I come at this book from a few perspectives. First, I saw a librarian make a presentation on vulnerability in the classroom, and he quoted Brene's earI come at this book from a few perspectives. First, I saw a librarian make a presentation on vulnerability in the classroom, and he quoted Brene's earlier book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, as the basis for his experiments with students. I think both he and the author herself would have recommended I read that book instead of this book. Why? Well, even the author makes frequent references to it. It made me wonder if this book really had enough content to warrant an entire book. It is highly repetitive yet lingo-saturated, making it unpleasant to listen to in large doses. In fact, I put it on hold for a while and decided to go back to it.
Don't you want to rumble with your MFD's and rise up? Yeah, I just don't like to have to speak in code. It makes it feel like you spend half the time learning her lingo and not focusing as much on the ideas themselves.
The other perspective I come from in reading this is in my work, where I lead a team, one I feel protective of; I want them to be creative and work together and not to feel discouraged when we fail or are told we can't do an idea that we planned for. I needed something uplifting after a stressful December. To that end I appreciated the sections on story-filters and creativity. There are a few pieces I will bring up because they were useful.
From a personal perspective, I always need to hear that pushing through the difficult middle of any situation has rewards.
After reading quite a bit about how Brown's therapist helped her make some of these realizations, I think I'd like to read her therapist's book.
And one final thank you for getting THIS song back in my head for endless days.
I received a review copy of this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The author does a fine job reading, but I found I had to consult the print to look back at a few points I wanted to hold on to....more
I received a review copy of this book in audio from the publisher. I accepted because I was thinking of Jason Matthews, a longtime CIA operative who wI received a review copy of this book in audio from the publisher. I accepted because I was thinking of Jason Matthews, a longtime CIA operative who wrote a very compelling spy novel Red Sparrow. This is not the same guy but I finished it anyway!
I had a goal for my reading in 2015 to read more spy books - fiction and non-fiction, but I haven't done as much of it as I would have liked. When this one came along I thought why not? The author was in the CIA for a time, but chose to leave to live back in Utah and spend more time with his family. He operates Spy Escape and Evasion, which offers security training for people and corporations. He's been on the tv show Shark Tank, but I do not know him from that. Is this his 15 minutes? Definitely possible.
I really wish the author had put fewer mentions of his training and product endorsements in this book because in the end it just reads like one big advertisement. True, the information seems solid, and I can now escape from duct tape, zip ties, and the trunk of a car; I can [allegedly] hot wire a car and know where to keep my fire safe safe; I can identify social engineering and do a little of my own just for fun; so okay! That's all in here! But so are offers for your own spy knife, flashlight, and tactical pen. How do you get these items? Well, you provide your MAILING ADDRESS. It seems shady, right? A guy teaching spy secrets getting the gullible public to reveal their identities for free stuff? I wonder if people who fill that form out get a letter with a severe chiding from a former CIA officer who wasn't able to teach them anything in the end.
Still, a fun read, one with information I hope to never need. But true spies know - don't give your address to a stranger, not even if he seems legit.
I received a copy of the audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is a book I probably would have bought regardless, sinceI received a copy of the audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is a book I probably would have bought regardless, since I love The Office and comedic memoir.
The last three audiobooks I have listened to have had strange connections to each other. The first was The First Bad Man by Miranda July, and in Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, Carrie Brownstein mentions Miranda a few times in passing because they are good friends. Carrie grew up in Olympia, which is also where Rainn spent a good portion of his childhood. Bizarre.
One thing I did not expect about Rainn Wilson is how much of a SERIOUS ACTOR he is. You will know it too, by the end of this book, because he will remind you often enough. NYU, Shakespeare, and years of serious, intentional study. On the other hand, the fact that I've never considered it may speak to his ability as a SERIOUS ACTOR because I'm not thinking about Rainn at all, I'm thinking about the characters he plays. It's worth thinking about.
This book covers the acting years but also an interesting childhood (partially in Nicaragua!) and growing up as a nerd before being a nerd was cool. It goes off on tangents sometimes or lists, which keeps the listener going. There are satisfying tidbits in there about behind the scenes, which I'm sure is the reason many will pick this up, but there is equal coverage of his new project Soul Pancake and the Baha'i faith, because surprise! Rainn is Baha'i and actually grew up that way. I definitely had never heard a pasty white guy talk about his Baha'i faith so even when it got a bit preachy, I learned some things.
The audio is definitely the way to go - easy to listen to and will make you laugh from time to time. The forward is written and read by Dwight K. Schrute, and Rainn has a dry, possibly flippant, reading tone that works well for his own life story.
I actually am not overly familiar with the band Sleater Kinney. Look, I grew up in the northwest in the 90s but because I was overly sheltered and onlI actually am not overly familiar with the band Sleater Kinney. Look, I grew up in the northwest in the 90s but because I was overly sheltered and only "allowed" to listen to Christian music, the most daring I got was sneaking a listen to Z100 or secretly borrowing Ani DiFranco and Lilith Fair level music from friends. Sleater Kinney is more a product of the grunge-riot-grrrl bands that would have been more on the periphery as it was, and I am full of sorrow to say I lack any personal experience with the music when it was such a significant thing. Woe, woe is me.
Still, I loved listening to Carrie talk about her personal journey and more about her band's development and struggles. If you come into this book expecting to hear about Portlandia, you won't at all. This is about Carrie the musician. I was pleasantly surprised by her very literary tone. It was bizarre that she kept mentioning Miranda July near the end, since she was the author and narrator of the last audiobook I finished. If you listen to the audio, the Q&A at the end is great, because she talks about favorite authors, books, bands, etc.
This is a long quote, which I transcribed, but I wanted an example of what she is able to capture about this era in music:
“The noise they made in Heavens to Betsy was vicious and strange. It completely changed ones notion of what it meant to be powerful on stage. It was not about strength in numbers, nor in size. It had nothing to do with volume; it was about surprise. It was about knowing you were going to be underestimated by everyone, and then punishing them for those very thoughts…. When you’re part of an early moment, like [Corin] was with Riot Girl, where she had to create a space for herself and for her audience, where every show felt like a statement, where before you could play and sing you had to construct a room, one you’d be respected in, wouldn’t get hurt in, a space that allowed for or even acknowledged stories that hadn’t been told before, about sexual assault, sexism, homophobia and racism, and then musically you have to tear that very space down. There’s not a lot of room for joking around. There’s a direness in the construction of safety, in the telling of theretofore untold stories. I was really intimidated by those Heavens to Betsy shows. I thought, 'These people are so cool and so not funny.' I knew not to kid around or make some crass, sarcastic comment because, well, these people will fuck you up. Heavens to Betsy came across as the most serious of their peers. You stood up, you listened, and you were quiet. They were like really loud librarians. And as the audience, you’d better shut the hell up because you’re in the library of rock right now.”
Okay the first thing that stood out was the really loud librarians comment, obviously, but I also am so intrigued by the idea of a band where everyone would stand around in silence and listen really intently. Brainy, political stuff. Do we have anything like this now? Certainly not in the mainstream.
And of course, a description of the unique nature of the northwest and its impact on music in that era.
“Portland in the 90s… still felt like a place people came to disappear. You can feel the heaviness in the music from that era. The sadness in Nirvana, MudHoney, Cracker Bash, The Wipers, who are from earlier years.The sounds embody the musical equivalent of getting washed up on a beach somewhere. You can feel at the mercy of your surroundings in the northwest, subsisting on dreariness until even your internal landscape feels soggy. It’s depressing, and before the money came in, before the buildings started to reflect the bright ideas and optimism, that sadness was reflected back much more poignantly."
Sleater Kinney broke up for a while but it sounded like they were back together and tentatively working on some songs when this book went to print. ETA: They have performed and I even found a full concert in YouTube from NPR. ...more
When Gourmet Magazine closed without warning, Ruth Reichl was dumped into a world without a direction. The first year after Gourmet was a tough one, bWhen Gourmet Magazine closed without warning, Ruth Reichl was dumped into a world without a direction. The first year after Gourmet was a tough one, but cooking helped her keep her sanity and process the emotions. This is really a cookbook with a framed narrative, including Tweets she made during the time (@ruthreichl). Because of her respect for ingredients and since practically everything in the book is comfort food, many of the recipes sound appealing.
I listened to the audio, which felt a bit crazy - I would need to transcribe or memorize the recipes if I wanted to make anything (and I do! Starting with her apricot pie!) but hearing the story in her voice really was a special treat. She is comforting and genuine, like the food she creates. I wish her all the best in whatever comes next.
I listened to this from Random House using their new Volumes app. Hate the app, liked the book. :)...more
This book is bizarre. I was talking about it with a librarian who had read this and her short stories, and he said something that I'm going to put herThis book is bizarre. I was talking about it with a librarian who had read this and her short stories, and he said something that I'm going to put here and possibly misquote. Quirky characters and strange situations are more tolerable in short stories, because they are in and out, you can marvel at them but not have to live with them; in a novel it can cause agony to the reader as you dive deeper into strange people making confusing decisions. Agreed, agreed. I would probably like July's short stories, and plan to read No One Belongs Here More Than You at some point. I'm not sure I would recommend this book to anyone.
On the plus side, I laughed a lot while listening to the audio. Miranda July reads her own novel in a perfect tone, with a practical straightforward voice that makes Cheryl come across the way she probably does in the world of the novel - a boring almost middle-aged woman on the outside and CRAZY on the inside. We are treated to an almost constant internal dialogue, of magical babies with the presence of Kubelko Bondy, of sexual fantasies that are anything but enticing, of the tolerance of horrible people that seem to surround her - inept therapists with imaginary specialties, bosses that are a flavor of "enlightened" plus an incredible variety of selfish that seemed actually pretty familiar to me, a man trying to get her approval to have sex with a teenager, and a teenager who lives in her house while physically abusing her and disrespecting her space. I'm not sure about your internal dialogue. There are certainly thoughts I have in my head that I wouldn't want shared, but Cheryl's internal life surpasses the absurd.
I notice a few people on my friends list abandoned the book, some were affronted by the sex, some couldn't take the forced quirky, but I wanted to make it to the end to see what happens....more
Despite concerns over whether Stieg Larsson's wishes were being honored by the publication of this book (based on reading "There Are Things I Want YouDespite concerns over whether Stieg Larsson's wishes were being honored by the publication of this book (based on reading "There Are Things I Want You to Know" about Stieg Larsson and Me), I decided to go ahead and try it. I loved the character of Lisbeth Salander and thought if it was done well, it might be worth it. You don't encounter many characters like her.
Unfortunately, I was supremely disappointed, so much so that I can't face going back to the book after making it halfway through the audio. First of all, these are not the same characters of Lisbeth and Mikael that I know from the trilogy. Lisbeth seems to have reverted to one of two modes - sloppy hacker or hungover boxer - no depth, no motivation, nothing interesting. It could be that we reached the end of her story in the trilogy. Mikael is unmotivated too, can't stand to be at work and arriving late to the scene of an important crime that finally happens midway through the book.
The author spends TOO much time describing things that don't matter - an hour (I listened to the audio) on the current status of Millennium, the news publication that Mikael has worked on; the storms, frequent descriptions; and Mikael's white fur coat. He hasn't bothered to explore the characters themselves. He touches on the subjects of autism and the singularity in halfhearted ways that the characters and the reader end up feeling less than inspired. (And really? Artificial intelligence? It isn't written about intelligently enough to feel like high stakes. This is set in the present day. If I wanted a thrilling read about AI and the singularity I would look for it in science fiction, where it is handled with interesting variations and frightening possibilities, NOT in a Swedish crime novel. It makes no sense.)
I would be happy if someone came along who convinced me that this book turned a huge corner and I should have kept reading... but I doubt that will happen....more
I received a copy of this audiobook from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.
I was quickly pulled in to this book chronicling multipI received a copy of this audiobook from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.
I was quickly pulled in to this book chronicling multiple generations in the shore region of rural Virginia. Cheyenne bloodlines, herbal magic, resiliency - these themes follow throughout. I think I was most partial to the present-day stories with people having to choose between dealing drugs or picking up another job at the three chicken factory farms nearby.
I was less thrilled, and surprised by, the storyline that suddenly jutted into a post-apocalyptic future. It did not feel as if it belonged in the book and was happy to go back to the characters I cared more about.
There is a young girl in this novel who walks several miles to her public library just to make sure she turns her books in on time. The librarian is kind and does not make a single comment about her lack of hygiene. <3...more
I received a copy of the audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This isn't my usual fare so it is harder for me to really weighI received a copy of the audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This isn't my usual fare so it is harder for me to really weigh in on how it compares with other similar books. (Is this romance? Did I accidentally listen to a romance novel? Or is this chick lit? Is there a difference?). Ally Hughes is a young professor who became a single mother while still in college (and managed to still get an Ivy League education and a tenure-track position! go figure!) and in a weekend of grading frenzy, she sleeps with one of the students in her class. I think this is supposed to be sexy but as someone in academia (and knowing the guy was in the class that she hadn't yet submitted grades for), it was a little squicky to me. I'm sensing it is supposed to be wish fulfillment for some women. I don't know. I have to go through sexual harassment training every damn year. You just don't sleep with students. /soapbox
Ten years later the same man comes to dinner with her daughter, now grown and trying to make it in Hollywood.
The novel moves between ten years ago and the present. The narrator did a decent job. The sex was more believable than the love (the author keeps saying love but it is clearly attraction, which is also good, but not love) but sometimes a few too many details. I really, REALLY don't want to hear how full the condom is. (What point is that trying to make? No, no, I don't want to know.)
Also a strange thing, from the title somehow I thought this would be British but it is American. Not a bad break from a stressful week and I finished quickly. ;)...more
One of my co-workers listens to a lot of audio, so when I asked her for some favorites, she exclusively spoke on the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache seOne of my co-workers listens to a lot of audio, so when I asked her for some favorites, she exclusively spoke on the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. She said she only goes to another author if there isn't a new title to listen to, and sometimes even goes back to relisten. I don't read a lot of mystery novels so I decided to have a brief diversion and give it a try.
It is a typical cozy mystery with a cast of quirky characters but I enjoyed it. After all, I usually find I read mysteries not for the mystery but for the setting and the people. In audio it was hard to keep track of them at first but it got better, and if the series continues with the same people that will help (I'm not sure if it is just the inspector who is consistent or everyone.)
If you like northeast Canada, and a mystery novel, you will probably like this.
I received a review copy of the audio from the publisher, but I had this book on my radar before it was offered. I was happy to get a chance to hear iI received a review copy of the audio from the publisher, but I had this book on my radar before it was offered. I was happy to get a chance to hear it.
This book should be required reading to help everyone understand the current status of race relations in the United States. If you can, get it in audio. Since the book is a letter from the author to his 15 year old son, it is even more powerful heard in his voice.
This book details what it is like to live in a black body while also questioning the baseline assumptions and framework of race. Not what we wish it is like, but what it really is like. And Coates is not going to make excuses for prejudice or to preach forgiveness.
After a recent reading given by the author, she said in answer to a question that this is her favorite novel she's written for adults so far. I can unAfter a recent reading given by the author, she said in answer to a question that this is her favorite novel she's written for adults so far. I can understand why - she's had a longtime fascination with folklore and mythology threading through her work, sometimes more explicitly than others. I felt more similar as I read this the way I did when I read some of her earliest novels - that she was a master of world mythology and I would never know as much as she did nor could I possibly understand/appreciate the layers this understanding would add if I had it while reading her books. I haven't felt that way in her more recent works, not in Palimpsest (which is still the Valente novel closest to my heart), nor in the Fairyland books (where she creates her own mythology!).
I like the idea of turning a folktales or two on its ear, which she apparently has here, I just don't have enough knowledge of Russian folktales to fully appreciate it. I like the idea of taking that folktales on its ear and then dropping it into Soviet Russia with ration cards and freezing soldiers and seeing what happens. I loved the imagery in the beginning of the bird-husbands and the character married to the house (in my head he is a house elf but that's probably not the right word for him.) I like all these things, I just didn't FEEL anything. It felt much more academic, a well-executed exercise.
I see that Goodreads has this listed as Deathless #1 so I wonder what comes next!...more
I received a review copy of this book in audio from Penguin Random House.
I'm not certain, but I might have read too many post-apocalyptic and dystopiaI received a review copy of this book in audio from Penguin Random House.
I'm not certain, but I might have read too many post-apocalyptic and dystopian novels. The last few I read just have not felt like they had many new ideas or fresh approaches. Is it the subgenre, is it me, or is it the authors? You should read this review in the context of potential reader/listener burnout.
I think most people will enjoy this novel. I have been meaning to read Claire Vaye Watkins ever since Jason gushed about her on the Reading Envy Podcast, and I do think she is a good writer. That may translate better for me in short stories than in a novel of this topic, but it was still present here.
The water situation in California is truly dire. It is a natural topic for the near-future. How will the government respond if it gets out of control? What will we do if everyone in California had to relocate? These questions form the framework of the novel's background, and are an interesting place to start. Her evocative descriptions of a California with no water, from the sand sea to the hollow yucca trees, brings the reader into this terrifying landscape. She shifts in tone and style in an effective way - I even noticed some good uses of lists and repetition, maybe easier to notice while listening to the audio.
Some of the elements that I feel are slightly overused in dystopian/post-apocalyptic lit are here too, and I think this is what I'm complaining about. A potential government conspiracy that means things are not what they seem (and the community-building power the belief in this has), a journey taken by central characters to allow the author to more fully describe the new landscape, and a prophet character or two that controls a group of isolated people, encountered by the wanderers. I'm not sure what could have made these elements, these tropes, more successful in my mind, but I felt let down to find them yet again.
For the audio version, there are two narrators - Jorjeana Marie and MacLeod Andrews. Jorjeana tells most of the story and MacLeod steps in for specific parts. It was kind of funny to hear his voice on this novel as he was also one of the two narrators for The Heart Goes Last, the last dystopian novel I read....more
This audiobook was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It was also discussed pre-publication on Episode 021 of the ReadiThis audiobook was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It was also discussed pre-publication on Episode 021 of the Reading Envy podcast, if you want more background. I had not read the book at the time.
This is a debut novel from Marguerite Reed, and I feel I should first say this is not the kind of novel I typically read. It is also not a typical novel. Some of the elements combined together in a way I was not expecting and I had to talk myself through it. I think I'm using the review to think it through even further.
The novel takes place on a planet called Ubastis, a relatively unexplored and uncolonized planet that is being considered as a new home for humanity. Vashti, who the publisher summary refers to as a xenobiologist, is on the planet for further study. She holds multiple roles, from safari guide of sorts to political activist, to mother. Several scenes in the beginning of the novel detail Vashti having important conversations about her husband's death and what she should be doing, interrupted by her toddler being hungry or wanting help with the bathroom. I have to admit that I was a bit startled by this element. I'm not used to women being mothers in military science fiction (a label I am hesitant to use but is the closest I can come). Thinking about it more, I realized that in all those urban fantasy type novels, the main subgenre where you see kickass female heroines, those women are always lone wolves who have hot sex or revenge sex or daddy issues. Their solitude allows them to have the strength and independence. I feel like the author really pushed herself to create a more complex character, one who is grieving the loss of her husband, struggling with self-harm and guilt, and still loving a tiny child that occupies some of her mental and physical space. It isn't something I have seen before. Her humanity is tangible, almost uncomfortable, and it becomes more important as the story moves forward.
There is a lot more going on, from discussions of humanity to independence. This is the first book in a series and Marguerite Reed definitely ends the book with a clear direction in mind. I think readers of urban fantasy with kickass women would really like this, and enjoy the change to space and genetic modification as the setting.
I listened to this in audio and liked the narrator for the most part. She does something strange where she whispers the last word in a sentence, or speaks it in a very low tone. It took me a while to get used to it, and ended up speeding up the recording to 1.5x which helped a great deal. I realized I was waiting for the last word of every sentence and missing what the words in the sentence were, and had to start over. Let me see if I can replicate it in text, with words in asterisks the words spoken low or whispered.
"In Moira's apartment I ate and drank what she set in front of *me.* She remembered something of tact, thank God, and did not interrupt until I had finished scraping my *plate clean.*"
I don't know if this is the narrator's style, if it is the style she chose for the book, but at first it really took me out of the listening experience. I played it for a few others to see if I was crazy and they noticed it as well. By the time I got halfway, I stopped noticing it and the last half of the book flew by....more
I snagged this to listen to as I drove through four states, and to help with one of my reading goals for the year - reading more spy books! I had neveI snagged this to listen to as I drove through four states, and to help with one of my reading goals for the year - reading more spy books! I had never seen a James Bond film (not even Sean Connery) nor had I read a James Bond book, so this was my first experience. Of course I have some knowledge of him just in the general pop culture way, "shaken, not stirred," etc., and I knew to expect a certain perspective of women. I had also recently watched the BBC show Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond, which is somewhat interesting about Ian Fleming's life up until he wrote this first novel.
If your only exposure to Casino Royale is the 1967 film with five directors, a Woody Allen "I'm so quirky and I'm JIMMMY BOND" character, and a retired James Bond, just strike it from your memory. This book is not that story. In the book version, James Bond has just become a "double-O" and is going on his first mission in that level. It's taking him to Monaco, for (I'm guessing his first) encounter with Le Chiffre and a Soviet organization called SMERSH. There are car chases and damsels in distress, agents from all over the world, double agents and intrigue. It was fun to listen to although I suspect James Bond should be a little smarter than he is with women. When I said that to my husband he said, "That's his weakness, that's the point," and well, okay, if we must. Apparently it's worked long enough for decades of novels and movies.
I was surprised near the last third of the book when Bond gets rather philosophical about violence and evil and power. It was pretty reflective, and he was thinking of retiring as the novel ends. (Perhaps this is repeated in future books as well?)
There were two audio versions of this book in Audible and I went with Simon Vance - he does a great Russian, spy-British, and French accent, but his American accent is a bit Texan-meets-Amish.
“Surround yourself with human beings, my dear James. They are easier to fight for than principles.”
So three stars - decent book, entertaining, perhaps not all that memorable or much to recommend to others, wouldn't purchase to read again later. ...more
The book is short, and that probably redeems it; longer the same stuff may have felt tedious. The central characters is on the run for most of the novel, but instead of Bondlike car chases and heists, he is exchanging clothing with the working class of Scotland as he tromps through the moors and bogs. Definitely interesting considering the time period (right near the beginning of World War I.)...more
A very fun YA novel in a new series by Gail Carriger, about a young woman who gets recruited to finishing school, but it is the "other" definition ofA very fun YA novel in a new series by Gail Carriger, about a young woman who gets recruited to finishing school, but it is the "other" definition of finishing.
The characters and world feel similar to the Parasol Protectorate series but much more an adventure series, with much milder romance.
The audio is highly recommended, because the reader does a great job at accents and distinguishing the characters from each other....more
I have been working my way through the audiobook memoirs of former SNL women and Rachel Dratch's book was entertaining. I zoned out in the last hour oI have been working my way through the audiobook memoirs of former SNL women and Rachel Dratch's book was entertaining. I zoned out in the last hour or ninety minutes or so because it was pretty much blah blah blah motherhood, just not anything I cared much about honestly. I appreciated her perspective, her post-SNL experience, and her honesty. I laughed quite a bit while listening....more
Wonderful little poems composed on a typewriter. You can view some of them as posted by the author in Pinterest. I liked this audiobook because they aWonderful little poems composed on a typewriter. You can view some of them as posted by the author in Pinterest. I liked this audiobook because they are read by the poet, which is always my preference for poetry.
Here's a taste of one:
#1074 You walk like you were born with a soundtrack. I watch like I was born in an old movie theater. There is cinema in our kissing, and we've never bothered to follow the script.
Please see my previous review as my opinions haven't changed. I listened to this again for my book club, which meets in a virtual world. That made thePlease see my previous review as my opinions haven't changed. I listened to this again for my book club, which meets in a virtual world. That made the discussion pretty much perfect!
Cline imagines a few things that I wish were true about virtual worlds and a few I'm glad are not. ...more