I was expecting a different sort of book, with more content about cycling itself, but what David Byrne has written is so much better. With the freedomI was expecting a different sort of book, with more content about cycling itself, but what David Byrne has written is so much better. With the freedom cycling provides, Byrne takes the reader along as he explores numerous cities while traveling for work. It's not just the terrain, but the architecture, art, music, politics, urban planning, sustainability and other aspects of society and culture that are examined. I loved the journey he took us on, whether it was his through local neighborhood in NYC or the more exotic locales he visits. I found this travel memoir to be interesting and completely charming. I'm inspired to look at my bicycle as a way to experience more. I've already (only half-jokingly) told my husband that our next vacation needs to be filled with scenic bicycle daytrips, odd (to us) festivals and exhibits, hole-in-the-wall pubs, world music and maybe even some belly dancing. ...more
I'd give this 2.5 stars. I think some fans will enjoy it and find it interesting. I was a fan of Nirvana but not of Cobain, and reading this only reinI'd give this 2.5 stars. I think some fans will enjoy it and find it interesting. I was a fan of Nirvana but not of Cobain, and reading this only reinforced some of my dislike of Kurt Cobain. ...more
Part memoir, part self-help/advice, I found myself wishing for more memoir. I give this a solid 3 stars. (I almost considered 4, but thought that mighPart memoir, part self-help/advice, I found myself wishing for more memoir. I give this a solid 3 stars. (I almost considered 4, but thought that might be my I-was-a-teenage-girl-in-the-80's love for Molly clouding my judgment.) I thought her advice was good and I am actually inspired to try my hand at accessorizing with scarves, lol. I love her for wanting her readers to love themselves and be good to themselves. I enjoyed the little peeks into her real personality. I won't give it 4 stars because it's not the most important book I've ever read or anything, but I did enjoy it a lot. ...more
Confession: I somehow missed the announcement of Pluto’s demotion from being a “real” planet and only heard about it’s reclassification something likeConfession: I somehow missed the announcement of Pluto’s demotion from being a “real” planet and only heard about it’s reclassification something like two years after the fact. (Seriously — where the heck was I?) Even my husband has made fun of me for that. I’ve been set straight as of a few years ago, though I never actually bothered to find out just what it meant for Pluto to not be a planet, or why it happened. When I saw Mike Brown’s How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming, I was curious enough to pick it up, and am I ever glad I did.
Mike Brown takes us through his journey from becoming interested in planets, to setting his professional goal of discovering a new planet, to the events of several years while he led teams in discovering large objects beyond Pluto and the subsequent controversies over his discoveries. During these exciting times, he also manages to fall in love, marry and start a family, and the author shares these events as well.
I'm impressed by how Mike Brown presents the science, without requiring his audience to be scientists to understand. Not only was I able to follow, but I was very much drawn in. How I Killed Pluto... goes beyond the science and is above all else a love story -- love for his wife, love for his daughter, love for the science and for maintaining its integrity. This was an excellent read that I'd recommend to anyone. ...more
I give Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother 3.5 stars for being an enjoyable and interesting read. It was good, but the writing fell short of what I'd giveI give Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother 3.5 stars for being an enjoyable and interesting read. It was good, but the writing fell short of what I'd give 4 stars to. I'm not grading based on my opinion of Amy Chua's parenting methods.
I appreciated Amy Chua's candor and I agree with some, though not all, of her parenting methods. I like strictness, making a kid stick with something, and having high expectations. I believe parents should be parents first (save friendship for when they're grown and don't need a parent.) I don't agree with screaming matches nor what some would possibly consider emotional abuse. I believe there is a middle ground that allows parents to raise successful, well-adjusted children. I do think the author is working on finding that and on tolerating her youngest daughter's rejection of her methods. Sadly for her, I don't think either Amy or her children (or husband and other family) were able to enjoy the precious times while her children were young. Sure, they will go to top-notch schools and be successful, but neither daughter plans to pursue music professionally, and I'm certain at least some of those long practice hours are to be regretted.
But, hey, Amy Chua has her dogs. In them she seems to have found some unconditional sort of acceptance and is able to give affection freely and fully enjoy her time with them -- well, at least once she was able to accept that they'd never be the best trained dogs ever. I'm sure her daughters love her and appreciate her, and I'm certain she loves her daughters (even more than she loves living through them,) but I can't help but think that the dogs got the best part of her.
Overall, I found this to be a quick and enjoyable read, and it definitely made me think about my own parenting philosophy....more
If I were rating based on the first two parts of Blood, Bones and Butter, then I would have given this five out of five stars. I can't quite put a finIf I were rating based on the first two parts of Blood, Bones and Butter, then I would have given this five out of five stars. I can't quite put a finger on why, but for me the "Butter" didn't flow as easy as the rest, despite having some of my favorite chapters.
Gabrielle Hamilton's writing is beautiful -- lyrical and descriptive. She also is brutally honest. I appreciate candor when it comes to memoirs, though some might find hers and her profanity at times offensive. Some of her experiences are quite shocking, and I was never uninterested in the details of her past.
I found myself fascinated by Hamilton's upbringing and her hypnotic dreamy descriptions of food, preparation of food, and events centered around food. I found myself starving throughout my read, and if I ever get a chance to dine in Hamilton's restaurant, I'll jump on it. ...more
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. I had to abandon this a few chapters in, because it was just too terrible. Here is my issue with You Don't Sweat MI won this in a Goodreads giveaway. I had to abandon this a few chapters in, because it was just too terrible. Here is my issue with You Don't Sweat Much for a Fat Girl -- it reads as though the author is trying way, way, way too hard to be snarky and witty and relatable. It was sooooo forced. If I want that, I can get it on any internet forum where there is always someone who tries too hard to be the coolest thing ever. I'm sure everyone knows the type. I couldn't take anymore, so I had to give up. ...more
I won Jeanne Darst's Fiction Ruined My Family in a Goodreads giveaway. I mostly enjoyed Jeanne Darst's memoir, and I applaud her frankness and braveryI won Jeanne Darst's Fiction Ruined My Family in a Goodreads giveaway. I mostly enjoyed Jeanne Darst's memoir, and I applaud her frankness and bravery in telling her story. Lucky for me, I can't imagine the difficulty of dealing with her parents and her unconventional upbringing. She relayed stories that were both entertaining and mortifying and owned her demons. I didn't always like *her*, but I don't think I would have rated this as high if she herself were more likable. ...more
I wish I could award half-stars, as I'd give this a solid 3.5. I felt at times Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me was disjointed and reI wish I could award half-stars, as I'd give this a solid 3.5. I felt at times Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me was disjointed and reaching for material, which is a shame, because the parts of this that I enjoyed made me adore her. I agree with some of the other reviews that said Mindy would be a perfect best friend. I related to Kaling's goody-goody, geek, girly-girl. I wish there were more essays about her experiences in her early days as a writer up through now, though.
In a way, I felt this was two books, one memoir and one observational humor through her lens. I think I wish it were two, as I loved both aspects, but felt each could be more robust and focused. Mindy, I would buy both! ...more
I have mixed feelings about The Happiness Project. I really like the premise, setting resolutions and working to achieve more happiness. Who couldn'tI have mixed feelings about The Happiness Project. I really like the premise, setting resolutions and working to achieve more happiness. Who couldn't use more happiness, right? Nonetheless, Gretchen Rubin did encounter some criticism and skepticism, and she readily admitted her life was pretty satisfying as it was. So her challenge was to change her life, without changing her life. I really like this idea of nurturing happiness in an atmosphere of growth while not necessarily making major life changes.
I wish Rubin had dedicated more pages to offering suggestions to individuals for determining which areas to focus on and how to create resolutions. I understand that everyone's happiness project is different, but the planner in me would have enjoyed more suggestions, not necessarily to copy, but to foster brainstorming and to be inspired. But I really shouldn't complain as this was more her memoir of her project and less a self-help work, and Rubin did do a good job of explaining why she chose her monthly resolutions. Some of my favorite parts of the book were when Rubin shared comments from readers of her blog. It was interesting to read other viewpoints.
I appreciated the author's frankness about her less than positive personality traits, as well as owning up to when she gave up on resolutions that were just not enjoyable to her. How to recognize what truly brings happiness as opposed to the idea of something was a good take-away as well. (For instance, as much as I love the idea of having a wonderful vegetable garden, there is almost nothing I hate more than gardening, so this is not an area to devote my efforts. The huge reward is nonetheless not big enough to outweigh what would be my misery.)
Although I did not like The Happiness Project enough to rate it more than 3.5 stars, I do feel inspired to begin my own project.
It's not the writing -- the author can craft a better than decent sentence -- that earned *Collections of Nothing* only a two-star rating from me. It'It's not the writing -- the author can craft a better than decent sentence -- that earned *Collections of Nothing* only a two-star rating from me. It's repetitive. It's indulgent -- not in a warm, nostalgic way, but in a sad, pathetic way. Then again, the sadness, the pathos, these just may be kind of the point, in which case the author is smart. He does seem self-aware, so I imagine that is the intent. But though this may be quite smart, it just wasn't an enjoyable read for me....more