This is like a more fun, less preachy Lean In -- it's about being a woman and owning your successes, and about owning your right to decide whether orThis is like a more fun, less preachy Lean In -- it's about being a woman and owning your successes, and about owning your right to decide whether or not you want to get married or have kids. It's about how you can't be a mother and "have it all" or "do it all" without support. It's about dealing with weight and self-image. This is about Shonda Rhimes' journey from being a somewhat scared and shy introvert to owning all aspects of what makes her successful and what makes her her. Basically, Christina Yang is her spirit animal and she takes us on a journey in which she doesn't just dream of what she wants to be, but becomes that person by doing.
The book reads like a speech, so it's appropriate that several speeches she gave are incorporated into the book. I really enjoyed this as a light, very feminist and straightforward read....more
This book is a series of short graphic stories, a format I've never encountered before. It definitely captured some strange and shameful details of liThis book is a series of short graphic stories, a format I've never encountered before. It definitely captured some strange and shameful details of life that could repel readers, resonate with them, or both. The stories are weird and uncomfortable. There is a guy who is a bit of a stalker, a girl who makes prank calls to a pay phone outside her apartment (this book feels even older than the 2003 publication date), and other awkward things.
Why three stars? While I enjoyed the realistic weirdness and sadness, I felt like the stories ended abruptly. To me, the magic of a short story is that you are left wondering about this world you entered briefly, and continue thinking about it like a good, strange dream. But after a story finished, I was left irritated rather than full of wonder....more
Wow, I really wanted to like this book. It started out very Millicent Min, Girl Genius -- incredibly intelligent and kind of socially awkward, funny 1Wow, I really wanted to like this book. It started out very Millicent Min, Girl Genius -- incredibly intelligent and kind of socially awkward, funny 12-year-old protagonist.
When tragedy struck, I feel like this book took an unfortunate turn. The author told the story from many characters' perspectives, which I just didn't think worked, and rather than charmed I got annoyed with the main character's precocious nature. The character of the bumbling school counselor was the least believable and most irritating. It also bothered me that the main character was a sort of magical savior for all those around her. Finally, the heavy-handed gardening metaphors were just too much for me. Overall, this book was heavy-handed and treacley, which is unfortunate because it had real humor and heart going for it at the beginning. Not for me....more
Yokoi's classmate Seki is always goofing off in class. Each chapter is a new class period, and Yokoi is driven crazy and fascinated by his antics. I wYokoi's classmate Seki is always goofing off in class. Each chapter is a new class period, and Yokoi is driven crazy and fascinated by his antics. I was really not interested at first--as others have said, it is a repetitive storyline. But then I sort of got into the absurdity of it all. No one seems to see what Seki is doing except Yokoi. Does he really exist? Or is this just a story that takes place inside Yokoi? Fun because of the strangeness, but not sure where this story can go forward....more
Wow, this book is long (700+ pages) and I finished. Almost gave up several times but finished.
What's compelling? What begins seemingly as a tale of foWow, this book is long (700+ pages) and I finished. Almost gave up several times but finished.
What's compelling? What begins seemingly as a tale of four 20-something friends in New York is really a story about Jude, quiet, reclusive, and disabled and deformed by an accident his friends really know little about. Wanting to learn more about Jude and his incredibly sad, disturbing, troubled past so I could understand his present is what kept me reading.
What made me want to stop reading? I agree with the end of the NYT review that while Jude is a fully drawn, engrossing character, many of the others felt flat. I especially hated Andy's character and didn't understand how he could serve Jude like a hired private physician for so many years and how he kept letting big red flag issues go. Maybe that was supposed to frustrate me. And overall, I hated reading about the characters' boring, highbrow lives. It was like watching Girls plus the tedium of Proust (also mentioned in he book during a conversation--how could you date someone who pronounced Proust "Prowst"? This is the kind of pretentious conversations that I grew bored with).
I know there is something here because I kept reading (normally I give up) and even now that I'm done, I keep expecting I can read for hours at the end of the day to learn more.
Finally, I disagree with the Atlantic article about this being The Gay Novel. I think what's interesting is that it isn't. What is so heartbreaking is that someone who has endured so much torture and abuse doesn't even get to figure out his sexuality.
Final thoughts? Incredibly sad, engrossing and yet also like watching paint dry. Left me thinking, but I'm not rushing out to recommend this to all my friends. A lot like reading Proust! (Not Prowst)....more
After seeing all the good reviews and awards, I was really surprised that I didn't enjoy this book more. The idea of the book is a good one: reveal aAfter seeing all the good reviews and awards, I was really surprised that I didn't enjoy this book more. The idea of the book is a good one: reveal a mystery through multiple perspectives and documents. However, the reality was not as wonderful. I found the characters somewhat flat, many events completely unbelievable, and ultimately because everyone looked culpable, I wasn't even impressed by the ending by finding out what happened. Very disappointing....more
Gene Yuen Lang paints a war from two perspectives, first in the thick, fully colored, bloody and rebellious Boxers, and then in the grey and sepia tonGene Yuen Lang paints a war from two perspectives, first in the thick, fully colored, bloody and rebellious Boxers, and then in the grey and sepia toned, Christian, Joan-of-Arc-infused Saints. The great thing about this book is it is accessible to anyone who knows nothing about the Boxer Rebellion in China in the late 1800s. It made me curious to know more, and made me frustrated by the complexities of war and the blurry lines between murder and justice. It also made me think about children who become warriors at a young age--both stories told here are sad and full of violence and death.
Not all readers will connect with the historical nature of this story, but I was impressed that it made me curious to know more. It was not pedantic, a real feat, and the clever idea of two overlapping stories in two volumes really deepens the complexity of response as a reader-- you don't really know who to root for. I started just as upset as Little Bao in the first book, but by the end when he and his band of Boxers are slitting throat after throat of Christian strangers, it's hard not to wonder if this is right or wrong. Those ambivalent feelings are a great setup for the companion Christian tale of Four-Girl who leaves her family and becomes Vibiana.
Overall, I found this a surprisingly engrossing read that more than anything got me thinking about war and justice and the effects of colonization and fights between religious groups....more
A one-armed man greets you as you begin to read. It's almost dark, which means the zombies will be moving quickly, so he invites you inside. What follA one-armed man greets you as you begin to read. It's almost dark, which means the zombies will be moving quickly, so he invites you inside. What follows is a zombie tale of survival in which you the reader are a character. Sort of a choose your own adventure without any choice.
Appeals: zombies, kind of funny-gross, characters drawn in a way that reminds me of Adventure Time, and a dog.
Dislikes: there wasn't much there there, for me. The drawings were often muddy and hard to understand, and for a zombie book, there wasn't enough action. It felt like watching a short film that was just OK. The ending wasn't surprising, and overall, this book relies on a clever frame/POV without much else to offer the reader. A disappointment....more
From the cover and what I had heard, I expected this book to be much more cutesy. I was oh so pleasantly surprised the it had deep, believable heart.From the cover and what I had heard, I expected this book to be much more cutesy. I was oh so pleasantly surprised the it had deep, believable heart. A blurb from the creator of the comic For Better Or For Worse is a perfect choice -- both that comic and this book so clearly capture growing up.
Set in the late 80s and early 90s, it's hard not to go soft for the details like Marble Madness in a drawing detail of Nintendo games and a Bart Simpson t-shirt. Beyond that nostalgia for, ahem, older readers, the story still rings so true. The main character knocks out her front teeth and the book traces her orthodontic (and endodontic and periodontic) journey from 6th to 9th grade. Anyone who has endured palate expanders, head gear, braces tightening and rubber bands will empathize with the physical pain and embarrassment that the protagonist faces. Meanwhile, she is growing up from child to teenager, with friend problems and crushes that aren't overblown and just feel so real.
A cozy, very real feeling coming of age story. Sweet but not saccharine, this really captures those awkward years without über drama....more
Charlie is the captain of the basketball team. His neighbor Nate is the opposite: robotics nerd. In an unlikely turn of events, they become a team ofCharlie is the captain of the basketball team. His neighbor Nate is the opposite: robotics nerd. In an unlikely turn of events, they become a team of rivals with the rule-the-school cheerleaders. Overall, I found the story to be contrived and relying to much on teen stereotypes, from the jock-nerd dichotomy to the mad dash for student council president to the evil and powerful cheerleaders. That said, it was a cute, light story with some funny moments. The climax hinges on a "Robot Rumble" war like BattleBots. The weirdest part is that the height of the climax is cut out completely.
Readable, but overall leaves the reader with very little. I feel like I watched a long episode of Saved By the Bell....more
Appropriate that the author of Blankets, Craig Thompson, blurbed on the back of this book. As I read it, it captured life in such an incomplete, honesAppropriate that the author of Blankets, Craig Thompson, blurbed on the back of this book. As I read it, it captured life in such an incomplete, honest, quiet way that I kept wondering if it was a memoir (it's not).
A summertime stay at a home away from home has that Shakespearian magic of nighttime, when anything can happen. I liked that this story was about friendship and frank discussions of sex, plus that awkward tension of potentially growing up and growing apart from a friend, plus family troubles that we can understand as readers but that the main character can't quite get. The climax is a great growing moment not for the main character, but for her mom, who's story is only half-known to her daughter. I thought that was an interesting, quiet, almost voyeuristic twist.
Stayed up late to read this in one sitting....more
Part history of eugenics, part history of fertility treatment, and a heaping mystery/catfish story to uncover how this "Nobel Prize Sperm Bank" came tPart history of eugenics, part history of fertility treatment, and a heaping mystery/catfish story to uncover how this "Nobel Prize Sperm Bank" came to be and what happened to the promise of genius children. People had told me this book was funny, which it was in places, so I was surprised how wrapped up I got in the plot. Eugenics in the 1980s? Sperm banks before federal regulations? Yikes!
And then there is the philosophical, human stories that are really the base of the book. How do our genes determine who we are? What makes for family? What is a life well lived?
Overall, a quick fascinating read, even if some of the early 2000s references to CD players and old search engines give it a coating of dust....more
When I found out a book about organization was on the bestseller list, I had to buy it. Marie Kondo has a short, simple book that will appeal to manyWhen I found out a book about organization was on the bestseller list, I had to buy it. Marie Kondo has a short, simple book that will appeal to many but not all. To me, the success of this book is evident looking at social media sites with #konmari. This book doesn't just allow you to think about organizing, it stirs you to take action.
Why action? The author gives you the tools: organize by category. Look at everything in that category together. Purge what you don't absolutely need, and thing that don't bring you joy. Then find a home for your things and group like with like. That's it.
I had purged clothes before, but never had asked myself about joy. I found I got rid of many clothes that I wear often despite the fact that they don't make me feel good about myself.
Why won't some people like this book? As you can see from other reviews, people poke fun at the level of reverence Ms. Kondo has for objects and how she talks to them. This is something I liked best. I think when you truly honor and love the objects in your life, you will be more grateful for what you have and will take better care of your things.
Some suggestions may not hit home, like emptying your bag every day. Also, Kondo really downplays the importance of storage solutions, and this is revealing of her evolution of thought on organization more than anything. She suggests shoeboxes for most things. Honestly, I see what she is getting: a great storage solution is worthless if it allows you to deepen the amount of crap in your life. But I've found that the perfect storage solution, like something to hold makeup and makeup brushes in a tidy way, brings me so much joy and makes my life so much easier.
So you may laugh when you read this book. But try what she suggests and then see if you are still laughing....more