This book accounts for Harriet Jacobs' life as a slave, hiding for several years in the South, escaping to the North, and finally obtaining her freedoThis book accounts for Harriet Jacobs' life as a slave, hiding for several years in the South, escaping to the North, and finally obtaining her freedom. She presents some letters documenting the tale. Given the current events of recent weeks where a self-taught white supremacist in his manifesto setup before committing terrorism to start a race war that according to the slave narratives he had read people like me were happy under slavery and there was no need to free my ancestors. Other books I have read like Twelve Years A Slave and Up From Slavery seemed not to portray this, but I did read them a while ago.
Harriet really disliked her time as a slave. Her "official" owner was a minor whose father assumed the role. This man who already fathered several children with his slaves seemed to desire the same for this fifteen year old girl. When she had children with another (white) man, he as the owner of them sought to use babies as leverage to compel her to obey his salacious wishes. Oddly enough this guy's wife forced the sale to distant places the products of her husband's infidelity. To me, the idea that one's own children are chattel boggles my mind. But, also Solomon Northrup and Booker T. faced less cruelty under slavery than Harriet as the contempt facing her was that of both an African and a woman. Her master underestimated her intelligence which allowed her to escape....more
This set of Irish tales reminded me of Grimm's Fairy Tales. Barely organized; mostly miscellaneous. Several seemed to cover the same ground over and oThis set of Irish tales reminded me of Grimm's Fairy Tales. Barely organized; mostly miscellaneous. Several seemed to cover the same ground over and over to feel repetitive.
Some things seemed out of place like mentions of God or the Greeks. Pretty sure these are stories about events prior to Christianity came to Ireland. And the Greek presence seems even less likely.
Apparently the favorite animal to change someone into or hunt are pigs. They show up in several stories. Others like deer or hounds show up, but the pigs were notably everywhere.
A story detailing upper class "society" New York of the 1870s as the backdrop. Wharton details parties and mores. As the story goes along it feels morA story detailing upper class "society" New York of the 1870s as the backdrop. Wharton details parties and mores. As the story goes along it feels more and more critical of them. A couple oddities: 1) Newland Archer, the protagonist, visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art in its infancy but describing how it will be great one day. 2) Archer also picking up Ellen at a train station ruminating about disliking the theory the Pennsylvania line would go eventually tunnel into proper New York (Penn Station?).
After having watched several seasons of the TV show Archer, I think that title character is an obvious reference to Newland Archer in this novel. TV-Archer drinks heavily, sleeps with a lot of women, and somehow completely improbably buffoons his way through complex problems.
The love triangle did not really excite me. His options are May who represents the right thing (duty, stability, comfort) versus Ellen who represents his rebellion (passion, ostracized, escape). However, the guilt and conflict were vividly described. ...more
Part biography of Henrietta Lacks and her family. Part explanation of the contribution the cells taken from her have had on medicine. Part memoir of RPart biography of Henrietta Lacks and her family. Part explanation of the contribution the cells taken from her have had on medicine. Part memoir of Rebecca on the challenges brought in even getting to write this story. It jumps around quite a bit as it bounds around each of the three parts.
What the Lackses went through depressed me. The callousness of Johns Hopkins does not really surprise me. The enormity of what science was able to accomplish was amazing. But the scientific misunderstandings the family suffered through, to me, is the worst part. For example, Rebecca helped Henrietta's daughter understand cloned cells is not the same thing as cloning Dolly the sheep, so she would not see her mother wandering all over London....more
I put out a call on Facebook for suggestions on Gaelic mythology to read. This was the top suggestion.
This strongly reminded me of Norse and Saxon epiI put out a call on Facebook for suggestions on Gaelic mythology to read. This was the top suggestion.
This strongly reminded me of Norse and Saxon epics. All account for the names of places by describing the battles undertaken there. Each is more fantastic than the next.
This one follows Cúchulainn, the Hound of Ulster. He battles against the armies of queen Medb. He can stun dozens of swans with a single throw of a stone. Or use thrown spears as stepping stones. You know... The kind of stuff one would see in an ancient China martial arts movie such as "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." Which reminds me, there MUST be a movie about this epic, right?
PKD writes about my favorite topic which is how we perceive reality. What is real? Can we actually tell? I may need to read more of his books.
SensatioPKD writes about my favorite topic which is how we perceive reality. What is real? Can we actually tell? I may need to read more of his books.
Sensation and Perception was my favorite class doing my Psychology major. Well, some days I say it was Tests and Measurements. (Probably the ones where I do something involving tests.) Let's call it a tie. S&P covers the mechanics and functionality of the senses, how the brain works with them, and best of all: how to exploit the failings of them.
The concept of an alternate reality where perhaps the Axis Powers won World War II found me intrigued. While what if realities are done quite a bit in science fiction, I enjoyed PKD's take. I especially liked the hinting at our reality in The Grasshopper Lies Heavy and slow unveiling of what it says....more
This biography is essentially a greatly expanded Joss Whedon IMDB.com filmography. Pascale carefully tells the behind the scenes stories about his carThis biography is essentially a greatly expanded Joss Whedon IMDB.com filmography. Pascale carefully tells the behind the scenes stories about his career.
I arrived late to the Whedonverse. Yes, the fandom has a name. Essentially, I saw Serenity in the movie theater, borrowed Firefly from my roommate, and was hooked from there. Well, maybe not enough to see Cabin In The Woods. I am not that rabid.
Pascale puts into words why I enjoy Joss' work. Strong female characters. Depth. Ensemble casts. Early movies I had no idea he was involved now make sense why I liked them.
I may have to start checking out the current work of writers who used to work with him to see if I enjoy that as well....more
Seems odd, but I found this the best in the series. Things start to click into place. The scientific explanations made sense of things that had botherSeems odd, but I found this the best in the series. Things start to click into place. The scientific explanations made sense of things that had bothered me about the story.
At first, the switching back and forth between Tris and Four seemed odd, but I eventually started to suspect why....more
While I read Divergent for the Not Your Oprah's Book Club, I had no intention of finishing the series. That stance changed when I decided I should wWhile I read Divergent for the Not Your Oprah's Book Club, I had no intention of finishing the series. That stance changed when I decided I should watch the movie for Insurgent since my trainer talked about getting an extra part in it. Maybe his scene got cut, but it would be cool to look for him like I watched Zombieland to look for my cousin.
Much of my review about book one applies to this book two as well. Factions seemed derived. The conspiracy was weak and forced. I kept hoping that the whole book would be revealed to all be a simulation because that was the only thing that could save the plot. The big reveal was obvious from very early in the book.
This book gave me more of Four like I'd wanted from book one. (Book three apparently even makes him a narrator, which is an odd change given books one and two only follow Tris' perspective.) Also better is he got to have a backbone, have feelings, and even express himself. Tris also better developed across this book compared to what I recall of the first.
I'm watching The Americans with the organizer of the book club and others. Something making me uncomfortable in that show is one of the handlers developing a dancing along statutory rape relationship with a teenager in order to get access to her CIA father's house to record information. Phillip is in his thirties and the girl in her teens. Four is 18 and Tris 16. But I still feel like Four is an adult while Tris is pretending like the teen in the Americans. By this world's standards Tris is an adult, so maybe I am on the wrong side of this. Also, I'm not so interested in love stories in general, so that I care at all makes me more squirmy....more
Yeah, I am finally getting around to reading it and years of resisting pressure. I rarely read something while everyone else does. The Harry Potter, TYeah, I am finally getting around to reading it and years of resisting pressure. I rarely read something while everyone else does. The Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, and Percy Jackson phenomenons where all for Generation Y while I am GenX. I cannot think of an equivalent for my generation. I guess we were too infatuated with MTV. What is it with dystopian settings for Young Adult fiction? Are they worried about the end of the world?
The writing was pretty direct and simple. It really felt like something Jennifer Lawrence could have written. I've decided I ought to watch the movies because it feels like the casting choice there was brilliant.
Predictably, the first part of the book is where we meet Katniss and the shape of the world and the setup for the Hunger Games. Following her perspective, especially the Fog of War, improved the story during the games as wondering what will happen and surprises helped. I was somewhat disappointed the ending did not leave more of a cliffhanger for prompting to immediately need to read Catching Fire.
Kind of felt Katniss possessed too much Emotional Quotient at times compared to the near constant describing her as impulsive. In the end, I think Katniss is much more level headed than she thinks she is. Perhaps as she grows confidence over achieving success, she will grow into it....more
Scott is a friend from high school. We played D&D and terrorized our hometown. I wanted to read this because I figured it would incorporate elemenScott is a friend from high school. We played D&D and terrorized our hometown. I wanted to read this because I figured it would incorporate elements from that experience. Maybe I would even recognize someone I know?
Stories like this about the hero stuck in another world are among my favorites. The D&D cartoon from the 80s, The Sleeping Dragon, and others unveil the challenge of learning to deal with a realm possessing unfamiliar physics, more sentient beings than just humans, and everyone looking at Terrans like they are idiots. Dealing with our world is hard enough. Getting thrown into something very different should break anyone. Relating to the protagonist, Gaige, was easy because I was the outsider kid struggling with parents and other kids not understanding.
The Gatekeeper started strong and kept up the pace. Gaige, Aoife, and Seanna were enjoyable. Foreshadowing of the twist was there but not too obvious where it would go. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series. ...more
Back in 2007, I went to Thanksgiving with Mom to the home of a Philosophy professor. The professor's father discoursed on why United States presidentsBack in 2007, I went to Thanksgiving with Mom to the home of a Philosophy professor. The professor's father discoursed on why United States presidents should only be intellectuals. His arguments made sense. Someone able to understand the options, determine risk, and plan for contingencies will likely do a better job than someone who cannot. (Most PotUS surround themselves with those capable of doing this, but at the time, the PotUS had political sycophants rather than intellectuals.)
The most spectacular portion of the book was the discourse on Junk Thought, which is what Jacoby calls pseudoscience, since she uses Junk Thought to bash it.
Really, I agree with 90% of the conclusions made in this book. My issues with the book rests with how the arguments link together in odd leaps that seem to rely more on faith than evidence. Plus, it is easy to tell who the author dislikes with the ad hominems used to discuss them.
The United States does need a well educated, well read, and actively engaged electorate to ensure our elected representatives possess the highest caliber. Books like this hurt that conversion instead of aiding us to somehow navigate the issues to achieve it....more
Read this because a woman saw the movie Predestination based on the title short story and wanted to discuss it. I really enjoyed the story and finisheRead this because a woman saw the movie Predestination based on the title short story and wanted to discuss it. I really enjoyed the story and finished the others as well....more