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New Release Review: The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers

August 7, 2017 Uncategorized 4

New Release Review: The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women WritersTitle: The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers
Author: Henry Louis Gates Jr., Hollis Robbins
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: I loved far more of these pieces than in most collections, I loved learning from them, and I found some of them disturbingly timely.

I don’t read many older books and the ones I’m aware of are pretty exclusively classics by dead, white men. Many of the classics I’ve not read are those that don’t appeal to me and I don’t see much value in reading more books by white men just because they’re classics. They’ve already been such a large part of my education. On the other hand, I was thrilled to see this collection of older essays, poems, speeches, and novel excerpts by African American women, because perspectives on this time by these people are entirely missing from my previous reading. I found it incredibly valuable and enjoyable to learn about the experiences of African American women immediately before and after emancipation. Read more »

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Nonfiction Review: What She Ate

August 2, 2017 Uncategorized 6

Nonfiction Review: What She AteTitle: What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories
Author: Laura Shapiro
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

What She Ate is a biography of six famous, infamous, or just plain interesting women told through the food they ate. Subjects include Dorothy Wordsworth; an 19th century caterer; Eleanor Roosevelt; Eva Braun; author Barbara Pym; and Helen Gurley Brown, editor of Cosmopolitan.  Since I’m all about quirky micro-histories, I was so here for this. Read more »

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July Wrap-Up

August 1, 2017 Uncategorized 10

July was a bit of another month where I was in a bit of a blogging slump, but I think I’ve broken out of that slump in the next week. I’ve not written many reviews in the past month, but I’m excited to get back into it in August. I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking about what I want to get out of blogging. The answer is definitely interaction with all of you awesome readers, so I’m considering jumping into a lot of blogging events in August. I’ll just have to be careful to balance that with not burning myself out and back into a slump.
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Nonfiction Review: The Brain Defense

July 31, 2017 Uncategorized 2

Nonfiction Review: The Brain DefenseTitle: The Brain Defense: Murder in Manhattan and the Dawn of Neuroscience in America's Courtrooms
Author: Kevin Davis
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was a fascinating topic and the author did a good job presenting research in a nuanced way.

I’ve always been fascinated by books about how the brain works, so this book about how neuroscience may influence criminal behavior really appealed to me. The most interesting case I’ve heard and one which was repeated here, was the case of a man who experienced pedophillic urges when he had a tumor. These urges stopped when the tumor was removed and he could tell when the tumor recurred because the urges returned. However, this book mostly focuses on the first case where a brain scan was presented as evidence in the courtroom. The author also shares many other interesting, specific cases; discusses the research linking brain activity to behavioral trends; and explores the current relationship between neuroscience and the law. Read more »

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Romance Review: The Duchess War

July 26, 2017 Uncategorized 6

Romance Review: The Duchess WarTitle: The Duchess War (Brothers Sinister, #1)
Author: Courtney Milan
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This was wonderful! It was lots of fun, had extremely lovable characters, and no troubling tropes.

“Miss Minerva Lane is a quiet, bespectacled wallflower, and she wants to keep it that way. After all, the last time she was the center of attention, it ended badly–so badly that she changed her name to escape her scandalous past. Wallflowers may not be the prettiest of blooms, but at least they don’t get trampled. So when a handsome duke comes to town, the last thing she wants is his attention. But that is precisely what she gets. Because Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, is not fooled. When Minnie figures out what he’s up to, he realizes there is more to her than her spectacles and her quiet ways. And he’s determined to lay her every secret bare before she can discover his. But this time, one shy miss may prove to be more than his match…” (source) Read more »

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#FutursticFriday Review: The Unwomanly Face of War

July 24, 2017 Uncategorized 6

#FutursticFriday Review: The Unwomanly Face of WarTitle: The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II
Author: Svetlana Alexievich, Richard Pevear, Larissa Volokhonsky
Source: NetGalley
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This was a tough read, but it was amazing to hear emotional, first-hand accounts from women in WWII.

I previously read Nobel Prize-winning, Belarusian journalist, Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices from Chernobyl, and I was blown away by that collection of beautiful and moving interviews. The Unwomanly Face of War is a similar collection of interviews with Soviet women who served in WWII and with a few of the men who served with them. Unlike Voices from Chernobyl, this collection includes some commentary from Alexievich explaining how she became interested in this topic and her process for conducting interviews. Read more »

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