Saturday, August 31, 2013

Helmet for My PillowHelmet for My Pillow by Robert Leckie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I would like to find an anthology of Robert Leckie's works.

His transition has to be the best I can remember in a long time, and it is a terrific mix with his narrative descriptive skills. His pages flow like a raging torrent so quickly it is easy to forget other things while reading Helmet for my Pillow.

It is unfortunate that one cannot get any of his newspaper-bound stories in the Associated Press website archives. I would like to know more about his writing processes, too.

Leckie was already a newspaper reporter before he went off to war, working for the Bergen Record in New Jersey. Later, he wrote for AP, and turned out several books. He wrote one about football, which I believe I might have read when I was a pre-teenager.

His work is of grim times, literally dodging bullets and death in the Pacific war against the Japanese. His accounts make me understand that he might have been either emotionally drained after writing this, or relieved as few other war veterans are.

The chapter about his time as a brig rat, and another when he spent some time in the "P-38 ward" on Pavuvu were very interesting by themselves and lent great variety to the book. His writing on the marines' leave time in Melbourne is another potential separate study, too.

I got my copy coming back through the airport in San Francisco, and I almost hated to finish it both because it was so very well written, and finishing it signaled the end of summer. The only flaw I could find was his tendency to use the kind of words that might leave you looking for a dictionary, but that was not abnormal in the time he came along.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What the Best College Teachers Do

What the Best College Teachers DoWhat the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I took four long, enjoyable years to read Ken Bain's What the Best College Teachers Do.

I toyed with it, and tried to absorb it as best I could picking up former boss Sean Chadwell's discarded copy on a table after he left Texas A&M International University.

Finally, facing another fall semester at United International College, I decided to go ahead and finish it. I even enjoyed the epilogue. It was also interesting to learn that Bain and I almost crossed paths in Edinburgh, Texas where he taught shortly after I left.

I found usable material early on p. 31 with Questions are Crucial. It has been a regular first thing handout in my classes since.

I have to recommend this one for anyone teaching anything, anywhere. It was written, primarily, with students in the U.S., but is general enough to help those working overseas, or with foreign students, too.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Colonial Accounts

Colonial AccountsColonial Accounts by National Historical Commission of the Philippines

I found it quite interesting, but for me I got more out of the first story about the battle of Macau in 1626. Some 400 Dutchmen were said to have lost their heads during which, or after a battle with Spaniards intervening for Portugal.

The rest of the book was from accounts written by priests, mostly about converting the natives to the Catholic church. The story of the conversion of the Sultan of Jolo was well described, and worth the read.

View all my reviews