I'll admit that when I first saw Why I March: Images from the Woman's March Around the World, I was a bit hesitant. I worried that it was just an effoI'll admit that when I first saw Why I March: Images from the Woman's March Around the World, I was a bit hesitant. I worried that it was just an effort to make a buck (or 15 of them) off a global event that brought humans of all types together to engage in a peaceful protest and in sustained support of mutual dignity and equality for all.
Once I sat down to look through its pages, however, I came to appreciate the book as a reminder and something of a touchstone as we move further and further away from the events and experiences of Saturday January 21, 2017. As we return to the shuffle and moan of our daily grind, of too much work, too little sleep, too many bills, not enough savings, of too many homeless people on the grates as we make our way into the office before the sun has risen, etc. etc., this little book will remind us why we made a pledge to do more, to care more, to amplify our sisters' voices and ideas more, and to call Bullsh*t in the face of the relentless patriarchy, the misogyny, the science deniers, the fearmongers, the haters, the entitled 1%ers, the promoters of "alternative truths," and all that debilitating, exhausting, rubbish that serves to grind us down and distract us from a shared purpose.
This little book is a constant reminder that people of all ages took to the streets around the world on 1/21/17 and in the days and weeks following. It is a positive reminder that we must sustain our commitment to ourselves, to each other, and to this planet. After all, as one of the millions of signs pictured in Why I March . . . reminds us, "There is no Planet B."
Kudos to Abrams Books, to Getty Images, to the three women who put this book together, and to all the men, women, and children who will persist in the fight against tyranny in its many forms. Oh, and in case you're concerned where your US $14.95 + tax is going, the covers proudly and boldly state that "All royalties will be donated to nonprofits affiliated with the March."...more
You may not know this, but I'm a recovering college professor, am now a federally-employed archaeologist, and I won a copy of this book as a FirstreadYou may not know this, but I'm a recovering college professor, am now a federally-employed archaeologist, and I won a copy of this book as a Firstreads giveaway. While the third fact has in no way influenced the content of this review, the first two have definitely informed why I was initially drawn to this book and what I ultimately found most valuable within its pages.
Terrified of public speaking but required by circumstance to host a fundraising event for a friend who had suffered a spinal cord injury, author David Nihill embarked on a one-year crash course in stand-up comedy. Convinced that he could learn everything about public speaking (in general) and stand-up (in particular), if he only adopted a laser-like focus to it, "Irish Dave"--as he was known on stage after an initial false start in which he failed to provide his last name on the sign-up sheet at open mic night and was then heckled by the emcee before even taking the stage--shares the lessons learned in that year. Moreover, Nihill has now shifted professional gears to running a business called FunnyBizz which assists members of the business community in a host of different ways to improve their marketing strategies, their sales, and above all their frequently stultifyingly boring business talks. But that is not why you, Dear Reader, should read this book.
The reason you should read this book is that it joins together, whether intentionally or not, multiple lines of wisdom that will be of use to heritage interpreters, public historians, K-12 and higher education professionals, public historians, Muggles, best persons at weddings, givers of toasts at events large and small, deliverers of eulogies, and public speakers of all sorts and stripes. (Heck, you can use the tips provided here to write more effective Briefing Sheets for your boss or agency's Solicitor if you were, hypothetically, an employee of an agency that required such things.)
As a species, humans tend to make sense of the world around us by observation and then arranging and relaying those explanations into a host of forms that, at their core, assume the form of a narrative--that is, a story. At heart, we are all storytellers--some a good deal more adept than others, to be sure, whether the story/account is delivered via the written or spoken word. This book exclusively addresses the latter. The same is true for all forms of public speaking--you are essentially telling a story and there is a structure that effective storytelling adapts, some techniques from stand-up comedy one would do well to adhere to, and that even if you're less entertaining than watching paint dry in your real life, these hacks can be learned and perfected.
In Do You Talk Funny: 7 Comedy Habits to Become a Better (and Funnier) Public Speaker, the artist formerly known as "Irish Dave" distills the lessons learned in his whirlwind tour of the comedy club and stand-up circuit--in addition to tons of reading, research, and interviews he conducted on the topic--and bottles it into what he referred to as "my wee book" in the inscription included on the title page of my autographed copy. He makes points that will serve aspiring and/or accomplished public speakers alike very well, that most readers will find highly amusing (esp. his own story involving a tiger shark that he misidentified to snorkelers as a resting whale shark that fortunately ended well for said misdirected tourons).
Most important, at least from this reader's perspective, Nihill achieved his goal, was able to not only deliver the goods as host of the fundraiser in support of his friend Arash's rigorous gamut of physical therapy, but ultimately Arash was able to incorporate the full range of tips included in Nihill's book to tell his own story in the form of a Tedx talk at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mBw2... (But don't take my word for it, check it out yourself!)
All told, Nihill's book is about far, far more than just being funny. It is about outlining a strategy for telling your story or relaying your message, about finding common ground or making yourself relatable to your audience, about effectively ordering and communicating that message, and about anticipating and then mastering a host of strategies for dealing with the many, many things that may go wrong along the way (e.g., interruptions, equipment failures, panic, forgetfulness, etc.). This highly readable and short book (i.e., 138 pages of text) includes exercises for getting started as well as a "tipliography" section with further brief advice and resources. While an entertaining read just for fun, the book could readily be incorporated to good effect in any public speaking class at either the K-12 level or higher. I know that if I were still teaching Heritage Interpretation, in just the same way as I drew parallels to and included readings from the literature and craft of effective storytelling, I would also include this book on the syllabus. After all, while we frequently need to take what we do seriously, it's just as important that we're able to enjoy a good laugh--even (as possibly most especially when it's) at our own expense.
I'll conclude this review as Nihill ended the book, with some good advice for any occasion: "Where you can, add comedy. We all need more of it" (p. 138)....more
To be sure, I'm a total sucker for a book called A Street Cat Named Bob with a big ginger tabby tomcat poised on his human's shoulder on the cover. SoTo be sure, I'm a total sucker for a book called A Street Cat Named Bob with a big ginger tabby tomcat poised on his human's shoulder on the cover. So I promptly flipped to the last few pages to ensure that Bob made it out alive and, once assured that thus would not be a sobbing kitty rehash of Marley and Me, I was able to commit.
This book is a super fast read that tells a story very much as follows: recovering heroin addict meets injured stray tomcat, spends last few dollars on vet care for same, the two bond, we learn a bit about life on the street in London, and cat plays pivotal role in young man's life by grounding him so that, at long last, he is able to get his act together. This is nothing you couldn't guess from the cover or know for sure after reading the dust jacket. None the less, you want to read it because there's some interesting reflections I won't spoil but that you'll appreciate.
So apparently Bob's a YouTube and internet rock star and I'd never heard of him until I came across this book. Now that I've read it, I'll never forget it, and am further convinced that all the cats that have graced my life are magical in their own way. There are even children's books about Bob, and he's an unofficial spokescat bringing attention to the work of the RSPCA, homelessness, and addiction issues. Here's to wishing you and your human companion, James Bowen, a long and happy life together, and thanks for breaking all those career, behavioral, and public transportation barriers, Bob!...more
I picked this up recently while traveling home from the Great Basin and, to my surprise, enjoyed it much more than I anticipated. The story is an inteI picked this up recently while traveling home from the Great Basin and, to my surprise, enjoyed it much more than I anticipated. The story is an interesting slice of life from a woman in emotional crisis. Strayed (or is that Starved?) did a great job of weaving just enough detail regarding her pre- and post-hike lives to serve as context for how she came to find herself embarking on a 1,100-mile journey for which she was in many ways utterly unprepared. She cuts herself little slack, but one can only wonder how one moves so smoothly from heroin dependence to long-distance hiker. Likewise, as an admittedly pro-choice woman, I found her comment at book's end that: "...my life--like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred" (p. 311) rang hollow at best. And as a side note, if reading this on a plane there will be a couple of occasions where you may need to close the book if you are at all uncomfortable crying in front of strangers (esp. when you get to the part about her mother's horse, Lady).
One final question, though: Where is Lisa--the friend who mailed all the packages to Cheryl (a.k.a. Queen of the Trail) along the way and even met her on the PCT at one point toward journey's end--when it comes to the book's Acknowledgments? It's great to note all your writing buddies, the funding agencies whose awards made the writing possible, but it seems ungrateful to identify so many "connected" individuals by name while reducing those "too many to name" to the sidelines when it is those latter folks who in many ways made this journey possible....more
I so wish we'd had a copy of McGee's On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen when I was growing up and just learning to bake and cookI so wish we'd had a copy of McGee's On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen when I was growing up and just learning to bake and cook. It contains all the amazing food science stuff we annoyed our parents with (e.g., but what does the baking soda doooooo?) and then some. I had the good fortune to score a copy on the giveaway table at work. Clearly, there is an up side to an office move.
This would make a welcome reference to any set of cookery books and a lovely gift to any up-and-coming home cook who wants to know why in addition to how....more
I picked up a copy of Manaugh's A Burglar's Guide to the City on a recent trip to Denver's Tattered Cover bookstore. As I spend a good amount of timeI picked up a copy of Manaugh's A Burglar's Guide to the City on a recent trip to Denver's Tattered Cover bookstore. As I spend a good amount of time reading about historic buildings and landscapes as part of my job, I had every hope that this small book would prove to be the paperback love child of Withold Rbczynski's Home: A Short History of an Idea and Lawrence Block's Bernie Rodenbar. It didn't quite meet those expectations as it didn't appear entirely sure who its audience is, but I found much of it thought-provoking without necessarily eliciting any epiphanies. I must admit to having esp. enjoyed the discussion of casinos--ironically while staying in a Nevada casino-resort. This book is a good jumping off point for further scholarly inquiry. Until then, I'll be off looking for the weak points of nearly every building I encounter, and have already twice outwitted the security guard at my casino-resort where we are required to show our room key before proceeding to the guest-only elevators. Twice now, I've waited until there was a large crowd and slipped in with them, without being caught out. ...more
Word of warning: This is not a cookbook. It's silly, it's irreverent, it's chipper, and it dispenses sound advice on everything from tips to those witWord of warning: This is not a cookbook. It's silly, it's irreverent, it's chipper, and it dispenses sound advice on everything from tips to those with ADHD (never leave the kitchen while food is in the oven), to what to serve when breaking it to friends and family that you want to be an artist, to how to survive the hustle, bustle, and unresolved family baggage at the holidays. If you're unfamiliar with Hart's work, go you YouTube and do a search on "Butter Yo Shit" and you'll catch her original and subsequent episodes. Kudos to her friends who spot her drunken kitchen antics and even occasionally attempt to school this culinary lost cause. Bottom line, there probably isn't any compelling reason not to add potato chips to lots of things, but how can you fail to have anything other than the best Thanksgiving ever if you only abide by this sage advice:
Anyway, this year for Thanksgiving don't bottle up all your holiday-centric angst for an inappropriate outburst before/after/during the meal--try this instead!
Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Place your hand on top of the cheesecake. Release your breath and . . . Press down.
Of course, she then directs the reader in how to fill the hand-shaped depression in such a way as to make it appear mildly holiday-appropriate.
Long story short, I'd be happy to do some cooking with Hannah, just maybe not in my kitchen--as it appears to get about as trashed as she does....more
Provocative read on several levels that deserves a thoughtful review. I'll try to get that done this evening. In the interim, I'm sorry to have missedProvocative read on several levels that deserves a thoughtful review. I'll try to get that done this evening. In the interim, I'm sorry to have missed the exhibit but am glad to have caught up to the book. Also, I am confident that some future cat in my life will be named Mrs. Chippy in honor of the cat that crewed the Endurance. (Note to self: Animals don't fare well on voyages to Antarctica. Just sayin'.)...more
Schumacher's How Does the Show Go On?: An Introduction to the Theater is a lavishly-illustrated, three-dimensional, and semi-interactive book containiSchumacher's How Does the Show Go On?: An Introduction to the Theater is a lavishly-illustrated, three-dimensional, and semi-interactive book containing a detailed overview of everything from the front of the house, to the back of the house, to how to read your ticket, to explaining how Will Call works, to the assorted roles and responsibilities of the many, many people who collaborate to make a theatrical production happen.
While this is not a kid's book, it is a book that adult(s) and child(ren) could profitably work through together in anticipation of a trip to the theatre--either as a pre-teach or a follow-up (or both, based on questions that may arise in the course of the outing). Ditto for adults making a foray to the theatre. It's a clever reference that any theatre-loving family might wish to have on the shelf for those random moments where someone asks, "What's the difference again between stage left and stage right?" It would also be a great resource for any grade-level where the teacher wants to instruct students of any age on some aspect of a theatrical production. That said, school libraries could profitably place it on their shelves.
I particularly appreciated the semi-interactive nature of the book. Specifically, the fact that there were flaps to open, items (e.g., a ticket stub, costume sketches and associated swatches, stage manager's cue sheet, etc.) to examine, and even a little reinforcement exercise toward book's close were welcome additions to more traditional explanatory text and image.
On a personal note, my favorite bit was the inclusion of a brief discussion of theatre etiquette. Well played, sir! While one wishes it weren't necessary, we all know that it is as evidenced by every "curtain speech" we've ever heard, random flash, and crinkling wrapper.
My only quibble with the book is that its clever packaging--most notably the front cover that opens in the center to mimic the opening of the Act Curtain--makes this somewhat heavy book (esp. if one is reading it in bed) awkward to hold while reading. If you don't fold the right hand flap back inside behind some of the pages, you are likely to break the spine.
At $19.95 for the hardback (not sure if there is a paperback edition), this is a handy reference and would make a lovely gift for anyone--tween, teen, or adult alike....more
Martin and Tichenor's Reduced Shakespeare: The Complete Guide for the Attention Impaired [abridged] is as hilarious as it is irreverent. As a Muggle (Martin and Tichenor's Reduced Shakespeare: The Complete Guide for the Attention Impaired [abridged] is as hilarious as it is irreverent. As a Muggle (as opposed to a literary scholar, let alone producer, actor, or adapter of Shakespearean works for stage, screen, or sock puppet), I adored this collection. This book is as silly as it is informative, and was just the right mix of fact and frivolity in an otherwise stressful week. While it would be impossible to identify a favorite bit, I will note that even the Bibliography--which includes both reference works that actually exist as well as those that should exist--rocks. Fun, fun stuff here.
Despite co-author Austin Tichenor's inscription to us that reads, in part: "May this occupy a place of pride in your new home! (I'm thinking the bathroom.)" it's going on the shelves with other good stuff that we'll want to loan out to friends as the occasion arises.
Shameless plug: And if you enjoy this sort of thoughtfully-researched frivolity, by all means go see any of the Reduced Shakespeare productions and check out their website (complete with podcasts) at http://www.reducedshakespeare.com/ ...more
Very interesting stuff here that brings an important and understudied site out of the gray literature and into the light of day. I can't say too muchVery interesting stuff here that brings an important and understudied site out of the gray literature and into the light of day. I can't say too much here as I've recently submitted a review of same for the Society for Historical Archaeology's (SHA) book review section. However, if you're interested in history, archaeology, plantations, and redressing the conscious and unconscious muting of African American experiences past and present, then this is a must-read for you....more
This is an older book, from the 1980s, that appeared on the "giveaway" table in the Women's Restroom at work. Thank you, co-worker and declutterer, foThis is an older book, from the 1980s, that appeared on the "giveaway" table in the Women's Restroom at work. Thank you, co-worker and declutterer, for sharing this amusing analysis--complete with diagrams--of cat behavior and lists of their preferences. Cat people will get a kick out of this and non-cat people may well mistakenly interpret the presence of this book on a cat person's bookshelf as suggestive of the fact that he or she is trying to "get help" for their feline. As if. ...more
Part catalog, part biography, and parts political, social, and costume history in equal measure, Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box isPart catalog, part biography, and parts political, social, and costume history in equal measure, Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box is a fun way to spend a few hours. Readers should be aware that the book complements a traveling exhibit of the author's pin collection, predominantly composed of costume jewelry, that accompanied her on trips, meetings, and speaking events throughout her tenure in politics (esp. her time as Secretary of State). The photographs are first-rate, the pin-dex (get it?) a clever addition, and the author's premise a safe and well-supported one:
As these pages illustrate, pins are inherently expressive. Elegant or plain, they reveal much about who we are and how we hope to be perceived. Styles have changed through the years, as has jewelry's role in relations between the genders and in the affairs of state. I was fortunate to serve at a time and in a place that allowed me to experiment by using pins to communicate a diplomatic message. One might scoff and say that my pins didn't exactly shake the world. To that I can reply only that shaking the world is precisely the opposite of what diplomats are placed on Earth to do (p. 161).
The Spirit of Gin: A Stirring Miscellany of the New Gin Revival is just that, a miscellany. What makes this quite heavy book so highly enjoyable is thThe Spirit of Gin: A Stirring Miscellany of the New Gin Revival is just that, a miscellany. What makes this quite heavy book so highly enjoyable is the fact that it's less OED/reference tome and more lavishly-illustrated book of fun gin factoids and trivia. My only disappointment, and it's a truly a modest one, is that in his admittedly scatter-gun itemization of craft distilleries from around the U.S., Teacher fails to mention my personal favorite, Journeyman Distillery (Three Oaks, Michigan) whose Billberry Blackhearts Gin is the key ingredient in the most refreshing summer punch imaginable known as the English Garden. (Plus, there's a whole historic preservation/adaptive reuse of a corset factory complemented by locally-sourced botanicals, barrels, etc. that made it the total package for me.)
The book provides a summary in snippet form of author Matt Teacher's globetrotting (albeit decidedly western Europe-focused with reference to a few Australian distilleries tossed in for good measure) travels to famous bars and distilleries to chat with their proprietors about the wonderful world of gin. It also includes a few excerpts from industry publications and other short articles about gin. My personal favorite bit is his running commentary on how to convert vodka drinkers into fans of the juniper. An excerpt from an article by Erik Holzherr, outlines the six-step conversion process with benefit of the hypothetical holdout's reservations to which the gin proselytizer is provided rebuttals. Here's my personal favorite: Point: "Gin makes me think of my grandma." Rebuttal: "Your grandma sounds cool."
Long story short, for fans of any of gin's many wonderful varieties, this is an informative read that is less reference than teaser. It inspires you to learn more--not only about this particular spirit, but about the craft distillery movement, about what's local where you live, and which new gins and/or gin-based cocktails you might wish to try. The Spirit of Gin... provides citations for other more scholarly works on the topic, should that be something readers wish to pursue. The beauty of this book, however, is its highly attractive packaging, layout, its short pieces, blurbs, sidebars, and gorgeous photographs. This would make a welcome addition to any cookery/cocktail library and a perfect housewarming or shower gift for anyone setting up house (and bar)....more
By no means a fast read, Gross' House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World's Most Powerful Address provided fascinating insightBy no means a fast read, Gross' House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World's Most Powerful Address provided fascinating insights into the history and staying power of NYC's east side vs. west side, coop vs. condo, old money vs. new money, WASP vs. Jew factions as played out in the dog-eat-dog world of its prestige address apartment buildings. While perhaps too heavy at times on the details/antics of the residents of this particular property, the work is perhaps best summarized in the following excerpt:
The real-property embodiment of Hegel's dialectic, 15 CPW grafted the thesis of the impenetrable limestone-clad Park Avenue co-op with the antithesis of the amenity-rich glass-tower condo to forge a synthesis, a new kind of club for the newly enriched and those who aspire to join them (p. 261).
Gross' book is fascinating in its treatment of the sheer magnitude of events to be orchestrated perfectly in order to zone, permit, design, construct, and then bring such a property to market. The cast of characters--everyone from developers, investors, residents, the starchitect Robert A.M. Stern whose practice got it all down on paper--is vast and far reaching. At mid-point the book became a bit bogged down in the personal foibles of the folks involved, but I am happy to have forged through the sloggy bits.
This building, the reigning king of NYC trophy apartments, broke all sorts of records. Its first round of residents were also taking possession of their units at the same time that the fit was well and truly hitting the shan on Wall Street. Major players from Goldman Sachs, as just one example, figure prominently in the story of 15 CPW. In fact, in the fall of 2012, participants in Occupy Goldman Sachs set up shop directly across from the building for several weeks. Actors, athletes, investors, artists, and a host of accomplished business people and their families call 15 CPW home.
I enjoyed the book, founds its details and insights fascinating. The one thing that surprised me as I read it was that I imagined its developers would love for readers to drool with envy at the opulence of the building and its utter inaccessibility to the rest of us 99%ers. While Gross did a very nice job of verbally describing a building that, for security reasons, he couldn't even provide a floor plan for, in my estimation he never succeeded in giving the building a soul. In some ways, the descriptions of different developers trying to out-build and out-step the latest highest price paid/square foot reminds me of the latest Vegas hotel--nice for now, but destined to be outdated in a very short time and, equally possible, destined to be razed and replaced by "the next best thing" just as 15 CPW replaced older, smaller buildings that were of a decidedly more modest scale and met the needs of a different era. ...more