Good steps, good exercises, good questions to ask as you go about writing your novel, but lots and lots of fluff to wade through to get to the stuff t...moreGood steps, good exercises, good questions to ask as you go about writing your novel, but lots and lots of fluff to wade through to get to the stuff that's helpful. (less)
Westboro Baptist fascinates me. The first time I ever ran into them was pre 9/11 when I was a religion reporter for the Biloxi Sun-Herald, covering th...moreWestboro Baptist fascinates me. The first time I ever ran into them was pre 9/11 when I was a religion reporter for the Biloxi Sun-Herald, covering the Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans. WBC picketed the convention. They had their "GOD HATES FAGS" signs and it caused quite a commotion and media blitz. It was nuts. As they've gotten more high-profile, I've even had friends who have counter-protested their protests.
This wasn't the most well-crafted memoir - there's a lot of stream of consciousness connections and a lot of repetitiveness on how Drain felt inferior - but it works. WBC is a cult, and she had been brain-washed. Coming out of that is confusing and disorienting and circular, and the book represents that. I wish there had been more information on her life and adjustment after she was kicked out and how she got to this point, and how she now processes what she was taught and what she did and her views on things now. But I'm sure she probably doesn't still know. I imagine it would take years to figure that out, if ever. My heart broke for her. I found myself getting angry on her behalf. I wish her, and everyone else who has been banished or has escaped from this (or any) cult, the best.
Mostly, the take away for me is that the best course of action is to ignore WBC's antics. They love the attention they get and any time they are confronted, they take it as a sign that they are Right. Of course, they are so convinced that are Right, that even if they are ignored, they'd take that as a sign of their Rightness, too. *sigh*
I'm by no means a fan of Palin (I was, and still am, horrified by the thought of her being a heartbeat away from the...moreThis was surprisingly all right.
I'm by no means a fan of Palin (I was, and still am, horrified by the thought of her being a heartbeat away from the Presidency), but was kind of interested to hear her story. She's at her best when she's talking about Alaska (though she could do with a lot less glowing adjectives and caribou lasagna references - OK, we get it, you're Alaskan) or her family, or relaying anecdotal stories of funny experiences.
It tended to jump around without a clear timeline, which would have been really helpful. Most of the book felt extremely defensive - as if this was written for her to get a chance to tell her side of things. Which, you know. Everyone is entitled to his or her side of the story. For such an all-over-the-place orator, the book is surprisingly coherent.
She definitely paints herself in a favorable light, but does at least admit to where she made mistakes. Sometimes. I also felt like there was a huge disconnect to how she paints herself in the book vs. how she acts in the public sphere, whether in interviews or on Twitter and Facebook.
While I got a lot out of the arguments against moral (we shouldn't eat meat because it kills life), political (we shouldn't eat meat because it's bad...moreWhile I got a lot out of the arguments against moral (we shouldn't eat meat because it kills life), political (we shouldn't eat meat because it's bad for the planet), and nutritional (we shouldn't eat meat because we don't need it) vegetarianism, the call to action was surprisingly weak. And ridiculous. I also thought she could have made her point, and appeal to more people, without the misandry and religious bigotry woven throughout the book.
So four stars. The loss of a star is for fighting radicalism with... more radicalism.
Definitely worth a read, though. The section on topsoil loss alone is worth it.(less)
Found this on the New Books shelf at the library. Joshua and I had just finished The 21-Day Sugar Detox, and so the title grabbed me.
The book focuses...moreFound this on the New Books shelf at the library. Joshua and I had just finished The 21-Day Sugar Detox, and so the title grabbed me.
The book focuses mostly on what the author calls "diabesity," which isn't something that I'm struggling with, but he makes the connection between what we eat and how sick we are, offers a solution, and outlines a plan on how to change your eating habits. The idea is that people can reverse what are pretty much death sentences that most doctors would just tell their patients to take a pill for.
He covers nutrition, inflammation, hormone regulation, and several other factors' contribution to disease. Now I want to learn more about mitochondria. Pretty solid stuff.(less)
Actually, probably a three and a half star rating.
My brother recommended this to me, and it took me a while to get in to this book. I actually started...moreActually, probably a three and a half star rating.
My brother recommended this to me, and it took me a while to get in to this book. I actually started reading it a couple of summers ago on a drive back from Texas, but put it down when we got home. It's been in my nightstand ever since, waiting. I started over from the beginning after Christmas.
I think it starts out slow where she builds up to her personal experience of her struggles, questions, and doubts. Once I got to the second part of the book, I found it grabbed my attention, but that tapered off in the third section. I liked this, but it didn't take ahold of me and start shaking like other spiritual memoir I've read.(less)
I picked this up off the New Books shelf because, come on - look at that title! I've not read any of Frank Schaeffer's stuff, and I've not read any of...moreI picked this up off the New Books shelf because, come on - look at that title! I've not read any of Frank Schaeffer's stuff, and I've not read any of Francis Schaeffer or Edith Schaeffer's stuff, though I know a little bit about L'Abri.
I ranged back and forth from loving this and being entirely uncomfortable multiple times. I wished there had been some more information on his transformation from an Evangelical to an Orthodox Christian, but I am guessing that he covered that in his previous memoir, Crazy for God, which I'll now need to pick up and read.
He lays it all out there, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and doesn't apologize or make excuses - it's very matter-of-fact. Definitely thought-provoking, even if I don't agree with all of what he says. Always interesting to read someone's spiritual journey.(less)
I picked this up off the New Books shelf, and managed to read it in mostly snippets over the past couple of weeks. It really helped me understand Ron...moreI picked this up off the New Books shelf, and managed to read it in mostly snippets over the past couple of weeks. It really helped me understand Ron Paul and Libertarian positions. A good, entertaining read, though it dragged in a few places. It's good enough that I'd pick up other books of his. I'd actually like to read Paul's books, to hear his positions from his own perspective. (less)
I was actually in the middle of reading Three Cups of Tea last year when this came out. At first, I chalked up Krak...moreEverything about this is just sad.
I was actually in the middle of reading Three Cups of Tea last year when this came out. At first, I chalked up Krakauer's decision to do this take-down as nothing more than sour grapes: a former donor decides he doesn't like how the organization he gave money to spends it, so he writes a piece on how horrible it is. That's really what it sounded like. And then I read it.
It's hard to know what to believe. Three Cups of Tea, is in one part, memoir, and *personally*, I don't hold memoir to the same high standard of regular non-fiction. Memoir is memory, after all, and memory is individualized and not perfect. But TCoT is also in one part a fundraising vehicle for a multi-million dollar non-profit, and therefore has a responsibility to tell the truth.
It makes me think of something Kristin Cashore wrote on her blog after the expose on working conditions on Apple factories:
"If the story I'm being told is partly fictionalized in order to increase its dramatic impact, as seems to have been Mike Daisey's approach -- fine, but TELL ME. Don't present lies as truth in order to manipulate me into a particular emotional reaction that you think contains a deeper truth than the actual truth could. The actual truth contains plenty of emotional impact. Presenting lies as truth, you're not showing your listeners respect, and much worse, you're not showing respect to the people whose difficulties you're misrepresenting either."
From what I hear, Krakauer is no stranger to exaggerating facts himself. So there's that to take in. I was disappointed in the lack a detailed bibliography, of sources. This book seems to rely mostly on interviews and e-mail exchanges. If you're going to damage someone's reputation, you need to have source documents.
I felt like the issues Krakauer raises here are VALID. Mortenson and CAI should account for how they spend the money people give them and should strategize their approach more. Absolutely, But it also seems as if Krakauer has a personal axe to grind with Mortenson - part of Krakauer's issue is that Mortenson is an asshole. So what? You don't have to be a likable person in order to run a non-profit.
Mostly, I hope good comes out of this, and it seems like it has. An investigation has reached a settlement, and Mortenson is in the process of repaying CAI money. He's no longer running the organization and there is a new board in place. All good moves, I think. Hopefully the book will result in more transparency for ALL non-profits, which can only be a good thing.(less)
I used to follow Crystal's blog a while back, so when I saw this on the New Books shelf at the library, of course I had to pick it up.
I feel like I'm...moreI used to follow Crystal's blog a while back, so when I saw this on the New Books shelf at the library, of course I had to pick it up.
I feel like I'm pretty on top of things with our budget, but I would like to be saving a little bit more (I'm trying to figure out how to save for replacing our vehicles down the road), so this came at a good time for me.
I like that this starts you off in reasonable chunks for learning how to set goals, budget, save, and use coupons. It can be very easy to dive right in full-force and get overwhelmed, especially reading her site, so it was good to hear that she advocates starting slowly.
Crystal can often come off preachy, and she doesn't leave a lot of room for nuance, but it's always good to get motivated to take control of your finances.
This was a quick read - I got through it in about an hour and a half, but I'm also pretty familiar with her approach to things.
I am withholding the rest of my review until I read "Inconceivable", which is the story told from the woman who...moreI read this book, so you don't have to.
I am withholding the rest of my review until I read "Inconceivable", which is the story told from the woman who was pregnant with baby Logan. I'd like to get a fuller perspective on the events before I tell you how I really feel.(less)
This pretty much covers the same stuff as the more recent The Total Money Makeover, but with fewer personal stories, less "teeth", and a more preachy...moreThis pretty much covers the same stuff as the more recent The Total Money Makeover, but with fewer personal stories, less "teeth", and a more preachy feel. It's also much older. I didn't mind the book as I genuinely like personal finance books, but I think most people could skip this one and stick with Ramsey's TTMM. The same concepts are covered.(less)
This is not a how-to book for people looking for methods that will work with rambunctious kids. This is the story of several children who were either...moreThis is not a how-to book for people looking for methods that will work with rambunctious kids. This is the story of several children who were either forced to, or candidates for, Ritalin and other "behavioral" drugs for children. The author, a director at the school the kids entered into, the Albany Free School, makes no bones about his bias against these drugs. He tells the stories of their experiences there.
It's a great read. It reminds us to look at children as full humans and respect them accordingly, and not see them as just small people with no life experiences. We need to trust our kids more to know who they are, and if they don't, help guide them in letting them figure it out. I'm definitely inspired to change some of the ways we've been homeschooling and let my kids have a larger partnership role in their education.(less)