I'm a huge Nasty Gal fan; I've been ordering from them since 2010 because they are one of the few North American clothing retailers that will ship toI'm a huge Nasty Gal fan; I've been ordering from them since 2010 because they are one of the few North American clothing retailers that will ship to Taiwan.
When I heard that Sophie Amoruso, the woman who started Nasty Gal and built it into the empire it is today, had written a book about being a girlboss, I thought I'd give it a try. I've been on a biography kick lately, and I figured she'd have something good to say, especially since I'm a woman in business and her story is one of those bootstraps to riches success stories.
There is no denying that Amoruso has accomplished a lot. She is obviously a hard worker that doesn't take no for an answer. I admire her spunk and her determination to succeed, but her writing style just doesn't do it for me. I know she was trying to go for a girl empowerment style of book, but she came off as sounding like a condescending know-it-all. I wonder if this is her persona in real life or if her writing style had more to do with her editor. In either case, it's super annoying, and I couldn't help rolling my eyes a couple of times.
I know what she'd say to that though! She say that you shouldn't care what people think about you, which is arguably one of the best lessons she has to offer in her book.
"No matter where you are in life, you'll save a lot of time by not worrying too much about what other people think about you. The earlier in your life that you can learn that, the easier the rest of it will be.”
I liked the current female success stories that she included as references, especially Christene Barberich's entry as editor-in-chief of Refinery29.com. Amoruso shares some interesting stories about how she got started. I especially liked her story about finally going to an investment meeting, being totally unprepared for it, and coming to the realization that everyone in those meetings respected her, even though she didn't come from a traditional business background. (Neither do I!)
I suppose after reading Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead that I was expecting something more along the lines of a book offering solid business advice and advice on being a woman in a mostly male dominated business world. Amoruso's business anecdotes are offered with a tongue-in-cheek attitude and her #Girlboss hashtag just made me cringe. She reminds me a bit of Lady Gaga trying to gather her minions as Mother Monster. Those kinds of gimmicks just don't fly with me. This book seems like it was written more for her than for her fans.
If you're looking for a business book that tackles the issue of women in business, this is not it. If it's an interesting biography or a rags to riches tale that you're after, than maybe Girlboss is for you.
I've been on a bit of a biography kick for the last month of 2014. This was my last read for this year, and I choose Booker T. Washington's Up from SlI've been on a bit of a biography kick for the last month of 2014. This was my last read for this year, and I choose Booker T. Washington's Up from Slavery: an autobiography because he is an extraordinary individual with an incredible story to share. An American national leader, Booker T. Washington was once a slave in the deep south. He worked hard throughout his life as an educator and public speaker for the betterment of African Americans in the post Reconstruction period. He also founded The Tuskegee Industrial Institute, one of the most important schools for African Americans in the south.
This was a great read to end my year on. What an inspiration! Washington shows that you really can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
“I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”
How Not to Avoid Jet Lag & other tales of travel madness is a collection of 19 stories written during Joshua Samuel Brown's 10+ years on the roadHow Not to Avoid Jet Lag & other tales of travel madness is a collection of 19 stories written during Joshua Samuel Brown's 10+ years on the road as a travel guide writer.
Josh is an expert Lonely Planet writer, but I've felt his talents have been wasted there for years. (If you've read Vignettes of Taiwan or follow Snarky Tofu, you'll know why I've said that. If you haven't, read Snarky Tofu AFTER you've read How Not to Avoid Jet Lag & other tales of travel madness.
I was completely and utterly enthralled with Josh's book. It's packed full of funny travel stories, quirky observations, and amusing inner monologues. In typical JSB fashion, it's the type of book you can laugh out loud to, and it is just as absurd as I expected it to be. Some of these tales I remember Josh telling me about when he lived here in Taiwan, while others are new.
This isn't your average travel novel. JSB has an insatiable lust for travel and adventure, and he always manages to find a little bit of trouble to get into. He also has a gift for making the average, mundane experience into a story that is utterly unique and completely unforgettable.
The Voyage of the Northern Magic: A Family Odyssey was a terrific book to end my 2013 reading project with. I owe a big thanks to my cousin Kathleen,The Voyage of the Northern Magic: A Family Odyssey was a terrific book to end my 2013 reading project with. I owe a big thanks to my cousin Kathleen, who presented me with it for Christmas. She gave it a strong recommendation, and she very obviously learned a valuable lesson that our grandmother instilled in us at a very young age: Books are meant to be loved and shared. I'm fairly certain, now that I've had this book in my possession, that it once belonged to my grandmother. Thank you, Kathleen!
In short, The Voyage of the Northern Magic: A Family Odyssey has earned its place amongst my growing list of favorite travelogues. It's written by a Canadian woman named Diane Stuemer from Ottawa, Canada. In September 1997, after a year of preparation, Diane embarked on a four-year journey around the world with her husband and three young sons on a 42-foot yacht called Northern Magic. This is a classic tale of adventure and travel-lust. With no sailing skills to speak of, Diane and her husband Herbert navigated through horrific storms, a terrifying waterspout in Indonesia, pirate-filled waters and an epic fight against the North Atlantic sea. They also grew immeasurably as a family and as individuals.
The Stuemers were deeply touched by their adventures, and they undertook a number of projects to 'give back' to some of the incredible individuals who helped them along their journey. In Kilifi, Kenya, they started the Boniface and Hamisi Educational Project, which aims to provide tuition fees for students, and to help establish small businesses to provide additional income to poor families. Additionally, their efforts to help endangered primates in Borneo are still going strong today.
Written by a Canadian from my old stomping grounds no less, there was much that I could identify with in The Voyage of the Northern Magic: A Family Odyssey. I've been to many of the places that the Stuemers visited, and it was a fun and engaging read to be able to relive those experiences right along with them. All in all, a fantastic read and one that I highly recommend!
I've always been fascinated with North Korean culture, mainly because there is so little known about the country, but also because it amazes me that tI've always been fascinated with North Korean culture, mainly because there is so little known about the country, but also because it amazes me that total dictatorships are still around in this day and age. Did we not learn many valuable lessons with Hitler's Third Reich and his Nazi concentration camps or Stalin's Soviet gulags? Nazi concentration camps existed for 12 years, while Stalin's gulags were open for 42 years. In comparison, North Korean prison camps have existed for over fifty years and there seems to be no end in sight for the endless suffering and brainwashing for the 150,000 to 200,000 prisoners that live in these camps today.
This is the remarkable story of a North Korean man named Shin Dong-hyuk. Born and raised in Camp 14, Shin lives a brutal existence in one of North Korea's worst political prisons. As a child, Shin scavenged for bark, roots and kernels of corn to keep his hunger at bay. He was constantly reprimanded, overworked, starved, beaten and tortured, and he worked under the threat of being executed every day. He had no access to healthcare, no personal possessions to speak of, and he lived in the same clothes day in and day out. Shin grew up believing that it was natural to be hungry, and that he deserved to be treated like an animal. He ate watery cabbage soup, corn flour and corn kernels every day of the year. He was encouraged to snitch on his family and friends, and he might never be able to completely face the role that he played in the deaths of his mother and brother. Compassion, love, and honor were completely foreign concepts to Shin.
Eventually Shin does the unthinkable. He escapes from prison, and becomes the first person that was born in a North Korean prison to ever escape. He makes his way to China and then on to South Korea and the United States, where he struggles to accept that his upbringing was not normal.
Today, Shin is a North Korea human rights activist and he is still trying to deal with the horrific acts of violence and atrocities that he was forced to commit as a prisoner in North Korea
This was one of the hardest books I've ever read. It's heart-breaking to read what these people go through. The poverty, the hunger and the brainwashing that these people are subjected to is simply to much too fathom.
A personal memoir written by a woman who was given up for adoption and placed in an adoptive home where she was starved and beaten until she runs awayA personal memoir written by a woman who was given up for adoption and placed in an adoptive home where she was starved and beaten until she runs away from home as a teenager. Given away by her birth mother and rejected by her adoptive mother, the author grows up believing that she is completely worthless and unloved. These feelings of unworthiness stay with her for the rest of her story.
It's a sad story, compounded by the fact that even though she has the strength to run away and change her situation, she still thinks nothing of herself; she repeatedly makes mistake after mistake while trying to find her real purpose in life. Married at 18 and a mother of four at 24 years of age, Marianne outwardly looks like she's doing well, but her personal life is in shambles. She goes through several failed marriages, a cancer scare, she gets hooked on anti-depressants, and she lives with her children in utter poverty, yet she is determined to create a better life for herself and for her children. She also perseveres in establishing a better relationship with her adoptive mother (and adoptive family) and she works incredibly hard to change the path that she's on. 40 years after she was given away for adoption, she finally reconnects with her birth mother and finds the family, love and acceptance that she has been searching for so desperately all her life.
My only complaint about the book is how poorly the Kindle edition has been edited. It's rife with spelling and grammatical mistakes. It would be great to read more books by this author, but I hope she's able to find a better editor before she does so. I also wasn't big on the spiritual journey that the author embarked on towards the end of the book, but it helped her to get her point across. A triumph, indeed, for Marianne Curtis. Good on you!...more
After losing her mother at 22 years of age, Cheryl falls apart and loses everything important to her. Her family breaks apart from the stress of her mAfter losing her mother at 22 years of age, Cheryl falls apart and loses everything important to her. Her family breaks apart from the stress of her mother's illness, she destroys her marriage, and she falls into a deep well of depression, sexual proclivities, and hard-core drug use.
Cheryl flounders in life for four years before she decides to embark on a personal pilgrimage: She intends to hike the Pacific Crest Trail by herself from the Mojave Desert through California, Oregon, and on to Washington State. Never mind that she doesn't have any experience as a long-distance hiker, nor does she know much in the way of outdoor survivalist skills.
Her first week on the trail almost defeats her. She can barely lift her pack, her hiking boots have ripped her feet to shreds, and she is terrified of everything. As she walks on though, something special starts to happen. She starts to enjoy the feeling of being on her own in nature, she meets some amazing individuals along the way, and she slowly starts to pick up the pieces of her life.
Cheryl isn't a very likable person when we first meet her at the beginning of her memoir, but by the end of her journey, it is evident that she is metamorphosing from a girl into woman of astounding strength and beauty. Her story is raw, honest, and at times, funny. This is the stunning memoir of a young woman that tackles a journey of mythical proportions against all odds, and who emerges from her journey stronger, healthier, and better than ever. ...more
Highly entertaining, laugh out loud funny, with some teary and honest moments that gave me pause for thought. Let's Pretend This Never Happened movesHighly entertaining, laugh out loud funny, with some teary and honest moments that gave me pause for thought. Let's Pretend This Never Happened moves straight to the top of my list of all-time favorite memoirs. Why? BECAUSE IT IS A FUCKING GREAT BOOK, YOU ASSHOLE!
Jenny Lawson first novel is as brilliantly written as her blog. She makes ample use of her signature writing style, with lots of italics, footnotes, postscripts, notes about her vagina, and sentences written entirely in upper case letters. It's like she's sitting right in the room reading to you, and *that's fucking awesome*.
Stabbed by a Chicken because it was the first post I read on her blog. I was at work that day and I laughed so hard that I started to cry. People thought there was something wrong with me that day, because every time I thought about that giant five-foot chicken, it sent me into gales of laughter all over again.
If You Need an Arm Condom, It Might Be Time to Reevaluate Some of Your Life Choices because it's impossible to believe that a person can get her hand stuck in a cow's vagina.
A Series of Helpful Post-It Notes I Left Around the House for My Husband This Week. Just hilarious.
I considered adding up all the vagina references and then realized it would be an impossible job, so I'm just going to say that I think her second book should be called The Vagina Memoirs, or something to that effect. This probably isn't a new idea for Jenny. In fact, I'm pretty sure she referred to it somewhere in her book.
Her description of her battle with rheumatoid arthritis was as accurate as it can get. I felt like I was reading about myself and my own struggles with arthritis, and that made me love her even more. Here is a woman who has lived an unusual life and has been dealt a bit of an unfair hand, but she chooses to look at the beauty of her life and not focus on the negative. In fact, she sums things up perfectly in her epilogue by writing, "...you are not defined by life's imperfect moments, but by your reaction to them. Because there is joy in embracing -rather than running from-the absurdity of life. Remember that, y'all....more
Lizz Free or Die is a collection of personal 'messays' written by Lizz Winstead, an American comedienne, radio and television personality, and co-creaLizz Free or Die is a collection of personal 'messays' written by Lizz Winstead, an American comedienne, radio and television personality, and co-creator of The Daily Show. Lizz writes about growing up in a Catholic family in Minnesota; some of her stories such as Get Me To The Altar and Decorate to Manipulate were laugh out loud funny while others such as All Knocked Up and Wetube were written with a more important message in mind.
Throughout the book, Lizz takes us on a journey that shows us how she was never afraid to follow her dreams or have an opinion, even if it was at the expense of upsetting loved ones. At times it was difficult to read about her struggles with explaining her choices to her parents, who really didn't understand why she did the things she did, but we learn that they loved her and respected her none the less.
The Red Vag of Courage is hilarious, but it also teaches us about taking a horrible moment and defining it as your own. How you want to be remembered is up to you. The choice is yours.
I also really enjoyed how Lizz chronicled the process of finding her comedic voice and how difficult the process of writing can be. I was really able to relate to these essays in particular. Throughout her life as a writer, Lizz had always written collaboratively rather than on her own, and it took the deaths of her parents to teach her how to rely on her own skills as a writer and storyteller to make her story worth the read. I think she does an excellent job.
View From The West Hill is a whimsical and touching memoir comprised of a collection of personal short stories about growing up on the family farm inView From The West Hill is a whimsical and touching memoir comprised of a collection of personal short stories about growing up on the family farm in Lanark Valley, Ontario, Canada during the 1930s.
What really fascinated me about this book is that I grew up in Lanark Valley and I knew the author well, but it wasn't for her books! As a young girl, my mother would often take me and my siblings to Mary Cook's shop in my hometown of Carleton Place. I loved listening to her tell stories, but it wasn't until I was older that I realized she was also a local celebrity, historian, and the woman whose tales we used to listen to on the radio.
This is a beautiful written collection of tales that speak to me about the place that I call home. Anyone interested in learning about small town life in Ontario, Canada should give View From The West Hill a try....more
Meh. There were some perfectly beautiful moments in this book that were completely overshadowed by Kogan's insistence on turning every little story inMeh. There were some perfectly beautiful moments in this book that were completely overshadowed by Kogan's insistence on turning every little story into some neat and tidy anecdote that supposedly taught some sort of life lesson. I tagged the number of pages/points that actually impressed me and at the end of the book, seven pages stood out. The rest was just fluff.
Kogan's letter to Amelia Earhart was a nice touch, though. ...more