As a homeschooling parent, I've had to teach all kinds of subjects. I have my strengths (history and literature) and my weaknesses (quadratic equations), but nothing has thrashed my butt quite like Japanese.
It's one thing to try to teach a subject you know. It's quite another thing to teach a subject you don't know the first thing about. Last year I got exactly nowhere trying to help my son learn Japanese. Luckily, I just stumbled across a book that I think will help.
It's Japanese in Mangaland, by Mark Bernabe. Japanese in Mangaland doesn't purport to teach you to speak Japanese like a pro; its aim is to teach you enough about the language to be able to understand Manga comic books armed with a Japanese dictionary. It covers hiragana, katakana and kanji writing, and the thing that sold me on the book is that within a couple of pages I learned more about hiragana than I had from any of the other books I looked into.
Let's face it; there's no easy way to learn Japanese, but Japanese in Mangaland makes it fun and gives you an incentive to learn - so you can understand all those weird comics. I'm looking forward to learning more.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Going Deep, by Bernadette Gardner is spicy, sexy....and best of all: original.
Dr. Celia Weston Weston came to Space Station Gavrel because she was fascinated with the biogenetically engineered humanoids created to maintain the station's artificial ocean. The more she works with the UMEs (Underwater Maintenance Engineers), the more intrigued she becomes.
Strong, sleek and oh, so handsome, these aquatic humanoids have been carefully crafted to remain controllable by their human owners. But the Ley, as they have named themselves, are making plans of their own.
When Celia falls for one of the Ley, she is caught between species. Can she really forsake everything for the man she loves? Will she be allowed to?
This is a fun, fast read, and the Ley feel like a fully thought out species. I felt that one plot point (which gives away too much of the story for me to relate here) was resolved too easily. Otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed the story.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Compromising Positions, by Jenna Bayley-Burke
Twenty-six year old Sophie has spent way too many years taking care of everyone else - first her ailing parents, and now her pregnant sister, Daphne. She even sacrificed her nest egg to prop up Daphne's business venture, a gym catering to women.
When Daphne is put on bed-rest for the remainder of her pregnancy, Sophie must take over teaching her exercise classes, including a very steamy yoga workout designed for couples only.
She'll need a partner to demonstrate the moves, of course. Enter David, her secret crush for years, who's been roped into this gig by family obligations of his own.
I loved this story right from page one. It's fun, it's sexy, but it's never smarmy or overblown.
Bayley-Burke gives us a heroine who is innocent, but knows her own mind, and a hero who is sophisticated without being the usual romance jerk. Sparks fly between them because sparks should fly between them. I rooted for this couple all the way.
My one quibble is a technical one. I read the downloadable pdf version, and when the point of view shifts from Sophie to David mid-chapter there is no break to warn the reader. An extra space or two between paragraphs is all that's needed to signal a scene or time change; a small detail, but one that would make a difference.
Now if I could just find one of those Kama Sutra yoga classes.....