《Who was》精读or读书笔记
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2017-12-26 04:51

前些日子朵拉读了5本《Who was》,本想读更多本的,为了调查取样的多样性,无奈学校的事情太多,只得草草收尾。好在朵拉按照我的要求,认真记录了每一本书,在此粘贴,供花友们参考。

选择《Who was》系列做精读,原因有三:1,词汇难度对朵拉来说不算高,看起来无压力; 2,传记写作有一定规律可循,便于总结; 3,阅读传记不仅能了解一个人物,还能对人物相关学科产生一定的兴趣,有可能激发延展性阅读。

我给朵拉设计的读书指南是这样的:

朵拉习惯用英文,于是自己设计了英文指南:

下面是5本书的实际记录

��Name: Neil Armstrong

��Lifetime: August 5, 1930 - August 25, 2012 

Place of birth: Ohio farmhouse that belonged to his grandparents

��Profession(s): Navy aviator, astronaut

Part-time jobs to earn money: Mowing the lawn at a cemetery, working in a doughnut company

��Hobbies: Everything about flying (Learning about airplanes, making cool models, actually doing it…)

��Personality: A calm and rather shy man who knew what he was doing

��Biggest accomplishment(s):

Neil Armstrong was the first man to ever set foot on the moon!

��Interesting facts about this person/background information:

Neil’s family moved 16 times before Neil was 13

Charles Lindbergh visited Neil and the other two astronauts just before the day the flight to the moon took place

��Other people mentioned in the book:

His father, Stephen, who worked for the Ohio state government

His caring mother Viola, who loved him the most out of her three kids

His younger sister June

His younger brother Dean, a fun boy

Janet Shearon, his first wife

His children: Eric(Rick), Karen(Muffie) who later died and Mark

Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, Neil’s partners in Apollo 11

Charles Lindbergh, the first man to cross the Atlantic

Carol Held Knight, his second wife

��How was this person introduced?

A famous scene, when Apollo 11 was getting send to space, starts off the biography. After many details, comes the name Neil Armstrong, and the biography begins.

��What was the most interesting part of this biography? Why?

The most interesting part was reading about the mission to the moon, everything seemed so exciting!

��Do you like this biography? If yes, why do you think this is worth reading? If not, why don’t you like it and what are the areas you think the author can improve on?

I loved this biography mainly because it focuses on Neil himself more than anything else but it also contains many knowledge that are interesting to know.

��Name: William Henry Gates III (Trey) (Bill)

��Lifetime: October 28, 1955 

Place of birth: Seattle, Washington

��Profession(s): Programmer, philanthropist

��Hobbies: Think, challenge himself, program, read, play sports in free time

��Personality: A smart person with a fast pace, leading skills and love in what he does, Bill Gates makes huge impact on the world

��Biggest accomplishment(s):

Bill Gates created Microsoft and led people into an incredible world with technology no one ever dreamed of

��Interesting facts about this person/background information:

Rocking back and forth along with tapping his foot help Bill think

Bill Gates likes to be fast

��Other people mentioned in the book:

His father William Gates Sr, mother Mary, sister Kristi and Libby

The Lakeside Programmers

Paul Allen, friend and business partner

His wife Melinda French, children Jennifer Katharine, Rory John and Phoebe Adele

Warren Buffett

Steve Ballmer

��How was this person introduced?

An event was described of the IBM making a deal with Microsoft’s president: Bill Gates.

��What was the most interesting part of this biography? Why?

The part I liked reading about the most was of Bill Gates’ work. Most of the biography talked about that. I loved reading about his brilliant ideas and intense passions.

��Do you like this biography? If yes, why do you think this is worth reading? If not, why don’t you like it and what are the areas you think the author can improve on?

Yes, I liked this biography because it had a catchy start, end and titles. More, the biography focused on the most important things of Bill’s life and talked about them in a way that captivated me.

��Name: Roald Dahl

��Lifetime: September 13, 1916 - November 23, 1990

Place of birth: Wales

��Profession(s): Worker in the Shell Oil Company, fighter pilot in RAF in WWII, employee at the British Embassy, writer for magazine, author

��Hobbies: Write, play sports, collect art pieces, antiques and wine, spend time in the country, photograph, raise dogs

��Personality: A very stubborn, up-and-down man with great imaginations and hobbies

��Biggest accomplishment(s):

Roald Dahl’s biggest accomplishment was writing children’s books

��Interesting facts about this person/background information:

Roald Dahl was named after famous Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who reached the South Pole in 1911.

Roald was not good at writing when he was young, at least his teachers thought so

Roald was good at sports and that helped him grow to six feet six inches tall

His book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was based on his experience with chocolate when he was young

Roald attended horrible schools with lots of caning

When Roald was 21, he persuaded both himself and his mother into replacing real teeth with false teeth

Roald once killed a black mamba snake only with his hockey stick

Roald broke his nose twice, one time he tried to make it look like a movie star’s nose

��Other people mentioned in the book:

His father Harald, his able mother Sofie, his sisters Astri, Alfhild, Else and Asta and his step-siblings

Mrs. Pratchett, an irritable old woman who owned a candy shop

Boys in an adventurous group called Public Schools Exploring Society

Mdisho, Roald’s servant and friend in Africa

Ian Fleming, author who wrote the James Bond books

Ernest Hemingway, author of The Old Man and Sea

Harry S. Truman, American president

Walt Disney, creator of Disney

Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Roosevelt

American actress Patricia Neal, Roald’s first wife

Roald’s children Olivia, Tessa, Theo, Ophelia and Lucy

His secretary

Felicity (Liccy) Crosland, Roald’s second wife

Quentin Blake, the illustrator of Roald’s books

��How was this person introduced?

Surprise! The introduction to Roald Dahl is not about his books or him as a writer, which I would have expected. Instead, the book starts by telling about his adventures in WWII. Towards the end of the introduction is when Roald is described as a person and a storyteller.

��What was the most interesting part of this biography? Why?

The most interesting parts of this biography was about Roald’s books (there is a list of his books at the back of this biography) and about how he overcame challenges and tragedies in his life. I’d love to read every children’s book Roald had ever wrote and their backgrounds because they are just so intriguing. Also, Roald faced lots of challenges in his life but he overcame them so that is a thing to learn from him.

��Do you like this biography? If yes, why do you think this is worth reading? If not, why don’t you like it and what are the areas you think the author can improve on?

I liked this biography because the author’s descriptions were written very well. But I also felt like the author interpreted every problem as mostly fair on Roald’s side. Anyhow, the biography was generally engaging.

��Name: (Helen) Beatrix Potter

��Lifetime: July 28th, 1866 - December 22nd, 1943 

Place of birth: London

��Profession(s): Author, illustrator, farmer

��Hobbies: Sketch, draw, paint, observe nature, farm

��Personality: An imaginative and creative girl who loved art and nature with a sort of want for perfection

��Biggest accomplishment(s): Wrote and drew children’s books where the main characters are all sorts of little and funny animals

��Interesting facts about this person/background information:

Her parents were very rich, and at that era, a rich family’s daughter was supposed to be very well-behaved with little freedom

Beatrix was very lonely because she didn’t get to meet a lot of people and she spent almost all of the time by herself

Beatrix kept a secret code in her diary so no one would understand it (the code was cracked in 1958)

Because of a disease, Beatrix had a massive amount of hair loss, and she had a bald patch on her head for her whole life.

��Other people mentioned in the book:

Helen Potter, a strict mother

Rupert Potter, her father who often took her to art galleries

Bertram Potter, her encouraging brother

Nurse Mackenzie, her nanny

Miss Hammond, her later nanny

Cox, the Butler who helped sneaking animals up to the third floor attic in Beatrix’s house

John Everett Millais, her father’s artist friend

Annie Carter, her governess, German teacher and close friend

Edwin Moore, Annie’s husband

Noel, Eric and other Moore children

The Warne family, her publisher and close friends

The Cannon family and residents in Lake District

William Heelis, her beloved husband

Anne Carroll Moore

��How was this person introduced?

The biography starts by a specific scene where male scientists look at Beatrix’s research paper w/ excellent drawings about mushrooms. It then explains the background information of this event. And it continues to Beatrix’s dreams as well as a little bit of her accomplishments.

��What was the most interesting part of this biography? Why?

To me, the most interesting part of this biography was about Beatrix’s time with the Moores family including the letters she sent to them. This is perhaps the Moores were all joyful, that could be felt to both Beatrix at that time and through the text, any reader. Another reason might be how the letters were the beginning of the stories of Beatrix, and that intrigued me very much.

��Do you like this biography? If yes, why do you think this is worth reading? If not, why don’t you like it and what are the areas you think the author can improve on?

Yes, I liked this biography. Besides the interesting life of Beatrix Potter alone, I think the simple language, clear chronological order and the pretty illustrations used also contributes to why this biography is worth reading.

��Name: Amelia (Mary) Earhart

��Lifetime: July 24th, 1897 - Unknown (Probably 1937 or 1938) 

Place of birth: Atchison, Kansas (In her grandmother’s house) 

��Profession(s): Nurse in WWI, pilot, matron or caretaker for poor children, orator, editor for a magazine column, fashion designer, activist in feminism, businesswoman, celebrity, pioneer

��Hobbies: Fly (Or at least the sensation of it when it was not possible)

��Personality: I think Amelia is both an independent, smart and risk-taking woman who made her own decisions that created a pioneer spirit in her and a unique woman that was a little shy but charming

��Biggest accomplishment(s):

Amelia was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, but remembered best by her mysterious disappearance when trying to set the record for the first woman to fly around the world

��Interesting facts about this person/background information:

Amelia quitted school many times because her family and her couldn’t afford it anymore

In her mind, always, she chose freedom over marriage, which was an unusual decision for women of her era

��Other people mentioned in the book:

Her family: Her mother, her father Edwin Earhart, her younger sister Muriel and her uncle

Miss Sutherland, a strict, independent and knowledgeable headmistress in Ogontz School that made a big impression on Amelia

Sam Chapman, a young man who wanted to marry Amelia but got refused

Neta Snook, Amelia’s female pilot teacher and friend

Monte Montijo, a flying expert that taught Amelia after her earlier teacher got married

Wilmer Stultz, the pilot carrying Amelia across the Atlantic to set the record for “first woman to cross the Atlantic”

George Putnam, Amelia’s manager and later, husband

The Ninety-Nines, a group of women fliers

Fred Noonan, her assistant on her last flight

��How was this person introduced?

In third person, the biography starts introducing Amelia straight away. The text focuses on Amelia’s jobs and her accomplishments, gives related information about the time Amelia lived in and introduces the reader to the first chapter of the book.

��What was the most interesting part of this biography? Why?

The most interesting part for me was reading about Amelia’s constant changes in her life: Quitting school, changing jobs… I love reading about this because I know once Amelia made a decision, there is no stopping her. So I want to know what decisions she made and their consequences, or in other words, how they went.

��Do you like this biography? If yes, why do you think this is worth reading? If not, why don’t you like it and what are the areas you think the author can improve on?

I’d say I liked this biography because the way the author wrote it made sense. The author made the text easy to read, also, I liked the extra informations added to this biography.

看完5本传记后,朵拉对我要求的共性与个性的问题没有太多感触,认为5本书差别不大,因而得出以下结论。

Conclusion: Group traits and individual traits

Unexpectedly, in my opinion, the biographies are not so different from each other, even though they were written by different authors. Originally, I planned to write about the individual and group traits of the biographies, which were not obvious. However, I had to change the question to “What do you think need to be included in a biography.” So here we go, I think for every biography, there needs to be chapters of the person’s life going in a chronological order. But first, there should be a short “hook”, similar to the “Who Was” section. Next, the basic information of the person (birth date, place, family and childhood) should be presented. Then show events in their life generally leading up to their biggest accomplishments, also their careers. This part should be the longest. And finally, later life should be described. In the text, hobbies, personality and family life should be told.

分析不出个性, 于是,我又加了一个问题:传记中的人物描写和小说中的人物描写有什么不同?加问题的主要目的是让朵拉开动脑筋,谁想到朵拉所答非所问,并相当淡定地回复我的质疑:你的问题我想不出来,所以我把题目改了,告诉你传记写作和小说写作的不同。

Another thing to learn from the close reading of these biographies is how biographies differ from novels.

To me, the first big difference is the structure. Biographies follow the lifetime of a person, they have to be in a chronological order. On contrast, novels have a basic beginning-inciting-incident-rising-action-falling-action-resolution structure, and it doesn’t have follow a chronological order. 

Second difference is the way authors write books. More facts are given in biographies, and so writing a biography is all about research. On the other hand, writing a novel is more about brainstorm and writing techniques, although sometimes research is needed too.

Another difference is the purpose, biographies inform and novels entertain.

So my conclusion here is that in order to broaden our minds, we need to read both biographies (nonfiction) and novels (fiction). We cannot only read one type of books, but instead try out new genres to balance our literacy skills.