The Girl on the Train surprised and delighted me. I felt conflicted about whether I liked or disliked various characters as each chapter went on, whicThe Girl on the Train surprised and delighted me. I felt conflicted about whether I liked or disliked various characters as each chapter went on, which kept me intrigued about the plot and what was happening in the characters' lives. It reminded me a bit of 'Gone Girl' by Gillian Flynn in that way, where I didn't know whether to like or dislike, or to respect or be disturbed by them. Excellent read! It probably took me less than a week to read it - I finished most of it in one night, staying up late. It's fun to find books as an adult that pull you in like that! 'Night Film' by Marisha Pessl was another thriller that was as enjoyable for me....more
The research covered by this accessible, fascinating book was riveting. I loved learning about everything we have been learning about neuroplasticityThe research covered by this accessible, fascinating book was riveting. I loved learning about everything we have been learning about neuroplasticity from patients suffering from severe brain injuries, traumas, and/or abnormalities. It was an inspirational book that teaches us what we can all do to improve brain function, prevent brain disease, heal from brain trauma, and develop new habits of behavior!...more
Understanding Depression should be required reading for everyone who has ever known anyone with a clinical depression or depression-related illness (mUnderstanding Depression should be required reading for everyone who has ever known anyone with a clinical depression or depression-related illness (manic-depressive/bipolar disorder; dysthymia; long-term depression; atypical depressionseasonal affective disorder; premenstrual syndrome; etc). It covers the diagnostic requirements of these illnesses - how a depressive disorder differs significantly from a general malaise, and/or from general feelings of sadness/loss/grief. If you have ever told someone with clinical depression or another mental illness (or thought it to yourself, or told someone else) that they ought to be able to just 'snap out of it,' or that you can't understand why they're crying/sad all the time, when it's so beautiful outside and/or when they have so many wonderful relationships or other things going on in their lives ... please, please, please read this book.
If we demystify what depressive illnesses actually are, if we study and learn how they actual affect the minds and lives of those with these illnesses, we can stop being so insensitive to the life-threatening struggles they are facing, and start encouraging them (and/or ourselves) to seek the help and treatment that is available. Readily available! There is NO reason for depressive patients to continue to suffer in silence, or to try to hide their very real illnesses. There is NO shame in seeking treatment, because no one deserves to live life with these disorders, and they are, clearly, medically, biologically, disorders. Stop the guilt and shame associated with mental illnesses.
You can begin by reading this book, about one of the types of mental illnesses that affect literally millions of human beings the world over, from every single race, from every single socioeconomic background you can imagine. This is not a first-world problem. It is a very real issue that we as a human race need to stand up and acknowledge, demystify, and de-stigmatize. NOW. ...more
I first became familiar with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie through her incredible (and incredibly enlightening) TED Talk called "The Danger of the Single SI first became familiar with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie through her incredible (and incredibly enlightening) TED Talk called "The Danger of the Single Story," which I was shown as an assignment in a course in Linguistics at the University of Utah, and have since shown to my own classes of 6th graders learning about Modern & Classical Languages.
I had a great admiration and respect for her, so when I learned that she was a novelist and prolific writer of many subjects and genres, I became excited to read more of her work.
Purple Hibiscus was one of those novels that touch your life profoundly for the better, open your eyes to perspectives beyond your own neighborhood, connect you with the broader, interconnected web of human existence of which we are all an integral part, and inspire you to consider the immensely powerful, non-western experiences of the people living in our world.
It was a similar experience, for me, of having read The Catcher in the Rye as a sheltered Utah teen living in predominantly middle-class white surroundings. At that time in my life, I knew few Asian or Black individuals, my age or adults, and none who were close friends of mine or my family. I also knew few if any individuals who swore on a regular basis, or who ever truly ran away from home, failed deliberately in their schoolwork, had detached relationships with the adults around them, or went to boarding schools. I was opened to an entirely new, unknown character in Holden Caulfield, and while many of my predominantly white, upper-middle-class, deeply religious peers were forbidden by their parents from reading a novel that contained such language and sexual awareness, my family was more trusting of the value that my teachers found in the assigned literature of our educational system.
For this I am forever grateful, because 'meeting' Holden through The Catcher in the Rye, while I caught little if any of the sexual overtones included in the book until re-reading it years later as a no-longer-religious adult, broadened my understanding that there were people in the world with different values than those with which I was raised. They may swear, but they care deeply about their families and social relationships nonetheless. They may make what my religious upbringing labeled 'poor choices,' but they were fiercely protective of the young and the elderly. They exhibited human kindness in great measure, and I was grateful to know that they may exist in the 'real world.' I was enlightened, and emboldened, I'm sure, to begin to develop my own over-arching values and beliefs as I embarked on my own journey into young adulthood.
Purple Hibiscus also reminded me of my experiences reading various works by Toni Morrison, and bell hooks. The other-than-white perspective is profound. I would call Adichie a Nigerian Toni Morrison, but I would probably do her injustice because there are likely myriad authors of color whose works I have not yet read, so who am I, privileged, sheltered white girl that I am, to make such a sweeping claim? I mean it in the most sincere of veins, however. Her work touched me deeply, creating in me a profound gratitude for the strength, audacity, and power of Nigerian activists caught in the throes of political turmoil and injustice.
I highly recommend this compelling, heroic read....more
Linda Hirshman is a heroine of our time, and you know it because liberals and conservatives both don't want to have anything to do with what she's askLinda Hirshman is a heroine of our time, and you know it because liberals and conservatives both don't want to have anything to do with what she's asking them to consider - that we are all wrong, together, about how we view women in our culture. We've spent too many years patting ourselves on the back for winning the right to vote and have a few women in board rooms, as CEOs, and even representing us in government positions. But when we look at the vast numbers of men still outnumbering women in every position of power and prestige in our country, we have to take a step back, ask why, and re-evaluate what we truly believe and value.
I can't wait to read more books like these from minority perspectives, because when "research" focuses on so few individuals (predominantly from highly-educated, upper-class, wealthy family backgrounds), it really is just a book about trends and observations, and less of a journalistic or research-based approach. However, the trends and observations Hirshman makes here are valid, and if you just want to call her names because you disagree, guess what? You're proving her points, because you're refusing to add anything of value to the conversation. Grow up, and get to work....more
Jessica Valenti researched this work intensively, and it is by far the most well-thought-out and well-reasoned work I have ever read on the myriad issJessica Valenti researched this work intensively, and it is by far the most well-thought-out and well-reasoned work I have ever read on the myriad issues every person should take into account when deciding how, when, and why to have a child/children. This should be required reading for every feminist, every parent, and every parent-to-be, particularly in America.
This country was founded by and for (white) men, and while women may have the right to vote, we clearly have not been using that right to further our interests. It is time for a revolution in the voting booths of epic proportions.
All children deserve loving parents, all parents deserve basic human rights, and in America today, children are being short-changed and adults are most certainly paying heavy prices for the tax and social policies we are living under. Fix it! We deserve better, for all families....more
The cover of this poignant and authentic novel is infinitely telling. Remember Pleasantville, the movie about the teen who wished he could live in a "The cover of this poignant and authentic novel is infinitely telling. Remember Pleasantville, the movie about the teen who wished he could live in a "perfect," black-and-white old television show? Then once he was sucked into that old-fashioned world, he and his sister quickly realized that what on the outside appeared to be perfection and happiness, was in reality greyness . . . life without color, literally. Life with no scent, no beauty, no complexity. Theirs was a life that tried to pretend all was perfect, and banish anything and everything sexual, sensual, or passionate. In other words, everything worth living for, everything with flavor and spice!
Santana's novel about Mormon housewives in Utah County brought to light the many idiosyncrasies of a culture wrought with guilt and anxiety, where how one is perceived by one's community is forever more important than who an individual actually is. Where one's faults are ignored completely, justified away with personal religious interpretations, and where most women truly believe they are denigrated, sinful souls worth nothing in comparison with the Priesthood Holders.
Even the strong women in this fictional family, the passionate ones who do choose to cook spices into their culinary dishes, have at their core a belief that their Father In Heaven, their very "loving" God, views them solely as vessels for bearing more children on earth, as only valuable for their sexual organs.
This is a novel which, like the Broadway Musical "The Book Of Mormon," must be shared with the world! It is an irreverent, often vulgar, look into the intimacies of women who come from a misunderstood religious culture, but are still very much American. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a quintessentially American institution, and every moment of (albeit vulgar) reality opened to the light of day through this novel brings the reader closer to understanding how Mormon women view themselves and their religion.
Certainly, in the real world, not every Mormon woman can be classified as either a Jenna or a Joy. The novel is not comprehensive in depicting each and every Mormon woman you may ever meet authentically. But as a woman who was raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from the day I was born until I left at 21, I do believe that any human being who has spent a good deal of time with Mormon women will see some traits of each of Santana's characters within any given Relief Society gathering.
Excellent, EXCELLENT work. A novel I hope with all my heart will travel the world over....more
I am enamored by Pamela Druckerman and her forthright journalistic style. I have studied French since the 10th grade, have a Bachelor of Arts degree iI am enamored by Pamela Druckerman and her forthright journalistic style. I have studied French since the 10th grade, have a Bachelor of Arts degree in French from the University of Utah, and plan to raise my children bilingually in French and English. This book not only proved to be a road-map for doing just that, it proved to be a road map to making the choices in my life now as I prepare to be a mother that will enable me to be just the type of American, French-speaking mother I would like to be! It takes one to raise one, and this book will very likely change your life if you let it. Learn to appreciate food, embrace your feminine sexuality (and/or all human sexuality), and all the ins and outs of la politesse. You may still decide to breast-feed like an American, but you'll also understand how to get your kids to sleep through the night, eat like the french, and stay healthy and sane. In fact it'll teach YOU how to stay healthy and sane, and be the best woman (and mother) you can be! ...more
This book touched me for more reasons than I expected that it could have ~ it was about a pastor's daughter, and was written during the time that ElisThis book touched me for more reasons than I expected that it could have ~ it was about a pastor's daughter, and was written during the time that Elisabeth Smart was kidnapped here in Salt Lake City, UT. Although it was completely fictional, and did not take place in Salt Lake City, the characters were raw and real and I was able to identify with them strongly. ...more
A great story about renowned literary figures Pip, Estella and Miss Havisham. Joe, Biddy, Herbert and Wemmick are among my other favorite characters.A great story about renowned literary figures Pip, Estella and Miss Havisham. Joe, Biddy, Herbert and Wemmick are among my other favorite characters. I would read this book aloud to my children, and I would highly recommend it to all kids aged 7 and up, as that's how old Pip is when the reader first meets him, and if I were 7, I would be entranced by the exciting beginning where he immediately is turned upside down and threatened by a convict. Then at multiple times throughout the story my eyebrows raised and my jaw dropped, as incredibly unexpected twists and turns arose. I even laughed aloud, and I hope that my children someday have the vocabulary and expertise of the English language to appreciate the hilarity encoded in the writings of Charles Dickens....more
Written from the perspective of a teenager whose death is vividly described near the beginning of the book, I liked this because I hadn't read anythinWritten from the perspective of a teenager whose death is vividly described near the beginning of the book, I liked this because I hadn't read anything from the perspective of a dead person before. It didn't get religious, and it mostly dealt with the emotions of the family and friends she had left behind, so it felt like a genuine foray into human grief. It wasn't exceptionally well-written or something I would read again, though, so, "I liked it" is more accurate than a 4 or 5....more
I picked up this book once and couldn't get through the beginning at all. But then I read aloud parts of the third book in the series and became hookeI picked up this book once and couldn't get through the beginning at all. But then I read aloud parts of the third book in the series and became hooked, picked up this one again, and loved it! Give the first bit a good chance, and the characters will eventually make up for any difficulties....more