Source: Library

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Reading Deeply Review: How to Read a Book

December 10, 2018 Uncategorized 9

Reading Deeply Review: How to Read  a BookTitle: How to Read a Book
Author: Mortimer J. Adler, Charles Van Doren
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Summary: This did make me think more about how I want to read, but contained little advice I found useful.

While I sometimes struggle to stick with specific reading challenges, I’m happy that I have stayed focused on trying to read more thoughtfully. I had high hopes for this book helping my to do that. Unfortunately, I found that most of the advice either felt obvious to me or suggested strategies I vehemently disagreed with! Read more »

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Review: The Library Book – In Which I am Surprised

December 4, 2018 Uncategorized 28

Review: The Library Book – In Which I am SurprisedTitle: The Library Book
Author: Susan Orlean
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: A delightful mix of topics, all fascinating, held together by the author’s love of books and libraries.

I have to admit that right off the bat that I was wrong about this book. I was intrigued by the topic – a mix of the LA library fire and library history in general. I only gave the author’s previous book, The Orchid Thief,  three stars though and so I decided not to go out of my way to pick this up. Then I saw that Rennie at What’s Nonfiction had only good things to say about it and Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness mentioned how good it was at least once in her Nonfiction November posts, so I bumped it to the top of my to-read list after all. That was the right choice! Read more »

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#NBAwards Shortlist Review: American Eden

November 15, 2018 Uncategorized 6

#NBAwards Shortlist Review: American EdenTitle: American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic
Author: Victoria Johnson
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

“On a clear morning in July 1804, Alexander Hamilton stepped onto a boat at the edge of the Hudson River. He was bound for a New Jersey dueling ground to settle his bitter dispute with Aaron Burr. Hamilton took just two men with him: his “second” for the duel, and Dr. David Hosack…. Hosack was one of the few points the duelists did agree on. Summoned that morning because of his role as the beloved Hamilton family doctor, he was also a close friend of Burr. A brilliant surgeon and a world-class botanist, Hosack—who until now has been lost in the fog of history—was a pioneering thinker who shaped a young nation.” (source) Read more »

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#NBAwards Shortlist Review: The New Negro

October 30, 2018 Uncategorized 3

#NBAwards Shortlist Review: The New NegroTitle: The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke
Author: Jeffrey C. Stewart
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: Long, detailed, and requiring of thoughtful reading; interesting enough to make the effort worthwhile.

This is an incredibly detailed biography of Alain Locke, an important figure who helped shape the Harlem renaissance. He was the first African American Rhodes scholar and an influential professor of philosophy with a PhD from Harvard. He helped mentor many better known writers, including Langston Hughes, and influenced the way Americans of all races viewed African American art. Read more »

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Review: The Story of the Great British Bake Off

October 15, 2018 Uncategorized 12

Review: The Story of the Great British Bake OffTitle: The Story of the Great British Bake Off
Author: Anita Singh
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: Charming, delightful, really in the spirit of the show.

I’ve recently started watching The Great British Bake Off (The Great British Baking Show for those of us in the US) and I’m loving it. Unlike so much reality TV, it feels like the contestants are truly friends with one another. I never get the impression that there is manufactured drama or even much real drama other than whether someone’s cake will rise. It struck me as the sort of show older people might watch, I suppose because it’s about baking, but it turns out friends my age have simply been holding out on me. I’ve been surprised how many people have expressed a love for this show when I mention I’m watching it! It seems that its wholesomeness appeals to all ages. Given how much I’ve been enjoying it, I was thrilled to pick up this history of the show. Read more »

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Nonfiction Review: The Poisoned City

October 11, 2018 Uncategorized 6

Nonfiction Review: The Poisoned CityTitle: The Poisoned City: Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy
Author: Anna Clark
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: Not the most engagingly written book, but it’s still a story worth reading

This story of Flint’s water crisis, from a journalist who covered the story as it unfolded, is a fascinating read. It includes a number of topics that are relevant for many cities. The continued use of led pipes throughout the country is the obvious takeaway, but we also see the lasting effects of legal and then social segregation that lased long after the civil war. The way poverty influenced who was hardest hit by this crisis, as well as the options available to people for dealing with it, was somehow both unsurprising and shocking. And the whole thing was a terrifying reminder that if government officials aren’t forced by required transparency to act in our best interests, any of us could find ourselves in the next Flint. Read more »

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A Nonfiction Favorite in Review: Bad Blood

September 18, 2018 Uncategorized 11

A Nonfiction Favorite in Review: Bad BloodTitle: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
Author: John Carreyrou
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

This is the story of Theranos, a company that claimed to be able to do dozens of blood tests on a tiny volume of blood. Big names spanning academia, technology, venture capital, government, and industry all provided funding or support to this start-up. Founder Elizabeth Homes was a college drop-out considered by many to be the biotech version of Steve Jobs. “There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.” (source) Read more »

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#HispanicHeritage Review: Make Your Home Among Strangers

September 11, 2018 Uncategorized 0

#HispanicHeritage Review: Make Your Home Among StrangersTitle: Make Your Home Among Strangers
Author: Jennine Capo Crucet
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

“When Lizet—the daughter of Cuban immigrants and the first in her family to graduate from high school—secretly applies and is accepted to an ultra-elite college, her parents are furious at her decision to leave Miami. Just weeks before she’s set to start school, her parents divorce and her father sells her childhood home, leaving Lizet, her mother, and Leidy—Lizet’s older sister, a brand-new single mom—without a steady income and scrambling for a place to live. Amidst this turmoil, Lizet begins her first semester at Rawlings College, distracted by both the exciting and difficult moments of freshman year. But the privileged world of the campus feels utterly foreign, as does her new awareness of herself as a minority. Pulled between life at college and the needs of those she loves, Lizet is faced with difficult decisions that will change her life.” (Source) Read more »

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Nonfiction Review: The Limit

September 9, 2018 Uncategorized 2

Nonfiction Review: The LimitTitle: The Limit: Life and Death on the 1961 Grand Prix Circuit
Author: Michael Cannell
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: This had some good stories, but also some sexism and some boring bits.

I’ve started watching Formula 1 with my husband on the weekends and it’s been a lot of fun. So, of course, as with everything else I’m interested in, I wanted to read about it. Unfortunately, most biographies of current drivers seem poorly written and hastily delivered, based on their reviews. Instead, I decided to start with this book about 1961 racing circuit, even though my interest in Formula 1 is inversely proportional to the number of people it’s killing. This book was set during the bad old days, when the death toll was quite high. It also had some problems, a mix of it’s own bookish flaws and a reflection of the flaws with Formula 1. Read more »

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Historical True Crime Review: Blood and Ivy

September 3, 2018 Uncategorized 10

Historical True Crime Review: Blood and IvyTitle: Blood & Ivy: The 1849 Murder That Scandalized Harvard
Author: Paul Collins
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: Fun, engaging, well-researched. I was sad it ended.

“On November 23rd of 1849, in the heart of Boston, one of the city’s richest men simply vanished. Dr. George Parkman, a Brahmin who owned much of Boston’s West End, was last seen that afternoon visiting his alma mater, Harvard Medical School. Police scoured city tenements and the harbor, and offered hefty rewards as leads put the elusive Dr. Parkman at sea or hiding in Manhattan. But one Harvard janitor held a much darker suspicion: that their ruthless benefactor had never left the Medical School building alive.” Read more »

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