I found this to be an interesting, but definitely ... er ... challenging read. Interesting in the discussion of the role of the "new domesticity" in o...moreI found this to be an interesting, but definitely ... er ... challenging read. Interesting in the discussion of the role of the "new domesticity" in our current economy and current attitudes towards feminism. Challenging because the home-cooking, sewing, gardening people she's talking about, often with a tone of not-so-subtle condescension, sound a whole lot like me! No one likes to be told that their favorite activities are just the latest fad, and I'm no exception! So I found myself squirming and feeling defensive and put-off quite a lot while reading this.
Nonetheless, it is definitely a thought-provoking discussion of a major movement, and I appreciated the feminist and economic analysis of this cultural trend. It's true that bad economies have historically brought "back-to-the-home" movements - the 30s, the 70s, today. It's also true that many young and young-ish people these days are pretty discouraged and disheartened with their career opportunities, and domesticity can be a respite from a crappy economy and crappy opportunities. It is further absolutely important to note that while feminism is all about "choice," the choice to be a homemaker may often be influenced by the fact that the economy is craptastic, good jobs are impossible to find, and daycare is insanely expensive. To some extent, therefore, it's not a real "choice" - it's parents making the best of their situations. Which isn't to say it's not awesome in many respects for many women - but the fact is, it's mostly women staying home, and not having earning power does put women at a disadvantage in their partnerships, no matter how unpleasant it is to acknowledge or discuss this out loud. So the forces that are sending women back to the home are not all "celebrating and reclaiming the home" - there may be some darker ramifications too.
So the author has some really really good points. I did find it unfortunate that her examples of the "new domesticity" were fairly stereotyped, and there was little discussion of folks like me, who were raised in a more "DIY/back-to-the-land" culture and thus see much of our cooking/sewing/gardening as more of a continuation than a reaction against our parents. There is also precious little discussion of folks (also like me) who are full time professionals but really enjoy doing these things in our spare time, not for money. I know you can't cover everyone, but it would have been nice to see a bit more breadth.
Overall, thought-provoking, even if she did make me feel like I'm a slave to fashion!
Absolutely delightful. This would be a wonderful introduction to Anthony Trollope's world, which is, of course, very similar to our own in many/most r...moreAbsolutely delightful. This would be a wonderful introduction to Anthony Trollope's world, which is, of course, very similar to our own in many/most respects. Here we see an activist pushing for social justice, an honest clergyman who happens to be receiving more income than perhaps he is entitled to, and a media that grabs the story and runs with it. My favorite moment in the whole novel is Trollope's caricature of Charles Dickens - biting and hilarious! Read the book. (less)
Well, if you're going to "diet" this is a great way to go - more plant-based food! That said, I don't think Bittman said a whole lot that was new here...moreWell, if you're going to "diet" this is a great way to go - more plant-based food! That said, I don't think Bittman said a whole lot that was new here. This is basically a weight loss spin on his prior book Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes which I've also read. So there isn't much new here, but the idea is still a good one. (less)
This is a bit of a classic work in the world of consulting/advising, so I feel a bit bad saying that I found most of the contents painfully obvious an...moreThis is a bit of a classic work in the world of consulting/advising, so I feel a bit bad saying that I found most of the contents painfully obvious and a little boring. Perhaps if there had been more real-life examples of the authors' ideas and interesting anecdotes, it would have been more interesting. It felt like "Social Skills 101" for the possibly slightly Aspergers consultant (based on my experience, I'm thinking a very science-y and possibly slightly socially awkward environmental consultant here? I say this with love) who who needs step-by-step instructions in "active listening" and "gaining trust by being honest about your limitations and putting yourself out there a bit."
All of the advice is exactly right, of course, and this would in fact be a GREAT guide for someone who imagined that being a consultant or advisor is about knowing your subject area (obviously important but not enough in itself) rather than developing personal relationships (most important). Perhaps because of the field I work in (City government), I had to learn this very early on, because everything - every.thing. is political in my job. If you don't establish a strong rapport with your client, you will get exactly nowhere in my field.
For me, the book did validate some of my long-held personal theories about my role as attorney and gave me confidence that the approaches I've developed are at least heading in the right direction. And the authors put into words some things that have been more "hunches" or "feelings" for me along the way. But I did find myself tuning out ... quite a lot. More real life examples with interesting subject matter would have elevated this book from useful for beginners/highly technical experts to actually interesting to anyone who works in an advisory profession, even folks who have focused more on the art of diplomacy, negotiations, and consensus-seeking for years.(less)
Enjoyable at moments, and seriously irritating at others. Unfortunately, this did not live up to Anne Lamott's other memoirs. I think a lot of the pro...moreEnjoyable at moments, and seriously irritating at others. Unfortunately, this did not live up to Anne Lamott's other memoirs. I think a lot of the problem here was the elephant in the room - Anne was unable to speak perfectly honestly about the relationship between her son and his girlfriend, and the relationship between her and her "daughter-in-law" and this lack of honesty eventually drags the book down.
I personally did not enjoy Sam's portions of the book, finding his segments to be spacey and unfunny. Anne's voice, on the other hand, continually verges on shrill and more just plain neurotic than "loveably neurotic."
In her other memoirs, Anne's spirituality is seamlessly woven into her descriptions of everyday life. Here, it felt more heavy-handed, as though she wasn't sure she really believed what she was saying, but perhaps if she just keeps saying it ...
I really wanted to love this, but it fell far short.(less)
I have been enjoying breezing through some Malcolm Gladwell on audio. If nothing else, it's good to know what everyone else is talking about!
This is...moreI have been enjoying breezing through some Malcolm Gladwell on audio. If nothing else, it's good to know what everyone else is talking about!
This is my favorite by far. It has the deepest (still sometimes a bit shallow) observations and most interesting and thought provoking premise. These are very enjoyable to read and I can definitely see the appeal, even if I remain somewhat skeptical of the underlying science and conclusions ... (less)
You know that moment when you realize that the book you started hoping for escapism, romance, and fun turns out to have a one hundred page long, histo...moreYou know that moment when you realize that the book you started hoping for escapism, romance, and fun turns out to have a one hundred page long, historically accurate, minute by minute account of the Battle of Waterloo?
Not the best writing by a long stretch, but I have definitely taken away more from this book than any other book on productivity or time management in...moreNot the best writing by a long stretch, but I have definitely taken away more from this book than any other book on productivity or time management in a long time. I can see why this book has such passionate followers, and although I doubt I would ever reach that level of devotion, I immediately started to use some of his ideas (my task list is now sorted according to next actions, delegate, defer, etc.), and things are indeed moving a bit more smoothly!(less)
I learned a lot about late antiquity and Justinian's reign from this book, but the writing style is distractingly weird! Very incohesive! Way too many...moreI learned a lot about late antiquity and Justinian's reign from this book, but the writing style is distractingly weird! Very incohesive! Way too many analogies made between things like the Roman Empire and like, outer space? WTF? The audiobook was narrated by a guy with the flattest monotone EVER, which didn't help. And for the love of all things holy, please stop anthropomorphizing/dramatizing/personifying the plague bacillus. So. Insanely. Annoying. It is not a "demon." It is a BACTERIA. I really don't see why this is so hard.(less)
It's a bit sad to finally finish the Palliser Series. I wish it could go on and on, and I could meet the Duke's grandchildren and great-grandchildren...moreIt's a bit sad to finally finish the Palliser Series. I wish it could go on and on, and I could meet the Duke's grandchildren and great-grandchildren ...
This was not my favorite of the series (I think I am most partial to Phineas Finn), but it is still Trollope, so the characters are well-drawn, the plot engaging, and the hunting scenes and political commentary extensive as always! No spoilers, but it is a satisfying conclusion to an extremely fun series of novels! I can honestly say, I enjoyed every one of the approximately (and this is an approximation, but not an exaggeration) 4,200 pages of this series.
Can't wait to start on the Barsetshire Chronicles! I am so glad that Trollope was such a prolific novelist, because I dread the day when I will have read them all!(less)
I listened to this on audio on my commutes to and from work - all 29 CDs worth! It's a seriously long book, but delightfully fun, funny, and entertain...moreI listened to this on audio on my commutes to and from work - all 29 CDs worth! It's a seriously long book, but delightfully fun, funny, and entertaining.
Dickens gets 5 points for character names, as always. And the book is chuckle-out-loud funny at many points. The send-up of the legal system and chancery courts is both hilarious and depressingly applicable to our modern legal system. And this has got to be one of the most ambitious novels ever written - the sheer number of characters, interconnected subplots, and the amount of commentary - well, it's hard to beat!
It was so enjoyable, that I was almost able to overlook the fact that Dickens beat me over the head with the Proper Role of Woman for the entire 1000+ pages. Almost. But I admit to wanting to clobber Esther Summerson and her cheerful, self-denying industry on multiple occasions. Shudder.
All in all, a ton of fun! Makes me eager to read more Dickens. I will always prefer other Victorians when it comes to characterizations, especially of women. It is what it is. But few writers, Victorian or otherwise, are as downright *funny* as Dickens.(less)