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nerd teacher [books]

Joined 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Anarchist educator who can be found at where I muse about school and education-related things. Can be located at or emailed at [they/them]

I'm a secondary teacher (on hiatus), so expect a ridiculously huge range of books.

And yes, I do spend a lot of time making sure book entries are as complete as I can make them. Please send help.

nerd teacher [books]'s books

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2021 Reading Goal

20% complete! nerd teacher [books] has read 8 of 40 books.

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To Save Everything, Click Here (2014, Penguin Books, Limited)
3 star

Our gadgets are getting smarter. Technology can log what we buy, customize what we consume …

Mostly still relevant.

3 star

Despite the fact it was published in 2013 (and there are companies mentioned that most people would've forgotten about by now -- Zynga, Zagat, and Gawker), there is still a lot in this book that can be useful for thinking about what's going on today. In fact, whole chunks of it work nicely to reflect on issues that we've already seen today (the first example that comes to mind are "fact-checking" institutions and how many people are often oblivious to the problems behind the scene, believing them to be "non-partisan" or "ideologically moderate"). More than a few times I was like "Oh, this is actually something we're seeing now."

And I'm kind of sure that's not a good thing, especially in a world where we're throwing 'advanced technology' at problems instead of trying to understand the problem. (I mean, if we were to throw any other technology at a problem, …

How to Hang a Witch (2018, Walker Books Ltd)
4 star

After Sam's father is hospitalised, she has to move from New York to Salem with …

Pretty cute.

4 star

I actually found this quite endearing? Perhaps because it reminded me so much of things like Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic. I liked a lot of the paranormal elements and a lot of the witchcraft. It was a good read for a couple days, honestly. Pretty engaging!

The things I shaved my rating down for include:

  1. I'm not a fan of the "I can do everything on my own" sorts of characters. Putting two people helping you the most TO SLEEP after they actually start really helping you, even if it's to "protect" them? I'm not so sure about that.

  2. Love triangle but with GHOST. I'm never a fan of how love triangles play out in most books; they always hit the wrong note for me, and they're hyper-predictable (regardless of how alive everyone in the triangle is). It's one of the tropes that I wish were less common in …

Mao's Last Dancer (2006, Penguin)
3 star

A poor child living in poverty is chosen out of millions of children to attend …


3 star

This is a rather well-written memoir by one of the last students to go through Madame Mao's dance academy and his journey to 'leave the well'. Quite enjoyable and well-written.

For me, one of the things I find interesting to read about is how people grapple with the propaganda they grew up with and the reality of the world they experience. It's really overt in China (especially because of how often we hear about it), so these narratives often come from a lot of people who grew up under and left/escaped totalitarian governments (we could just as easily write something about being an American who escaped the propaganda machine, but that probably wouldn't sell well in America). I like that, in some ways, he explains that the stuff they did in school was definitely propaganda but that it was comforting in some ways and terrifying in others; it shows that …

Education Forward (2017, Crux Publishing)
1 star

Corporate nonsense ruins education. Always.

1 star

This book is incredibly annoying. For all the times they say that educators are involved, one educator is involved twice and another two (maybe three) people who have actually been in educational facilities exist.

Mostly, this is a book for non-education professionals BY non-education professionals. I'm not against this on principle, but I find it condescending to assume that people who really aren't in schools on a regular basis have any real knowledge about problems IN schools. Teachers should've been centered more often than they were.

Robots, on the other hand, should've bee LESS centered.

Here's a run-down of a longer review I did elsewhere:

This book likes to pretend that it has a lot of different goals and topics to discuss, but it doesn’t. It starts off claiming that we are “implementing ‘strict discipline procedures’” but then complaining about how we won’t let children have gum in the classroom …