Category: non-fiction

Non Fiction November 2017

Posted November 4, 2017 by Hillary in non-fiction / 1 Comment

What was your favorite nonfiction read this year?

Review

This book has been life changing! Previously I used to try to follow a paleo diet but I hate meat, and I always feel sluggish with eating a lot of meat for some reason. I was looking for a healthy way to eat that I could live with and I came across this book in the library. This book has changed my life. It pulled me out of a dark depression, and I have lost weight. I still follow the Weight Watchers point system, but as to WHAT to eat I try and follow a gluten-free vegan diet. Don’t get me wrong just the other day I went and had some french fries and a Pumpkin Pie Blizzard at Dairy Queen, a saint I am not, but on the WHOLE, I try to incorporate what she advocates for.

What nonfiction have you recommended the most this year?

Review

 

I Love Dannielle Laporte so hard. Personally, I feel she is brilliant, and her observations are right on point. I have all of her books and her planner, and I love them all. I read White Hot Truth while in the throes of a depressive episode. At the beginning I did not want to admit that I was depressed then I delayed in getting the proper help because I consider myself a spiritual self-help junkie and I was like well maybe I am just peeling back layers of stuff to get to a new improved Hillary underneath. Never Mind the fact I am diagnosed with bipolar I still wanted to do it all myself. It wasn’t until a friend dragged me into my shrink’s office that I admitted that I needed professional help.  While I was recovering from that this book came out and I was like yes, yes, yes me too!! I tried to force everyone to read it, but not everyone is as woo-woo as I am.

 

What’s one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of?

Looking at my books that I have read for this year I would have to say books on topics that have real-life meaning. For example, I have meant to read Evicted all year, but somehow I never seem to get around to the non-woo woo self-help books.

 

What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

 

I am hoping to find new to me blogs and to get recommendations on serious nonfiction. I seem to have buried my head in the proverbial sand after trump won the election and shifted away from the political to the self-help genre. Nothing wrong with that I suppose, but still, I kinda feel guilty a there are so many people that are struggling, and they deserve to have their voice heard.

 

Otherhood

Posted November 4, 2014 by Hillary in non-fiction / 1 Comment

ISBN: 9781580055215
Otherhood by Melanie Notkin
Published by Seal Pr-feminist on 2014
Genres: Gender Studies, General, Personal Growth, Self-Help, Social Science, Women's Studies
Pages: 291
Format: eARC
Goodreads
two-stars

More American women are childless than ever before—nearly half those of childbearing age don’t have children. While our society often assumes these women are “childfree by choice,” that’s not always true. In reality, many of them expected to marry and have children, but it simply hasn’t happened. Wrongly judged as picky or career-obsessed, they make up the “Otherhood,” a growing demographic that has gone without definition or visibility until now. In Otherhood, author Melanie Notkin reveals her own story as well as the honest, poignant, humorous, and occasionally heartbreaking stories of women in her generation—women who expected love, marriage, and parenthood, but instead found themselves facing a different reality. She addresses the reasons for this shift, the social and emotional impact it has on our collective culture, and how the “new normal” will affect our society in the decades to come. Notkin aims to reassure women that they are not alone and encourages them to find happiness and fulfillment no matter what the future holds. A groundbreaking exploration of an essential contemporary issue, Otherhood inspires thought-provoking conversation and gets at the heart of our cultural assumptions about single women and childlessness.

My Review:

I liked the idea about this book. A women who is in here mid thirties (like me) who wants to have children and is afraid that she will never find “the one” (unlike me). It also talks about women who are infertile due to not being able to find a man. Ok I am over generalizing a bit but that is the basic theme of this book.

The author  Melanie Notkin takes us through a tour of herself and friends who for whatever reason is childless, not by choice, but because they can’t or havent found a man to impregnate them. I got through about 50 pages and liked it ok but then it started talking about how woman who are 35 and up become desperate to find a man and true love to be able to pop out kids. I have to admit that part did not sit with me well. I even asked other friends about what Notkin was discussing and responses ranged from why can’t she have a one night stand, to why not just marry whoever then have kids? One thing to keep in mind is that Notkin is an observant Jew so that puts an interesting spin on things. My IRL friends and I practice no religion so maybe that’s why we were all like if you want a baby so much why not take alternative means?

I am in no way putting down OtherHood. It is a good book and a discussion that needs to happen as women are focusing more and more on their lives and waiting until later to settle down and have children. I am just saying that I had a hard time on relating to her and the lens through which she sees the world.If you are religious though you may have a different viewpoint than mine. didnt-like-it

 

 

two-stars

The Art of Power

Posted October 30, 2014 by Hillary in non-fiction / 0 Comments

The Art of PowerThe Art of Power by Nhá̂t Hạnh (Thích.)Thich Nhat Hanh
Published by Harper Collins on 2007-08-14
Genres: Buddhism, General, Philosophy, Religion, Spirituality, Zen
Pages: 218
Format: ebook
Goodreads
five-stars

"Power is good for one thing only: to increase our happiness and the happiness of others. Being peaceful and happy is the most important thing in our lives and yet most of the time we suffer, we run after our cravings, we look to the past or the future for our happiness."

Turning our conventional understanding of power on its head, world-renowned Zen master, spiritual leader, and national bestselling author Thich Nhat Hanh reveals how true power comes from within. What we seek, we already have. Whether we want it or not, power remains one of the central issues in all of our lives. Every day, each of us exercises power in many ways, and our every act subtly affects the world we live in. This struggle for control and authority permeates every aspect of our private and public lives, preventing us from attaining true happiness. The me-first mentality in our culture seeps unnoticed into our decisions and choices. Our bottom-line approach to getting ahead may be most visible in the business world, but the stress, fear, and anxiety it causes are being felt by people in all walks of life.

With colorful anecdotes, precise language, and concrete practices, Thich Nhat Hanh illustrates how the current understanding of power leads us on a never-ending search for external markers like job title or salary. The Art of Power boldly challenges our assumptions and teaches each of us how to access the true power that is within our grasp.

My Review:

I have to admit when I first picked up this book, I thought it would be in the same vein as the 40 Laws of Power, or something. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is actually a Buddhist book and that the power that is talked about in this book is the power that we get by living our true authentic selves.

Everyone wants power. We assign respect and power based on jobs among other things. Thích Nhất Hạnh says that true power comes from within and that we all can meet. Even the poorest among us has power. This was an interesting thing for me to read. As an American I had always felt that I could only keep power through my job or other accomplishments. When I was diagnosed with Bipolar in 2007 and I lost almost everything I fell into a pit of deep despair. I wish I had read this book back then then I would have known that even though I may have been poor and had almost nothing, inside of me i still had the power to choose how I felt and treated myself and other people. From this internal wellspring I could cultivate power and still respect myself.

Thích Nhất Hạnh says that once we truly respect ourselves and act accordingly that we have authentic power. Many people put down others because at some level they feel insecure and lack this authentic power so to make themselves feel better they put out false power. In the past when people had put me down I allowed them the control to how I feel. This was giving my power away. I can’t control other people but I can control how I react and refused to allow people to put me down.

Reading this book was eye-opening. I have tried to carry out some of the strategies outlined in this book and so far I have found that I really do feel better about myself and when I operate from a secure authentic powerful standpoint, I can be kinder and more compassionate. I urge everyone to read this book. If they do then maybe this world can be a good place both for the haves and haves-nots.

loved-it

five-stars

Book Review: Bad Feminist

Posted September 24, 2014 by Hillary in non-fiction / 1 Comment

Y’all I haven read much this year. In fact, I think this is my most dismal year in reading yet. That’s for another post. I admit I haven’t heard of Roxanne Gay before. I was looking on Edelweiss when the title caught my eye. In Collage I received my BA in Political Science. I took a class on feminist theory and well I wanted to be a feminist, I really did. I tried my hardest. I tried not to care about if the hottest guy on campus did not notice me (lest you think I was full of delusions the college I went to was small, around 2,000 students) I tried not to care how I looked and all of that. There was a couple of woman in the class who were fem-nazis and damn around them I put Barbie to shame. In that class I found I  agreed with the theory but in real life I was a…Bad Femisnt

I saw the title and thought maybe THIS is someone who gets it. Someone who like me tried to be a cool feminist but deep down inside felt as if she was just faking it. I WAS BLOWN AWAY by this book. Seriously where was Roxanne Gay during my college time? This book felt like one of my best friends confiding in me. I found myself nodding and going YES during so much of this book. The part about being offended by “Blurred Lines” yet liking the music was exactly how I felt.

As a white woman I found her essays on black culture fascinating. . I liked how honest and open she was. At the risk of sounding callous she did not give off the angry black woman vibe but yet she did not play down the issues either. It was enlightening and informative.

I LOVED this book. I told all my friends that they must read. Maybe I will get everyone a copy for christmas. RUN don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and get one for yourself.

Book Review- Paris In Love

Posted August 22, 2014 by Hillary in book, non-fiction / 0 Comments

My Review

I wanted to like this book. I really did. I read the summary and it sounded right up my alley. When I started reading, though it turned out she had taken Facebook status updates and turned them into a book. The result felt disjointed and there was no cohesion to the book. It was impossible for me to get lost in her world of Paris. Instead, after every little paragraph I would be jerked out of the story. I tried to relax and open my mind to new ways of telling a story, but I just couldn’t do it.

The snippets were good. I just couldn’t handle that one paragraph that it would be summer then the next it was Christmas. I decided to make a list of what I liked and didn’t like.

Liked

The story (parts of them) that she told about her time in Paris

Her honesty

Her sense of humor

What I did not like

The method of telling the story in Facebook status update style

The disjointed feeling I got while reading the book

 

The liked list has one more item than they did not like list so I guess overall I DID like it well enough to at least get through the book, but it did not wow me. I had high hopes as I love travel memoirs but this one was a disappointment.

Book Review: The Battle Belongs to the Lord

Posted November 9, 2012 by Hillary in christian, non-fiction, Uncategorized / 1 Comment

the battle

I have always loved Joyce Meyer’s books.It seems that what ever question I am seeking I can always find the beginning or even the whole answer in one of her books. They direct me to relevant quotes in the Bible for further study and reflection.

This book was no different. In this book Joyce Myers talks about how we let things worry us and burden us when we should not. She points out that the Bible says that God will give you rest and she goes on to explain how to obtain a state of mind to where you are depending upon God entirely.

As she demonstrates this is not an always easy thing for us to accomplish. First comes prayer. She shows how ones prayer life is vital to having a relationship with God and how that can help us learn to depend entirely on on him. She also shows that too many times we only go to God when we are desperate and we start begging him for help for something. This is the wrong thing to do. Instead we should worship God at all times then when we need something we should then ask for help. Asking for help is not the be all end all of prayer life. I found this section quite enlightening. Joyce Myers goes into detail of why this is so. She does it in a way that anyone can understand. Her book is easy to read.

Another section I found fascinating was that God makes us go through silent years to where we don’t seem to be making much progress in the worldly sense but that God is grooming us and refining us to be what he meant for us to be. I read this part with rapt attention because it seems to fit my circumstances at the moment.

I found this book to be a good easy fun overall read. I learned a lot from it. It can be a little on the preachy side but nothing in the extreme. She states her lessons then backs it up with scripture.

Getting Unstuck

Posted November 2, 2012 by Hillary in christian, non-fiction, Uncategorized / 1 Comment

Faith Fridays will be a new feature that I am trying out on this blog. It will cover all different sorts of books related to the Christian faith. It will be a mix of non fiction, fiction and anywhere in between.

unstuck. The first book I will review is Unstuck. I got it through LibraryThing Early reviewers program but it sat on my shelf for months. Then I went to a revival at church. I was looking for something to read and this title jumped out at me. It is amazing how just the right book can do that. I was felling stuck myself so I opened this book and learned what the authors recommended.

This book was the result of extensive research done by collecting questionnaires from a random sample of the population. It is not biased by the author’s view.

The big thing they found was that people who read the bible and engaged with scripture 4 times or more a week was the key to growing in your faith.

The book goes on about how how to do just that. They offer advice on what it really means to engage in scripture and to have an active faith. They give bible verses and thoughts to ponder as you read. At times this is not an easy book to read as they force to to confront some truths about yourself.

This is a well written book. The style is easy to read and the authors provide engaging insights into the word of God.

Pick up this book if you are looking to grow in your faith and the hard work that it requires.

They also have a website to supplement the book it is Gotandem

Get Your Act Together

Posted October 31, 2012 by Hillary in non-fiction, organized, Uncategorized / 0 Comments

get ur act togetherThis was a book for read your own book Challenge. I don’t remember where I got this but apparently I have been trying to get organized for quite some time. I am slowly making progress.

This is the book that Flylady is based off of. You can get most of the information off their website so this book is a bit outdated.

However it did have some funny stories of the sisters in their attempt to get organized. It is always a relief to know I am not the only one facing this.

They describe their card system of keep track of what needs to be done. They also explain that you need to assign days that you will run errands and stuff like that. I should take that into consideration. I am always all over the place with things I have to do.

Unlike her later books it doesn’t tell you how to clean per se but rather offers you ideas into how to get into an organizational cleaning so that you will have a system in place

Since this book is outdated I would recommend going to FlyLady or reading her later books.

Skinny Bitch

Posted September 21, 2012 by Hillary in bitch, book review, diet, non-fiction, skinny, Uncategorized / 0 Comments

Coverfinal.color

From Goodreads:Not your typical boring diet book, this is a tart-tongued, no-holds-barred wakeup call to all women who want to be thin. With such blunt advice as, “Soda is liquid Satan” and “You are a total moron if you think the Atkins Diet will make you thin,” it’s a rallying cry for all savvy women to start eating healthy and looking radiant. Unlike standard diet books, it actually makes the reader laugh out loud with its truthful, smart-mouthed revelations. Behind all the attitude, however, there’s solid guidance. Skinny Bitch espouses a healthful lifestyle that promotes whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and encourages women to get excited about feeling “clean and pure and energized.

My Review : I am on a quest to lose 180 pounds so any book that will give me information on how to achieve this I am all for reading. I need all the help and information I can get. What drew me to this book is that I don’t really like a lot of meat and this book is all about going vegan. I am not vegan by any stretch of the imagination but it gave good tips regardless. This is touted as a diet book but it is also a look into the meat industry and how it does not follow the guidelines that it is supposed to. It also shows that animals who were sick or had been given bad food were more likely to make the people who ate that meat sick. It was a real eye opener. It spoke of hormones and toxins in the meat and food. It also spoke about animal cruelty which is one of the main reasons I try not to eat too much meat. I cant stand the thought of what those poor animals go through. It was tough to read this part of the book but it was very informative. I myself never thought about how the animals were raised and how the antibiotics given to them could affect me. This solidified my decision to eat vegetarian as much as possible.

There were two things that I did not like about this book. The first was the fact that it was supposed to be a diet book but instead was a foray into the meat industry. They claim that if you don’t eat meat you will lose weight but I know that not always the case.

Two there were a  LOT of profanity in this book. Now I am not against profanity in general when it is used as a character development but this book had every other word as a curse word and it made me wonder if they had limited vocabulary.

Over all this was a very informative book. It is not just for people who want to lose weight but rather people who want to eat with ethics and clean food.

Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History

Posted September 14, 2012 by Hillary in breasts, non-fiction, Uncategorized, women / 0 Comments

breasts

From GoodReads:

Did you know that breast milk contains substances similar to cannabis? Or that it ‘s sold on the Internet for 262 times the price of oil? Feted and fetishized, the breast is an evolutionary masterpiece. But in the modern world, the breast is changing. Breasts are getting bigger, arriving earlier, and attracting newfangled chemicals. Increasingly, the odds are stacked against us in the struggle with breast cancer, even among men. What makes breasts so mercurial and so vulnerable?
In this informative and highly entertaining account, intrepid science reporter Florence Williams sets out to uncover the latest scientific findings from the fields of anthropology, biology, and medicine. Her investigation follows the life cycle of the breast from puberty to pregnancy to menopause, taking her from a plastic surgeon ‘s office where she learns about the importance of cup size in Texas to the laboratory where she discovers the presence of environmental toxins in her own breast milk. The result is a fascinating exploration of where breasts came from, where they have ended up, and what we can do to save them.

My Review : I first saw this in the library and had to admit it sparked an interest. I am always drawn to book that tells how the female body works. For example I loved Woman: An Intimate Geography.

I was not disappointed with  this book. It goes into detail about how the female breasts primary function is. It also gives facts such as the breasts milk contain pollutants from the environment in it. Who would have thought that breast milk which is supposed to be the gold standard has environmental pollutants found in it? Now I have information I can throw out at my breastfeeding loving friends. You are feeding your baby environmental pollutants. HA anyways that was just one area that was discussed in depth.

I also found the history of breast implants to be fascinating. I have always told myself when I get back down to a reasonable weight I was going to treat myself to these implants. After reading this book though I am having second thoughts. I mean did you KNOW what all could go wrong? Leakage, the breast turning into a doorknob, the sac traveling to places where there should not be a breast? Maybe  self acceptance is the way to go here.

Another thing it talked about was how girls are going through puberty earlier in life. It used to be that girls went through puberty at 15 or 16 and now they are going through it at 12 or 13. There were different theories present but researchers really don’t know why.

That’s not all that is discussed in this book. The topics and the writing are fascinating and it is never dry. If you are a woman I encourage you to get to a library or book store and get this book.