It has taken me quite a long time to read this book because I am having a hard time finding enough about it to like. Translated fromFIRST READS REVIEW
It has taken me quite a long time to read this book because I am having a hard time finding enough about it to like. Translated from Korean into slightly stilted English the story revolves around Yeong-hye and her immediate family including her husband, father, sister, and brother-in-law. Things start going strange when she decides to become vegan (not vegetarian as the title implies) due to some unfortunate dreams. And it's all a surreal downward spiral from there.
I can't say that the book resonated with me - it didn't - but if you like Margaret Atwood you might want to give it a try. I'm sorry that I didn't turn out to be the right readership for this story but I appreciate being given the opportunity to try it out anyway....more
A fascinating and refreshingly honest view of life in the death-trade. This book brought me back to the moment when I first picked up Thomas Lynch's TA fascinating and refreshingly honest view of life in the death-trade. This book brought me back to the moment when I first picked up Thomas Lynch's The Undertaking a number of years ago and builds upon that framework, expanding upon the life of those who work with death.
We follow Ms. Doughty's life soon after she gets a job at a crematorium and her subsequent job-dive into what death entails from the ash, bones, grit, smoke, and gory viscera of dealing with cadavers after they expire. Really interesting book and really well-written for all that! The story is clear, concise, interesting, and above-all eminently readable. I highly recommend it!
I am not sure what I expected when I received this book. I suppose I was thinking of lots of great narrative stories of how the idea o
I am not sure what I expected when I received this book. I suppose I was thinking of lots of great narrative stories of how the idea of a savings group that starts from actual savings rather than debt can change lives. I did get that, which is awesome. But this book is more than just stories - it is action. How these lives have been changed, and what steps can be enacted to follow in Mr. Ashe's footsteps. It is a how-to for those in development who specialize in microfinance and for those interested in ways of elevating the poor into a higher economic sphere.
For the rest of us out there not focusing on microfinance in developing countries it is still an important and moving book but... a little less for the masses. This is a treatise that is for the informed international worker, student, activist that want to enact a change in the world from the bottom up. It is a great resource for teaching material but fell a bit flat for me, someone with a more casual interest in the subject. I fear I am not quite the right audience for this book for all that I do, in fact, work in the non-profit sphere. I appreciate the sentiment and I definitely am glad that I can view the world in a slightly different manner by picking this book up but unless I was planning on working in development in a more campaign-related way it is more informative than action-related for me. I am not in the position to be out in the field in a developing country but if I were - or if I felt the call of Peace Corp - then I would definitely want to bring this book with me.
This is a rather hard review to write as I wanted to give this book a 5-star review but to me this book is definitely a "like" rather than "it was amazing". I think that falls more to me and where I currently am in my life than to this book. It is a good solid book with good solid ideas that would become amazing in the right hands. I'm sorry to say that those hands are not mine.
I wanted to like this book, I did. Starting the prologue with Madame Butterfly was not the best way to endear it to me, however. I unGoodreads Winner.
I wanted to like this book, I did. Starting the prologue with Madame Butterfly was not the best way to endear it to me, however. I understand that opera is rife with stereotypes, especially of the "exotic" Asian as viewed through a white Western male gaze so reading obliquely about racism and sexism in the prologue made me a bit worried for the rest of this book.
And unfortunately the story did not pull me in, either. It felt very heavy-handed and simplistically written to the point of almost being stilted. I could feel the words being strung together to try and make a whole, complete story but it fell flat for me just like the two-dimensionality of the characters did. Something about this story was not moving me and I couldn't pull myself in much as I tried to. So I gave up. I'm sorry. This book will remain unfinished for me.
What I can say on the positive is that Mr. LoCoco's passion of opera shines through and the theme of following one's dream was nobly done and one that I could very much appreciate. I think it is a great start to a book that just needs a bit of a re-write with some more polishing. It could be a gem but at the moment I feel it to be a gem-in-the-rough.
I was pretty thrilled to win a copy of Happier At Home because I’ve been a recipient of Gretchen Rubin’s Quarterly Co. mailings for a GOODREADS WINNER
I was pretty thrilled to win a copy of Happier At Home because I’ve been a recipient of Gretchen Rubin’s Quarterly Co. mailings for a number of months before she let that project go to work on a new book. I enjoyed her random boxes immensely mostly because I had no idea what was in it but I knew I would be smiling or laughing or thinking of what to do with the contents of my box: from colorful baking supplies to glow-in-the-dark stars to a quarterly book review magazine titled Slightly Foxed (which I read from cover to cover, even if it didn’t inspire me to read a single book in its pages I felt all the better for the insightful reviews).
Looking back, it seems a bit odd to me was that for all that I loved my quarterly surprise boxes in the mail I never actually read a single book of hers or even visited her website. I knew nothing about her that did not come from a box in the mail and I was glad to rectify that with this book. I admit I had high expectations (mostly due to the seemingly whimsical boxes that I associate with her now) for what I would find but sadly I’m not really sure that was what I got with this book. It was a great insight into her world and how particular that would can be but a lot of it seemed to be overly simplistic and even somewhat controlling (in a less-than-happy way).
I like and admire what she is striving for but it can be hard to put into play some of what she is purporting will help find happiness. I suspect some of that comes from being the active solo international traveler, from being single with no children, from having no living grandparents and very limited family interaction, from living in a house with numerous other roommates, for starting my 30’s and still not interested in the white picket fence lifestyle… I understand learning from one person’s specific examples but sometimes trying to extrapolate wisdom that can correlate to my life was more difficult than I would have hoped for. I just don’t think her book is quite right for me for where I am in my life.
Still. It wasn’t a bad read by any means. I think Mrs. Rubin has a solid writing voice and a good flow for her story – even if a bit repetitious. I could still find little gems of wisdom sprinkled throughout the book and I loved a lot of the quotes put in this book (sans overtly religious ones which I shied away from). The layout and deliberation were clearly thoughtful and overall it wasn’t a bad book. It wasn’t amazing or life-changing either, but I don’t think that was this book’s aim anyway. I do think that want to check out the first Happiness Project book, though, and I’m hoping that I might find more use out of it than this book. ...more
I'm still trying to rearrange my thoughts about this book. What I can tell you is that I fell, head first, into this world. It was an amazing, thrilliI'm still trying to rearrange my thoughts about this book. What I can tell you is that I fell, head first, into this world. It was an amazing, thrilling ride only because it felt so amazingly real to me. I felt like I knew Nao and Ruth so intimately; they were my friends and I was their confidante. It was as if I trekked to that mountainous temple and met with old Jiko and I could hear the ticking of Haruki #1's watch faintly in the background reminding me that I am here, now, in this moment. Eternally.
I cannot give this book an objective review; I just liked it so much that it would be too hard to do. This is not a fast-paced roller coaster ride of a book but it is something that slowly, inexplicably pulls and tears at your heartstrings so that you feel as if you are a part of the family and Nao is a cousin of yours, or perhaps a friend at your school in Sunnyvale.
It made me so sad to think of Nao who grew up with an American mindset in those formative years to suddenly be dropped into modern day Japan with all that horrible ijime and suicide as a common and almost acceptable way out. I cannot know what she went through but I could feel that bone-deep loneliness as a gaijin teacher in Japan where I felt so disconnected from the rest of the world, from everything. I grew up in California, too. Nao is probably about my age, give or take a year. My first visit to Japan I was 17 for a 6 week stay with a host family in rural Kiryuu in the Gunma Prefecture. I arrived back in California to start my first semester of college right before 9/11. It just feels like a weird sort of synchronicity that really spoke to me.
As I said, I can't be objective here. All I can be is myself. And all I can say is that I really enjoyed this book. It was one of the few books that I've loved but didn't slam through in a day or two or five. This was a couple week journey because I had to take a break or two, cleanse myself off a bit, before delving right back in. I'm not sure if I will ever re-read this book. I feel it might lose something now that I know how it ends and nothing is a surprise anymore but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable or feel any less real to me.
I suppose this is less of a review and more of a thank you. I do not know if you are even out there reading this though I can wonder about you but the not-knowing keeps all of these possibilities open and I like that.