The style is not one I enjoy. Too much telling. Honestly, if the death of her youngest sister hits Theodora that hard, some effort should have gone inThe style is not one I enjoy. Too much telling. Honestly, if the death of her youngest sister hits Theodora that hard, some effort should have gone into actually showing the relationship. When a non-character dies, it lacks impact....more
For me, as for many people in the world, Brazil means football. Further thought brings to mind Carnival, and then comesDisclaimer: ARC via Netgalley
For me, as for many people in the world, Brazil means football. Further thought brings to mind Carnival, and then comes the favelas, then drugs, then the beaches, then pollution, and that’s it. And that’s rather unfair to Brazil in general and Rio de Janeiro in particular.
For most people outside of Brazil, Brazil is either rainforest or Rio. It’s like the East Coast of the United States being New York or Washington (or the United States being New York or LA). While Barbassa’s book is about Rio, in particular about a Rio in a state of change as it prepares for the World Cup and Olympics, she does note that Brazil is far more than Rio, that Rio itself if far more than what makes it into the movies or the nightly newscast.
Barbassa starts her book with a newscast, one that shows the naming of Rio for the 2016 Olympics. This compels her to journey back to her city after years away. The book chronicles the city as it undergoes changes in getting already for both the World Cup and the Olympics. It ends with; well I don’t really see how it is a spoiler anymore but anyway, with the World Cup and the Brazilian National Team’s fate in that tournament.
Barbassa paints the city, not just by chronicling the events that made international headlines, such as assault on the favelas or the mudslides that wipes out smaller communities, but also her own struggles in the city – such as her quest to finding living space. The use of a personal story, but one that most people moving to or living in Rio go through, actually gives more to the book than leaving it out. It also allows a closer and more intimate look at what living in the city entails, not for someone who is rich or poor, but in the middle.
The most interesting and engrossing sections are not the parts about the war on the drug gangs or the invasion of the favelas; they are the sections about the mudslides and the environment. In the section about the mudslides, Barbassa captures the feeling of the people, as well as her reaction to the events, but also pulls the reader along with her. Her descriptive writing is so vivid that sounds and smell are there even if you are reading it a nicely air conditioned room as I was.
The environment appears not only in the chapters about the dumps and sewage, but also about the struggle of living in certain areas of the city as well as the cataloging of animals. And Barbassa looks are more than the human animal.
If you are reading this book expecting to see a detailed analysis of Carnival, nope. While there is one description of one Carnival, Barbassa uses it more as an introduction to changing views on homosexuality and transgender issue. The device work very well, and it also extends to looking at prostitution in the city – which Barbassa does in some depth, offering some good analysis, while focusing on how even this is changing with the passage of time.
The book is timely not because it comes out a year after the World Cup and a year before the Olympics, but because it gives context to those events. Too often we only look at the major sporting events though a lens of the event – be it the idea of a success or a failure – Barbassa’s book allows us to see both the human element as a success and as a loss. The question is, as always, what is the price of success? Does success come with a brilliant televised event or with the fulfillment of the lives of the people who live in the area? How does a city keep moving, growing, changing, and fighting when the solutions don’t work or aren’t even considered? Such struggles are not just central to the fading American city, such as Detroit, but are more global in impact.
I feel I must apologize to the publisher who approved the ARC for a reader who loved the book, but whose area of expertise and study is not the urban city. I can’t recommend this book highly enough, however. In many ways, it makes the perfect work to use in a class simply because there is enough coverage of various topics to promote conversation and debate. ...more
In all fairness, I should note that I live in Philadelphia, which does get a chapter in this book.
In all fairness to T Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.
In all fairness, I should note that I live in Philadelphia, which does get a chapter in this book.
In all fairness to Toronto, which is a wonderful city that everyone should visit, the graffiti there has nothing on Philadelphia’s. I’m sorry, but that’s how I feel. Can we agree to disagree?
Maybe it’s because I live in a big city that has embraced a mural arts project, I tend to see graffiti as art. Who knows? This isn’t to say that some boring tags annoy me, but there are some beautiful, interesting, and thought provoking pieces by artists.
Verel’s book looks at graffiti in NYC as well as the changing attitudes, and suggesting that the city adopt a mural arts program. The book is part study, and includes a copy of the study questions that Verel asked the various groups (residents, owners, and artists). It also has some beautiful photographs.
The most interesting parts of the book are the interactions between the artists and the building owners (as well as residents in the area). Verel not only looks at the transaction between artist and owner – why the artist suggested the art, what the owner wanted or didn’t want the reasons – but also the impact on the surrounding environment and a comparison to buildings where owners use the city method. It is that in depth look that make the book because why the view of the artist might be a given for most people, the view of the owner is different. What is also interesting is when some artists reveal or discuss why they made the shift.
Divided into sections based upon city areas, also includes chapters on two Jersey cities as well as chapter on Philadelphia. This allows not only for a comparison between areas, but also why some ideas work in some places and not in others. Additionally, he includes a chapter detailing why some people opt for buffing instead of embracing the graffiti art.
And he does so fairly, without insulting them or implying they need to move into a modern world.
If you are interested in Street Art or city murals, this book is well worth a read. Terms are defined for a newbie, but more importantly, it looks at the changes culture is making towards such art as well as a look at the debate surrounding the changes.
(And if you read the book Street Art Santiago from this publisher, you should enjoy this. It doesn’t look at the political aspects as much, but view of those who live near it. It is an interesting look and analysis of the subject). ...more
**spoiler alert** I usually don't count DNF books as part of my read count for the year, but since I am stopping at 80%, if you don't like it, you kno**spoiler alert** I usually don't count DNF books as part of my read count for the year, but since I am stopping at 80%, if you don't like it, you know where you can stick it (and I know 99% of you who read this, have no problem with DNF).
If you are even a little bit of feminist, you have most likely heard of the Man's Right Movement, or whatever it is. This book is part of that. Now let me say a few things first. Rape is rape regardless of who the victim or the rapist is. A woman can rape a man (it's amazing how many men don't believe this). Gender roles are also harmful to men.
But a man's right movement that doesn't make sense, especially when most of the feminists working today actually incorporate the above points into their theory.
This book is just . . . I hope it's written tongue in check and this Philip John O'Sullivan and his penis Pokey (yes, that is name of his penis) are just some people who thought to do something funny. If this isn't a joke, however, the guy needs help. Seriously, I believe that he was raped or is mentally ill and honestly believes that he was. There is no other way to describe this book.
Well, there is.
BIG FUCKING MESS.
O'Sullivan has not met a fragment he doesn't use. All these years, I thought sentences were suppose to make sense. Apparently, I was wrong; I should be as confusing as possible. You should also refer to yourself in third person and keep telling people about things in other books that you haven't written yet.
Honestly, if this guy actually graduated from a university in New Zealand, I think we should close all the universities in New Zealand. Seriously, my cat writes better than O'Sullivan when she walks across my computer keyboard.
Then he goes on these weird digressions, like about Pokey his penis who thinks for him and makes him help and how it is sad that women don't have one.
He's concerned that white people aren't breeding enough and abortion is the reason for this. Apparently people shit will make more land.
And anyone who is homosexual is a rapist. And all women are rapists (though I might be misreading that sentence because it was just so fucked up who knows what he really meant to say).
Then there is this strange thing about women and men being able to smell arousal and if a woman is aroused and says no, a guy should make her do it anyway.
And there are sentences like these:
"New Zealand was always known as the 'easy' country: where our women folk opened their legs too readily: masculist will necessarily have to act in closing them"
"Living in this Kafkaesque Aotearoa (another name for New Zealand; it means 'land of the long white cloud' which could mean the white people . . . "
"Fixed the earthquake yet?"
"Since the relationship picked up again later when unbeknownst, as we had spent intervening years in other cities, and had inadverntently not recalling her from infancy of course -met her again"
Or what he says about the male gaze "If the 'male gaze' is too strong for her then where is her strong women image; beaten by our gazes? Our glances do they crucify you. Then die on the cross for us our gentler living dildo is no-able; hers cannot say yes or no. her mechanical love is tiresome. Try the real thing. You then too have proven empathy, without it none. Pornographic rape is the mind of the dally dildo."
Yes, the dildo, the evil of the universe.
If this is what the men's movement is like, I can't even. I just can't even . .. ...more
**spoiler alert** This book is a Point/Counterpoint book from OUP, so one half of the book is a yes answer to the title question, the second half is a**spoiler alert** This book is a Point/Counterpoint book from OUP, so one half of the book is a yes answer to the title question, the second half is a no answer.
So if I were giving the first half a book a star rating, it would be one star. If it was the second half, it would be four stars.
So let’s go with three stars.
Actually that’s not really fair. It really is a four star book from a teaching stand point because part 1 by Farrell could also be titled “how not to present an argument and alienate all readers except people like you” while part 2 could be titled “Bitch Smack down of Part 1”. So if you are teaching a writing course, this is a pretty good book to use.
And honestly, in all fairness to the idea, couldn’t OUP find a better author for the first part? Yes, I know Farrell started the whole thing and all, but still.
Because Farrell’s part is just so bad and insulting on so many levels.
In fairness, he does have some good points. It’s true that gender roles affect both genders, and perhaps more attention should be paid to that. It’s also true that the fact the men have to register for the draft and face combat while women don’t (at least at the time of this book’s publication the change in women in combat had not occurred) is unfair. I might even concede that making fun of men can be just as insulting as making fun of women. I am even willing to entertain the idea of asking women out is really hard and scary for men. And, quite frankly, I agree that sometimes women should pay or at least help out with the bill depending on circumstances.
Yet, Farrell does not present these points well. To say he presents his thesis badly would be unfair to writers who do it badly. He does it worse than badly. I’m not sure what that is, but whatever it is; Farrell is the textbook example of it.
In his discussion of the draft, Farrell keeps bringing up the Battle of the Somme. For those of you who don’t know, the Somme occurred in WW I. WWI lasted from 1914-1918. A whole generation of men was lost, a whole generation of European men. Americans weren’t affected by it as much. Furthermore, America hadn’t even joined the war when the Battle of the Somme occurred. Considering that Farrell seems to confine his argument to American (white) men and feminism (though he never actually says he is confining it to American. However most of his “data” is American focuses. When it is not, he refers to the UK or Canada), why does he keep bringing up this battle? And, women didn’t have fully or any voting rights during WWI, so why is he using it as an example of unfairness?
He also says he can’t find a feminist who believes that women should register for the draft. I know several. He’s not looking very hard.
And this brings us to another problem.
Much, if not all, of Farrell’s support is anecdotal and statistics/studies that are too older (he cites something from 1969, for instance, and treats the information as currently true) or whose information he doesn’t fully reveal (or according to Sterba misrepresents). For instance, early in his section Farrell gives us an example of student in a gender studies case who told him, the class kept telling her to hate men. Then there is a girl who he is sitting near on a plane who tells him she has three friends who got pregnant to keep their boyfriend. All these things might be true (however, as a teacher, I always question the subject matter got me a low grade. I know some teachers do grade this way, but I’m not convinced it is a high number, and I would like to know the full case), yet one story does not a case make. Farrell even uses the death of his brother as an example of gender roles leading to men being placed in harm’s way, but he doesn’t give us enough information about the situation for his reading of his brother’s death to make sense. While it does give reason for Farrell leaving the women’s movement and focusing on men, the lack of information makes the reader distrust him from the start.
This further compounded by the use of studies. At some points, Farrell gives the reader the percentage or number that study determined (admittedly without the margin of error), but in at least half the cases he doesn’t, and just uses terms like nearly equal.
Which means what?
Then there is the discussion about rape. Let’s leave aside the sickening idea that women ask for it by dressing nicely and the idea that men deserve intercourse because they have to ask women out and pay for dinner. When discussing rape, Farrell refers to an Air Force study. There are several problems with this. The first is that if a reader looks at the footnotes, she/he will discover that the study is unpublished and dates from 1996 (the book’s copyright is 2008). Additionally, the study is only of 556 cases of alleged rape. The conclusion, supposedly, is that the study found that 60% of those cases were false accusations. This was determined by some women admitting they lied, and then independent reviewers using a list of characteristics those women had in common to judge the other women.
Yet despite Farrell’s lack of argument, the book is still worth using because of the second half. The second half is the no argument, presented by James P. Sterba, who had the pleasure of going second. This allows him to pick about Farrell’s points. It is wonderfully done, and not just by showing how Farrell ignored more recent studies for older ones or the misrepresentation of some studies, but by showing how feminists are actually concerned about some of the issues (such as the draft, combat, health care) that Farrell raises. And Sterba’s presentation of these concerns is far more detailed, and not just in the terms of the feminist movement. This is because, in part, that Sterba seems to be aware that all men are not heterosexual. Farrell does seem to think that the only gay men in existence are in jail where they will infect 18 year old boys who refuse to register for the draft with AIDS. Sterba also is aware that there is more to the world than the US and UK. The other part is that Sterba footnotes far more and his data is more recent. Farrell has 14 pages of footnotes, numbering 219. Sterba has twenty-five (or twenty-four if you take one away because his first page had fewer footnotes on it than Farrell’s), numbering 384. Sterba’s footnotes also tend to have far more information than Farrell’s, and he doesn’t seem to rely on private correspondence as much. He also doesn’t use much anecdotal evidence, and when he does, it is immediately followed by a study. He also gives details about cases, something that Farrell does not do.
Sterba’s section is a brilliant example of how to refute another person’s argument without name calling. It’s wonderful. Quite frankly, it’s why you should read the book. ...more
Morgan does too much summery in places, and he could have supported some of his ideas with a bit more detail, in particular the connection to Greek anMorgan does too much summery in places, and he could have supported some of his ideas with a bit more detail, in particular the connection to Greek and Islamic myths and culture. Yet, there is a bunch on interesting facts and ideas, in particular connecting pop culture figures to St. George. Personally, though, I found it strange that he disregard Spenser and his use of the Red Crosse Knight....more
Prose is lyrical, story is powerful, at times it is profound. However, there is a disconnection between the reader and characters. Still, a must readProse is lyrical, story is powerful, at times it is profound. However, there is a disconnection between the reader and characters. Still, a must read for those interested in Holocaust literature....more
Brief may be right in terms of describing this essay, but it isn't bad. Honestly, I was expecting something more pro-life, but that isn't what this3.5
Brief may be right in terms of describing this essay, but it isn't bad. Honestly, I was expecting something more pro-life, but that isn't what this book is. It is almost practical look at the abortion issue, and while very general without much detail in terms of data, there is a strong, let's be real about this vibe to it, even if it does feel a little like a college essay (and it would get an A- or B+)
Well . . . Nadia meets an alien and decides to be little more than a womb; apparently this is something all women do according to multiple books and HWell . . . Nadia meets an alien and decides to be little more than a womb; apparently this is something all women do according to multiple books and Hollywood.
(And if you know something is broken before it breaks, than is it really broken?)...more
Can someone, anyone, explain to me the whole doing your stepbrother thing? Do people think it is less icky because there isn’t a blood tie? Honestly,Can someone, anyone, explain to me the whole doing your stepbrother thing? Do people think it is less icky because there isn’t a blood tie? Honestly, honey, if you can’t tell anyone about your relationship then that should tell you something? This 50 Shades of Grey, sorry Gray (who is the stepbrother) as biker gang. Stupid, really and not hot at all....more
“Fractured light from the crystal chandelier above played curious figures of his body”
“. . yet hi1.5
This has some cringe worthy writing. For example:
“Fractured light from the crystal chandelier above played curious figures of his body”
“. . yet his face was anything but cute. She had to hand it to him; he wasn’t awful to look at”
“His body was shaped rather finely – no doubt bred for years to look as great as it did now”
“His expression was nothing short of overconfident”
“His breakfast poorly eaten despite the excessive beauty it was shaped in, and waved his son over”
“Straightening her shoulder”
“Behavior that had sadden her mother to ridiculous points”
So apparently a guy is ugly but hot, the heroine has one shoulder, her mother is ridiculous points, and it is important that breakfast look good, but taste doesn’t matter.
However, I have to give the author credit for a couple things – (1) there is an attempt to make sense out of a sudden and strange marriage. I say attempt because the amount of suspension of disbelief it requires is immense and (2) at least it isn’t a stepbrother thing....more
It was guilt that made me read this book. Let’s be straight up about that. The publisher is one that I’m auto approvedDisclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.
It was guilt that made me read this book. Let’s be straight up about that. The publisher is one that I’m auto approved for on Netgalley, and I hadn’t read anything from them in a long time. So I picked this out of guilt.
As anyone can tell from the title, this is a collection of short stories, most of which are fantasy based. The stories range from the really short (flash fiction) to several pages. The book itself is loosely divided into sections - Magic Realism, Mircofiction, Rhinos, Hemingway, and Women. There is an afterword that goes into detail for some of the stories.
The best section is the collection of Rhinoceros Stories, with Micro fiction being a close second. This doesn’t mean that the other sections are bad, but these two sections stand out the most. It does have to do with the power of the writing in the Rhinoceros section because, as many of you are no doubt aware, rhinoceros are hunted for the stupidest of reasons. Knauss’ section includes stories based around different species and ideas. There is a story of a woman who thinks she is becoming a rhino (and who falls in love with a man who loves books), the artist who is determined to do portraits of the Sumatran Rhinos, as well as a story about talking animals. There is also a series of flash fiction here. Knauss’s short stories in this section make her into the literary PR person for the species. If you love animals, you need to read this book for the Rhino section alone.
The Micro fiction is good and sometimes startling, but in some ways it can be more touching than some of the longer works. This is especially true for “The World’s Largest Rocking Chair”. Not that everything is sweetness and light. “Stairs to the Beach” is particularly Twilight Zonish.
While the other sections aren’t quite as good, they are not bad. There is a wonderfully powerful story called “The Consequences of Neglect and How to Make Amends” – which challenges the rhino stories as the best one of the volume. The Hemingway stories are mostly interlinked, though “El Novillero” is the best of the three. Furthermore, there is a disturbing story about teaching.
This collection is by turns funny, touching, thought provoking, anger inducing, and faith affirming. It’s great. ...more
I first heard of Theodora when I was trying to find out information about Eastern Empresses after watching a mini-serieDisclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.
I first heard of Theodora when I was trying to find out information about Eastern Empresses after watching a mini-series about Charlemagne. She wasn’t the Empress I was looking for, but she sure sounded interesting. The problem with Theodora is that she is so far in the past that finding accurate sources about her is difficult. The most famous is The Secret History by Procopius, but to say the author has issues with women would be accurate.
So it is to David Potter’s credit that he is able to draw an interesting picture and to make Theodora alive as any good biography of a modern subject. Potter does draw upon Procopius but he is careful in his use of The Secret History and fully discusses its use as a source before moving into his biography.
It would be fair to say that one can only guess at Theodora’s motives for doing some of what she did, such as her shelter for other women actresses or prostitutes, but Potter does a good job of making his case by showcasing what life was like at the time. In many ways, this ability to paint a time and place with words and accurate historical detail, without making the book dry as old paper. Additionally, Potter is able to challenge Procopius’ portrait of Theodora without making the Empress into boring woman, unlike a biography of Lucrezia Borgia, which disproved the poisoning stories, but made Borgia into such a boring figure that I wished she had murdered someone. Potter shows that Theodora was not the Empress slut that Procopius suggests/claims, but also makes her more fascinating because of what she actually did. ...more