Book 489: How to Survive a Summer – Nick White

I wanted to like this so much more than I did. And this says a lot about both myself and the book/writer. Even though my response isn’t that friendly to the book there were some occasional one liners that made me smile.

When I requested a copy of this book from the publisher,* I wanted to identify with the characters, I wanted to revel in our shared experiences of growing up in the south during a certain time, but I just couldn’t.

Perhaps this is because I didn’t grow up in the deep south (I grew up in a military town in NC) or maybe because my family wasn’t too religious, (we went to church some times, but we were Episcopalian and compared to other southern denominations, they’re pretty damn liberal), or perhaps it’s just because of the writing or the non-shared experiences of the book that i just couldn’t click with it.

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May Recap 2016

2016 05-10 Boston AFAnother month gone. I’ve been at my new job for about a month and a half and it feels like I’m still brand new, but also like I’ve been here forever. I’m, of course, still enjoying it and learning more each day about refugees and immigrants and about my own skills.

The other thing I’ve been trying to work on is exercising. I’ve been REALLY lazy over the last 12-18 months. I don’t know if it’s passing the two-year mark in my relationship (look at the pretty flowers at the end) or if it’s just me getting old and lazy, but I know I have to get better about it fast. So I’ve been trying to walk more in the mornings. That photo above was on a random street in South Boston and my friend Mal on Facebook summed it up perfectly: “Boston As F&ck.” (If you can’t tell it’s a Sam Adams tap.)

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Book 422: Smarter Faster Better – Charles Duhigg

Duhigg, Charles - Stronger Faster BetterWhen I requested a copy of this upcoming book (released March 8, 2016) from Random House*, I was really hoping for a repeat of Duhigg’s 2012 The Power of Habit. Unfortunately, there was something missing from this one. I can’t quite figure out what it is, but I think it has to do with the first book being much easier to apply and this one overall being more theoretical.

That being said, this was incredibly readable and had a lot of great case studies that I’ve encountered in numerous settings and other books I’ve read recently about work productivity and managing up. Duhigg’s writing style is incredibly easy to read and he seamlessly ties together disparate examples to elucidate his points. Off the top of my head a few are: the development of Disney’s Frozen, General Electric (I feel like I’m an expert after Badowski’s excellent Managing Up), aviation near-crashes, the writing and staging of West Side Story, Google, Cincinnati school reform, debt collection and many others! Needless to say you will easily find at least one example that you really identify with.

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Book 332: Male Sex Work and Society – Victor Minichiello and John Scott (eds.)

Minichiello, Victor and John Scott - Male Sex Work and Society

This book simultaneously highlights what is good and what is bad about the white tower of academia. It explores a specific topic (Amazon Afiliate link) in depth, while establishing absolutely nothing, other than the need for more research. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and received no compensation for my honest opinion.

I’m going to start with my frustrations with the book (or academia/academics in a broader context) first and then move to what they did well. What frustrated me most about the entire collection were the isolationist tendencies of the authors. In a move to over-compensate for any sort of collective or global identity (and not Western-wash everything) every single paper started out within the first few paragraphs by using the almost exact phrase of, “due to cultural circumstances, male sex workers (MSWs) circumstances in this country cannot be compared to those in any other country.” The reason this was so infuriating is that there were clearly overarching themes, sexual identity (or lack thereof), technology and public health, to name a few, that Manichiello and Scott picked out and even acknowledged. However, rather than encouraging the authors to use them to tie everything together within the papers across borders and identities, they were used to bridge each of the papers between the papers in editorial asides. Seriously, if they would’ve just taken this as a given, at least 50 pages could’ve been cut out of the book due to repetitiveness.

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CRWM #03: The Handmaid’s Tale

CRWM03Note: This episode is going live early due to the holidays, traveling and the potential delay with iTunes uploading.

Welcome to Episode 3 of Come Read With Me, where my friend Patrick and I dive into Margaret Atwood’s classic dystopia A Handmaid’s Tale. Patrick agreed to be on the podcast before he even knew what the podcast was about and when I called him he was ready. I gave him a really long list of books to choose from and he chose perfectly! (His original choice was Twilight but that was reserved and will be Episode 4). If you’ve never read it you should read it, really just read all Atwood as she’s amazing.

In addition to Atwood we spoke about a wide variety of authors and Patrick’s love of creating Twitter bots. Check Patrick out on Twitter @lightaesthetic and check out his website to see some of the awesome games he’s putting together in his spare time.

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CRWM #02: The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice

CRWM02It’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here!

As promised I’ve finally edited and posted Episode 2 of Come Read With Me! My guest this episode is my friend Caitrin and we discuss Abigail Reynold’s The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice which I wrote about back in January! Thankfully, there weren’t any technical issues this time.

By far the highlight of this episode, apart from all the general Austen love, is about nine minutes in when I realize I misspoke about my favorite Jane Austen novel. It’s a good thing it wasn’t later in the podcast (aka later in the bottle of wine) or I might’ve cried! From pick up lines and my confusion over Colin Firth and Colin Farrel to Caitrin’s adoration of Sense and Sensibility and the Classics Club, nothing is off-limits.


You can download it by right clicking this link and selecting save as.

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Culture Corner – August 2014

2014 08-08 Throwing Shade Live!I planned to start with the ridiculous movie theater I went to, but why not just go in order?

If you remember back in March I went to see a live taping of the podcast Welcome to Night Vale and how much fun I had, you’ll appreciate this. When I found out a few months ago one of my favorite podcasts, Throwing Shade, was coming to Boston I immediately bought tickets! The original plan was that Caroline, Hayley, a TBD friend and I would go. I mean it’s a comedy podcast dealing with politics and pop culture, of course it would be AMAZING.

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