liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
[personal profile] liv
So my two former bar mitzvah students want to carry on with Hebrew now they've both completed their ceremonies. They've said they'd like to do a bit more conversational modern Hebrew as well as just practising prayerbook reading. Does anyone have any recommendations for textbooks?

The boys are 13 and 15, both reasonably academically able and reasonably committed. They can read fairly fluently, but have very little vocab or grammar at the moment. They're also extremely busy and probably won't have huge amounts of time for practice in between their fortnightly lessons. My options at the moment are:
The textbook recommended by the GCSE exam board. I'd generally like the boys to be thinking about GCSE sort of level, not that they hugely have to pass exams but as a streching, but attainable, target. The problem is that the book looks incredibly dated and dull and I don't feel inspired to teach from it!

Or Routledge Introductory Course in Modern Hebrew. I think this is basically aimed at beginners, but beginners who are university students or otherwise quite advanced in general language skills. It's really quite heavy on grammar, and might be overkill for a couple of years of informal lessons for teenagers.

I can't find anything I like better than these two options. I don't want a course that is primarily audio for self-learning, because I'm going to be there teaching and keeping up reading fluency is a big priority. And I don't want just a vocab list or beginners' dictionary. The younger boy suggested using a tourist phrasebook, which might work but ideally I'd like something more like a textbook and less like lists of phrases to rote learn.

Secondly, I still have not succeeded in giving the younger lad his bar mitzvah present, because everything I could think of is out of print and not for sale for reasonable money. I would like to give him a good work of popular non-fiction, something enjoyable to read but also informative. He's quite interested in politics and world affairs, which is a subject I know little about. And he's pretty bright but not especially precocious, I think he'd get more out of something accessible or even aimed at teenagers, than something hardcore academic.

I'm thinking something about the level of Jared Diamond's Guns, germs and steel, except not that because I'm now aware that Diamond not only plays fast and loose with scholarly accuracy, he conducted some rather unethical ethnographic research and published identifying stories about his subjects without their permission. And I have in mind that there used to be a journalist who did short programmes on Radio 4 about US politics and culture, and that he died a few years ago (?) and that prior to that he had written a book of anecdotes that this young man might enjoy, but that's not enough information to shake his name out of Google, does anyone have any clue whom I'm talking about?

So. Anyone who's taught conversational Hebrew, any recs? And in a less specialist query, what's the most interesting popular non-fiction book you've read lately?

(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-15 07:26 pm (UTC)
alexseanchai: Purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
what's the most interesting popular non-fiction book you've read lately?

I feel like I should be able to answer this with something not in the realm of polytheistic religion (because anything in that realm seems wildly inappropriate here somehow XD ) but I am drawing a total blank.

*ponders bookshelves*

...the ratio of "books I own that I can honestly recommend because I have read them" to "books I would like to recommend but can't because I merely own them" is appallingly low :(

Debt: The First 5000 Years, David Graeber
The Invisible Heart: Economics and Family Values, Nancy Folbre
This Bridge Called My Back 4th ed., ed. Moraga & Anzaldua

APPALLINGLY LOW I TELL YOU though also if we are thinking 'general politics' instead of 'feminist politics' then his interests and mine don't overlap that much to begin with (my most 'world affairs' book is Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, Kristoff and WuDunn, but I am not recommending that to anyone without a reread aimed at noting the trigger warnings), and most of the overlap derives from how much economics drives politics!

Of these three, I think he'll have the best luck with Folbre.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-15 09:02 pm (UTC)
alexseanchai: Purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
Yeah, good luck finding an academic comparative religions that acknowledges modern polytheism, except for Hinduism and maaaaybe Wicca, EXISTS. And I'd argue that, just as the best books from which to learn about Judaism are written by Jews, the best books from which to learn about modern polytheisms are written by polytheists. Except I'm not sure there ARE any such; the target audience for every polytheist-authored book I can think of offhand is other polytheists!

Which is rather beside the point, anyway. Glad I could help.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-15 09:06 pm (UTC)
alexseanchai: Purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
Wait, no, A World Full of Gods by Greer means to convert non-polytheists, but I'm not reccing that to anyone I haven't a point to prove to and who hasn't expressed interest in the subject. Your student is in neither category.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-18 07:02 pm (UTC)
naath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naath
I loved Debt, just as a book to read.


Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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