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I just finished reading Rawhide Down by Del Quentin Weber, a reporter for the Washington Post. The book is about the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan March 30, 1981 outside the Washington D.C. Hilton hotel. It reads like a thriller even though we all know the outcome.

Weber has a unique way of following those involved: the E.R. trauma team at George Washington Hospital, surgeons, nurses, Mrs. Reagan, White House staff, Vice President Bush, the President's cabinet, Secret Service agents, FBI agents, D.C. police and, the shooter, John Hinckley, Jr. He weaves a tapestry of 24 hours in the people whose lives intersected that day.

The month of March always brings out the Irish in me, and I have just enjoyed two books set in Ireland: the audio version of Patrick Taylor's Irish Country Girl and the print version of Maeve Binchy's Minding Frankie.

The first is read by John Keating and it is delightful to hear his variety of Irish accents, changing for each character. This book is the latest in Taylor's Irish country doctor series and fills in the background of the doctor's housekeeper, Kinky Kincaid. In Minding Frankie, I love the continuing saga of Binchy's residents of St. Jarlath's Crescent, in Dublin. She skillfully interweaves the lives of a diverse population and makes the reader want it to keep on going. I can't wait for the next book in either series!

Shawna's great article about blogs was too extensive to feature in its entirety in our Jan/Feb 2011 issue of Connections, our elementary education newsletter. So here is the unabridged version.


“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” First Amendment to the US Constitution

“The basic foundation of our democracy is the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of expression. The Opposing Viewpoints Series is dedicated to the concept of this basic freedom and the idea that it is more important to practice it than to enshrine it.”

Every book in Greenhaven Press’s Opposing Viewpoints series begins with this simple statement. This series is perfect for anyone hoping to better understand the timely issues and debates we hear about in the news every day. Each book focuses on one controversial issue and features essays from notable voices from every side.