The word “still” and the chunk “no longer” often confuse language learners and appear frequently in the reading passages we encounter in class.

Here are three versions of the same activity.

The links lead to a LiveWorksheet version. It is not a self-check activity since, naturally, there are many possible answers. Please note that worksheets there can easily be downloaded.

It’s interesting to read/discuss the students’ answers. Some are what you expect, but not all. Students disagreed as to whether they could still buy clothes. One (sadly) claimed that there was nothing she couldn’t do if she wanted to…

I have to admit that I was pleased that some students commented on the photos. They thought that it was suitable for the figure of the young person to be the one falling out of the window.

One is simply an open template and can be used with a great variety of levels.

https://www.liveworksheets.com/ae1461332xm

The other two are for students who need far more help in writing their answers.

https://www.liveworksheets.com/lt1461327ct

https://www.liveworksheets.com/zc1397590rh

Best wishes for good health for all and a speedy return to normal!

 

 

The Pandemic Can’t Stop Me from Traveling Through Books!

Stuck at home…
Naomi’s Photos

 

While my passport and suitcases may feel that I have completely forgotten about them,  I have been “traveling” around the world. As a matter of fact, I’ve even been “traveling” through time!

So where have my books taken me?

I’ll answer briefly even though my brevity isn’t doing justice to some of the books. I read much more than I can post about these days!

The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak – Istanbul,  (Arizona & San Fransisco too)

Many thanks to Ruth Sheffer for introducing me to this book.

I was so intrigued by the unusual style of storytelling in this book that I went on to listen to her excellent TED Talk “The Politics of Fiction”.  If you are wondering if you should give the book a try, listen to her talk (I haven’t heard the other talks yet) https://youtu.be/Zq7QPnqLoUk

The way I see it, this is a book about the buried secrets of the past affecting the present whether we unearth them or not. It’s a tale of two families, spanning generations, one Armenian and one Turkish, and their intertwining fate amid the backdrop of a historical tragedy one side tries to forget while the other never will.

The sounds, smells, and food in Istanbul play a prominent role in the book and the cast of characters (mainly women) is varied and beguiling. Ancient traditions coexist with the 21st century.  The people are so real that I can easily imagine a movie version of it.

I’m glad I read it!

Heat…
Naomi’s Photos

“One of Them: My Life Among the Maasai of Kenya” by Eti Dayan – Kenya

What an interesting book!

The odd thing is that what makes the book so interesting is that the first part of the title isn’t really what the author says in the book! At the time of publication, the author, Dayan, had been living with the Massai of Kenya for 15 years, spoke their language fluently, and took part in community life.  Nonetheless, Dayan emphasizes throughout the book repeatedly that she is not nor will she ever really be a Maasai. Yet it is exactly her frank portrayal of the challenging process of learning and understanding along with her reflections on the Western culture that make the book illuminating. The descriptions in the book are vivid and detailed. Dramatic changes to society unfold and Dayan doesn’t shy away from grappling with difficult issues and realities of life in that area.

“The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart” by Holly Ringland – Australia

At first, I was impressed by the author’s use of flowers to tell a tale of a woman torn apart by her family history/secrets and was interested in the plot.  However, the more I read the less I liked the book. It became too much like a “soap opera” for me. I found myself saying (to myself!) “Oh, come on” or “Really?” far too often.

Nonetheless, I actually finished the book (got my sense of closure!) despite not being quite sure why. I guess I should be giving the author more credit than I am – just not the right kind of book for me.

Empty…
Naomi’s Photos

“There was a woman” by Yael Neeman – Israel

I listened to this audiobook in Hebrew. I believe it hasn’t YET been translated into English. I haven’t read the one that has been translated yet.

This book pretends to be about one particular person but I would say that it is really about “the second generation” – the lives of children of Holocaust survivors.  This particular woman tried to erase any memory of her existence.  The book is constructed as an attempt to reconstruct the story of this woman’s life through a patchwork of interviews with people. Naturally, when each person strives to explain their connection to the woman who “erased herself” they tell about their own background.

While I found the book to be a bit too long, I enjoyed it.

Really?!
Naomi’s Photos

“Conversations with Friends” by Sally Rooney – Dublin

I listened to this book as an audiobook. The narrator had a lovely Irish accent.

That’s the best thing I can say about the book.

I gave it a good chance before giving up on it.  I found it immensely boring. I know the author is hugely successful. Perhaps I’m too old for a book presenting every thought and minute action of a woman in her 20s and a few others. Lots of alcohol and cigarette smoking in the rain.

Nothing happens.

Not a book for me.

 

Expressing Your Opinion – Revisiting the “Holstee Manifesto Lifecycle Video”

From “Lifecycle” to “lifestyle” Naomi’s Photos

I first learned of the Holstee Manifesto video on one of Sandy Millin’s blogs: (Almost) Infinite ELT Ideas back in 2012.

This video is far too useful to be forgotten.

The Holstee Manifesto Lifecycle video is short, suitable for teens, and can be used with the sound off. Though I must say that if your students don’t happen to be Deaf or hard of hearing like mine are, the music is a  welcome addition.

The video ties in nicely with the topic students my students are working on –  writing essays that express an opinion. It is chock full of statements that are easy to get students to respond to.

Turn on the light in their heads! Naomi’s photos

I really enjoyed the students’ comments. They seem shocked at the idea of not looking actively for the love of your life. They agreed, in theory at least, that if you don’t have enough time you should stop watching TV. They also supported the idea of trying to change things. One student thought that “sharing your passions” was a bad idea, passions should be kept private. I’m going to ask him and see what he understands “passions to mean”. “All emotions are beautiful” was criticized and jealousy was cited as an example of an ugly one.

One statement seemed to strike most of the students as stupid – “Getting lost will help you find yourself”!

I have revamped the old worksheet I made – it has been updated and is now a LiveWorksheet. You’ll find it below, along with the video itself and a link to the Holstee website with the text version of the video. In addition, I highly recommend checking out other suggested ways to use this video in class  – you will find them in the comment section of Sandy Millin’s post, as mention before.

Thank you, Sandy Millin!

Enjoy!

https://www.holstee.com/pages/manifesto

The link to the worksheet:

https://youtu.be/QDmt_t6umoY

 

“I’ll miss too much ‘school’ if I come to school tomorrow”. Things Students Never Said Before Covid-19

 

Missing Out…
Naomi’s Photos

1. “I’ll miss too much ‘school’ if I come to school tomorrow”.

A student explaining why he won’t be attending our English lessons at school tomorrow along with his  Deaf and hard of hearing peers. His “hearing” classmates are still studying remotely and he studies quite a few subjects with them.  He needs to stay at home in order to attend his online lessons.

Do you mean I have to actually DO something?!
Naomi’s Photos

2.  “Really? I have to THINK about what makes sense ON MY OWN”?

A student puzzled as to why she had lost points on her exam. She answered a question incorrectly after translating the word “plane” as a flat surface instead of an aircraft, despite a very clear context of travel and hints such as “….while on the plane to England…” The exam took place in class and the student had an electronic dictionary. The student admitted that far from my watchful eyes, during “the remote learning days,” she had been relying on Google to translate complete sentences instead of adhering to the “one-word-at-a-time” rule that I enforce in class.

Post flight mode
Naomi’s Photos

3. ” I have a piece of paper from the airport that says I don’t have to be quarantined, so don’t worry”.

A student who arrived in class directly after returning from an extended holiday in London the night before.  England was about to change its tourist status to RED because of the surging number of Covid 19 cases, which would make quarantine mandatory. However, my student returned 48 hours before the status change, armed with a document claiming that he could proceed with life as usual. This was at a time when the rest of us weren’t  even supposed to go to a neighboring city! As you may have guessed, I did not feel reassured by his document.  Thankfully, it’s been three weeks since then and we all  appear to be healthy.

Wait for me!
Naomi’s Photos

4. “I was about to join the volleyball league when Covid 19 started”.

A student’s response after being asked to use the target chunk “about to” in a sentence.

Social distancing
Naomi’s Photos

5. “Corona”

A student’s response (actually an incorrect response”) when asked to create a list of things that are important to do carefully.  This led to a great conversation with the  student regarding the need for a verb and the danger of jumping to conclusions when seeing the word “careful”.

It is interesting to note that not a single student mentioned anything related to the virus under the heading “Things I try to avoid doing”.  No “hugging friends” or “forgetting to take a mask”.

Tasks shown in picture  from this worksheet: https://www.liveworksheets.com/hu1281226qi

They are all here!
Naomi’s Photos

6. *** We are HAPPY to be at school!!!

This is not something most have my students have expressed in words or in sign language (though a few actually have done so), but are nonetheless showing us daily.  They are delighted to be back at school! Attendance has never been so consistently high, including the students with a rich history of absenteeism. Those who are unable to attend for some reason are notifying us in advance with a sorrowful tone.

That’s the best part of this whole crazy situation.

Do you have examples of things you had never heard students say before the pandemic hit? Share them in the comments!

Oh, The Past & The Present Time: “The Pull of The Stars” by Emma Donoghue

Spooky…
Naomi’s Photos

Today is October 31, 2020.

This book takes place over three days, October 31, November 1, and November 2.

But, obviously not in 2020.

The year is 1918, just before the end of the first World War. The setting is Ireland, mainly Dublin.

A year in which a pandemic is raging, ravaging the population.

The Spanish Flu.

Certainly a  “timely book”!

Frankly, I knew absolutely nothing about the book when I began reading it. During the first week of August, I noticed that our Libby library service had some new books, including this one. I added myself to the waiting list without bothering to see what this book was about or read reviews because of the author. I’ve enjoyed reading several of Donoghue’s previous books.

The audio version was well worth waiting for  (3 months!). The excellent reader is clearly Irish herself – not only does she read the book with the relevant accents, she sings the “ditties” that are heard and even moans along with the women in the  Maternity/Fever “ward”. You can feel the stress levels rising and ebbing along with the reader’s voice.

Hope…
Naomi’s Photos

In the book, we see the world through the eyes of  Nurse Julia Powers, who has already recovered from the flu and works in a TINY makeshift hospital “ward” set up so as to distance the women who have caught the dreaded flu from the rest of the expectant mothers.

You may pause here and ask (what I asked myself when I realized the time and the setting of the plot) “why would I want to read about a pandemic when I’m already living in the time of one”?

Because…

The book is about SO MUCH MORE than illustrating the reality of that pandemic and making one feel grateful for all that we do have going for us in this wretched 2020!

It’s a book about not doing things the way they have always been done simply because they have always been done that way. It’s about the need to fight for a society that doesn’t just look after a  small percent of its members. It’s about strong women, lost children,  rules that don’t make sense, and more.

While this book is a work of fiction, “historical fiction”, one of the main characters, Doctor Kathleen Lynn, was a real person. The endnotes about her are very interesting.

A word of warning, particularly if you aren’t familiar with books by Donoghue – the book starts slowly, with many medical and procedural details given. The pace doesn’t stay slow.

I felt that the characters were so real (the audio version helps with that, I think!) that I now find that I miss the characters!

Final note:

Emma Donoghue wrote this book BEFORE she knew anything about the current pandemic, even though it was published after the pandemic had begun.

As I said, what timing!

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