Book 456: Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal – Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Rosenthal, Amy Krouse - Textbook Amy Krouse RosenthalIf you want a hilarious read that will have people looking at you funny on public transportation, then this should definitely be on your list. I was having a bad week when I started this and within the first 10 pages I was smiling and noticing small things around me that made my week 100 times better.

I first heard of this book in one of the final Books on the Nightstand episodes (Podcast link) and thought it sounded intriguing. So when someone from Dutton reached out to me about a review copy I jumped at the opportunity.* But first a brief aside.

I must say Dutton is hitting it out of the park with books I enjoy! I have at least one, but probably two more upcoming books that I’m planning to read from them on my shelf. This doesn’t count for the numerous I’ve already responded to including Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes from late 2015 and Fool Me Once and The Stranger from earlier this year. And I haven’t even said yes to all of them, some of the others didn’t fit what I wanted to read at the time, but overall I’ve enjoyed them! Now on to my response.

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Book 455: We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Adiche, Chimamanda Ngozi - We Should All Be FeministsWow. I know I’m late to the party on this one, but Wow. Thanks Jess for, all those months ago, finally giving the recommendation to make me read it.

There is not a lot to say about We Should All Be Feminists, that hasn’t been said. And yet I’m going to dither on about it for a good while. IF you don’t want to read (which, shame on you) this 48 page “manifesto” (because it should be one), then check out the TEDx talk she pulled it from at the end of the post. (I haven’t watched it, but need to.)

This is one of those essays that should make its way into our collective conscience, but I’m not sure it will. It is also one of those books that I feel should become required reading, if only for the conversations it will spark, but again, thanks to the divisiveness of today’s politics, outside of specific classes focusing on women and gender, I doubt it will. Continue reading

Book 413: The Emperor’s Soul – Brandon Sanderson

Sanderson, Brandon - The Emperor's SoulDAMN you Mormons and your great Science Fiction/Fantasy! That’s about 25% fact and 75% unadulterated conjecture. Before I go into that (you can skip the next two paragraphs if you’re not interested), funny story: I kept thinking of this as some weird hybrid of the story as it happened and The Emperor’s New Clothes. My mind is weird.

Now, Mormons. Seriously though, why does it seem like there are so many Mormon’s who tell great stories in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genres: Jeff Wheeler, Orson Scott Card, Stephenie Meyer (cough*story teller, still not a great writer*cough) and now Brandon Sanderson. I’m not the first to ponder this (Boston Globe link)and I know I won’t be the last. I know for me it raises a big dilemma of ethics/politics when I chose to read an author who actively believes/participates in a religion which negates/actively works against something I identify with. Do I purchase their novels and have my, what ultimately ends up being fractions of pennies, support their religion through tithing, or do I boycott the author because of their churches stance?

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Book 380: Doing Good Better – William MacAskill

MacAskill, William - Doing Good BetterI’m torn on this one and not for any obvious reasons. I think MacAskill does an excellent job laying out the foundations of “effective altruism” and I think this is something fundraisers and nonprofits need to be aware of for the future. However, I feel like there wasn’t enough to convince me 100% that this is the best way to move forward, probably because I had questions about MacAskill’s own nonprofits and experience.

Let’s start with the good. MacAskill has created a solid evidence-based way of helping alleviate some of the world’s biggest problems. Learning what a Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY, pronounced kwalee) challenged my perception of how to rate a nonprofit, but more importantly raised questions about whether things should be comparable when you’re talking about life-saving research. The answer is yes, with a bunch of caveats.

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Book 376: Ishmael – Daniel Quinn

Quinn, Daniel - IshmaelAs a part of every episode of Come Read with Me, I ask my friends to recommend a book. I do this because I know it will take me out of my comfort zone, but I also do it because it helps me get to know them better. Mike from Episode 5 where we discussed the first half of the Hyperion Cantos recommended this and WOW.

I have a feeling this is going to be one of those books that continues to grow on me the further I get away from it. I only rated it “4 out of 5” on Goodreads, but I’m already wondering if as the ideas presented in the book sink in if I will adjust that even higher. I looked into the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship Award (aka read the Wikipedia link) and found it interesting, but I’m not sure if it does what the award wanted. Ishmael is incredibly creative and I think does most of what the award wanted, but I guess it’s a good thing I wasn’t on the committee.

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Book 369: Symposium – Plato

Plato - SymposiumI understand how important this work is, you know, history and stuff (hello sarcasm), but there is no need for the introduction to be roughly half the length of the entire work! Seriously, by time I actually got to the work which I would say is about 60 pages long, I’d read 30 pages and knew almost the entire story! Whoever wrote the introduction quoted almost all of it.

Mostly this book brings back the time in my first year of undergrad where I thought I wanted to study Ancient-Medieval history and then I scrapped by with my worst grade ever in my Greek history class and spent the next three-and-a-half years trying to make up for it and improve my GPA. On the plus side, this book counts towards my Classics Club reading list and I’m slowly chipping away. Finishing this, I’ve now passed the 40 books mark (41/100) and I’m nearing the halfway point. I’m behind schedule, but I threw the schedule out the window ages ago.

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Book 368: Anthem – Ayn Rand

Rand, Ayn - AnthemGoing into Ayn Rand’s Anthem I had very little “real” knowledge of her, her writing or her politics. Everything I know about her is word-of-mouth and I’m sure exaggeration. I have no plans to change that. If I write something incredibly wrong please someone point it out, I’m just writing about my response to this story as a piece of literary fiction. And that response is wow.

I’m not sure why Rand’s masterpieces Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead get all the credit when this is a big piece of work in such a tiny package. I mean Rand was writing about post-apocalyptic dystopias before it was cool. She was contemporaries with Huxley and their bleak views  really must’ve inspired modern-day writers or maybe I’m just seeing connections where I want to see them. Either way, I would be shocked to find that the likes of Atwood, Collins and Orwell to name a few hadn’t read this work.

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