What a fantastic journey into the slow drag into the apocalyptic world, and even with magic realism at its central force, The Age of Miracles tells a...moreWhat a fantastic journey into the slow drag into the apocalyptic world, and even with magic realism at its central force, The Age of Miracles tells a story that felt all too real. I am still thinking about this book, days after devouring it. I couldn't seem to put it down, and managed to read the whole thing in one day (well, a day and a half, if you count the hours of night/early morning that I stayed up to finish it).
If you get through it and you love it, you will look at so many things differently. I saw a seagull in the sky the next day and thought about how great it is that birds are able to fly. I was grateful to eat pineapple and other fresh foods that are in no short supply, but require a lot of sun to grow and ripen. The book made me grateful that the clocks were indeed right and could be counted on for accuracy. It gave me an appreciation for things that I didn't even realize I had taken for granted.
I definitely recommend this book for a young adult reader or older. It's a great, easy read with a relatable yet fantastic story.(less)
If you're fed up with partisan politics, feel like your vote doesn't count, often disagree with the politicians who are elected, or you are confused a...moreIf you're fed up with partisan politics, feel like your vote doesn't count, often disagree with the politicians who are elected, or you are confused about who to vote for amidst all of the mud-slinging and vague declarations made by candidates, this is the book for you. Though most people I know will assume that I'm a Democrat, I actually have no party affiliation. I can't stand it when people start off a political rant by blaming the opposing party, and it's this kind of "us vs. them" approach that seems to keep wheels spinning in the mud without really getting anywhere.
This book presents a plan that could alleviate many of the public's biggest frustrations when it comes to politics, and it starts with literally giving the vote back to the people. Think of it like jury duty, but instead of hearing the case for a crime, people are randomly selected to hear a full presentation of facts and opinions on a particular law. This jury, which the author calls a "citizen deliberative council" then votes or comes to a compromise on the particular law or policy, and then hands it over to be weighted with the congressional vote.
At times in reading this, I felt like the idea was too good, too pie in the sky to ever become a reality, but Atlee does a good job of hammering home the possibilities of creating such councils. The idea that the public would not only have a real voice in government policy-making and that it would create a public sphere that is far better educated on the issues that matter most just seems too good to be true. Still, I don't question whether it would work, I just question whether we could ever really make it happen.
Nevertheless, it's a visionary book worth reading if you feel at all like what we need now is change, regardless of what party lines you stand behind (or, in my case, refuse to stand behind!). (less)
I read an interview with this author in Bitch Magazine, and within a few days, I found myself ordering it from a local bookstore (Pegasus on College,...moreI read an interview with this author in Bitch Magazine, and within a few days, I found myself ordering it from a local bookstore (Pegasus on College, if you care to know, haha). As a stylist with an admitted shopping problem (can't tell you how many times I've caught myself in Marshall's with a cart full of clothes and I realized I didn't need any of them and that in a few weeks, I wouldn't like them anymore, anyway), I knew I had to read this book, even if it brings a rude wake-up call to my current habits.
A few chapters in, I really appreciate the honesty this author puts forth about her own shopping habits as she explains why cheap/fast fashion is not good for the environment, let alone for our wallets in the long run. She also provides solid numbers that will make your head roll. In 1900, a fairly priced woman's suit cost $15, which would be over $100 today. Go into any Forever 21 though, and you can probably find the modern equivalent for $15 still.
Does the triumph of buying stylish clothing and accessories at rock bottom prices outweigh the overload to charity shops (one Salvation Army in NY claimed that they receive 5 million TONS of clothing a year) and landfills, and even though we're getting more for less, are we also spending more in the longrun? I am looking forward to finding out as I read on :). (less)
If you're looking for an unbiased biography, you won't find it here. I have to be honest in admitting that I can't put this book down, despite the amo...moreIf you're looking for an unbiased biography, you won't find it here. I have to be honest in admitting that I can't put this book down, despite the amount of hard eye-rolling I do every time the author paints a picture of a scene that is 50-50 facts and opinion-fueled speculation. It feels a little like reading the Real Housewives of Old Hollywood; I can't ever change the channel when those shows are on, despite constantly yelping "Oh my god! What is WRONG with these people??" and the same is true with this book.
While I do wish the author would insert his/her opinion and not try so hard to set a scene with things that he/she couldn't possibly know, I do find the spotlight on the recurring mental illness that passed through generations of Monroe's family fascinating. It really makes you wonder if things wouldn't have turned out exactly the same for Ms. Monroe even if she had been brought up in the stable household of her foster mother, Ida Bolender. If you are interested in the nature vs. nurture discussion, this might be worth a read for you.(less)
I'm somewhere between 3 and 4 stars on this one, but because it really has made me laugh a lot, I'm rounding up. If you are the kind of person who lik...moreI'm somewhere between 3 and 4 stars on this one, but because it really has made me laugh a lot, I'm rounding up. If you are the kind of person who likes reading blog-style writing page after page, then you will certainly love Lawson's jokey stream-of-consciousness style writing. I found this approach refreshingly different and clever for about the first two chapters before I began feeling like her constant digressions really kept me from following the story line, and I often found myself flipping back a few pages just to remember what exactly it was that she was actually talking about in the beginning. Lawson is smart, funny, and certainly clever, but the whole upside of being able to edit the written word is that you can either cut out or re-arrange those ramblings that so often show up in verbal storytelling to keep the written story linear. Suffice to say, it would probably be a much shorter book without the paragraphs of off-shooting stories.
That aside, there was one particular part of the book that hit home for me and furthers my reason for giving this admittedly hilarious book 4 stars. When Lawson begins to talk about how she came to be diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, it struck a cord with me. As someone with a little-understood autoimmune disease myself, I wish that I could print out this chapter of the book and keep stapled copies on hand for every person I meet who either says "But you don't look sick" (groan) or "But you're so young, how can you have a disease like Lupus already?" (What are you even saying with this?"). If I were this book's publicist, I'd excerpt this chapter and send it to every magazine and newspaper, every doctor and nurse, and every person with an illness that nobody seems to understand.
This is definitely a great beach read, and digressions aside, it's a quick read, too. I wouldn't recommend it to literature snobs, but I think the average beach reader will have a tough time not laughing out loud.(less)
Chelsea Handler is by no means my favorite comedian, but My Horizontal Life called to me from B&N's ebook selection with a $1.99 price tag, and I'...moreChelsea Handler is by no means my favorite comedian, but My Horizontal Life called to me from B&N's ebook selection with a $1.99 price tag, and I'm not one to turn down a cheap laugh.
You know a book is funny when you spend half of the time reading it wondering just how much of it could actually be true. Waking up next to the "little person" who served Handler chips out of his sombrero the night before? Hiring a gigalo to finally pull her prudent roommate's V-card? Washing urine out of said roommate's hair after a guy Handler brought home mistook the roommate's room for the bathroom and pissed on her head? I wondered as I read this book if people close to Chelsea Handler often shake their heads and say "Only Chelsea. Only Chelsea would put herself in situations like that."
I think we all have had a friend like Handler; she's the friend whose unbelievable but totally true stories get embellished by friends at parties and gossip gatherings for years to come. "Remember that one time Friend X got locked out of her house dressed as a green M&M at 5 am and was caught by her ex (who was also her landlord at the time) trying to break in through her kitchen window?" Yeah, there's story after story like this one.
If you have a Nook and you're looking for a hammock read (I will never take my Nook to the beach, I'm sorry), then I recommend spending the $1.99. A great summer read.(less)
I did genuinely enjoy this book -- and how could I not? It's Tina freaking Fey, y'all! But you know, I felt at times like it jumped around a bit, wher...moreI did genuinely enjoy this book -- and how could I not? It's Tina freaking Fey, y'all! But you know, I felt at times like it jumped around a bit, where subject matter is concerned. Bossypants is a quick read, and while Fey does a great job of giving an honest perspective of the gradual change of attitude towards women in comedy over the years, I was left wanting more in that area, and less about her triumphs and trials of motherhood. I got the feeling reading it that she was both unapologetic to the public for being a career woman and a mother, and apologetic to her daughter for not getting to spend as much time with her as she really would like. While I commend her for being honest about her difficult, and totally human conundrum, the parts about motherhood felt like they belonged in a separate book (for example, she has a story about her inability to get her kid to take breast milk from her boob... I would love to see a story like this in Tina Fey's Unconventional Guide to Imperfect But Still Alright Motherhood).
I'd say it's worth a read for something lighter than, say, Cormac McCarthy's The Road, but I don't think it will blow your funny bone to pieces. (less)
I am about 160 pages into this book, and I can't tell you how many times I tried to put off doing errands over the weekend so that I could continue re...moreI am about 160 pages into this book, and I can't tell you how many times I tried to put off doing errands over the weekend so that I could continue reading! If I could have delayed grocery shopping, a trip to Home Depot, and dinner with my visiting family on Sunday, I absolutely would have read my way through the weekend. I didn't want to put it down, I really didn't!
Here you have three perspectives on living in Jackson, Mississippi during the incredibly tense civil rights and feminist movements of the 1960's, in the absolute hotbed of racial inequity. You have Aibeleen, the sweet African American maid who has a long history of raising white women's children just long enough for the kids to reach the age where they start to treat her like a lesser class. Then there's Minnie, the smart-mouthed African American maid whose cooking can usually make up for her inability to bite her tongue. And then, standing tall and awkward is the single, white, aspiring writer woman, Skeeter, who sees the behind-the-kitchen-door stories of women like Aibeleen and Minnie as her tickets to New York to pursue her dream career as a journalist. Just what do the maids think about the new initiative by the Ladies club in Jackson to convince more white families to build separate bathroom for "the help" to prevent the spread of supposed "diseases" that poor black folks carry to the toilet? And what exactly are the white women doing with their time while the black women are busy raising their children, cooking their meals, washing and ironing their linens, and polishing their silver? What do you do, as a maid, when a white kid starts calling you mama -- or perhaps worse, what do you do when the kid gets old enough to realize that society believes the black woman who has raised them so tenderly comes from a lesser class, and should be treated as such?
Even though I tend to dislike the film/TV adaptation of books, I'd love to see The Help turned into the South's answer to Mad Men. I can't wait for my free time this week to continue reading!(less)
I got this book at a publishing industry holiday party, and you'd better believe that I snagged it the second I saw it on the "give a book, take a boo...moreI got this book at a publishing industry holiday party, and you'd better believe that I snagged it the second I saw it on the "give a book, take a book" gift table. I actually made friends with a local radio producer whose skinny tie was green with envy that I had snatched it up before he'd had a chance, but hey, thems the breaks. I give him a sly "How much radio time will you give my authors?" kind of move, but it turns out that though I drove a hard bargain, he was not to be swayed. I guess jobs are more important than books with entries like "Crafting While Bipolar" or "How to make a Sandpaper Rug," but you know what? I love my Simpler Times book, and when it comes time to make largely inappropriate gifts for my generally inappropriate friends, I know exactly which crafty comedienne will guide me along the way, with or without the two-toned jumpsuit. (less)
Oh goodness, what (mildly offensive) craftacular fun. I recommend this book as a gift for anyone who loves a good dirty joke with their toilet paper c...moreOh goodness, what (mildly offensive) craftacular fun. I recommend this book as a gift for anyone who loves a good dirty joke with their toilet paper coverlets, or prefers ric-rac with their bric-a-brac. (less)