Archive for May, 2013


Finnish Lessons

May 22, 2013

Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?Finnish education is gaining its reputation as the best education in the world. Being a teacher myself, I see this book as a trade secret to improve the education in my country, which is among the worst in the world. And I waited expectantly till my order arrived!

The book is as advertised. It is a insider account of Finnish education system. The author, Pasi Sahlberg, is the Director General of Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation at Finish Ministry of Education and Culture, or in other words, Finish education international public relation. It begins with the short history of Finland and Finland education, to the path of international fame. And then in the following chapter unravel one by one, the trade secret.

They are not so many new ideas in this book that you cannot find in other source, actually, for example the documentary Finland Phenomenon by, or any free video that you can watch at youtube, including seminar by Pasi Sahlberg himself. The book supplies only the details, to supply some information gap that is missing in the other source. Nevertheless, this book is still a necessary addition if you are interested in education reform.

The writing of the book, despite of its excellent content, is a bit dull. I find it too academic for general readership. For such a fine topic, I expect a more emotional tone from its writer. But what I find is just collection of facts and more facts, like a reference book, without any driving force to stir your emotion or intellect. It is a nice book if you already know about how well Finnish education is, but if somehow you haven’t know that, this book is not that persuasive.

That’s why I give this book only 3 star. But don’t let this review hinder you from reading this book. It is still an excellent source of information about Finnish education system.


The Nymphos of Rocky Flats

May 14, 2013

The Nymphos of Rocky Flats (Felix Gomez, #1)Well, I wish I can give this book a zero star.

If you think that vampire and sex can sell well, why not add another ingredient: detective story. This is just what the author do. If you think that extra ingredient can improve the cooking, think harder. The author even spiced it up with another ingredient: Roswell! UFO!

So what you have is a trash novel with plot like this:
investigate – fanged – gather with friends – interrupted sex – attacked by enemy – barely escaped – repeat the cycle from the beginning until end.

It is a total waste of time, you should avoid this novel like avoiding a nuclear waste (which is SURPRISE SURPRISE: another element in the novel!). Believe me, you will thanks me.

P.S. :
But there is a caveat. I just find out that the author INTENTIONALLY write this crap to get published. It is intended to be a pun to the publishing industry and readers nowadays! And guess what, it is published, and it gained some fans. Make me think a lot about the intelligence of our mass and publishing industry today.


The Enchantress

May 7, 2013

The Enchantress (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #6)Finally, the finale. My first comment. Not bad Mr. Scott. Six novel in six years. It would say, it is quite satisfying, for a children literature. I would not mind my children to read this series. It is a good introduction to the world mythology, to get acquainted with Hekate, Morrigan, Prometheus, and so on, not to mention to be introduced to many great historical characters such as Joan of Arc and Musashi, and some obscure characters such as Nicholas Flamel and John Dee. And it is entertaining too.

Now the detail. First, I want to comment about the ending. There are two ending for the novel, the first one in the Danu Talis, and the second one in San Francisco. I do not really like Danu Talis. For a finale, it is to simplistic. Surely, Earthlord should not be defeated that easy.  But I like the ending for San Francisco, quite a battle there.

Since now we have the grand story explained, I would like to comment that too.
1. The Time Travel. I find the time travel a bit confusing. I would have made the story goes in loop, forever. This, I think, is the weakest part of the plot.
2. The deity and demigods. I am not complaining that Mr. Scott is using lots of deities in his story, out of the context of the real deity in the mythology. It is his story, and he has the right to do it. I might do the same thing, if I were the writer.
3. The twins. The twins is also a weak part. It should have been the apex of the story, somehow it does not feel that way. The side story, which is saving San Francisco is more interesting and emotional. The story about their pedigree is also not that interesting.

I would put this series in par with Rick Riordan‘s Percy Jackons series. Both using lots of mythology figure, both are in children literature section. Both are entertaining.

For children book, I will give it a 4 star, but for general reader, I will give it a 3. It is not in par with J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, or even Philip Pullman, yet.