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Wild Eastern Oregon

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Breakaway trip to the Malheur WIldlife Refuge

Our caravan of minivans was greeted with a beautiful rosy sunrise early Tuesday morning as we headed out of town en route to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Student’s handled the long hours in the car well, entertaining themselves and training their eyes to look at the tiny details that make desolate Eastern Oregon fascinating. We arrived at the Field Station, our home away from home for the next few days, and settled into the dorms before exploring the surrounding areas. Around us we could see the snowy Steen’s Mountains, high buttes and low plains, and Malheur Lake. The sun set to a chorus of coyote howls. After dinner we played several wild games of hide and seek  and cops and robbers under the brilliant stars before going to bed for an early start the next morning.

We woke early the next morning (some would consider this still nighttime) to meet the naturalist who would teach us about the birds of the area. Some of us had an easier time getting up than others, but luckily nobody was left behind. The naturalist took us along a dirt road way up on a butte in hopes of finding a sage grouse lek (a gathering where males strut to impress females). Each van had a radio so our naturalist could tell everyone about the places we were seeing, and the birds we would hopefully see. After several miles he stopped us and as we peered out the window in the pale dawn light, the puffy white chests and radiating tail feathers of sage grouse appeared. We had found the lek! We listened to the clucking noises they made and watched as the birds strutted around. Our naturalist was so knowledgeable about the area and the birds and we were lucky to have him with us.

As we drove back to the Field Station we kept our eyes open for other animals. We saw some smaller birds and deer, but we were really hoping to see wild horses. We knew that of all the places we would visit, this was the only one we might have a chance to see them. As we got closer & closer to the main road our hopes of seeing the horses dropped. Suddenly, a voice over the radio announced that the first van had spotted wild horses! They were beautiful. A herd of pronghorn stood next to them, providing scale to the huge horses. The pronghorn raced off, but the horses stayed, and we got to watch them for some time as the stallion gathered his herd and studied us.

Back at the Field Station our naturalist set us several mist nets to catch birds so that we could see them up close. We caught about fifteen Dark-Eyed Juncos, a Spotted Towhee, a House Sparrow, and an American Robbin that we weighed, measured, and studied before releasing. Holding the wild birds was a truly incredible experience, and once again our naturalist was able to teach us so much. This was a wonderful example of experiential learning and the students loved it.
 
After a little free time and journaling, we took off to relax in some hot springs. On the drive there we kept track of when we were “in the middle of nowhere” and when we were “somewhere,” learning how people define “nowhere.” We played in the warm water for a while before showering and filling up our waterbottles, trying to find some water that was not “boring.”
 
We drove back through the Refuge and visited the Bird Museum at the Refuge headquarters where they had on display stuffed bird that we could look at up close. In the golden light of twilight we watched hundreds of snow geese flying through the air above us.
Back at the Field Station our dinner crew cooked up some yummy dinner, and also concocted a story about how one student on the trip somehow became Nutella. That student very graciously put up with the silliness. The night ended with a game of wildly chasing each other around under the stars again.
Luckily we got to sleep in a bit the next morning before setting off on an adventure. We had a few places we wanted to see but the itinerary was very flexible. All we knew was that we had to be in Frenchglen for dinner at 6:30. Students really appreciated the unscheduled time and being able to do things for as long or as short as they wanted.
 
Our first stop was the Round Barn where we were greeted by Sandhill Cranes. The students found an ingenious way to appreciate the Round Barn: blind races through the barn. One student would be the guide and the other would be the racer. It was terrifying, but also a great way to interact with the barn and to learn to guide and trust each other. We also got to see a raven and a hawk fighting in the air.
 
Our next stop was the Diamond Craters, huge depressions in the basalt flows found everywhere. We hiked to the top of a hill and soaked in the view, enjoying the spectacular weather we were graced with.
 
After the Craters we stopped Buena Vista pond which was filled with swans, ducks, and geese. We watched the birds and wrote in our journals before we went on a short hike to the top of a butte to find an incredible panorama view of the area and some rocks to scramble on. Our last little stop was a campground where we saw a hawk on the ground eating its dinner, and a Great Blue Heron.
 
We arrived at the Frenchglen Hotel for a delicious dinner, of which we all ate too much. After returning to the Field Station we played cards and ran around outside before settling into bed.
 
 
 
The next morning we packed up our belongings and cleaned our dorm before our long drive back to Portland. Overall the trip far exceeded my expectations. This kind of trip could easily bore many students but they learned to creatively entertain themselves and interact with such a spectacular place. The learned to look closely at the small details of a large scene. Students also learned to be more responsible for themselves by cooking and cleaning for themselves, all the while making it fun. They also learned the lesson of how when one person doesn’t fulfill their group responsibility, it affects everyone else. I certainly felt that the trip passed too quickly!
 

 

Sophomore Mariah Morton breaks CG's longest standing track and field record

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Mariah  jumped a whopping 17 feet, 2 ½ inches at the Lake Oswego Classic to break the school record set by Wendy Miller Johnson '68 in 1968. Mariah came in second at the meet.

Watch Mariah's jump on YouTube
 

Climbing and Mountaineering Winterim 2010

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 Climbing and Mountain Winterim 2010

Though our meticulously-laid plans were thrown out the window again and again, we somehow we pulled it all together and created an incredible adventure!

Our group of nine students and two leaders met on Tuesday morning at Catlin and loaded into two mini-vans for four days of climbing and road-tripping.  We drove to Smith Rock State park and hiked to Student Wall, where we did a safety de-brief and set up an area to teach climbing, belaying, moving over a fixed line, and rappelling.  It was the first time any of us had basked in sunshine for weeks!

That night we drove to Skull Hollow campground--we had the entire place to ourselves.  We went on a stealth (and my stealth I mean "playing techno as loud as possible in a minivan") mission to gather firewood and had quite the scorcher during dinner.

On Wednesday morning we drove back to Smith and headed off to the Dancer/Jete/Combination blocks area.  Students and leaders led climbs and toproped a number of excellent lines (note: Double Trouble is AMAZING!!!).  We ended our day a bit early to get to the trailhead of Mt. Washington before dark.

In driving to the trailhead, we found a viewpoint of Mt. Washington that showed that the peak would be impossible to climb.  Like "Mountain of Death" impossible.  We decided to try to another peak.  Driving back East, we called friends and family and used iPhones to find a peak in climbable conditions.  Peter suggested Mt. Thielson and the students made a decision to head South.  We drove to Thielson and slept in the parking lot.  

On Thursday we woke early and left the trailhead at 8am for our summit bid.  Snow conditions were not good for XC travel.  We gained the ridge below the massif and the students led up the southern slopes until 12:30 when we stopped for lunch (much of which had been forgotten!).  The weather had become ideal for spring mountaineering and we did some “snow school” training on the sunny flanks.  Though the summit pyramid looked snowy and daunting, we made our way upwards.
At 3:00 we arrived at the final pitch below the summit and scouted for a safe, clean line up the SE or SW ridge.  Neither offered safe climbing, so we backed in the sun below the summit pinnacle.  We boot-skied, glissaded, and plunge-stepped back to tree-line, putting our heads down for the long descent back to the car.

On Thursday night we found an incredible campsite up a creek off the Umpqua and enjoyed our last night out—all of the students slept under the stars!
Friday was  a final breakfast and a long drive back to Portland, dotted with stops for Ultimate Frisbee, gas at the slowest pumps imaginable, and AMAZING milkshakes.

Ultimately this trip was about getting a diverse group of students together and empowering them to create the most incredible road trip possible. 
 

Take a look at our journey by clicking any of the pictures below and watching a slideshow.  Put on some music (no techno, please) and enjoy!

Four CG students qualify for International Science and Engineering Fair

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Senior Kevin Ellis qualified to represent Oregon at the international fair after presenting his research at the Northwest Science Expo on April 2. Seniors Rose Perrone and Yale Fan, and junior Vighnesh Shiv, who had previously qualified for the international fair, also presented at the Northwest Science Expo.

Yale Fan won first place in physics and astronomy, the U.S. Army Scientific and Engineering Excellence Award, the Army Outstanding High School Project Award, and a scholarship to Lewis & Clark College should he choose to attend.

Kevin Ellis won the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Special Award in Computer Software Engineering and second place in computer science.

Rose Perrone won the IEEE Special Award for Best in Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Engineering; the IEEE Best in Engineering Award; and second place in electrical and mechanical engineering.

Vighnesh Shiv won the IEEE Special Award in Computer Software Engineering and an honorable mention in computer science.

Seniors Brynmor Chapman and Lucy Feldman won statewide awards at the expo. Brynmor won second place in biochemistry. Lucy  won honorable mention in animal sciences.

Senior Juliah Ma, juniors Anders Perrone and Anthony Eden, and freshman Terrance Sun also presented at the Northwest Science Expo.

Congratulations, all!

 

 

April is National Poetry Month

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The Upper School Library and Pegasus are jointly celebrating National Poetry Month. 


(Swans on St. Stephen's Green, Ireland.  Photo by Sue)
 

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmèd darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.

--excerpt from "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats (1795-1821)

Come see the transformation of the windows as students write their favorite poems on the glass. Pick up a volume of poetry from one of our book displays, and revel in the beauty of poetry. 

--Sue

Robotics team wins in an upset at the Colorado regional competition

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Thirteen members of the Flaming Chickens robotics team traveled to Denver for spring break to take their robot for a spin before attending the world championships in Atlanta next month. The main goals were to update their robot and get more drive practice. They entered the competition with guarded expectations because NASA engineers mentor some of the competing teams who had admittedly superior robots.

The Flaming Chickens employed competitive analysis and captured data on each team at the competition. They devised an alliance of overlooked teams, dominated every other alliance, and went on to defeat the giants of the tournament. The crowd went wild.

The Flaming Chickens came home with two trophies: the Regional Champions award and the Innovations in Controls award for their tightly integrated control system that accurately controls and kicks the soccer ball.

 

Viola Vaughn from Sénégal to speak at Catlin Gabel on April 7

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Vaughn, a CNN "Hero," is founder & director of 10,000 Girls, dedicated to the education of girls

Viola Vaughn, founder and executive director of the nonprofit 10,000 Girls (http://10000girls.org) in Kaolack, Sénégal, West Africa, will speak at Catlin Gabel on Wednesday, April 7, at 12:45 p.m. in the Middle School Commons during her tour of the United States.

Dr. Viola Vaughn

Vaughn is an American with an Ed.D. from Columbia University who received a CNN “Hero” award in 2008. She is a social entrepreneur who has built 10,000 Girls from an idea to a vibrant program currently serving 2,567 girls in 10 towns and villages in rural Sénégal. She periodically tours the U.S., speaking and participating in conferences to raise awareness of her organization's success in helping West African girls succeed as students and entrepreneurs. During her time in Portland Vaughn will also speak at Portland State University.

Video of Viola Vaughn #1          

Video of Viola Vaughn #2            

Video of Viola Vaughn #3

Viola Vaughn and the 10,000 Girls Project from Memory Box Productions on Vimeo.

10,000 Girls has two primary programs: after-school education and skill-building, helping girls stay in school and complete their educations; and entrepreneurship, teaching a craft or trade and business basics to older girls who have already left school and need life skills to become self-reliant. The educational component provides tutoring and resources to help girls succeed in school. Older girls, who are no longer in school, learn sewing, baking, and other marketable skills, creating products such as dolls and table linens, which they sell locally and online. The girls also grow, harvest, and produce hibiscus, which they transform into tea and hope to export to the U.S. as Certified Organic. The girls in the entrepreneurial program have decided to donate nearly 50% of their earnings to the program, making 10,000 Girls entirely self-sustainable. In Sénégal – where 54% of the citizens live below poverty and 48% are unemployed  – 10,000 Girls transforms the lives of  participating girls and their families.

The dynamic Viola Vaughn, a long-time resident of Sénégal, dramatically describes the challenges and joys of running 10,000 Girls and speaks with passion about her organization's mission. She can relay fascinating stories, including how she convinced banks to open accounts for young girls, a first in Sénégal; why the girls chose to bake and sell cookies to raise money (like America's Girl Scouts); and the what poignant questions the girls pose at summer Democracy Camps in  Sénégal. 
 
In Portland, Violla Vaughn hopes to connect with individuals and organizations interested in the education of girls, as well as with businesses that might want to sell 10,000 Girls' products. She will also encourage individuals intending to volunteer for 10,000 Girls in Senegal.

 

"Student among top 10 in science talent search"

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Beaverton Valley Times article, March 2010

Catlin Gabel team wins third Mock Trial contest

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Portland Tribune article, March 2010

Yale Fan among top 10 winners at national science competition

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Senior Yale Fan has placed among the top 10 honorees at the Intel Science Talent Search in Washington, D.C.

Yale placed ninth among the top 10 winners, earning him a $20,000 award for his research that demonstrated the advantages of quantum computing in performing difficult computations.

Yale's winning research project is titled, "Adiabatic Quantum Algorithms for Boolean Satisfiability." Yale explained that quantum computers are computers that rely on principles of quantum mechanics to accomplish certain tasks exponentially more efficiently than classical computers. He exhibited new numerical and theoretical results on the power of quantum computers for certain classes of NP-complete problems, which are the hardest computational problems whose solutions are easy to verify. This work implies that quantum computers could outperform classical computers for a class of hard problems and gives new insight into the capabilities of exciting prospective technology based on theoretical physics.

Senior Kevin Ellis was also one of the 40 Intel STS finalists in Washington, D.C. As an Intel STS finalist, Kevin won a $7500 award.

Over the past 68 years, Science Talent Search finalists have gone on to win seven Nobel Prizes, two Fields Medals, three National Medals of Science and 11 MacArthur Foundation Fellowships.

Congratulations to Yale and Kevin!

Read the Oregonian article from May 17.

Students, teachers, and staffers blog about their work and travels

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Classes, groups traveling near and far, and individuals are publishing on the website to share their work with the Catlin Gabel community or other specific audiences.

Any student, teacher, or staff member can maintain an individual blog or contribute to a group blog on the Catlin Gabel website. Some blogs are open to everyone visiting our website. Most blogs require login.

You can always find blogs from the Quick Links menu. Happy reading!

 » Link to all blogs

Links to specific blogs

Nepal 2010
Japan 2010
Cuba 2010
Senior Projects

Urban Studies

Honors Art Seminar
Science Projects
Spanish V Honors
French 2

External blogs
Paul Monheimer in Israel
The Catlin Coverslip

Richard Kassissieh, for the education technology community

Classroom pages
Middle and Lower School teachers use classroom pages more often than student blogs. The function is similar.
Second grade
Fourth grade

Fifth grade

Sixth grade
Lower School French

Seventh grade

 

Rose Perrone ’10 and Vighnesh Shiv ’11 selected for 2010 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose

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At the March 13 regional science expo in Gresham, Rose won first prize in electrical and mechanical engineering for her project, "The Effect of Vibratactile Training on Navigational Ability." Vighnesh won first prize in computer science for his project, "BeatHoven: Automatic Music Transcription Algorithms and Implementation." Their presentations qualified Rose and Vighnesh for the international fair later this spring.

Other students who competed at the regional science expo include:

Brynmor Chapman ’10, first prize, biochemistry
Anthony Eden ’11, second prize, computer science
Lucy Feldman ’10, second prize, animal sciences
Juliah Ma ’10, third prize, chemistry
Anders Perrone ’11, third prize, energy and transportation
Kalifa Clarke ’10, honorable mention, microbiology
Terrance Sun ’13, second prize, physics and astronomy
Philip Paek ’11, competed in the medicine and health sciences category

Congratulations to all, and good luck to those who will compete at the Intel Northwest Science Expo on April 2.
 

Mock trial team wins state championship. Next stop: nationals in Philadelphia

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Competing against high schools many times the size of Catin Gabel, our Blue Team prevailed at the state competition. Congratulations to co-captains Eli Coon and Becky Coulterpark, and team members Talbot Andrews, Conor Carlton, Nina Greenebaum, Andrew Hungate, Grace McMurchie, Kate McMurchie, Megan Stater, and Leah Thompson.

Many thanks to volunteer coaches Bob Bonaparte '73, Nell Bonaparte, Cheryl Coon, Jim Coon, Barb Gazeley, Anushka Shenoy '09, and Pat Walsh.

» Link to Portland Tribune story

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Jazz pianist, senior

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passion: jazz piano

“Music is a big part of my life. I played classical music for many years, but when I learned about jazz at a music camp I went to in the summer before 8th grade, it really excited me. The instructors there told us that if we loved music, we might consider pursuing it as a profession.
 
That planted a seed for me. I didn’t decide to be a professional back then in 8th grade, but eventually I did. I slowly began playing more jazz and learning more about music. I started to practice jazz more diligently in my sophomore year and developed an ambition to be a great musician. The end of that year, I auditioned for the American Music Program, directed by trumpeter Thara Memory. The first time I played for him, he took me outside and told me I didn’t know anything about jazz, and that I would have to catch up a lot to get into music school and get a scholarship. But he let me into the group. It’s a pre-professional program for high school students, and Mr. Memory starts from the assumption that we should be the best high school jazz band in the country. The group has won national competitions, including the Next Generation competition associated with the Monterey Jazz Festival, and Wynton Marsalis’s Essentially Ellington competition in New York.

I’m excited to be working on music and aiming for a career as a musician. My hope right now is to get into a good music school and get a scholarship. I want to develop my own musicianship, and I want to play with like-minded musicians who share my ambitions.”

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Photographer & scientist, senior

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passions: science, photography
Interests: diversity, dance, writing, languages

“Since elementary school I’ve dreamed of becoming a pediatrician and working in other countries. I’ve volunteered at a cancer rehabilitation center in India, and I’ve worked with kids as a volunteer. I love kids, and I love science.
 
Two years ago I started experimenting with the camera and Photoshop, and I started doing a lot of portraiture. I posted my work online, and I began getting outside referrals. I’ve done one wedding, and I do portfolios for models and family portraits. I like to shoot in the city or in nature with no fake lighting and no backdrops.
 
I love portraiture. It’s satisfying to take pictures of people and see them in different ways. It’s great to make them feel beautiful and capture their emotional qualities and their uniqueness.
 
I plan to go to medical school. It’s hard to find colleges with strong programs in both medicine and art. I want to be a doctor, but I also love travel and would like to document it in photographs.
 
I’m co-leader of Speed-Ujima, the diversity club. It’s really important to me because I’m part of a minority group in the Upper School. It’s important to let people know that being different is okay and that they shouldn’t hide it. We get the word out that we won’t tolerate racism.

Rahee means traveler in Urdu and Hindi. It’s a piece of fate, from the time I was little, and it’s come true.”

Self-portrait: Rahee Nerurkar

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Dedicated to community service, 10th grade

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passion: community service
Interests: basketball, health care

“I’m really into community service. My mom believes that you should give as much as you can to others who don’t have as much as you do. She’s instilled that into me. Lots of people have more than me, but I have something I can give back to others.
 
I do a lot of different projects, often with my church. As part of the Extreme Makeover Schools program in north and northeast Portland, I helped build a community garden at an elementary school. I volunteer at the library for summer reading. I help kids get signed up, give them prizes, and read to them. I like working with kids. I also volunteer at the Food Bank.
 
Last year I went with a group of African American and Jewish students to New Orleans to rebuild. We went down and did hard physical work in the Ninth Ward, the poorest section of New Orleans. There are almost no houses, and there’s debris everywhere, compared to the wealthier areas, which are almost completely redone. It was hard to see.
 
My godsister and I have done a lot of service work together, and it’s fun to work with someone else. You don’t think about how long it’s taking you.

I’d like to be a physician’s assistant. You don’t have to go to medical school, and there are a lot of programs. I want to work in an inner-city hospital and clinic where there’s less access to health care and fewer doctors."

What to Read During Winterim & Spring Break

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We’ve got some great new titles…

At last!  You’ve got some free time, and we’ve got some great new titles as well as some old friends.  Here’s an overview of just a few of the new arrivals:

Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin
If you followed the Obama/McCain election with interest, you’ll love this zippy read.  Described by a reporter for the Associated Press as “the hottest book in the country,” (http://tiny.cc/dXAYC)Game Change will make the members of the History department giddy with excitement.  The book is based on numerous interviews with the political teams and candidates, with some dialogue invented to help get inside the heads of the participants.  It’s a book that falls somewhere between fact and fiction, and it’ll feed your curiosity.

Food Rules, by Michael Pollan
At last, a wise, commonsense little book by a well-respected writer about food. Pollan's advice is at times hilarious: "It's not food if it arrived through the window of your car."  Another chapter quips, "Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food."  This is a quick, bracing little book.  

Secrets of Eden, by Chris Bohjalian
Do you relish a good murder mystery?  According to a reviewer for Booklist, Bohjalian "drops bombshell clues...and weaves subtle nuances of doubt and intrigue into a taut, read-in-one-sitting murder mystery." ( http://tiny.cc/zSP5M )

Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld
Into Steampunk lit?  School Library Journal writes,"This is World War I as never seen before. The story begins the same: on June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife are assassinated, triggering a sequence of alliances that plunges the world into war. But that is where the similarity ends. This global conflict is between the Clankers, who put their faith in machines, and the Darwinists, whose technology is based on the development of new species. After the assassination of his parents, Prince Aleksandar's people turn on him. Accompanied by a small group of loyal servants, the young Clanker flees Austria in a Cyklop Stormwalker, a war machine that walks on two legs. Meanwhile, as Deryn Sharp trains to be an airman with the British Air Service, she prays that no one will discover that she is a girl. She serves on the Leviathan, a massive biological airship that resembles an enormous flying whale and functions as a self-contained ecosystem. When it crashes in Switzerland, the two teens cross paths, and suddenly the line between enemy and ally is no longer clearly defined. The ending leaves plenty of room for a sequel, and that's a good thing because readers will be begging for more. Enhanced by Thompson's intricate black-and-white illustrations, Westerfeld's brilliantly constructed imaginary world will capture readers from the first page. Full of nonstop action, this steampunk adventure is sure to become a classic." (http://tiny.cc/YdHr3 ).

Cheever, by Blake Bailey
This new biography is receiving enthusiastic reviews from a wide range of critics.  John Updike writes for the New Yorker, "A triumph of thorough research and unblinkered appraisal."  Publishers Weekly exclaims that "This Ovid in Ossining, who published 121 stories in the New Yorker as well as several bestselling novels, has probably yet to find a definitive position in American letters among academicians. This thoroughly researched and heartfelt biography may help redress that situation." ( http://tiny.cc/dBBkw)

Get Me Out!  A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank,by Randi Hutter Epstein
The cover will make you laugh, but the contents will give you the shivers.  Health care and obstetrics have come a very long way over the centuries.  Kirkus Reviews describes the book as “[A] sharp, sassy history of childbirth…. The author’s engaging sarcasm, evident even in a caption of an illustration of an absurd obstetric contraption—’Nineteenth-century Italian do-it-yourself forceps. The fad never took off’—lends this chronicle a welcome punch and vitality often absent from medical histories. Roll over, Dr. Lamaze, and make room for Epstein’s eyebrow-raising history.”  (http://tiny.cc/IsMzt)

 

 

Stop by, and we'll help you find something to enjoy over the break.  --Sue