This delightful little picture book genuinely made me smile. It's a story of love and loyalty, not in a preachy way, but in an organic way that echoesThis delightful little picture book genuinely made me smile. It's a story of love and loyalty, not in a preachy way, but in an organic way that echoes classic fairy tales and is sure to appeal to young children and the young-at-heart. If you have young children who enjoy bedtime reading, or if you're trying to establish the habit of bedtime reading, this book is an excellent choice. The main characters are a boy bear and a girl bear with no particular ethnic origin, so all children will be able to identify with them.
I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for this review, which represents my own honest opinion. I was not otherwise compensated in any way for this review....more
I love nonfiction books about sexuality in general, and I wanted to read this one specifically because I thought it might be good research for futureI love nonfiction books about sexuality in general, and I wanted to read this one specifically because I thought it might be good research for future short stories and novel scenes. I’ve written threesomes before, but I could always learn to write them hotter.
I started reading this book ages ago, but I kept putting it away when guests came over and then getting distracted by other books. That's not to say that it's uninteresting or boring - far from it. Granted, I did skip a few passages that didn't apply to me, but overall, I enjoyed this very much. It's really more 4.5 stars than 4.
Vicki Vantoch is the kind of smart girl who makes me want to do stupid things. She’s brilliant and witty. I laughed out loud several times throughout the book, just like I do with Lemony Snicket things. She has one of the best jobs I could imagine: anthropologist and historian who specializes in the history of sex. In physical appearance, she reminds me of the singer Sara Bareilles. Funny, smart, cute, openly bisexual – Vicki Vantoch is my kind of writer.
She’s also the mom of two adorable kidlings, son West and daughter Maison. Their dad is Vantoch’s life partner since they were 16 years old, the actor Dimitri Krushnik. But, as she writes on page 328, “Yale law professor Kenji Yoshino argues we are all pressured to ‘cover’ or to downplay stigmatized traits to blend into the mainstream. We do this in various ways—by hiding hearing aids or changing ethnic-sounding names to commercially viable ones.” In that exact manner, Dimitri is better known as Misha Collins. Which, I suppose, is not quite as Russian-sounding, even though Misha is still the traditional Russian nickname for Dimitri. (Didn’t Dimitri Belikov’s sisters call him Misha in the Vampire Academy novels?)
I don’t watch Misha’s TV show, Supernatural, but thanks (or no thanks) to Tumblr, I’m still a little obsessed. With Destiel. But that’s a whole other story.
Vantoch is candid about her own three-way relationship with her husband and her female best friend, but Collins is more guarded. She writes in the Acknowledgments, “And finally, M, my sweet coadventurer in love and life. Even though this book wasn’t his cup of tea, he was supportive from the beginning and was always there when I needed him with encouragement, egg sandwiches, and a brutally-honest critical eye. His patience, humor, openness to change, and super-human ability to love me without crushing me, continues to amaze me. I feel enormously lucky to be sharing this journey with him.”
My favorite chapter is Chapter 5, which gets into some of the issues that not-bisexuals might face when in multiple partner relationships. It encourages people who consider themselves straight to be open to a range of experiences that might be pleasurable even if a bit outside their usual comfort zone, without obsessing about labels. Human beings seem to have an innate tendency to want everything neatly categorized, but our sexuality is much too fluid and varied for that. Vantoch gets that, and she’s able to write about it in a way that’s not only humorous but also quite sexy.
Whether they read it for research, for practical tips, or simply out of curiosity, readers who are brave enough to pick this one up will be rewarded.
I purchased this book with my own funds and was not obligated in any way to review it....more
This is an extraordinarily well-written book, although an extremely difficult one to read, due to its subject matter. It's about the sexual assault anThis is an extraordinarily well-written book, although an extremely difficult one to read, due to its subject matter. It's about the sexual assault and attempted murder of an Ojibwe woman by a Caucasian man. Told from the point of view of the victim's 12-year-old son, the book deals with the psychological aftermath of a heinous assault as well as the inherent injustice in the legal system where indigenous nations' laws meet the laws of the United States. As Erdrich explains in the book's afterword, even though this novel is pure fiction, sexual assaults against indigenous women by non-indigenous men were a serious problem in the 1980s (when this book is set) and continue to be a problem today. So, even though the novel can be quite harrowing, stick it out, because it draws desperately-needed attention to issues we should all be on our feet fighting against....more
I haven't read any of the other books in Jane Jamison's Werewolves of Forever, Texas series, but I thought I'd give this one a try. I found it for a dI haven't read any of the other books in Jane Jamison's Werewolves of Forever, Texas series, but I thought I'd give this one a try. I found it for a deeply discounted price at an outlet store and I couldn't resist snapping it up. I wasn't at all disappointed. It wasn't necessary to read the first 8 books in this series to understand who Milly was as a character.
Milly is the waitress at the diner in the tiny, supernatural town of Forever, which reminded me of Charlaine Harris's Midnight, Texas. Milly can't read minds like Sookie Stackhouse, but she can shapeshift at will into a werewolf. She doesn't even have to wait for the full moon.
One thing is missing from Milly's life, though: unlike most of the werewolves in Forever, she is unmated. Like Jacob Black in Twilight, she expects to "imprint" on someone - maybe two or more someones. It appears that polyandry is not unknown among these particular wolves. In this regard, they're not unlike the wolfish Chanku in Kate Douglas's Wolf Tales series.
I'm a big fan of paranormal romances, so I enjoyed that this mythological territory was somewhat familiar from some of my other favorite series.
Like clockwork, Milly's perfect matches seem to come along in the forms of California transplants Dan and Matthew Hudson. But Dan and Matthew bring a bit of baggage - their 15-year-old niece Riley, whose parents were killed in a car accident. Her uncles are her surrogate parents.
Riley does NOT warm up to Milly quickly. Cue the dramatic suspense: Riley's unwise flirtation with some immature teenage vampires leads the vamps to kidnap and attempt to sacrifice her for a ritual. Bravely, Milly offers herself in exchange for Riley. She's rescued by the brothers before the vampires kill her, and Milly-Riley relationship is permanently turned around.
So Milly gets her perfect mates and her happy ending. Who could ask for anything more?
On the cover art, it's not possible to tell which sexy brother is Matthew and which is Dan, but one has short hair and one has longish hair that tucks behind his ear. Dare I say they look a bit like a certain pair of demon-hunting brothers from a certain CW TV series?
I purchased this paperback with my own funds and was not obligated to review it in any way. This review represents my own honest opinion....more
I picked this out from Blogging for Books (free book in exchange for review), although I was not familiar with the writer Dinty W. Moore. If WikipediaI picked this out from Blogging for Books (free book in exchange for review), although I was not familiar with the writer Dinty W. Moore. If Wikipedia is to be believed, the essayist is actually named Dinty W. Moore, not after the Canadian hockey player (or the corned beef sandwich) but after a character in the comic strip 'Bringing Up Father.' That makes him sound ancient, but he is in fact a Baby Boomer, a few years younger than my parents.
Moore won me over early in this essay collection, with this sentence, "I believe the best way to avoid coming off as a male chauvinist pig might be to not be a male chauvinist pig?" The question mark is unnecessary; the advice is sound.
The questions that spark each essay (or, in some cases, doodle) come from other nonfiction writers, including Cheryl Strayed, Diane Ackerman, and Roxane Gay. My personal favorites include Moore's anecdotes about other writers; he has one on George Plimpton and another with Nelson Algren.
Moore is funny. Quite funny. He has a quirky sense of humor, which happens to be the kind of sense of humor that most appeals to me. This is one of those books I laughed out loud to, causing my husband to ask, "What are you laughing at?" Just the thing I'm usually laughing at, dear: writers' meta jokes about punctuation and non sequiturs. ...more
The thesis of Bright-Sided is the U.S. residents tend, as a people, to subscribe to an optimistic outlook on life that isn’t so much based in fact asThe thesis of Bright-Sided is the U.S. residents tend, as a people, to subscribe to an optimistic outlook on life that isn’t so much based in fact as it is in wishful thinking. Sometimes this wishful thinking is presented to us with the best of intentions. At other times, it’s presented to us as a cynical ploy to make a fast buck with a minimal output of effort, since one of the tenets of positive thinking is often, “If it’s not working for you, you must not be trying hard enough.”
Sometimes, corporations use this mindset to try to increase productivity as much as possible while laying out as few benefits as they can get away with. Haven’t gotten a raise in five years? You’re probably just not working hard enough! Envision success and use positivity to attract a raise to you! At worst, this can be used as an excuse to pay people poverty wages for working long, hard hours at unpalatable jobs.
The problem, as Ehrenreich explains, is that very little scientific evidence shows that positive people fare significantly better than their less-positive peers. At the same time, individuals can experience real-world consequences, including loss of their jobs, simply for being perceived as not having a positive attitude.
As Ehrenreich shows, however, the economic sphere is not the only one in which people can find themselves blamed and shamed for not being cheerful enough. Oddly, one of them is the cancer support group sphere, as Ehrenreich found out during her bout with breast cancer. Women suffering from the disease will sometimes repeat the mantra that positivity strengthens their immune system and thus helps them fight the disease. The problem is that physicians don’t think there is much of a link between the immune system and breast cancer. Think about what the immune system does – it fights foreign “invaders” in the body, namely bacteria and viruses. Cancer cells are the body’s own cells, not recognized by the immune system as “foreign.” Women who get sicker and blame themselves for being too negative are expending their precious energy over something irrelevant.
The chapter on the religious aspect of positive thinking is also very interesting. In this chapter, I learned about the New Thought movement of the 1800s and its founder, Phineas Parkhurst Quimby. If a 21st-century person believes human thought can affect atoms and molecules in the real world, that person can likely trace their thoughts back to Quimby. Followers of the so-called Prosperity Gospel as exemplified by Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyers, adherents of Oprah Winfrey, and readers of Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret may not seem to have much in common on the surface, but all can trace their philosophical roots back to New Thought. Quimby’s most direct influence may have been on Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science.
The origin of Quimby’s “heal thyself” philosophy? He had tuberculosis. He was born in 1808, and when he was a young man, doctors could do next to nothing for the bacterial infection. His doctors gave him a remedy that did little to abate his breathing problems, but did make his teeth start to fall out. Fed up with the institutional medicine of his day (with good reason), he decided to study hypnotism. He eventually came to believe that all diseases were caused by the way one thinks about one’s body.
The scientific evidence that beliefs affect the human body is scant to nonexistent, but Quimby and Baker Eddy weren’t really interested in scientific evidence. I read a little bit more about Mary Baker Eddy in Wikipedia, and it seems she had something of a kerfuffle with Mark Twain in the first decade of the 1900s. Twain wrote an article criticizing Christian Science, which Harper’s magazine refused to publish. Twain then accused the publication of bowing down to pressure from high-profile Christian Scientists and of not being objective. He later published – elsewhere, one presumes – a lengthy critical essay on the subject of Mary Baker Eddy herself.
Touched on in this chapter, and quite possibly worth addressing in greater detail elsewhere, are John Marks Templeton Sr. and Jr. The senior John M. Templeton created the Templeton Foundation, which supports a large variety of both religious and scientific research endeavors. It has been accused of supporting unscientific theories such as “intelligent design” creationism and other dubious sciences. Ehrenreich herself has publicly accused the Templeton Foundation of a conservative political bias, which the Foundation has answered by saying that it stays within the guidelines set forth by its founder, which are designed to be unbiased and apolitical.
Dr. John Marks Templeton Jr., popularly known as Jack Templeton, was well known for donating vast sums of his personal wealth to Republican political causes. He and his wife are estimated to have personally donated a million dollars to opposing same-sex marriage. Having died of a brain tumor in May of this year, he didn’t quite live long enough to see marriage equality become the law of the land on June 26th.
Economics, politics, religion, medicine…areas of life in which people need to be at their most clear-eyed. Optimism and a positive outlook can make life more bearable, especially when one is ill or under stress, but it’s also important to be armed with objective fact. This is the point Barbara Ehrenreich makes in Bright-Sided, and it’s a good one. ...more