Source: Library

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Out of Office in Review

March 21, 2022 Uncategorized 7 ★★★½

Out of Office in ReviewTitle: Out of Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working from Home
Author: Charlie Warzel, Anne Helen Petersen
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:three-half-stars

Summary: Interesting look at the past and potential future of work, but not very actionable for non-managers.

As someone who permanently transitioned to working from home during the pandemic, I had a personal interest in this book on the opportunities and challenges of working from home. My main takeaway was that I’m already in a very good situation. One of my favorite things about my workplace is the work/life balance. No one really cares when you work as long as the work gets done. People rarely email at odd hours. And personally, I have a shutdown routine that ends my work day at a reasonable hour most day, so I don’t let work become my life just because it happens at home. Read more »

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Long Form Journalism Review: Vanity Fair’s Women on Women

March 11, 2022 Uncategorized 0 ★★½

Long Form Journalism Review: Vanity Fair’s Women on WomenTitle: Vanity Fair's Women on Women
Author: Radhika Jones, David Friend
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:two-half-stars

Summary: Some interesting insight into the lives of current celebrities and women from history, but also clear proof that just because a woman wrote an essay doesn’t mean it’s feminist.

This is a collection primarily composed of essays by female journalists about female celebrities. It also includes several essays by women about women’s rights and related social movements. My understanding is that all of these pieces have been previously published in Vanity Fair. Read more »

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Book Club Read Review: Because Internet

March 7, 2022 Uncategorized 10 ★★★★

Book Club Read Review: Because InternetTitle: Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language
Author: Gretchen McCulloch
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

Summary: This book felt delightfully light and I still learned a lot!

My science nonfiction book club’s latest read was this story of how language has evolved through online use. A lot of the linguistic changes the author discuss seem to come from the fact that we’re now all doing much more informal communication in writing. That means that we need new ways to convey tone of voice or gestures in writing. This book covered how norms for doing that have evolved from the earliest days of the internet. Read more »

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Nonfiction Review: Black Faces, White Spaces

February 21, 2022 Uncategorized 6 ★★★★

Nonfiction Review: Black Faces, White SpacesTitle: Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors
Author: Carolyn Finney
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

Summary: A little academic, but still fairly accessible and I learned a lot!

This book looks at ways that African Americans are underrepresented in nature, outdoor sports, and environmentalism. The author explores why African Americans might be less interested in these activities (history of racism, etc). She also explores in depth how nature-related materials such as education exhibits and outdoor magazines contribute to this problem by leaving African Americans out of photos and stories. Another highlight is a look at the relationship (or lack thereof) between the civil rights movement and the environmental movement. All of these investigations draw on both academic sources and interviews with individuals from environmental institutions and the communities they serve. Read more »

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Romance Review: Royal Holiday

February 13, 2022 Uncategorized 9 ★★★★★

Romance Review: Royal HolidayTitle: Royal Holiday (The Wedding Date, #4)
Author: Jasmine Guillory
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

Summary: Awesome protagonist in a fairy tale setting, with a few great sex scenes, perfect relationship building – I loved everything about this one!

In The Wedding Party, protagonist Maddie’s mom Vivian was by far my favorite secondary character, so I was thrilled to see her get her own chance at romance in this book. I’m also not surprised to report that this was by far my favorite book in this series. Vivian is delightful. She’s extremely sensible, but she also really wants to help people, she’s kind, and she takes the time to get to know everyone she encounters. She also has a delightful relationship with Maddie, where they both support each other and can joke around together. Read more »

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Essay Collection in Review: Half and Half

February 4, 2022 Uncategorized 3 ★★½

Essay Collection in Review: Half and HalfTitle: Half and Half: Writers on Growing Up Biracial and Bicultural
Author: Claudine Chiawei O'Hearn
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:two-half-stars

Summary: An interesting subject but a very average collection.

I wanted to love this collection, but my actual feelings are closer to ‘eh, it was alright.’. I liked that it included an incredible array of perspectives. It was interested to see the wide variety of ways people come by a bicultural and/or biracial identity. Of course, your parents might simply bequeath you two different cultures or racial identities, but so might your grandparents. Other contributors to this collection were adopted or had moved all over the world while growing up. Their perspectives on their identities and how other people respond to them varied just as widely. Unfortunately, this was a case where the form didn’t live up to the content for me. Read more »

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Self-Help Review: Four Thousand Weeks

January 31, 2022 Uncategorized 4 ★★★½

Self-Help Review: Four Thousand WeeksTitle: Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals
Author: Oliver Burkeman
Source: Library
|Goodreads
Rating:three-half-stars

Summary: I found this relatable and helpful, but it was sometimes repetitive and didn’t do enough to address systemic issues.

The big idea of this time management book is given away by the subtitle – “time management for mortals”. By pointing out that we each might only get 4,000 weeks (~77 years), the author highlights the importance of taking the long view when doing time management. Is what we really want out of time management a better way to get through more e-mails in a day? The author suggests that instead we should focus on doing the things we most care about first. Read more »

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Romance Review: The Wedding Party

January 24, 2022 Uncategorized 3 ★★★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.)

Read more »

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One Favorite and One Dud in Mini-Reviews

January 19, 2022 Uncategorized 6 ★★★★★

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 8 ★★★★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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