Source: Library

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#NonficReads18 Quarterly Read Review: Hunger

February 23, 2018 Uncategorized 2

#NonficReads18 Quarterly Read Review: HungerTitle: Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
Author: Roxane Gay
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: Incredibly well written, thoughtful set of essays that I can’t recommend enough.

“In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her own past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.” Read more »

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#WomenInScience Review: Enchantress of Numbers

January 22, 2018 Uncategorized 22

#WomenInScience Review: Enchantress of NumbersTitle: Enchantress of Numbers
Author: Jennifer Chiaverini
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: A slow start made the ending of this fascinating story about a female scientist all the more satisfying.

This is the fictionalized story of Ada Lovelace, the woman credited with writing the first computer program in the 1800s for Charles Babbage’s then theoretical, mechanical calculating machine. As the daughter of the famous Lord Byron, she struggles to follow her passions when her mother views any imagination as a sign she might be dangerously like her father. She also has to face down many people who believe women are constitutionally unsuited to doing math. All this, while being expected to marry suitably, provide her husband with an heir, and avoid scandalizing society along the way! Read more »

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Reading Deeply Review: Close to the Machine

January 8, 2018 Uncategorized 12

Reading Deeply Review: Close to the MachineTitle: Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents
Author: Ellen Ullman
Source: Library
|Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: Thoughtful, beautiful, really captured the joys and struggles of being a programmer. A favorite.

This is the first book I’m reviewing as part of my resolution to read more deeply. I’d really like to get more out of what I read, to truly be learning and retaining more of each book. I think something that will help me do that is reading connected books, so I’m currently reading through Ellen Ullman’s books, inspired by Veronica at The Thousand Book Projects‘s read of all things Toni Morrison. Previously, I’d read Life in Code, a series of essays that were both memoir and history of the field of computer science, published last year. Close to the Machine is a similar book, but published ten years earlier. Read more »

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Yet Another Nonfiction Review: The State of Affairs

December 24, 2017 Uncategorized 8

Yet Another Nonfiction Review:  The State of AffairsTitle: The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity
Author: Esther Perel
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: Although the point of this book is to broadly examine the phenomenon of infidelity, what I enjoyed most were the anecdotes that gave an unusually intimate glimpse of many relationships.

“An affair: it can rob a couple of their relationship, their happiness, their very identity. And yet, this extremely common human experience is so poorly understood. What are we to make of this time-honored taboo—universally forbidden yet universally practiced? Why do people cheat—even those in happy marriages? Why does an affair hurt so much? When we say infidelity, what exactly do we mean? Do our romantic expectations of marriage set us up for betrayal? Is there such a thing as an affair-proof marriage? Is it possible to love more than one person at once? Can an affair ever help a marriage?” (source) Using case-stories from her time as a couple’s therapist, Esther Perel addresses these questions. Read more »

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Nonfiction Review: A Brief History of Thought

December 20, 2017 Uncategorized 2

Nonfiction Review: A Brief History of ThoughtTitle: A Brief History of Thought: A Philosophical Guide to Living
Author: Luc Ferry
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: This was a worthwhile read and presented clearly enough that I feel better educated for having read it, but it was also dense enough that it wasn’t a fun read.

This book is a crash course on the history of philosophy. The author covers six main schools of thought in chronological order, including “the timeless wisdom of the ancient Greeks[,] Christianity, the Enlightenment, existentialism, and postmodernism”. He presents the basics of each of these philosophies in a nice, structured framework with lots of quotes so the reader can become familiar with classic texts in the field. Read more »

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Nonfiction Review: Spook

December 18, 2017 Uncategorized 13

Nonfiction Review: SpookTitle: Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife
Author: Mary Roach
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: Exactly what I expect from Mary Roach – funny, informative, engaging – plus it was fun to read one of her earlier books to hear more about her interest in science.

In an attempt to find a scientific answer to the question of what happens when we die, Mary Roach visits a wide variety of researchers. “She begins the journey in rural India with a reincarnation researcher and ends up in a University of Virginia operating room where cardiologists have installed equipment near the ceiling to study out-of-body near-death experiences. Along the way, she enrolls in an English medium school, gets electromagnetically haunted at a university in Ontario, and visits a Duke University professor with a plan to weigh the consciousness of a leech.” (source) Read more »

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Heartwarming Books in Mini-Reviews

December 6, 2017 Uncategorized 6

Heartwarming Books in Mini-ReviewsTitle: Seven Days of Us
Author: Francesca Hornak
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

This novel, about a family quarantined with only each other and their secrets, was precisely the sort of cozy holiday read I was looking for. I loved that it was predictable; it made for a nice mix of anticipation of what was to come and a relaxed belief everything would end happily. With the exception of the spoiled younger sister, the characters felt unique and their interactions were believable. A sudden reveal towards the end made me knock a star off. I didn’t feel like the author gave this last change enough time to properly unfold. Instead, if felt like a contrived opportunity for each character to show whether they’d changed. Read more »

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Review: Careers for Women

November 29, 2017 Uncategorized 6

Review: Careers for WomenTitle: Careers for Women
Author: Joanna Scott
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: Great writing and characterizations made the slower-paced mystery a pleasure to read.

In 1950’s New York, Maggie Gleason is enjoying the empowerment of having a career at the Port Authority. She stands in awe of her boss, the impressive Mrs. Jeffe, who is driving the creation of the world’s largest sky scraper. When Mrs. J asks her to look out for new hire, Pauline Moreau, and her daughter, she takes that charge seriously. So when Pauline vanishes, she won’t rest until she finds out what secret from Pauline’s past led to her disappearance. Read more »

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#NonficNov Review: Life in Code

November 19, 2017 Uncategorized 3

#NonficNov Review: Life in CodeTitle: Life in Code: A Personal History of Technology
Author: Ellen Ullman
Source: Library
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: I loved both learning about computer history from someone who lived it and hearing Ullman’s thoughts on the role of technology in society.

The sub-title of this book, ‘A Personal History of Technology’ describes the contents perfectly. This is a history of the computer science industry from someone who was part of many of the iconic moments of that history. The essays in this collection cover classic computer history and timeless meditations on the role of technology in our lives. Dates at the beginning of each essay indicating when they were written made them even more meaningful by providing context. Read more »

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