Source: Library

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Romance Review: The Wedding Party

January 24, 2022 Uncategorized 0 ★★★½

Romance Review: The Wedding PartyTitle: The Wedding Party (The Wedding Date, #3)
Author: Jasmine Guillory
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:three-half-stars

 

Maddie and Theo may share a best friend, but it doesn’t mean they have to like each other! In fact, they both really dislike each other, so when they have a drunk hook-up, they expect it to be a one-time thing. Until they’re asked to be in their best friend’s wedding and forced proximity makes them realize that they can’t keep their hands off each other. And maybe they don’t dislike each other so much after all? (Who are we kidding – this is a romance! Of course they don’t.)

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One Favorite and One Dud in Mini-Reviews

January 19, 2022 Uncategorized 4 ★★★★★

One Favorite and One Dud in Mini-ReviewsTitle: The Hospital: Life, Death, and Dollars in a Small American Town
Author: Brian Alexander
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

I particularly wanted to review this book I read in December about a hospital in small town Ohio because it was one of my favorite reads last year for many reasons. First of all, it was pretty cool that it was in a town that’s only about an hour and a half from where I went to high school. Second, it was an incredible insider account of a how a small town, independent hospital works. I enjoyed learning about the challenges they face financially; the difficulty they have recruiting doctors; and the pressures they face from larger hospital systems that receive bulk discounts on medical supplies and insurers. It’s truly impressive how broken the system is. Last but not least, the author’s description of the town itself was a compassionate, but not uncritical look at the beliefs and lives of the people in this conservative Ohio town. So, in many ways this was a look at parts of the world I am close to, but knew nothing about. I really appreciated the use of interviews and personal stories to teach me something new.

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Another Great Essay Collection in Review: Disability Visibility

January 15, 2022 Uncategorized 6 ★★★★½

Another Great Essay Collection in Review: Disability VisibilityTitle: Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-first Century
Author: Alice Wong
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:four-half-stars

Summary: I learned a lot from this multi-author essay collection, which didn’t have even a single dud.

Well, I must say, it’s been an incredible reading year already. Kicking it off with a heartwarming romance helped get me out my reading slump and this is the second really wonderful essay collection I’ve read. All of the essays in this book are by disabled writers, activists, and/or speakers (some are transcribed speeches). Something I loved about this book is the broad scope of the collection. I always enjoy learning about the world from different perspectives. This book not only includes the experiences of people with many different disabilities; contributors also differ in race, gender, sexuality, religion, careers, and perspectives on disability. There were a number of commonalities that really jumped out at me too though.

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Essay Collection in Review: A Little Devil in America

January 12, 2022 Uncategorized 4 ★★★★★

Essay Collection in Review: A Little Devil in AmericaTitle: A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance
Author: Hanif Abdurraqib
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

Summary: Beautifully written essays that blend pop culture and memoir to address big topics in ways that are both thought-provoking and moving.

I really loved Hanif Abdurraqib’s previous essay collection, Go Ahead in the Rain, enough so that I’m very surprised to say that this book was even better. His previous collection focused pretty tightly on the band A Tribe Called Quest, although it did still include a lot of memoir and some references to other pop culture from the author’s childhood. This book was wider ranging. The collection as a whole covers pop culture icons and moments from the 1800s to today. Individual essays thoughtfully engage with and manage to connect with many different types of pop culture, from music to movies to comedy. Read more »

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Romance Review: Red, White, and Royal Blue

January 10, 2022 Uncategorized 6 ★★★★★

Romance Review: Red, White, and Royal BlueTitle: Red, White & Royal Blue
Author: Casey McQuiston
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

Summary: Practically perfect in every way, with convincing relationship development, fantastic banter, and a wonderful supporting cast.

This story of the First Son of the United States falling in love with a British prince was delightful. I’m so glad I picked it for my first read of the year. It made more me excited to just read for hours than I have been in a long time. I’ve read the occasional romance where poorly handled consent or an annoying lack of communication make me knock a star off the rating. But most romance I’ve read has felt worth five stars to me. This was no exception. It’s just so emotionally satisfying. This book made me laugh, it made me cry, and it gave me the HEA (happily ever after) every good romance deserves. Read more »

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Nature Nonfiction Review: The Glitter in the Green

December 31, 2021 Uncategorized 6 ★★★★

Nature Nonfiction Review: The Glitter in the GreenTitle: The Glitter in the Green: In Search of Hummingbirds
Author: Jon Dunn
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

Summary: This was a beautifully written blend of travel and nature writing with a little bit of science and history.

I don’t read much travel or nature writing, but I have started to really enjoy reading about birds and a great review from Rebecca at Bookish Beck sold me on this one. Plus the cover is truly lovely! This is the story of the author’s travels through much of North and South America to see an incredible variety of hummingbirds. He sees hummingbirds everywhere from Alaska to the tropics. Some are common, while others exist in precariously tiny ranges – perhaps only the slopes of a single mountain. The author gives a history of primarily European study of these tiny birds, as well as info on their role in South American myths and descriptions of current conservation efforts. Read more »

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Books on the Camp Fire in Review

December 21, 2021 Uncategorized 10 ★★★½

I was interested in reading about the 2018 Camp Fire in Paradise, CA because of experiencing the long-distance, air quality effects of several large fires (including this one) while living in the Bay Area. My connection to these events is only tangential. Even from the Bay Area, though, it was clear from the smoke and apocalyptic orange skies in 2020, that these massive fires were yet another terrible “new normal” we’d all have to live with. Even just being close to them was enough to make me want to learn more.

Books on the Camp Fire in ReviewTitle: Fire in Paradise: An American Tragedy
Author: Alastair Gee, Dani Anguiano
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:three-half-stars
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Sociology Nonfiction in Review: Work Won’t Love You Back

December 15, 2021 Uncategorized 10 ★★★★★

Sociology Nonfiction in Review: Work Won’t Love You BackTitle: Work Won't Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone
Author: Sarah Jaffe
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

Summary: The best of narrative nonfiction – moving personal stories plus informative history, both of which helped me better understand the world.

This book covers a wide variety of seemingly unrelated industries, connected only by the way “love” is used to coerce workers into staying in underpaid positions. This jobs fall broadly into two categories – care work and artistic work. Care work includes jobs like teaching, being a home aid, or working at a charity. Artistic jobs include the obvious (actual artists), but also other professions where people are expected to enjoy performing at a high level (programming, athletics). Interestingly to me, the category of care work includes jobs stereotypically associated with women. The category of artistic work includes jobs stereotypically associated with men. Both rely on pressuring men and women to feel obligated to fill stereotypical roles in poorly paid jobs.

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Biology Nonfiction in Review: Gut

December 13, 2021 Uncategorized 4 ★★★½

Biology Nonfiction in Review: GutTitle: Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ
Author: Giulia Enders, Jill Enders
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:three-half-stars

Summary: Engaging and easy to follow, but I found it overly simplistic.

This book about the microbiome came out about 5 years ago, just as people were starting to explore this exciting new field. A lot of the content was in also covered in 10% Human, another book that was published (and that I read) around the same time. It felt immediately dated to me as a result, but the author’s enthusiasm for what was new info at the time was quite enjoyable.

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Science Nonfiction Review: Life’s Edge

December 2, 2021 Uncategorized 2 ★★★★★

Science Nonfiction Review: Life’s EdgeTitle: Life's Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive
Author: Carl Zimmer
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

Summary: This was interesting and clear, full of new-to-me biology stories, and really made me think.

This book was one of several I spotted on the new books shelf at my library and impulsively picked up based on reviews from Rennie of What’s Nonfiction. The others were Uncaring and The Plague Year. I enjoyed both of those books a lot, but this was my favorite of the three. In this book, author Carl Zimmer explores what it means for something to be alive. He primarily does this by looking at cases where whether or not something is alive is in question. This led to some fascinating corners of biology research that I’ve not read about in any other pop science book. The question itself is interesting and the test cases the author explored were incredible. Read more »

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