Source: Library

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Nonfiction Review: Better Than Before

July 10, 2017 Uncategorized 2

Nonfiction Review: Better Than BeforeTitle: Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives
Author: Gretchen Rubin
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: I didn’t think this was nearly as good as The Happiness Project but I do think it has lots of useful suggestions for anyone trying to make change their habits.

Gretchen Reuben’s Happiness Project is actually the book that inspired me to start blogging, so I’m surprised it’s taken me so long to pick up any of her other books. Better Than Before is a book about how we can intentionally form habits to make our lives easier. It includes 21 different habit-forming strategies, sometimes back by research and always demonstrated with interesting anecdotes from Gretchen, her family and friends, and her readers. Read more »

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Is the First Book You Read By An Author Always the Best? A Review and Some Stats

June 27, 2017 Uncategorized 6

Is the First Book You Read By An Author Always the Best? A Review and Some StatsTitle: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life
Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: I really enjoyed this book, but it didn’t quite live up to the emotional punch of Ari and Dante.

“Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief. Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?” (source) Read more »

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Review: The Wanderers

June 12, 2017 Uncategorized 2

Review: The WanderersTitle: The Wanderers
Author: Meg Howrey
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: Beautifully written, character-driven, introspective, and a joy to read.

“In four years Prime Space will put the first humans on Mars. Helen Kane, Yoshi Tanaka, and Sergei Kuznetsov must prove they’re the crew for the job by spending seventeen months in the most realistic simulation every created. Retired from NASA, Helen had not trained for irrelevance. It is nobody’s fault that the best of her exists in space, but her daughter can’t help placing blame. The MarsNOW mission is Helen’s last chance to return to the only place she’s ever truly felt at home. For Yoshi, it’s an opportunity to prove himself worthy of the wife he has loved absolutely, if not quite rightly. Sergei is willing to spend seventeen months in a tin can if it means travelling to Mars. He will at least be tested past the point of exhaustion, and this is the example he will set for his sons.” (source) Read more »

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Women in Science History Review: Rise of the Rocket Girls

March 27, 2017 Uncategorized 6

Women in Science History Review: Rise of the Rocket GirlsTitle: Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars
Author: Nathalia Holt
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Review: This was a fun read and highlighted some important work, but I would have liked more depth on the technical side of the story.

Long before ‘computers’ were calculating machines, they were mathematicians (primarily women) and eventually the first software developers. Working at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, an elite group of female computers fought hard to balance personal lives with careers they loved at a time when that was still considered a highly unusual thing for a woman to do. Through their expertise and painstaking effort, these computers “transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible” (source). Read more »

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Diversity Challenge Review: Dumplin’

January 30, 2017 Uncategorized 6

Diversity Challenge Review: Dumplin’Title: Dumplin' (Dumplin', #1)
Author: Julie Murphy
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: Somehow this book managed to feel light and fun, but also include well-developed characters and tackle tough issues.

“Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body.” (Source) However, a surprising romance with the sexy jock Bo makes Will doubt herself rather than raising her confidence.  And this summer, that’s only one of the many things pushing her and her traditionally beautiful best friend, Ellen, apart. To regain her confidence and hopefully her best friend, Willowdean decides to do “the most horrifying thing she can imagine” and enter the Miss Clover City beauty pageant. Read more »

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Review: The Diner

December 14, 2016 Uncategorized 6

Review: The DinerTitle: The Dinner
Author: Herman Koch, Sam Garrett
Source: Library
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: The author did an incredible job of creeping me out, but each ‘reveal’ felt predictable to me.

“A summer’s evening in Amsterdam and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant. Between mouthfuls of food and over the delicate scraping of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of politeness – the banality of work, the triviality of holidays. But the empty words hide a terrible conflict and, with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened… Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. Together, the boys have committed a horrifying act, caught on camera, and their grainy images have been beamed into living rooms across the nation; despite a police manhunt, the boys remain unidentified – by everyone except their parents. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children and, as civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple shows just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.” (Source) Read more »

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Review: The Sympathizer

November 17, 2016 Uncategorized 10

Review: The SympathizerTitle: The Sympathizer
Author: Viet Thanh Nguyen
Source: Library
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: I enjoyed the clever writing and fast-paced plot, but the ending got a bit surreal and a really terrible trope made me enjoy it much less.

This story is also a confession – the confession being written by the imprisoned narrator, relating his life as a double agent. Although he was evacuated to America after the Vietnam war ended, he is secretly reporting back to the communist leadership in Vietnam. He is also living a double life in other ways. As the child of a French soldier and a Vietnamese woman and as a communist who was educated in the United States, he’s never quite fit in with either world. Although he has already decided his loyalties, as he writes this story, he’s forced to come to terms with who he’s become.
Read more »

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Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

November 9, 2016 Uncategorized 20

Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying UpTitle: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
Author: Marie Kondō, Cathy Hirano
Source: Library
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Summary: I liked the basic idea, but the details didn’t work for me and sometimes seemed pretty crazy.

Marie Kondo is a professional cleaning consultant now, but she’s been interested in cleaning and organizing since she was very young. In this book, she shares her the method she’s developed for organizing based on years of trying different things. She also shares the emotional connection she feels with her home and the objects she owns. Read more »

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Review: Your Inner Fish

November 8, 2016 Uncategorized 0

Review: Your Inner FishTitle: Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body
Author: Neil Shubin
Source: Library
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: Despite a very simple message, the author’s enthusiasm, plus clear prose and images, made this accessible and compulsively readable.

Paleontologist Neil Shubin primarily studies ancient fish, but he uses what he learns to gain new insights into human anatomy and our evolutionary past.  By examining living and ancient fish, it’s possible to trace the history of many aspects of human anatomy. As he explains this history, we also get to learn about the process by which his lab continues to make new discoveries. Read more »

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Review: Brain on Fire

November 2, 2016 Memoir, non-fiction, Psychology, Science 14

Review: Brain on FireTitle: Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
Author: Susannah Cahalan
Source: Library
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This was an amazing mix of clear, informative journalism and moving, emotional memoir.
“When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened? In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Cahalan tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen.” (source) Read more »

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