Book 471: Ray and Joan – Lisa Napoli

napoli-lisa-ray-joanWhat a fascinating story. I figured it would be, I mean it’s about the guy who made McDonald’s what it is today and his wife who gave away billions of dollars, but I was still surprised at just how fascinating it was.

When Dutton reached out to me about a copy of the book* I jumped at the chance because not only do I find philanthropy personally fascinating, but I also work in fundraising, so it was a win-win either way for me.

I mean the subtitle “The man who made the McDonald’s fortune and the woman who gave it all away,” caught my attention pretty quick because I knew nothing about the founding of McDonald’s or the people behind it. I had no idea about most of it.

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Book 451: Behind A Mask – Louisa May Alcott

Alcott, Louisa May - Behind a MaskNow THIS is a classic that people should be reading. Scandal. Intrigue. Drama. Seriously, I don’t know why other people haven’t read it. I was glad to see at least one other person (Lee Ann at Lily Oak Books) has read it as part of the Classics Club! This is my halfway point of my Classics Club journey so YAY Book 50!

These are nothing like Little WomenLittle Men and Jo’s Boys.Lee Ann rightfully compares these to books by the Brontë’s. I can definitely see this when it comes to Anne Brontë’s works, but I haven’t quite finished reading all of Charlotte’s. I’m struggling to figure out what it’s most like and really what comes to mind is something more along the lines of Anna Karenina or Madame Bovary.

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Book 450: Sisters In Law – Linda Hirshman

Hirshman, Linda - Sisters In LawFour the fourth installment of our nonfiction book group, we’re learning about the amazing Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor. I thought I knew a lot about the “Notorious RBG,” but I knew nothing; and then add in what I learned about the FWOTSC (First Woman on the Supreme Court) and I’d say this was a pretty good addition to our year of biographies and autobiographies.

As interesting as the book was, I felt like there was so much from both their histories and from their time on the court that was left out of the book. Hirshman seemed to rush the first half of O’Connor’s time on the court and the last part of Ginsburg’s continued time on the court. It was disappointing because there are clearly so many additional amazing cases they had to decide that weren’t as glamorous as LGBT rights, women’s rights or racial equality.

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Book 435: 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy – Luminita D. Saviuc

Saviuc, Luminita D. - 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be HappyAt some point over the past two years as I’ve read more and more mental/self health, professional/personal development books something must have struck a chord as I feel a lot calmer and more put-together than I have in a long time. I’ve noticed that a lot of these books suggest things I am already doing or have utilized in the past and it’s nice to receive the affirmation. It’s also nice to occasionally be reminded of the things that I need to continue working on in order to maintain the calmness.

When the publicist reached out to me with a copy* of this book I wasn’t sure I would have the time, or the desire to read it. However, I set the book on my to-be-read/determined shelf and it stayed there on top for a little over a month. And then when I was having a really rough week and didn’t want to start another book I picked it up to see what it had to offer.

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Book 429: The Arm of the Starfish (O’Keefe Family #1) – Madeleine L’Engle

L'Engle, Madeleine - The Arm of the Star Fish (O'Keefe Family #1)I decided to go down the full L’Engle Murray/O’Keefe rabbit hole. It may take a while to finish with other books burning holes in my kindle/on my shelf, but I will finish them!

I wasn’t as sold on this book as quickly as I was with A Wrinkle in Time, but it grew on me. The final quarter of the book was really strong! (And she didn’t rush the ending, or perhaps she did and I’m just used to it now.)

It’s a bit confusing, but I think I have it sorted out as The Arm of the Starfish is the second book written in the Kairos super-series, the first book of the second generation O’Keefe Family series, and the fourth book chronologically in plot line. Looking at the publication dates, it looks like L’Engle bounced back and forth between the two series (and another one) while she was writing in the ’60s and ’70s.

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Book 400: The Dante Club – Matthew Pearl

Pearl, Matthew - The Dante ClubAnd another TBR bites the dust! This book has been hanging out on my bookshelves since December of 2012 when I picked it up at one of my favorite used bookstores, Edward McKay, back in NC. More importantly, it is the 26th book from my TBR shelves this year. How awesome is that? That’s more than 1/3 of all the books I’ve read this year and I am incredibly happy and proud of that number.

I don’t know why I put off reading The Dante Club for so long. Maybe it was in some sort of effort to actually read all of Dante’s Divine Comedy before I read it, but that obviously hasn’t happened. The other thing that has left me wondering since I finished it , and honestly since I started it, is I can’t quite put my finger on why I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I feel I should have.

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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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