I was surprised by what a sincere investigation into modern romantic trends this is. My guess is that the co-author did the bulk of the heavy liftingI was surprised by what a sincere investigation into modern romantic trends this is. My guess is that the co-author did the bulk of the heavy lifting - Eric Klinenberg is a sociologist who wrote the interesting nonfiction title Going Solo about the rise in single-person households.
The jokes and asides are funny, the story is interesting. ...more
Doesn't go deep enough. The opening is strong but then it trots along without deepening the argument substantially. I also think it glosses over the rDoesn't go deep enough. The opening is strong but then it trots along without deepening the argument substantially. I also think it glosses over the responsibility the head of PR of a big company might have to not make horrible racist jokes on her own Twitter - even claiming she "did nothing wrong."
Investigating the culture of mass shaming of individuals online is a lot more worthy of a project if there's something to it besides interviews with the subjects and some light Googling of research done in the area, some stunt journalism of attending a radical truth workshop. It just doesn't ever coalesce into anything that shows the author has thought deeply about the issue, or understands the deep experiences of people who are subject to racism, sexism, homophobia - saying that the world reacts differently to you if you're straight, white, male, and educated is different than an ad hominem attack on the author, in my opinion.
3.75? This is a compelling, quick graphic memoir about the civil rights movement, very interesting story and unique perspective from someone who was i3.75? This is a compelling, quick graphic memoir about the civil rights movement, very interesting story and unique perspective from someone who was integral then and is still around today. I wanted all the volumes of this at once so I could spend more time with it, but I prefer chunky to slim and I could see the appeal to those less likely to invest in a lengthy book....more
When a black male teenager who happens to be the son of a police detective is killed in South Los Angeles, another detective perseveres to bring the mWhen a black male teenager who happens to be the son of a police detective is killed in South Los Angeles, another detective perseveres to bring the murderers to justice, despite the overwhelming indifference of the media and LA police bureaucracy, and the overwhelming legacy of racism and injustice. Sounds like a thriller, and it is, but this nonfiction account is so much more than just an individual story about a hardworking detective. It's completely devastating and riveting and everyone should read it. It's so rare to see true crime and police work interwoven into the much larger picture of race and injustice as it affects black men in America. This follows the story of one detective and what happens in a few particular cases, but it is also more than that and attempts to document some of the raw agony and ongoing suffering these murders cause in the black community.
"Take a bunch of teenage boys from the whitest, safest suburb in America and plunk them down in a place where their friends are murdered and they are constantly attacked and threatened. Signal that no one cares and fail to solve murders. Limit their options for escape. Then see what happens. The young man turned on them somber, frightened eyes.He didn't want to be in prison and didn't want to die. He wanted out but couldn't find a way."
It made me think also about the state monopoly on violence. The author explicitly states in the intro that "this is a book about a very simple idea: where the criminal justice system fails to respond vigorously to violent injury and death, homicide becomes endemic...the failure of the law to stand up for black people when they are hurt or killed by others has been masked by a whole universe of ruthless, relatively cheap and easy 'preventive' strategies."...more
This book is "...a snapshot of the complicated world of some boys growing up in Oakland, California, in the midst of a system of punishment which, froThis book is "...a snapshot of the complicated world of some boys growing up in Oakland, California, in the midst of a system of punishment which, from their perspective, maintains an ironclad grip on their everyday lives." Victor Rios follows forty Black and Latino teenage boys in Oakland for a few years, in the process getting searched by police, arrested, and being subject to interrogation by police officers many times, simply for hanging out with them in public, on the streets of Oakland, doing stuff like sitting on the curb eating tacos by a taco truck. It's heartbreaking, as when one of the boys tries to get a job as a server in a restaurant and unknowingly is turned down for the job because he wears sneakers and doesn't shake hands with the interviewer as he leaves. He doesn't shake hands because of the dominant narrative he's subject to - don't touch a white woman, it will make people think you're dangerous. He thinks he's being respectful. It's heartbreaking when the teenage boys can't buy candy at the store without carefully going directly to the candy aisle and choosing a candy with outstretched arms, arching their bodies away from the racks to try to show the store clerk they're not shoplifting. And it's heartbreaking when they can't hang out without being stopped, searched, entered into the police's gang member database if they're simply around a friend who's in the database.
And, anyway, it made me think a lot about public institutions and the way we ally ourselves with police and seem dominant and punitive to outsiders. At the library, when we ask for ID, when we show how we're part of the system, when we aren't nice, when we are harsh to teenagers for how they express themselves.
"In my college courses, I read books that discussed the government's neglect of the poor. While insightful, these books missed a key process that I had personally experienced: the state had not abandoned the poor; it had reorganized itself, placing priority on its punitive institutions, such as police, and embedding crime-control discourses into welfare institutions, such as schools."
"As the boys came of age, and were almost always treated like criminals, they believed, and were often correct, that they were being systematically punished for being poor, young, Black or Latino, and male. In the era of mass incarceration, when punitive social control has become a dominant form of governance, some young people are systematically targeted as criminal risks."
Part biography, part memoir, part nonfiction, part literary essay - ends up being an examination of the author's life, the life of George Eliot, and tPart biography, part memoir, part nonfiction, part literary essay - ends up being an examination of the author's life, the life of George Eliot, and the female characters of Middlemarch. ...more
Walter Kirn, the novelist and journalist, tells the true story of his 15-year friendship with the man he knew as Clark Rockefeller, the man who turnedWalter Kirn, the novelist and journalist, tells the true story of his 15-year friendship with the man he knew as Clark Rockefeller, the man who turned out to be a possibly sociopathic imposter and accused murderer. Their relationship begins when Kirn undertakes a cross-country journey from Montana to New York to deliver a paralyzed rescue dog to Clark, who he believes to be a wealthy member of the Rockefeller clan. As the story unfolds, Kirn also interrogates his own behaviors and his own experiences reinventing or stretching the truth of his own life. Riveting....more
One night in 2010, Shannan Gilbert, a young woman working as an escort, ran screaming through a quiet Long Island beach community, fearful for her lifOne night in 2010, Shannan Gilbert, a young woman working as an escort, ran screaming through a quiet Long Island beach community, fearful for her life. She pounded on the doors of several homes, called 911 on her cell phone and talked to a 911 operator for 20 minutes. Then she disappeared. No one ever saw her again.
During the search for Shannan, though, police discovered the bodies of four other young women, who also worked as escorts and used Craigslist to meet clients. This book is about the lives of all five of these young women, and the poverty and circumstances that led them to Craigslist. It's one of the only true crime books I've read that focuses so much on the victims, and it's really interesting. The author extensively interviewed their friends and family, not just about their disappearances and working lives as escorts, but about how they grew up, what kind of other jobs they had (almost all went through a series of dead-end minimum wage employers), and what they were like as people. ...more
If you enjoyed Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, check out this exciting and interesting book about the extraordinary young men from the University of WaIf you enjoyed Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, check out this exciting and interesting book about the extraordinary young men from the University of Washington who won the gold medal at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. If you are from the Northwest, the descriptions of life in small towns and Seattle in the 1930s are full of fascinating glimpses of familiar locations in an older time. Joe Rantz, the main protagonist, grew up in Sequim and arrived at the University of Washington in the midst of the Great Depression. He worked as a janitor and did other physical labor in order to pay his tuition each semester.
I had no idea that crew and rowing were so demanding on the physical body. The author explains how rowing works all the major muscle groups, and how hard it is to be part of a 24-inch wide shell full of eight men who all have to move in perfect synchronization.
The story of how this underdog crew of mostly working-class young men took on their California and East Coast rivals and then traveled to Hitler's Berlin is exciting and readable. ...more
Salacious narrative nonfiction about sorority girls at an unnamed Southern university. Follows four young women through the course of a school year -Salacious narrative nonfiction about sorority girls at an unnamed Southern university. Follows four young women through the course of a school year - these are characters so similar to fictional characters that the whole book reads like a novel, with other tidbits of information and news about hazing, eating disorders, promiscuity, etc, inserted into the mix. ...more
By turns heartbreaking, alarming, and dry, the story of the Dust Bowl is recounted through the personal histories of several people who stayed throughBy turns heartbreaking, alarming, and dry, the story of the Dust Bowl is recounted through the personal histories of several people who stayed through the worst, and also put in the context of the larger issues with the population and land.
Teddy Roosevelt as a historical figure connotes a certain tough masculinity. The Rough Riders, the hunting, the cowboy image, "speak softly and carryTeddy Roosevelt as a historical figure connotes a certain tough masculinity. The Rough Riders, the hunting, the cowboy image, "speak softly and carry a big stick" - he's sort of an early prototype of Ron Swanson, right?
Well, what if I were to tell you, that in addition to his Ron Swanson qualities, he was also the full-on Leslie Knope busybody of his day? That the Washington Post described him as "Never quiet, always in motion, perpetually bristling with plans, suggestions, interference, expostulation, he was the incarnation of bounce, the apotheosis of inquisition." He was also (according to this book, which I'll get to in a minute) "...an outspoken crusader for a vast array of causes that would decades later be bannered under the umbrella of progressive reform."
This book is about Roosevelt's crusade to clean up sinful New York City in the 1890s when he was a police commissioner. It paints a colorful, realistic picture of life in the tenements and neighborhoods of the time, with details about prostitution, drinking, and rampant police corruption. Roosevelt embarks on a quest to stop police payoffs and bribery, and, oh yeah, to rigorously enforce every single law on the books, including those that have been widely ignored by everyone for years. No longer will New Yorkers be able to drink on Sundays, for the law says that they can't.
Honestly, I didn't finish this book, due to its becoming overwhelming in detail. I enjoyed the half that I did read, though....more
This is one of the best adventure books out there. I especially like how Krakauer is both a journalist and a character - kind of, and bear with me herThis is one of the best adventure books out there. I especially like how Krakauer is both a journalist and a character - kind of, and bear with me here, like Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby. Part of the story but also an observer....more
Well-written and suspenseful true crime book about a young British woman who disappears in Japan, after moving there to make money working in the worlWell-written and suspenseful true crime book about a young British woman who disappears in Japan, after moving there to make money working in the world of Tokyo nightclubs as a "hostess". The most interesting parts of this highlight the cultural differences between Japan and the West, and how those differences come into play when crimes are committed. ...more
Jon Ronson was on the Daily Show a few weeks ago and Jon Stewart described him as an 'investigative satirist.' This book is definitely investigative sJon Ronson was on the Daily Show a few weeks ago and Jon Stewart described him as an 'investigative satirist.' This book is definitely investigative satire, pursuing lines of inquiry mixed with personal revelations of the author. It's okay, a light read, doesn't delve too deeply into psychopathy. ...more
Super interesting gallery of mass-market fashion in the early 1960s USA - fun to flip through the pages and make your coworkers play the game, "WhichSuper interesting gallery of mass-market fashion in the early 1960s USA - fun to flip through the pages and make your coworkers play the game, "Which of these sweaters would you wear, because you have to wear one of these sweaters." Interesting if you're a fan of the costuming on Mad Men. A few dresses that caused a pang of longing, wishing I could have those looks. ...more
We are cursed to live in the age of the fashion ascendance of the capri cargo pant. This book argues that people in general would be happier if theirWe are cursed to live in the age of the fashion ascendance of the capri cargo pant. This book argues that people in general would be happier if their clothes were a little more uncomfortable, or at least if they wore "sweatsuit alternatives" as opposed to actual sweatsuits.
Tim Gunn offers a quick look at all sorts of garments and the history of their development, from gloves to dresses to the suit. Sometimes he offers his analysis, as when he says there are two main dress silhouettes - draped or fitted - and the draped is based on ancient Greece, and the fitted from ancient Egypt. This actually turns out to be practical advice for dress shopping, because you can think of which silhouette you are most drawn to, and choose styles based on that. ...more
My friend played me a record of a 1970s children's song by Malvina Reynolds that included a line something like, "Lobsters live at the bottom of the sMy friend played me a record of a 1970s children's song by Malvina Reynolds that included a line something like, "Lobsters live at the bottom of the sea, and we live at the bottom of the air." That image, bringing to mind the vast empty space above us, is reflected in this book by the author of The Little Prince. Saint-Exupery reflects on his days as the pilot of small airplanes in the very early stages of mail service. He flew over the Sahara desert, the Andes mountain range, he flew over roiling oceans and in blind fogs that lasted for hours. As the book talks about, many, many pilots lost their lives in the early days of aviation in the 1920s.
It must have been amazing to have been among the first people to ever go up so high into the air, to view the panorama of the sky, and to see the world below. You get a sense of wonder from this book, as when Saint-Exupery remembers landing on a high desert plateau made up of crushed white rocks, completely inacessible from the surrounding ground, and he knows that he is the first person to ever stand there. Then he sees at his feet a single black rock, and picks it up and realizes it's a meteorite. He looks around and finds a few more, and in beautiful, evocative writing talks about knowing that there is nothing between him and the stars. In another scene, he again references the closeness of the stars, while talking about a night in the Sahara he spent when an airplane went down, when his flight crew without any food or drink sat together on a blanket in the sand and it was somehow holy like Christmas.
This book is poetic, full of images. It was written in the 1930s, and the Bedouins and Arabic people are depicted in a racist way. Toward the end, there's a long essay on the Spanish civil war that really didn't fit the rest of the book for me, and seemed so overly romanticizing of peasants and their simple lives that I felt an eye-roll or two.
2.5 The sort of social science book that reiterates its points again and again. The main argument is a good one, though: rather than bemoaning the lon2.5 The sort of social science book that reiterates its points again and again. The main argument is a good one, though: rather than bemoaning the lonely American and wringing our hands over the ways that modern life appears to be more isolated and fragmented, we should address the real problems (which, conveniently, there are real solutions to.) The real problems are elderly people living with little support in communities that don't offer Meals on Wheels visits or have pedestrian-friendly places to go. The real problem is that no one can count on having an okay place to spend their final days; instead everyone has to fear running out of money and living in a privatized, understaffed, horrific nursing home.
Besides that, the author talks about how people have never lived alone in such numbers before, because it has never before been possible for most people. He interviews mostly middle-class people about their choices and what they enjoy about living alone, and he also interviews some residents of a New York SRO (single-room occupancy) building, people who are generally poor and marginalized. ...more