Showing posts with label Non-fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Non-fiction. Show all posts

Monday, April 9, 2018

Review: Modern Romance

"Why do we all say we prefer honesty but rarely give that courtesy to others?"
-Aziz Ansari, Modern Romance

The reason Aziz Ansari gives for writing this book is that he was looking everywhere for a modern book about dating, but couldn't find one. So this is where his book comes in! In Modern Romance, Ansari examines the ways that dating has changed over the years with the implementation of technology. His driving question was: since technology has theoretically made dating easier, why are so many people frustrated?

A lot of the points that Ansari brings up are interesting and valid. One of the sections I found most interesting was about the power behind texting conversations. Since texting is many people's main mode of communication, there are a lot of implications behind a variety of things in text messages, especially when it comes to time. How long do you wait before texting someone back? What does a wait to return a text mean when you're dating someone? Ansari examines all these questions, and I just found the communication patterns fascinating.

The book was a bit tainted, though, with the recent allegations that came out against Ansari. If you're someone that's seen Ansari's show, Master of None, he didn't seem like one of those people who would have these sorts of allegations come out about him. Even his comments about dating in his book seemed that way, so learning of his behavior on that date tainted the book slightly for me. The information he was presenting was still interesting, but perhaps I won't take some of his advice to heart.

Overall, a fascinating look at the modern dating realm.

3.5/5 stars

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Review: March

"Fury spends itself pretty quickly when there's no fury facing it."
-John Lewis, March

These three volumes follow John Lewis's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, book-ended by the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Lewis starts when he was in school and shows the reader how the Civil Rights Movement was created and worked against the power structures in the United States. Lewis himself had a large role in the movement, eventually earning a position in Congress.

A graphic memoir was a really effective way to tell this story, as the images really help to portray the significance of the Civil Rights Movement. Utilizing the Obama's inauguration also put into perspective all the work this movement did--and, in a current context, all the work it still needs to do. 

If nothing else, these books show that young people have the power to create change. Many of the first participants in the Civil Rights Movement were college students, and their fight created the change they wanted to see. It reminded me of the high school students arranging a march for stricter gun control; marches were partly how the Civil Rights Movement gained momentum as well.

This book would be an effective tool to use in schools because of its style and the amount of information that is packed throughout. Giving a first hand account of the Civil Rights Movement in a history class in high school would definitely help to give students perspective.

5/5 stars

Friday, September 29, 2017

Review: Bad Feminist

Bad Feminist Roxane Gay cover

"Books are often far more than books."
-Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist

I'm still a little (re: a lot) behind on reviewing books I've read for the past 3 or 4 months, so bear with me while I attempt to catch up! This particular book I read back when I was in England in June, and though I don't read a ton of nonfiction books, I think that's going to be one of my goals for the coming year, at least until I go off into graduate school world. Then, reading for fun might be few and far between.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay is a series of essays on her own journey as a woman of color, taking readers through the culture of the past few years while commenting on the state of feminism today. The essays within the book range on a series of topics, from television shows to her personal experiences, working together to create an overall commentary on where we find ourselves in relation to feminism. Gay's essays really make the reader think about the way that they consume culture, and inspires readers to take action to do better.

This is a book that had been on my to-read list for a long time, and I'm so glad that I finally got the chance to read it. As a literature student, I've already been trained to critically consume culture, analyzing the way things are portrayed and what they're reflecting from society as a whole. Gay took this to another level for me, as I come from a place of privilege (being white) that she doesn't. Her viewpoint on different elements of culture opened my eyes to the ways that others might view some of the pieces of culture that I loved, forever showing that reading is one of the ways to help open someone's eyes to someone else's struggles.

The essays themselves are well paced, and flow easily from one to the next. Gay's essays certainly helped me to expand my thinking, and is a balance between social commentary, memoir, and critical analysis. Her points throughout left me thinking long after I finished the book, and there's certainly much to return to throughout her series of essays. Definitely a conversation opener about the topic of feminism.

5/5 stars

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Please Stop Laughing at Me...One Woman's Inspirational Story

As sad as it is, the issue of bullying has become very prevalent in our society. Why? Because people don't know how to handle it. At least, that's my opinion. Parents don't know what to do when their child is being bullied at school, principals and teachers just turn a blind eye to it (though I think this is beginning to happen less), and the children who are actually doing the bullying don't realize how much it hurts the victims. I think the key to fixing all of this is to make people aware of what actually goes on. Jodee Blanco did this with her memoir Please Stop Laughing at Me...One Woman's Inspirational Story, and I'm sure many others have as well. But reading books like this gives people an idea of what it's actually like to be constantly bullied. And how kids don't realize how hurtful it can actually be.

Jodee started being picked on in Elementary school, when she stood up for something she believed in, but the other kids didn't agree with. It started something that would last all the way until the end of her high school career; she would never fit in with the other kids. And Jodee's classmates wouldn't stop at just taunting her with words. They would physically abuse her, and it got to the point that Jodee was afraid to go to any adult because it would just mean more abuse. Her whole story was absolutely heart-breaking. But it was beautifully written, and once you finish reading the book, it makes you want to go out and do something to stop bullying. I guess she achieved her goal. :)

I would highly recommend if you're going into teaching, or any type of education, that you read this book. The way some of Jodee's teachers acted just astounded me. Most people assume that the teachers would be the ones that would step in the way, that would help Jodee. But in some cases, they actually add to the abuse that Jodee endured at school. Not to repeat myself, but I think this is because more schools need to work on creating training programs for teachers so they know how to handle situations like this. With this issue, education is key. And perhaps with more education, for teachers, principals, parents, and students, the issue of bullying will stop being so prominent in our society. It would be amazing if no child was afraid to go to school. That would be the ideal world.

So, in light of the topic of this post, I thought I would provide some of the resources that Jodee has in the back of the book (and some of my own that I've found during my own research, which are a little more LGBTQ based, but still work) in case anyone is interested in finding out more about the topic. Here are some excellent websites:

KidsPeace National Centers for Kids in Crisis:
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP):
The Bully Project:
GLSEN (The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network)

These are just a few of the many resources you can find online to try and help out with this issue. Well, now I'm probably going to start reading things for class, so good bye to leisure reading for a while. Until next time, happy reading! :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Two Children's Books

Though I have finished The Game of Thrones (finally!), I will talk about that in a later post. Instead, I wanted to discuss two books that I read for my children's lit class, The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan and Smile by Raina Telgemeier. Each of these books are probably something that I wouldn't have picked up on my own, but they were definitely wonderful reads, each for their own reasons.

The Dreamer is a fictionalized biography about the childhood of Pablo Neruda, a famous, Nobel-prize winning Chilean poet. Ryan tells the story of how Neruda grew up, in a household where his father was very controlling, and abusive at times, virtually forcing the creativity out of his children. The father wants his sons to become doctors, or dentists, or something along those lines. However, all Neftali (Neruda when he was younger) wants to do is write. He loves words, he loves nature, and he finds, as he grows up and through his Uncle, that these things could change the world. It is a wonderful story, wonderfully written and wonderfully crafted.

The interesting thing about this book is that it is printed in green ink. The reason behind this is that Neruda himself used to write in green ink, believing that it was the color of hope. I thought that this was brilliant on Ryan's part, adding in aspects of Neruda's own writing into her own story and giving it an even more authentic voice. Even though the book is written in prose, it almost feels like poetry, the way the words are lyrical and just seem to float off the page. This is a book that I definitely will keep in my library.

Smile is of a totally different grain. First of all, it's a graphic novel, which is something I don't really read much of. I've read a few, but I enjoy the words on a page a lot more (not that I don't enjoy pictures! They're lovely! I just love words a little more). Anyway, Smile tells the true story of how Raina had an accident where she lost her front teeth in middle school, and all of the stuff she had to go through to make her teeth normal again, all the while going through the awkwardness of middle school. Definitely a very relatable book, I find this book would be perfect for any middle-schooler going through the same things as Raina (which I believe is virtually everyone).

Again, I liked this book because I think many readers will be able to see themselves in Raina's story. The awkwardness of middle school is such a universal story that there is some aspect of her story that people will relate to, whether it be the braces, the awkwardness between genders, finding where you fit in, or trying to become comfortable with yourself. I also really enjoyed the pictures in this book, they were really well drawn and also really helped to tell the story. There were a lot of aspects in the images that would have been lost if the whole story would have just been told in prose, and I think the mode of storytelling for this particular story fit perfectly.

Well, I guess I should be getting back to my homework. Since I finished The Game of Thrones (again, finally! That is such a long book), that is what I will post about next. Until then, happy reading! :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Catching Up Part 2

On our way to Ohio, we stopped in Detroit the first night to split up the driving. And it was on our way to Detroit that I started To Timbuktu. I finished it...two days later, I believe, after we had visited Oberlin and gone to Cedar Point. It was kind of a perfect book to read on a trip, considering it's a true story about a couple's year traveling the world. A different kind of traveling (they went a tiny bit farther then we did...), but still. I liked it. In the spirit of the book, I'll tell you our own adventures in Ohio.

First we went to Oberlin, because my sister wanted to look at the college there. The campus is beautiful, they have a lot of old buildings that look really, really cool. While my parents and Lissy went on the tour, Abby and I walked around the downtown area, trying to stay cool (it was like 100 degrees that day). We found a used book store, where I bought 2 books! Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (an older publication of it, though I'm not exactly sure when it was published) and a book called Shakespeare's Heroines by some lady, I can't remember who wrote it, but it was published in 1898. Yay for old books! Anyway, once we were finished there we drove to a city close to Sandusky where we would be staying for the night. The next day we went to Cedar Point, and it was an interesting day. First of all, it was really, really hot. We went on a few rides, and soon realized that we had to go on a water ride in order to cool off. So we did, and we were soaked for the rest of the day. The biggest ride that I rode on was the Maverick, and it was fun, after the fact. Anyway, later in the day, they started closing down rides because a thunderstorm was coming. So we found shelter in a store, and stayed there till the storm passed. Oh, and the power went out for a little bit while we were in the store. Let's just say it was an interesting experience. After the storm, we tried to go on other rides, but it kept raining, so we just decided to leave. We pretty much just hung out at the hotel after that, and relaxed.

Okay, now back to the book. To Timbuktu was told with pictures and words, Casey wrote the story and her boyfriend, Steven, drew pictures to go along with it. I thought that was really cool, and to read the accounts of their travels was really cool too, even though I don't necessarily want to go to some of the places they went to. After reading this book, you get the sudden urge to travel. To hear their accounts of some of the beautiful places they went to and the experiences they had, it sounds like something that would be absolutely amazing to do. I hope that someday I get to visit cool places like they did.

After I finished this book, I started Forever by Maggie Stiefvater. This is the third book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, and I have to say it was a great way to end a trilogy. This trilogy follows the account of a pack of werewolves that live in Mercy Falls, Minnesota. But these werewolves are different than the myths. Instead of changing at the full moon (or when they're angry, like in Twilight), they change when it gets cold. And eventually, they don't change anymore. Sam is facing this dilemma, because he loves a girl that isn't a werewolf. But things get really twist and complicated throughout the trilogy, and I loved the whole thing. I liked following all the plot twists and remembering who was who, and trying to figure how it would end. I thought it was great ending to a trilogy.

But where were we in our trip when I read this book? Well I started it when we were on our way home, but instead of going straight home, we stopped at the Detroit Zoo first. That was fun, seeing all the animals and stuff, even though it was still unbelievably hot. I think the coolest thing there was the polar bear exhibit. They had a tunnel that went underneath it, so you could see the polar bears swimming over you. It was really cool. But after the zoo, it was time to go home. And I think we were all ready to be home.

Something cool about Shiver, Linger, and Forever is they're each printed in the color of the cover. Shiver was printed in blue ink, Linger in green ink, and Forever in red. I thought that was pretty unique, something that makes this trilogy stand out. It was a clever thing in the part of the publishers.

So what's next, since I'm finally caught up on my reading? How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr.