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Monday Tally: Tiger Moms, the End of Blogging

by Kim on January 24, 2011 · 19 comments

monday-tag-150px Monday Tally is a weekly link round-up of some of my favorite posts discovered over the week. If you have suggestions for Monday Tally, please e-mail sophisticated [dot] dorkiness [at] gmail [dot] com. Enjoy!

Video of the Week

Neil Pasricha, author of The Book of Awesome gave a sweet TED Talk about the three A’s of awesome: attitude, awareness, and authenticity.

Additionally, his blog, 1000 Awesome Things, featured one of my favorite awesome things: the smell of a library.

Debating the Life of a Tiger Mom

Last week I listed Amy Chua’s memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother as a book added to my TBR because, “the idea of reading a memoir from an uncompromisingly tough mother raising her kids in a way that’s totally foreign to me sounds absolutely fascinating.” I found or was pointed to a couple of interesting reaction pieces to the book that I wanted to share:

David Brooks of The New York Times says, “Amy Chua Is a Wimp,” arguing that Chua is actually coddling her children by keeping them away from some of the most socially demanding activities that children face:

Practicing a piece of music for four hours requires focused attention, but it is nowhere near as cognitively demanding as a sleepover with 14-year-old girls. Managing status rivalries, negotiating group dynamics, understanding social norms, navigating the distinction between self and group — these and other social tests impose cognitive demands that blow away any intense tutoring session or a class at Yale.

Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, the author’s daughter, wrote a piece for the NY Post about what it’s like living with a “Tiger Mother.”

Cass (Bonjour, Cass!) pointed me to this post from Resisting Racism, which criticizes Chua for perpetuating ethnic stereotypes and attributing her parenting style to an entire culture. I could have done without the profanity, but the point is well-taken.

The Olive Reader (Harper Perennial’s blog) linked to a story by one of their authors, Lac Su, author of I Love Yous Are For White People, about his life growing up with a Tiger Mother and a Tiger Father. Thanks to Jen (Devourer of Books) for reminding me about this one.

The Beginning and End of Blogging

Nat at Book, Line, and Sinker is doing a series of posts about what it takes to start up a blog — even as a veteran blogger, I found the tips and thoughts in her first post worth taking some time to read. I can’t wait for the rest of the series.

Now that blogging as a trend isn’t an interesting story, bloggers who quit blogging are starting to make news. Riiiiiight. Sarcasm aside, it is an interesting look at what happens when something that’s supposed to be fun becomes a badly-paying part time job, and what to do about it.

What Research Can Tell Us

I found this statistic from a WSJ article on authors how authors move their own merchandise (aka market their book) flabbergasting (emphasis mine):

According to Penny Sansevieri, an adjunct professor at New York University and CEO of Author Marketing, a publicity firm, there are 1,500 books published daily in the U.S., including self-published titles. “To get noticed,” she said, “you have to throw more at people than just your book.”

A recent study by New York University sociologists found that many students didn’t learn the “critical thinking, complex reasoning and written communication skills” that are often assumed to be the core of a college curriculum. That’s sort of sad, but there was at least one point of optimism for us English majors:

Students who majored in the traditional liberal arts — including the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences and mathematics — showed significantly greater gains over time than other students in critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing skills.

The News from Madison

Our local newspaper did a lovely profile on a hair salon owner who lost five fingers and part of her leg to meningococcal meningitis, but was able to re-teach herself to style hair and reopen her salon. It’s a well-done piece.

Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir came to Madison for a book signing last week, and apparently he was quite charming. I loved this story about the event.

And the Randoms

The ladies of What’s Old is New — Jen (Devourer of Books) and Nicole (Linus’s Blanket) — went through books scheduled for release later this year and pulled out a great list of books that make something old new again.

If you could only converse using epic hyperbole or some variation of “meh,” what would you choose? A.V. Club writers discuss which kind of discourse is worse on the Internet.

Books for My TBR

The Edgar Awards, an annual award for crime fiction, non-fiction and television, announced their nominees. I‘m curious about:

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen - Devourer of Books January 24, 2011 at 7:10 am

Thanks for mentioning the show! It was a lot of fun to have an excuse to spend hours combing through catalogs.

By the way, there was a link on the Harper Perennial Olive Reader blog earlier this week to another Tiger Mom response story from one of their authors whose Asian parents were as strict or stricter than Chua. He talks about his lingering emotional scars.

Reply

Kim January 24, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Jen: I’ll bet. I try not to do much catalog combing because I think it’s just a black hole I’d get sucked into! And thanks for the reminder about that Harper Perennial link — I remember seeing that, but didn’t make it over to my post. It’s added, with a thanks.

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Chrisbookarama January 24, 2011 at 7:19 am

The Tiger Mom sounds kinda wacky. I read that blogging article. It seems like they started for the wrong reasons.

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Kim January 24, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Chrisbookarama: It got a lot of controversy this week. TIME had a big cover story on it that I haven’t gotten to read quite yet. That’s the sense I got from the blogging article too — starting with an expectation of results, then quitting when you don’t get a book deal or something.

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Trisha January 24, 2011 at 8:52 am

Critical thinking is such a hot topic in academia right now. At my college, it has really created this fight between thinking and content – do we teach our students how to think or do we teach them our subject? What is our primary role? The easy answer is both, but we don’t have the time needed to do both well in some subjects (so I’ve heard).

That Tiger Mom fiasco creeps me out honestly. That sort of control is just not healthy.

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Kim January 24, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Trisha: That’s really interesting! I went to a very small liberal arts college, and I think there was a pretty good balance between subject learning and thinking learning, probably with more of an emphasis on critical thinking once we got into the upper classes in our major. But I studied English, which is all critical thinking :)

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Stephanie January 24, 2011 at 4:51 pm

I haven’t paid much attention to the whole “Tiger Mom” controversy. Cultural or not, it kind of puzzles me. Why would anyone assume that a child’s academic or artistic accomplishments are more important that learning, through example, how to build flexible, loving relationships?

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Kim January 24, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Stephanie: That’s a great question, and one that I think the article by David Brooks brings out. Certainly, academic studies like piano and whatnot are important, but developing strong interpersonal skills can be hard, and it seems as if that’s not part of the Tiger Mother thing. But I have to read the book to be sure.

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Jenny January 24, 2011 at 7:15 pm

The Tiger Mom business seems like such a tempest in a teapot! I read the article and felt annoyed at the way she was so obviously courting controversy.

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Kim January 25, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Jenny: Yes, I think that’s part of it too. I’m sure the article was written to be provocative, and it’s working. I’m curious to read the book and see if it’s really as controversial as the article makes it seem.

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Vasilly January 24, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Though I’m curious about Tiger Mother, after reading the link that Cass left, I’m not going to read the book. My parenting philosophy is the total opposite of the author’s. I believe that parents need to have a firm hand with children but also need to know when to step aside. Even at a young age, you can see a child’s passions and gifts. Children can direct their own learning if we let them.

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Kim January 25, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Vasilly: I’m not sure what my mom would say about this book as compared to her parenting style. I’m sure she’d be critical of it. They were strict, but certainly not at all like that.

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Pam January 26, 2011 at 1:43 pm

I will have to check out “Scoreboard, Baby”. I love sports nonfiction books!

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Kim January 27, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Pam: I love sports nonfiction too. I think there’s a level of, “If I can’t do it, I want to read about it” when I pick up those books.

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Colleen (Books in the City) January 27, 2011 at 6:00 pm

I had initially vowed not to read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother but have been fascinated by the controversy and want to read it and judge for myself. Thanks for the links to the interesting articles on the subject.

I saw the author of Winter of My Disconnect on TV the other day – it looks interesting. I look forward to reading your review.

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Kim January 27, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Colleen: That’s part of why I want to read it — there’s so much discussion, but I don’t think I could participate in it without reading the book myself. I didn’t realize that author was going to be on tv, I hope it was good.

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Esme January 30, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Tiger Mom is very wacky but that did not stop me from enjoying the book.

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Kim January 31, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Esme: Yay, glad you liked it! I have it on my TBR list for later this year because I’m so curious about it.

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