Roxanne Gay is an excellent smart intelligent writer of a first rate and a perfect example of someone who thinks a great deal about certain things and...moreRoxanne Gay is an excellent smart intelligent writer of a first rate and a perfect example of someone who thinks a great deal about certain things and is able to present and defend strong opinions on them.
I was fond of reading her essays on The Rumpus so I was greatly looking forward to this collection and having much more of that in one place. I was not disappointed in the least. For a smart funny honest take on what most everyone is talking about all of the time and yet not enough, read Bad Feminist.(less)
I was interested in this Pulitzer Prize winner as to what makes a good nonfiction book and I learned a lot about cancer, science, chemicals, unregulat...moreI was interested in this Pulitzer Prize winner as to what makes a good nonfiction book and I learned a lot about cancer, science, chemicals, unregulated capitalism, and cluster research.
The book tells the story of Tom's River and how it came to be a chemical wasteland infecting it's people with cancer at the same time it brings in the full history of public health and cancer research. I learned how chemical plants came into vogue (making dye for fashionable clothes) and the consequences of its wastes.
Meanwhile, the history of cancer research makes strides over centuries of trying to understand it's causes and recognize true clustering over randomness. Equal parts big data, statistics, investigation, research, and reporting you discover how difficult it is to prove causation where you see correlation.
And there's this ongoing citizen awareness and activism around strong arming the government via free press pressure into taking action against the polluting companies only concerned about their margins over their employee and community health consequences. It's deceitful, negligent, and overall incredibly slow to respond and change.
The cancer and chemical history was dull and enlightening. The bureaucratic red tape and lawyering was frustrating and overwrought. The citizen and Greenpeace activism dramatic and effective. But it was mostly coincidence that drives the plot forward to it's ultimately unrewarding end.
For Erin Brockovich fans and readers looking for insight into these areas, there's plenty here but it comes at a slow sympathetic pace. (less)
Wonderful graphic memoir that I read in one day because it expertly wove the memoirist's coming of age / coming out story alongside her father's own h...moreWonderful graphic memoir that I read in one day because it expertly wove the memoirist's coming of age / coming out story alongside her father's own homosexual dalliances and eventual early death.
It's heavy, personal, intimate, funny, pretentious (w/ plenty of liberal arts/English major references, which I enjoyed), and powerful but doesn't necessarily go deep enough or draw a strong enough conclusion. But her work is worthwhile and her story inspiring. I love a well drawn memoir. (less)
From 1967-73 there was never more than 6 weeks w/o a skyjacking in the USA. Sometimes two hijackings happened on the same day. This was shockingly com...moreFrom 1967-73 there was never more than 6 weeks w/o a skyjacking in the USA. Sometimes two hijackings happened on the same day. This was shockingly common and a result of desperate people taking advantage of no metal detectors, screenings, or even boarding pass restricted areas.
Basically any book that makes you appreciate TSA is impressive to me. Having NO IDEA that people used to hijack planes with so much regularity that airlines were always ready to comply with demands, this book blew my mind.
It's full of historical background and context around this hijacking epidemic, this book is as well researched as it is written - in a fast paced nonfiction thriller style. It centers on one particularly compelling hijacking story between two star crossed lovers with their own complicated history/demands and interweaves the evolution of hijacking from free rides to Cuba to ransoming hostages to FBI shootouts, you get your fill of insane true stories alongside the suspense building story of this couple turned radicalists.
You realize the shortsightedness of the airlines accepting the hijacking trend and settling for paying out demands and lobbying congress to avoid actual change in preboarding screening - an insanity in a post 9/11 world today. I was thoroughly entertained and educated on an era I'm all too glad to have missed.
Relive it if you dare. This doesn't make for good airplane reading :)
*Crown Publishers gave me a free copy for review (less)
If this weren't a true story I'd say this book were unrealistic. An Olympic-fast runner from a small town goes into the Air Force, lives through dogfi...moreIf this weren't a true story I'd say this book were unrealistic. An Olympic-fast runner from a small town goes into the Air Force, lives through dogfights and bombings, crashes into the shark infested pacific, survives at sea, is rescued by the enemy, and treated like the worse of POWs during WWII - all reads like the craziest war story grandpa could think up. But it's true, incredibly well researched, and written in equal parts historical context / background on the war and a personal tale of unbelievable perseverance in the face of adversity and unfair practically insurmountable odds.
It's an important document of humanity at the extremes and honest in its retelling, written so well that you have to know what happens next forcing me through 400 pages in 4 days, at a thriller's pace.
Read this now before the movie this Xmas comes out. I was blown away by how little I knew about the Pacific side of the war and the inner workings of the army and human nature. Very impressed.(less)
I respect Roger Ebert, his ability to write and tell a story, as well as his life's work (and we both love watching movies), but this rambling, streak...moreI respect Roger Ebert, his ability to write and tell a story, as well as his life's work (and we both love watching movies), but this rambling, streak of consciousness, non-linear, theme clustered memoir/collection of blog posts left me underwhelmed as I struggled to continue into the next chapter.
He's at his best when he's relating personal anecdotes. But most of his career trajectory could be summed up as being lucky and hard work. The rest of the book is name dropping nostalgia and assuming we know and care about the details of those he knows as much as he does.
That said, he does explore life/death, relationships, and the evolution of culture in this country fairly well. I'm looking forward to the documentary. (less)
Just read this (free library ebook!) and it lived up to all of the deserved hype: the perfect deep dive nonfiction profile investigation that is as we...moreJust read this (free library ebook!) and it lived up to all of the deserved hype: the perfect deep dive nonfiction profile investigation that is as well written and true as it is entertaining and educational. Nothing, not even Under the Banner of Heaven, comes as close to a complete and comprehensive read on the topic of a religion as complex as Scientology. If interested, read this compelling excerpt on The New Yorker (their most widely read piece of the year): http://m.newyorker.com/reporting/2011...(less)
One of the better story of a man and his business that I've read and while many parts of Amazon's rise to power at the expense of its stock price, mar...moreOne of the better story of a man and his business that I've read and while many parts of Amazon's rise to power at the expense of its stock price, margins/profits, employees, and competitors were known to me already (a result of my many years in publishing, the main industry Amazon has disrupted), it was fascinating to get some first hand background on Jeff Bezos and the many highs and lows of Amazon's young history.
The book has many firsthand interviews and accounts of those inside Amazon and everyone else that has dealt with them on the outside, and while Bezos is gracious is allowing certain executives to speak on the record, this account isn't afraid to be critical of Amazon's ruthless business practices and includes details on acquisitions, hiring, competitor analysis, funding, stock trading, the Internet boom, the recession, the inter company politicking, and their willingness to outlast any threat longer than a competitor can stay above the bottom line in order to win in the end.
So not only does it show how Bezos becomes who he is today, but lays out the timeline for Amazon setbacks and success in building out their business and categories. And does so in a fast paced accessible and compelling narrative. That makes it a good business book in my view. (less)
A writer writing about becoming a writer, drug addict, a New Yorker, and pop culture obsessive, moved by music to finally break through as a playwrigh...moreA writer writing about becoming a writer, drug addict, a New Yorker, and pop culture obsessive, moved by music to finally break through as a playwright, blogger, columnist, feature writer, screenwriter, and author - while coming of age in Long Island, Manhattan/Brooklyn, and LA.
Basically, this was written with me in mind, as someone always interested in frontline subjective reporting on the music, drug, and culture scene - especially if it's in New York and from someone trying to become a writer. Marc drops celebrity names and dishes on his interactions with everyone that he can use on his way to the top.
Essentially a HST self made rock and roll writer deep in the drugs of the 80/90/0's he lives through the dark broke dangerous days of pre-Guliani & Internet NYC. His stories are egocentric, image obsessed, drug addled, culture documenting funny anecdote after another - a memoir worth reading if any of that interests you. Enjoyed a lot.
I've decided not to finish reading this book. I'm more than 60% into it and it made for some occasionally entertaining and informative reading on my K...moreI've decided not to finish reading this book. I'm more than 60% into it and it made for some occasionally entertaining and informative reading on my Kindle while I was traveling around India, but for as amazing and insightful as some sections are (especially when the author is relating his personal Gladwellian experiences in India business success) the others are dreadfully dry and confusing for those of us without economic degrees. (less)
This was the first I've read of Jon Ronson although I've enjoy him on This American Life and a live performance in Brooklyn. He's a wonderful writer o...moreThis was the first I've read of Jon Ronson although I've enjoy him on This American Life and a live performance in Brooklyn. He's a wonderful writer obsessed with his topic and not afraid to write himself into his story.
This book was as easy to read as it was worthwhile. I enjoyed his investigation into the psychopaths around us, those locked up in catch-22s and those leading companies into profitability. You'll want to understand these people who study empathy only to fake it in appropriate situations as they cannot feel things for others the way most people do, but that doesn't always reveal itself in violence.
Highly recommended and entertaining deep dive into this hidden world around us, as is Ronson's specialty. (less)