Wow, this is one that really sticks with you. I just found it on my bookshelf one day (I'm really not sure where it came from) and finally picked it uWow, this is one that really sticks with you. I just found it on my bookshelf one day (I'm really not sure where it came from) and finally picked it up and read through it. And kept reading almost straight through because I was that entranced by it. It's not that it's a pleasant story; far from it in fact. But it is an important story, and based on glimpses of real life.
Lulu and Merry don't have the most conventional childhood, but they have parents. That is until their father in a drunken rage kills their mother and severely injures Merry in the process. Now parentless, they are sent to an orphanage where survival is a daily thing with the other girls. They have family, but none that can actually take care of them want them and so until they are fostered by a well to do family, the orphanage is their existence. Merry still visits her father and has become his link to the world and it weighs heavy on her shoulders. Lulu prefers to think that he doesn't exist and throws herself into her studies. As the years go by the events haunt them deeply and have an impact on every decision they make.
Lulu and Merry are both terrific characters. Although I preferred Lulu and her storyline, both were well developed and you could feel empathy towards them. And they were very realistic in what domestic violence does to families and how it impacts the children. The rest of the characters were pretty much side characters. I can't say they were as fully developed. But they were all important and as much as you didn't like the father, he was still an integral piece of the story. And I could feel myself growing angry at the orphanage and the people in it, which means you know the characterization was done well if you feel actual emotion.
It's a sad novel. Very sad because it is a completely plausible situation to happen in real life. And things like this happen all the time. There is violence done everywhere. But reading how these girls coped (or didn't cope) was somewhat inspiring as they were still trying to make their life and go on. Meyers has a way for really evoking emotion from the reader and the level of detail was just right (although perhaps not quite palatable for those who can't handle violence and descriptions of violence). I think the social message is important too. Domestic violence can be unexpected sometimes and support for the victims is not always there. So anything that increases awareness helps.
A very thought provoking book and one I would highly recommend. Lulu and Merry's stories will make you want to cry and change the world.
Admittedly I thought this was going to be a book about women who were raised in the wild (or raised by wolves, that sort of folklore) as that is whatAdmittedly I thought this was going to be a book about women who were raised in the wild (or raised by wolves, that sort of folklore) as that is what the title and subtitle seemed to indicate. I was wrong. This is more of a psychoanalysis book and self-help than a book on myths.
Estes has taken a collection of myths and stories from folklore and dissected them one by one into telling the story of the female subconscious. The motives and actions, the restrictions society has placed on the "wild woman" and the way that women can rediscover their wildness. She gives little lessons and advice for those who have been brought down by society and describes the process of suppressing a woman's instincts. The myths themselves are told regularly and then she adds her interpretation to the mix, showing how it relates to female psychology.
This book is all about women. Men are mentioned but only in relation to women. And more often than not they are the oppressors. Although there are a few mentions of men who encourage the wildness in women. The books total theme was one of oppression though, and I was a bit surprised that even when she was encouraging wildness and restoring women back to themselves, she kept referring to arts, and childbirth, and barely a mention of science. It almost seemed like her vision of taking the female self back was still pretty traditional. She wanted a stronger woman, but one that could paint or write and take back her creativity. This might not be very empowering for those women who rather than have strong skills in the arts, are good in the sciences or math. It just didn't seem to be all encompassing.
I liked the myths in the book but did not enjoy how she dissected one story over and over and over. Once would have been sufficient as I found myself growing bored with the tedium of her repetitiveness. I think at some points it was just an effort to make the book longer. And all of the writing was at that level of descriptiveness. So many words to say the same thing over and over. It made the book a bit of a slog. But, returning back to the myths I think she chose some interesting ones, and there were some that I had never heard before, such as the tale of Baba Yaga and the armless girl. She had a nice variety.
I think this book would have been immensely better if it had been edited down. It had interesting concepts but they were lost in the sheer amount of words and the explanations were repetitive. I just can't recommend it based on that.
Women Who Run With the Wolves Copyright 1992 520 pages
Ever wonder what it would be like to be a logger in the North? So do I, however, I don't think I know anymore about what it's like to be an actual logEver wonder what it would be like to be a logger in the North? So do I, however, I don't think I know anymore about what it's like to be an actual logger, just what the journalist's experience was.
McEnany moved North and immediately became fascinated with the logging industry. He tried to make friends with the locals and got himself invited out as free labor a few times. He covers some of the figures, some of the equipment, and mostly the people in this book.
Some of them are characters. He profiles a few of the loggers, the actor Rusty Dewees, and birlers. Although the loggers and their activities take up the majority of the book. He also talks a lot about his experiences personally. I think the loggers were the most interesting, especially the one that did yoga!
I would have liked more actual logging figures. There wer quite a few already but but I found them very interesting. More so than his personal foibles with chainsaws. The stories made this more memoir than non-fiction general. I'm also not sure where the term brush cat came from. I think the author made it up as all I could find was an equipment part named that. I think a more known name for loggers would have been appropriate.
A decent book but not as in depth on the logging industry as I expected. Less memoir and more facts would have made it great.
When you read this cover, Curry: The Story of the Nation's Favorite Dish, you expect it to be more about the actual dish curry and its origins. Not quWhen you read this cover, Curry: The Story of the Nation's Favorite Dish, you expect it to be more about the actual dish curry and its origins. Not quite, this is actually a book about how the dish impacted Britain, and to a larger extent Europe's food, grocery and restaurant businesses.
Basu goes and explores how curry came to be a popular dish in Britain and the different people who brought it to its success. She tells the history of the people who came up with the packaged dinners, the cold case dinners, the different restaurants, and the different regions of food that are cooked. The book is more about the people than the food and it shows how they got to Britain and built their respective empires.
Since this book is about the people it tells from when they came to Britain (or their parents who started the business), where they came from, and how they built their business from humble beginnings into something larger. It never really explores the people that eat the curries though, just the people that sell it. And I'm still not sure I understand why it is such a popular cuisine in Britain even after reading this book. I think a little more of the story on the other side of the plate would have been very helpful.
I also found this book a bit pretentious. It only showed the empire builders, not the average family owned restaurant (unless it was Michelin starred in most cases). It also had a disdain for formulaic curries and really "curried" favor with those that did something innovative. I wanted to learn about the cuisine as a whole and it was hard to do that from this book because it just focused on the upper class eateries and the new dishes that were appearing with premium ingredients. I wanted to know just what a formulaic curry was as it's not a description in my vocabulary and to see instances of it.
If you're looking for a restaurant guide to the finest Indian restaurant's in Britain this will be good but I think that there's a limited scope on the audience for this book. Not enough about the food in my opinion. When I read a book about food I want to almost taste it from the descriptions. I couldn't do that here.
Curry: The Story of the Nation's Favorite Dish Copyright 2003 257 pages
I wavered between being intrigued with this book and not liking it at all. Having received it as a birthday present, the giver had thought they were gI wavered between being intrigued with this book and not liking it at all. Having received it as a birthday present, the giver had thought they were giving me a cookbook based on literary dishes. Well, this is not a cookbook but rather a photography book. A coffee table book filled with pictures inspired by different dishes from popular novels.
Different novels such as Heidi, American Psycho, Madame Bovary and others are represented in this book. For each novel, there is an excerpt from the book that mentions the meal in question, small footnotes that explain different things from history or the book and different facts on food at times, and then a full page picture of the meal in question that is the author's rendering of what it might have looked like.
That being said, while I thought there were some very pretty pictures in this, I wasn't always thrilled with the way it was put together. For instance, in Catcher in the Rye, it mentions a swiss cheese sandwich. What's in the picture? A sandwich with american cheese on it, or at least it looked like shiny yellow american cheese.. I can understand some ingredients being hard to get, but that one seems to be a kind of big oversight. And then Valley of the Dolls, that was just pills. Maybe the author was trying to be clever, but I don't consider that a meal at all and would have rather had actual food stuffs. Especially since the book excerpt didn't really describe it as being a meal either. Whereas I can understand the picture of dirt for One Hundred Years of Solitude as that was actually described as a meal.
I did like the actual writing in the book. The facts were interesting, most of the excerpts relevant and it just made it more complete, especially since this wasn't a cookbook. The variety of books chosen were nice too. There was both classic and modern represented, along with children's novels and adult fiction.
An ok book. I think it felt rushed and that the details could have been a little better. But the photography was pretty.
Stories about domestic abuse and overcoming obstacles always speak out to me. You want to know that with all the unfairness in the world that there isStories about domestic abuse and overcoming obstacles always speak out to me. You want to know that with all the unfairness in the world that there is a reason for it, that it can be overcome. Tell Me of Brave Women is all about domestic abuse, and the women who set out to fight it.
Tell Me of Brave Women follows three different women and to an extent, one man. Samara is a storyteller, who has traveled around the world with her husband, and in her travels, helped to found Secret Sisters. Secret Sisters is an organization that helps battered women around the globe. Thelma is a bartender in Appalachia who witnesses a brutal domestic attack and despite not liking "weak women" finds herself drawn to the victim and willing to help. Evangeline was taken hostage by a crime lord and forced to become his slave in all ways. While she has freedom sometimes she chafes under his rule and the violence with which he lashes out at her. Hassad is an inspector in a country where women are considered less. He has to follow his superiors orders, even if they are not always honorable.
I can't say that I really liked any of the characters except for Thelma. They didn't ring as authentic for me. Samara, while an interesting storyteller, was hard to follow because of the way her timeline and story jumped around. I could empathize with her to a point, but understanding her motives was difficult at times. Evangeline was a little better. She was forced into a situation but still tried to make the best of it and do what she could to help others. She was the bravest out of all the women by far. Thelma was a good woman but probably had the simplest storyline of the bunch. She witnessed something happen, didn't like it, and sought to change it. Her storyline was much more convincing than all the others and fit with what her actual abilities would have been. I was glad to see, that although there were some seriously evil men in this book, there were also quite a few that were good and exhibited positive attributes. Too often books with a women empowerment theme will have every male character as horrible, and that was not the case here.
This book jumped around a lot because of all the different point of views. To add into that, one of the characters, Samara, had a storyline that jumped all over in her history and the present, which added another layer of confusion. The writing was jumpy as well and not quite as polished as I would have expected. The voice seemed young and while that was appropriate for Evangeline, it didn't fit the rest of the characters. There were also some action scenes that I had trouble swallowing as well. I think condensing and restructuring the book would have really benefited it. That being said I think the theme of domestic abuse is a pertinent one. It shows a group of characters willing to do something about what they see as an injustice in the world and to help women who need it wherever they may be. The "Brave Women" of the story didn't have to do anything outstanding, just being a voice for the unheard is brave. So on those merits, this book is important.
I like the concept of this book but just couldn't quite get into the execution. But those who have read about domestic abuse, or gravitate to books that tell a story through different characters will probably be able to sink in quite easily with this book.
**This book was received as a free advanced reviewer's copy**
Maybe if I had read the author's first book I would have been more charmed by this one. Certainly the author was genuine and had done some off the beaMaybe if I had read the author's first book I would have been more charmed by this one. Certainly the author was genuine and had done some off the beaten path type of things with her life. But I just couldn't find a connection or really appreciate the story she had to tell.
Having lived in Afghanistan and then leave abruptly when her son is threatened with kidnapping, Rodriguez finds herself back in the states struggling to make sense of what happened. She stays for awhile with a friend turned a little more until he decides he's had enough of the relationship. And then it's off to Mazatlan Mexico where she buys a little house and settles down to try to pull the pieces of her life together. Here she makes new friends but still feels as if something is missing, and with personal problems, family problems, and other problems, peace sometimes seems unobtainable.
Rodriguez can be pretty blunt about herself at times. Especially when it comes to her choices in men. She is very frank about all her mistakes there. And her two sons, while seemingly important to her, actually feature very little in her life. Yes, one comes and lives with her, but that's when she starts describing him in detail and showing a sense of caring. She has a lot of drama. And it gets tiring. You want to just shake her and say why do you keep doing this to your life? The other characters she describes nicely though and she usually has something nice to say about almost all of them.
This book is drama. It's disguised by the fact that it's about moving to Mexico and becoming part of the community there. But really it's about Rodriguez's personal struggles and how she tries to overcome them. Mexican culture is a second, although through her interactions with her son's married family help bring the culture to the reader. She also mentions her first book a lot and that gets a little tiring. After about the fifth mention, it's like, "ok, you have a book about the beauty school you started in Afghanistan. That's fantastic, and wonderful for those women, but you've told me this before." It's obvious she's very proud of it, but redundant after awhile.
This is an ok memoir. A little too much drama for me and not enough description of everything else. I'm sure those who read the first book though will find it much more absorbing.
I'm fairly convinced that this book wasn't edited. Or at least if it was, it was a rush job. While it was interesting subject matter, the way it was wI'm fairly convinced that this book wasn't edited. Or at least if it was, it was a rush job. While it was interesting subject matter, the way it was written and the numerous mistakes and spelling errors made it hard reading.
Mistresses of Mayhem is a resource book that describes some of the most famous women criminals in history and the present. In fact, some of the women featured in this book are still alive while others have been dead for hundreds of years. There are murderers, prostitutes, and even pirates. Background on each of the women is given, and the events of their crimes are provided.
There are some bad ladies in here. And a good one that had charges against her dropped. And some who there are doubts about their guilt and undecided charges against them. Because their backgrounds are provided, there is some speculation into why they did the crimes that they did. Although their history doesn't always account for the terrible things that they did. I hadn't heard of the majority of the women in here, and some of their stories definitely came as a shock. It's enough to make you want to wish it was fiction.
This would have been a great reference book, except it didn't really read as a standard non-fiction reference book. There was tons of personal opinion in it I'm always a little skeptical if in a book that's supposed to be non-fiction, the term "white trash" is used several times along with other non-professional names and descriptors. It also had numerous spelling errors, places where you can tell a "find and replace" feature was used incorrectly, and probably the worst of all, some facts actually weren't recorded correctly (IE: two sisters names are reversed leaving the wrong one dead in the book). An editing read-through would have caught a lot of these errors, so I'm not sure what happened. The formatting is a page or two for each woman and it is sorted in alphabetical order.
It certainly doesn't seem as if this book was actually ready to be published. A little cleanup and it would be a good tome on women readers. In its current condition, I just can't recommend it.
Imagine living in a society where girls are not valued. In fact, they are property and subject to the whims of the males in their lives. Where they goImagine living in a society where girls are not valued. In fact, they are property and subject to the whims of the males in their lives. Where they go from father to husband and never have a say in what happens. This isn't a fairytale. It's a reality in Afghanistan, even after the removal of the Taliban.
When Nordberg goes to Afghanistan she expects to find out about the lives of women. What she doesn't expect to find is an underground movement of women who are posing as men. And it's something everybody knows but doesn't speak on. More commonly found in pre-pubescent girls, it has become custom to turn a girl into a boy either for running errands, helping in a shop, or to give luck that a boy will be born next. The girls are normally returned to being their birth gender before puberty starts and they are married. But there are a few exceptions.
It's hard to imagine changing yourself into a different person to be integrated in society and have freedom of movement but that is exactly what happens in Afghan culture. Whether it is for necessity to survive and get an income or because there is shame from having all girls, the reasons are varied but all widely accepted. Nordberg does a great job of showing the different personalities of the girls that have been boys for awhile and their history. It was interesting to read about how they handled the transition back (if they transitioned) and how it set them up for the rest of their lives. The different reactions of people to her was telling as well, because as a foreigner she had a lot of freedom compared to most, but was still treated differently based on her gender.
The reporting in this book was handled very well. Nordberg researched, talked to many people, and got the different sides of everything. Pretty standard, but sadly not something that happens with a lot of journalists anymore. I think the attention she paid to the leads and as in-depth as she went in her reporting was remarkable. Especially considering she was in a closed-society that doesn't encourage outsiders to make contact with women. Sure, it probably helped she was a woman herself, but it's still a difficult culture to navigate and get answers. Which makes this view pretty important. Her take of the situation, that not just women should be being helped, but the men who encourage education in women should be helped as well, is an important thought and one frequently overlooked. And the stories are engaging and well written, done in a professional way but still having a lot of detail. I could have kept reading if there was more.
I think this is a great book that shows a hidden side of Afghan culture that could be key to improving lives for women over there. I definitely recommend this book for anyone interested in women's studies or Afghan culture.
**This book was received in a Goodreads Givaway**
The Underground Girls of Kabul Copyright 2014 333 pages
Sometimes you read about a character you absolutely can't stand or relate to. But more on that later. This book was suggested to me, and as I always lSometimes you read about a character you absolutely can't stand or relate to. But more on that later. This book was suggested to me, and as I always like a good conversation about books, I told him I would read it. Hermann Hesse is a pretty well known author, although I've heard said that this book is one of his more misunderstood ones.
Harry Haller is a recluse, a wolf, as he likes to call himself. He spends his time contemplating poetry, music, books, in the privacy of his own rooms and has never learned to dance nor unleash the more animalistic side of him, despite knowing that it lies dormant within him. When he meets a woman named Hermine, his world starts to change though. She introduces him to dancing, pleasures and cheap thrills, and eventually to the magic theatre, where he is taken on a ride so out of the normal that he cannot tell what is real and what is not.
It was interesting, when talking with the friend who suggested this book, to discover just how different he and I viewed Harry Haller. I viewed him as narcissistic and with a superiority complex. He viewed him as misunderstood and socially awkward. I guess it really is true that our own life experiences shape how we view things. My reasoning for finding Haller narcissistic were a result of his constant moaning about how the upper classes of society didn't understand or appreciate his views on art, literature, etc. And that dancing, etc. that he secretly was interested in was considering lower class by him and more animalistic, a different side to him. It was as if he felt himself so superior to either group of people, that he couldn't fit in despite trying. I just found it a real turn-off. I also didn't like the way he discarded a certain character once finished with his development of his own character. It's like learning much from a good book and then setting fire to it when you're done reading. Destruction with no real purpose.
That being said, if Hesse's intent was to make me dislike Haller then he did a very good job. The book is descriptive and evokes emotion, if not necessarily the positive kind. But the first third of a book was a whiney drag to get through. I got tired of Haller describing himself and his suffering of being alone and it wasn't until Hermine entered the picture that things actually got interesting. I still didn't like the social interactions he had, but at least there were new characters that offered different perspectives. The Magic Theatre was also intriguing and the images evoked from the writing were disturbing yet colorful and varied. It was like having a very vivid nightmare. I realize that I may not fully understand the emotions or worldview that Hesse was expressing through Haller, but I just couldn't connect with any part of him which made this a difficult read. It was like looking at a piece of abstract art; it may appeal to some and I can appreciate that the artist had a lot of thoughts and emotions going into the work, but I certainly don't want to hang it in my house.
I think you can be of two minds of this book, you either like it or you don't. For me, I can't say that I enjoyed it, other than enjoying the debate about the writing and character motivations that came out of it.