I'm not very familiar with Amy Poehler's work. I recognize her name, and knew she was on SNL and was besties with Tina Fey. I had watched one episodeI'm not very familiar with Amy Poehler's work. I recognize her name, and knew she was on SNL and was besties with Tina Fey. I had watched one episode of Parks & Rec but hadn't continued. But after listening to this, I knew I had to give P&R another try (supposedly the first season is the worst and and slog but gets exponentially better in the second season).
I listened to the audiobook of this in the car, while walking, while pretending to jog but really walking, while cooking. It was fun and made me smile, laugh a few times, and nod in agreement with Amy. There were a lot of truths in here that it has taken Amy 43 years to learn, and I wish someone had told me those things when I was younger....more
Felicia Day is my spirit animal. I've decided this after reading this book. Because (1) she's awesome, (2) I relate to her pretty well, sometimes painFelicia Day is my spirit animal. I've decided this after reading this book. Because (1) she's awesome, (2) I relate to her pretty well, sometimes painfully so, and (3) she makes me want to love myself for who I am while still striving to be a better person. And that last one, that's pretty damn important.
It's hard enough being a girl without also being a geeky girl in today's world, where you feel you have to hide your geeky interests from other people, but at the same time feel like you're not always welcome in the boy's clubhouse. Felicia Day understands. She's been there. She's done that. And honestly, it's great to remind myself to embrace who I am, and that most of fandom is just happy you're there and having fun.
I love her frank discussion about her social anxiety and depression, because I've been there. And it sucks monkey balls. It's also inspiring to see her get through it and become stronger, more self-aware, and sure of herself. She shows that it's okay to screw up, to be less than perfect because those are the moments you learn the most and which temper who you are.
And lastly, her book just spoke to me, in a way that only someone with a shared experience can. I'm a little younger than her but still, we were the first Internet generation, forging social connections over the new-fangled Internet, finding life-long friendships over common (geeky) interests that persist to this day and are stronger than many IRL friendships that faded or ended abruptly because you realized the other person was a self-absorbed back-stabbing user who saw you as an afterthought to their supposedly awesome and perfect life. AHEM. Anyway. (Sadly, this has happened more than once in various iterations. I'm more protective of my own personal emotional boundaries now.)
When I was reading, I thought it was odd that Felicia skipped or glossed over many of her acting roles, which is how I first met her and continued to meet her from Buffy, to Dollhouse, to Eureka, to Supernatural. But it clicked that this wasn't a Hollywood memoir in the usual sense. Instead it was about her personal journey to get comfortable in her own skin and make a career and life out of her geekiness.
I received a free advanced review copy from the publisher via Netgalley.
"Today, our teacher told us about the number zero, which has no worth," she sa
I received a free advanced review copy from the publisher via Netgalley.
"Today, our teacher told us about the number zero, which has no worth," she said. "But put it next to another number, and it makes that number important. The more zeros you add, the bigger the number gets. So know that if you are feeling like a zero, you do have great worth with teamwork."
That quote basically sums up the entire message of the book for me. Katrell Christie's mission of bettering the lives of these girls in Darjeeling, India would be impossible without help.
I've heard of The Learning Tea before. I'm a bit of a tea obsessive, with cupboard overflowing with the dried leaf. I remember finding the website at some point, looking at the tea and considering buying some. I ended up not, only because I am not a fan of darjeeling tea, finding it lacking the depth and subtlety of flavor that I find in teas from China, Japan, and Taiwan. But The Learning Tea stayed somewhere in the back of my mind and when I saw this book on Netgalley, I immediately requested it.
Tiger Heart is part memoir, part call to action, part marketing material, and part feel-good "find the good in the world" missive. It's deceptively simple, with clear writing and short chapters interspersed with motivational quotes from well-known thinkers or writers. On the surface, the book is simply Christie's journey that led her to create The Learning Tea, and where The Learning Tea is today. But it's more. It's also the story of one person making a difference -- but not on her own.
I think that's the most powerful message in this book. Unlike another international development NGO founder who was outed to be a fraud after writing several best-selling books, Christie never portrays herself as the hero, single-handedly moving mountains. She's honest in what she doesn't know, what she had to learn. She's humble in her quest, focusing on helping the individuals she can. And she's upfront with her failures.
She could have very easily sensationalized her story, and it was a bit of a shock when I came across this:
I’ve made it through two armed robberies, one attempted carjacking at gunpoint, one knife holdup, and one hijacked train. I was smuggled through a political war zone in the hatchback of a car covered in burlap. I’ve tossed on a burka to be able to ride the train by myself. Throw in a handful of death threats. And then there’s bullying from people who don’t want my low-caste scholars to take seats away from their rich kids at school.
Because Christie, while making it clear throughout the book that it was incredibly difficult and draining to do what she does, never up until that point toward the end of the book, mentioned it was also dangerous.
But the story wasn't about her and her being the hero. It's about the girls who are being helped, and India....more
I received a free advanced review copy from the publisher via Netgalley.
The description for this book is a bit misleading. The first half is Pollack'sI received a free advanced review copy from the publisher via Netgalley.
The description for this book is a bit misleading. The first half is Pollack's memoir of her own experiences as a student from childhood in public school in a predominantly Jewish area through college at Yale as one of the few female physics majors. The second half of the book is more in line with what I had been expecting given the description, and includes anecdata from other women who Pollack had known or interviewed from her own generation and the later generation of female science majors and scientists, as well as recaps of interviews with her former professors and teachers who we had met in the first half of the book.
This is a deeply personal story for Pollack, but at the same time it is also deeply personal for every girl who thought she wasn't smart enough, or every woman who decided to drop out of a science major, or every student who didn't even try for a science degree in the first place. This book was deeply personal for me.
Pollack's experiences are not every woman's or minority's experiences, but they are similar enough that many can relate. One of my criticisms of this book is Pollack's weakness in connecting women's experiences with the similar experiences of minorities and economically disadvantaged students. She does mention that several times, but it is definitely a message that can be strengthened. Towards the end of the book, Pollack noted that some students, even if they enter into college at the top of their high school graduating class, find themselves floundering and behind other students because they were not privileged enough for their schools to offer certain courses. I wish Pollack had highlighted that more because it's a problem that systemically places students from under-served, poorer schools at a disadvantage in college.
I write this review the day after a 14-year-old Muslim boy with brown skin was detained by his school and arrested for bringing in a homemade clock to show off to his science teacher, which another teacher reported as a bomb. That is an extreme case of the educational culture discouraging a minority from entering a STEM field, but it highlights the challenges that some students face by virtue of their sex or ethnicity.
Pollack's story is an important one, and both its strength and weakness is its reliance on anecdotes (what I referred to as "anecdata" earlier) from her own experiences and gleaned from interviews or missives with other women or minorities. She does mention the results of a few studies of bias against women in STEM, but the bulk of the book are anecdata rather than empirical controlled studies. The anecdata bring the problems to life in a way that pure numbers don't, yet at the same time anecdotes are easy for those in the sciences to discount because they are not data (hence why I have been referring to them as "anecdata"; because, well, it can be argued that the plural for anecdote is data).
Given the larger conversation that has been on-going for the past few years of women in the sciences, and the blatant misogyny that I keep running up against from big names (Google "Richard Dawkins women"), The Only Woman in the Room is an important book, and very timely. Remember in June when Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine Tim Hunt said at a science conference in South Korea, "Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab: You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them they cry"? Or last November when European Space Agency Rosetta Project scientist Matt Taylor gave public interviews after the Philae space probe landed on a comet while wearing a shirt covered in nearly naked women? It is heartening, I guess, that all of these incidents have lead to huge public outcries and public apologies (in the case of Taylor) or firings (in the case of Hunt). A decade or two earlier, they would have been the status quo.
I hope that Pollack's book inspires change in STEM education at all levels, and I hope that it also inspires women to pursue STEM educations and careers....more
Huh. I thought I had written a review for this. I guess I hadn't...
So, this is the story of me picking up a book solely for the title and not even reaHuh. I thought I had written a review for this. I guess I hadn't...
So, this is the story of me picking up a book solely for the title and not even reading the back cover blurb. WHOOPS MY BAD. Seriously, self, don't do that again. We would have saved ourselves a somewhat painful reading experience.
Mindy Kaling is apparently a famous person in Hollywood who is known for The Office. Having never seen more than a few minutes of The Office, I had no clue. Based on the title, I thought this would a short and funny book about being social awkward, which I could totally relate to.
Turns out I could relate to Mindy Kaling approximately 10% of the time. Mainly that we're both human females. That's basically where the similarities end. (Well, we both probably have dark brown eyes too.) Also, I did not find her funny. At all. She just seemed to be trying way too hard. (This doesn't bode well for me deciding to ever watch The Office in the future.)
I read this book over the span of weeks, and in hindsight, I'm kicking myself for not just giving up and going on. I fully blame this book for the reason I'm in such an awful reading slump right now. ...more
Like almost everybody, I grew up with The Sound of Music. I don't remember when I learned that it was based on a true story, but I have had this bookLike almost everybody, I grew up with The Sound of Music. I don't remember when I learned that it was based on a true story, but I have had this book on my book bucket list since I was young.
Maria's voice was refreshing. She's a straight talker, and I felt less like I was reading a memoir and more like I was sharing a cup of tea with her over the kitchen table.
I was completely charmed by the book, and by Maria, and the entire Trapp family. ...more
I received a free review copy from the publisher through Goodread's First Reads program
Content warning: for those who just wanted a fun book about a gI received a free review copy from the publisher through Goodread's First Reads program
Content warning: for those who just wanted a fun book about a guy doing battle with a rooster, McGrory starts out by dedicating a good chunk of the beginning of the book to his awesome dog, Harry, who gets very sick and he has to put to sleep. I had just put my cat to sleep a few short weeks ago and found myself sobbing while reading that section in public.
I really enjoyed this book, despite my crying jag. Harry's death led to a relationship with Harry's vet, who happens to also come with a suburban life, two kids, and a small menagerie. Buddy, the title rooster, comes along thanks to a science experiment from one of Pam's daughters. McGrory's trials and tribulations with the rooster mirror his own struggle to adjust to suburban and family life, after decades of living alone in the city.
This was a sweet and funny book. Though I was as befuddled by McGrory at the sheer amount of STUFF his soon-to-be step-daughters needed. I grew up and live in surburbia. I don't have kids but I have memories of when I was a kid and I certainly didn't have $200 birthday cakes or extravagant birthday parties. Weird....more
The most fascinating part of the book for me were the parts of the book detailing Bornstein's stint in Scientology. Those bits were so interesting thaThe most fascinating part of the book for me were the parts of the book detailing Bornstein's stint in Scientology. Those bits were so interesting that I actually found the rest of the book a bit of a let-down in terms of keeping me engaged. A very interesting memoir....more
Given the intensification of the political onslaught against women's reproductive rights in this country, reading this book felt very apropos. I knowGiven the intensification of the political onslaught against women's reproductive rights in this country, reading this book felt very apropos. I know very firmly where I stand in the whole abortion debate, and I thought myself very knowledgeable about the various issues. Wicklund showed me that I knew next to nothing about what actually having an abortion entails, and that while I may know the issues I don't know the emotions. The threats and dangers that Wicklund faces on a day-to-day basis shocked me, and I have nothing but respect for a woman who continues to do her job with compassion and conviction in the face of all that. I don't think I could do something - no matter how deeply held my sense of rightness - in the face of such ugliness, ignorance, hate, and hypocrisy.