Dewey’s Read-a-thon Progress

April 25, 2015 Uncategorized 10

10348926_10152665730830986_441836470068899321_oGood morning and happy read-a-thon everyone! I let myself sleep in since I’ve got some tough, grad school related reading to do today, so I’m just now getting started at the beginning of hour 2. I’m going to start by filling out the intro meme, then reward myself with a read-a-thon check-in and a bit of blogging for every hour of work. So, here we go! Read more »

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Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon Plans

April 24, 2015 Uncategorized 11

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This week, I’m preparing for my PhD candidacy exam on May 4th. This is a thirty minute presentation, allowed to take up to three hours as  your committee asks you questions about anything related to your thesis proposal. For the read-a-thon, this means I’m going to be doing a lot of reading to get ready! It’s not going to be my most fun read-a-thon ever, but I think it will be much more enjoyable than studying alone. Today, as I’ve been putting together my presentation, I started a list of papers and textbook chapters I think I need to read or re-read to prepare. Wish me luck! Read more »

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The Residence

April 23, 2015 History, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction 6 ★★★★★

The ResidenceTitle: The Residence
Author: Kate Andersen Brower
Source: TLC Book Tours
Rating: five-stars
Links: Amazon|Goodreads|Indiebound

SummaryFascinating and easily readable narrative nonfiction, perfect for fans of the genre or of Downton Abbey.

“America’s First Families are unknowable in many ways. No one has insight into their true character like the people who serve their meals and make their beds every day. Full of stories and details by turns dramatic, humorous, and heartwarming, The Residence reveals daily life in the White House as it is really lived through the voices of the maids, butlers, cooks, florists, doormen, engineers, and others who tend to the needs of the President and First Family. ” (source)

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Our Endless Numbered Days

April 15, 2015 Fiction, Review 15 ★★★

Our Endless Numbered DaysTitle: Our Endless Numbered Days
Author: Claire Fuller
Rating: three-stars
Links: Amazon|Goodreads|Indiebound

Summary: The writing and main character in this book were spot on, but the plot was far too predictable.

“Peggy Hillcoat is eight years old when her survivalist father, James, takes her from their home in London to a remote hut in the woods and tells her that the rest of the world has been destroyed. Deep in the wilderness, Peggy and James make a life for themselves. They repair the hut, bathe in water from the river, hunt and gather food in the summers and almost starve in the harsh winters. They mark their days only by the sun and the seasons. When Peggy finds a pair of boots in the forest and begins a search for their owner, she unwittingly unravels the series of events that brought her to the woods and, in doing so, discovers the strength she needs to go back to the home and mother she thought she’d lost. After Peggy’s return to civilization, her mother begins to learn the truth of her escape, of what happened to James on the last night out in the woods, and of the secret that Peggy has carried with her ever since” (source)
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Shadow Scale

April 13, 2015 Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult 12 ★★★

Shadow ScaleTitle: Shadow Scale
Author: Rachel Hartman
Source: NetGalley
Rating: three-stars
Links: Amazon|Goodreads|Indiebound

Summary: Although I still loved the politics and world-building in this sequel, I found the pacing too slow and the action unengaging.

As a half-dragon, Seraphina has a unique connection to others of her kind. However, her country of Gored has only recently made peace with the dragons and now this fragile peace may be shattered by a dragon civil war. The fragile peace means that many humans still hate dragons and that most half-dragons such as Saraphina must hide who they are. Each half-dragon has unique gifts and together they might be able to protect Gored if Seraphina is able to use her own unique powers to find them. To do so, she will have to avoid humans and dragons who want to stop her. But the biggest threat is one very bitter and very dangerous half-dragon who uses her powers to control others and manipulate the war for her own purposes.
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The News Sorority

April 11, 2015 Biography, History, non-fiction 12 ★★★★★

The News SororityTitle: The News Sorority
Author: Sheila Weller
Source: NetGalley
Rating: five-stars
Links: Amazon|Goodreads|Indiebound

Summary: Thoughtful, even-handed, with lots of great quotes, this book brought to life three fascinating women and highlighted the state of women in journalism today.

Like really great historical fiction, this biography did a wonderful job bringing to life not only individuals but also a larger setting. I found Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, and Christiane Amanpour’s histories and inspirations fascinating. They’re all incredibly interesting women with many unique life experiences. Although I probably would have described this as narrative nonfiction, the author explicitly states that she thinks of this not as narrative nonfiction, but as journalistic nonfiction, told largely through quotes from primary sources. I’m not sure those two genres are mutually exclusive, but I did notice and appreciate all of the direct quotes the author used. Most flowed smoothly with the narrative bits she’d written. Together, they presented what seemed to be an unbiased and well-rounded view of each woman. Despite obvious similarities, particularly their success in a male-dominated profession, the author also clearly highlighted their individual personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Read more »

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A Reunion Of Ghosts

April 9, 2015 Fiction 11 ★★★

A Reunion Of GhostsTitle: A Reunion Of Ghosts
Author: Judith Claire Mitchell
Rating: three-stars
Links: Amazon|Goodreads|Indiebound

Summary: Although I enjoyed the writing and characters in this book, the plot was incredibly bland.

This is the story of four generations of an unlucky family full of tragedy and suicides, culminating with the current generation of three sisters writing a shared suicide note. The sisters have grown up in a gloomy atmosphere, steeped in the knowledge of their family’s sad history. Each sister has experienced her own fair share of personal tragedy as well. After Lady’s divorce, she’s had trouble finding meaningful relationships and fears anything outside her lonely routine. Vee has lost her husband and has recently learned that her cancer has returned despite aggressive treatment. And the youngest, Delph, has barely lived, with no romantic relationships or career aspirations to speak of. All of this has lead to them to start the shared memoir/suicide note which is this story. Read more »

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Hausfrau

April 2, 2015 Uncategorized 12 ★★★

HausfrauTitle: Hausfrau
Author: Jill Alexander Essbaum
Source: NetGalley
Rating: three-stars
Links: Amazon|Goodreads|Indiebound

Summary: Originally I found the main character intriguing, but eventually her apathy got to me.

Anna has lived in Switzerland to be with her Swiss husband for years, but she’s never learned the language and feels very alone. At her psychiatrist’s advice, she begins taking a German class to help her become more involved. Instead, this class simply leads her into the first of many affairs, starting Anna down a path that will tear her family apart. Read more »

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Galileo’s Middle Finger

March 30, 2015 Uncategorized 10 ★★★

Galileo’s Middle FingerTitle: Galileo's Middle Finger
Author: Alice Dreger
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: three-stars
Links: Amazon|Goodreads|Indiebound

Summary: This was an interesting and worthwhile story, but it was more memoir and less general commentary on the interaction of science and activism than I had hoped.

Alice Derger never expected her research into the historical treatment of intersex children to lead her to become an activist protesting present treatment of intersex children. From risky “normalizing” surgeries without scientifically proven benefit to unethical lies told to parents of intersex children, there was plenty to protest. After seeing some scientists unjustly, personally attacked by the activist community she valued, she decided to look further into the relation between science and activism. Her most challenging question was what happens when scientific truth seems to conflict with the easiest, politically correct story. Read more »

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