Genre: Social Science

Book Review: Hi, Anxiety: Life With a Bad Case of Nerves by Kat Kinsman

Posted November 3, 2017 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 1 Comment

ISBN: 9780062369703
Book Review: Hi, Anxiety: Life With a Bad Case of Nerves by Kat KinsmanHi, Anxiety by Kat Kinsman
Published by HarperCollins on November 15th 2016
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs, Medical, Mental Health, Social Science, Women's Studies
Pages: 240
Format: ebook
Source: bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Joining the ranks of such acclaimed accounts as Manic, Brain on Fire, and Monkey Mind, a deeply personal, funny, and sometimes painful look at anxiety and its impact from writer and commentator Kat Kinsman.

Feeling anxious? Can’t sleep because your brain won’t stop recycling thoughts? Unable to make a decision because you're too afraid you’ll make the wrong one? You’re not alone.

In Hi, Anxiety, beloved food writer, editor, and commentator Kat Kinsman expands on the high profile pieces she wrote for CNN.com about depression, and its wicked cousin, anxiety. Taking us back to her adolescence, when she was diagnosed with depression at fourteen, Kat speaks eloquently with pathos and humor about her skin picking, hand flapping, “nervousness” that made her the recipient of many a harsh taunt. With her mother also gripped by depression and health issues throughout her life, Kat came to live in a constant state of unease—that she would fail, that she would never find love . . . that she would end up just like her mother.

Now, as a successful media personality, Kat still battles anxiety every day. That anxiety manifests in strange, and deeply personal ways. But as she found when she started to write about her struggles, Kat is not alone in feeling like the simple act of leaving the house, or getting a haircut can be crippling. And though periodic medication, counseling, a successful career and a happy marriage have brought her relief, the illness, because that is what anxiety is, remains.

Exploring how millions are affected anxiety, Hi, Anxiety is a clarion call for everyone—but especially women—struggling with this condition. Though she is a strong advocate for seeking medical intervention, Kinsman implores those suffering to come out of the shadows—to talk about their battle openly and honestly. With humor, bravery, and writing that brings bestsellers like Laurie Notaro and Jenny Lawson to mind, Hi, Anxiety tackles a difficult subject with amazing grace.

I too have Anxiety. Mine comes with my Bipolar, but I still have the same crippling sensations of fear. I wasn’t always an anxious person. I can in face remember life before I had this crippling anxiety and wonder what I did to bring it on but alas today I have it, and I must figure out a way to live with it. Which is why I love books where OTHER people write about how they deal with their anxiety. It makes me feel less alone, and sometimes I will glean something new to try.

What I Liked

I loved how open and honest  Kat Kinsman is about her anxiety. I mean I am open about the fact that I HAVE anxiety, but it is not often that I will go into detail about it with just anyone. Most of the time I reserve the nitty-gritty details for my mom or close friends. But in Hi! Anxiety Kat Kinsman gives us an intimate look into her anxiety.  She goes into detail so that we can see excakly what it is like living with this illness.

I also like how she tells the truth about Effexor. I am one of the people that Effexor works for. It pulled me back from the dark abyss of depression and allowed me to live my life, BUT if I miss a dose a few hours later, I get sick of a  bitch as withdrawal symptoms set in. I have people tell me that it is all in my head that THEY don’t get sick and at times I have felt that maybe it is just me. Kat Kinsman tells it like it is for many of us if we are late taking a dose or if we try and go off of it. I admire her for going cold turkey. I was reading, and I was like OMG YOU ARE DOING THIS WITHOUT STEPPING DOWN?!  And you know what she was honest that she was sick for WEEKS after she quit. She explains why she did not see a DR first and I can’t fault her for that, but still, i was like holy fuck. She even tells us that it was two YEARS before the brain zaps stopped. Damn, i guess I am stuck on this for life cause I don’t have that kind of courage. Heh

My friends like to joke that I am a “modern-day shut-in” and at times I felt really bad an about it but this book made me realize that I am not alone and that agoraphobia is a very real thing that people live with. It made me feel less isolated, and that is the point of Kat Kinsman sharing such stuff in the book for the people who CANT speak up.

In the end, she admits that she is “privileged as hell” with her illness and I realized that I too was privileged. I have access to great insurance; I can work from the comfort of my apartment. I am manged to snag a great apartment that has everything or almost everything I need or want on the same block. I can be open about my anxiety with my friends. My friends get me when I tell them I am not in a going out mood.  I have a FANTASTIC Dr., And the list goes on. I will admit there are days I wish I were the kind of person that liked to go out of a one-mile radius but I am not. I am lucky in that I don’t have to drive anywhere as we have buses here. I do feel for people who have agoraphobia and who do not have this kind of choice, and they are indeed stuck in their house.

 

 

What I Did Not Like

There is nothing about the BOOK that I did not like, but I wanted to add something about how I hate that most people who live with crippling anxiety do not have the resources to live life as they choose. They have to go to work in a place that gives them even more anxiety. They cant be open with it or worse they live in a place where they cant get treatment for it.

For example, I take a million milligrams of Neurontin for anxiety. Kidding I only take 900 three times a day. cough here in Cleveland I can get my pills easily. Hell, I don’t even have to leave my apartment building as the pharmacy mails them to me. Life here is pretty good I must admit. Then I visited my mom at her house in South Eastern Ky, and I find out you gotta take a drug test, AND you have to leave your home to go pick up the pills and sign a paper and blah blah blah. I mean can u imagine how hard that would be for someone like me who hates leaving my apartment which is afraid to drive ( there is no public transportation in SouthEastern Ky) who hates dealing with humanity in general? Seriously it is a pain in you know what. I hate that the way I live is the way the most privileged of us with mental illness live. I wish that everyone could have access to fanatic dr and pharmacies who will mail their meds and that everything they needed was within a one-mile radius. But they don’t.  And that makes me sad.

 

I feel that Hi! Anxiety by Kat Kinsman is a book that is important in the cannon of dealing with anxiety and mental illness. There are not enough books on the topic of severe anxiety in my opinion. This book tells it like it is and if everyone understood what it is REALLY like living with anxiety then maybe, just maybe help can be found.

five-stars

Book Review: This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody Warnick

Posted October 17, 2017 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

ISBN: 9780143129660
Book Review: This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody WarnickThis Is Where You Belong by Melody Warnick
Published by Penguin on July 4th 2017
Genres: Psychology, Mental Health, Self-Help, Personal Growth, Happiness, Social Science, Sociology, General
Pages: 320
Format: ebook
Source: bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

In the spirit of Gretchen Rubin's megaseller The Happiness Project and Eric Weiner's The Geography of Bliss, a journalist embarks on a project to discover what it takes to love where you live

The average restless American will move 11.7 times in a lifetime. For Melody Warnick, it was move #6, from Austin, Texas, to Blacksburg, Virginia, that threatened to unhinge her. In the lonely aftermath of unpacking, she wondered: Aren't we supposed to put down roots at some point? How does the place we live become the place we want to stay? This time, she had an epiphany. Rather than hold her breath and hope this new town would be her family's perfect fit, she would figure out how to fall in love with it--no matter what.      How we come to feel at home in our towns and cities is what Warnick sets out to discover in This Is Where You Belong. She dives into the body of research around place attachment--the deep sense of connection that binds some of us to our cities and increases our physical and emotional well-being--then travels to towns across America to see it in action. Inspired by a growing movement of placemaking, she examines what its practitioners are doing to create likeable locales. She also speaks with frequent movers and loyal stayers around the country to learn what draws highly mobile Americans to a new city, and what makes us stay. The best ideas she imports to her adopted hometown of Blacksburg for a series of Love Where You Live experiments designed to make her feel more locally connected. Dining with her neighbors. Shopping Small Business Saturday. Marching in the town Christmas parade.      Can these efforts make a halfhearted resident happier? Will Blacksburg be the place she finally stays? What Warnick learns will inspire you to embrace your own community--and perhaps discover that the place where you live right now . . . is home.

From the Hardcover edition.

 

I have to be honest. I am the type of person that packs up and moves every three years. I don’t know WHY I just get that itch that my life would be better if I were SOMEWHERE ELSE. I am a freelance ghostwriter, so I can live anywhere and maybe that is the problem. I never give anyplace a chance. I am currently in Cleveland, and I have been here a record of 5 years. I am starting to get that itch again so when I saw this book as a daily Kindle deal I grabbed it in the hopes that it would have some clues on how to love where I live. I am tired of packing up and leaving so this was the perfect opportunity to get some insight on how to NOT give in to that itch.

What I Liked

First of all, I loved how honest she was about that itch in moving. I could completely understand. I thought it was me and that I had issues but reading this I realized that America is the most mobile country on earth. It seems that almost half of us pack up and move every three to 5 years. I felt a LOT better after reading that.

I also loved her background information. Providing background information can be dangerous as some authors into boring you to tears. But not Melody Warnick her insights and information was highly useful to a person such as me who after three years thinks that ANYWHERE else would be the perfect place.  I feel lots better knowing that I am just one of millions of Americans who think the same

I loved her checklists on how to make roots and feel like you belong. I realized that I do that here in Cleveland more than any other place I have lived. Maybe it causes with my Cochlear Ear Implants I can hear now, and I became more involved in the community. for example I joined a book club at the library. I go to bookish events, and I frequent my favorite used bookstore, and I have become great friends at the little health food store I found near my apartment. In every other place I lived, I never did any of that. So I realize now that suppose I get married and move I know what to do to put down roots wherever I end up, but you know what? For the time being, I am staying here in Cleveland because I feel like I finally have a life here and THAT makes all the difference.

 

What I Did Not Like

The only complaint that I have was I wanted to hear more of HER story and not research facts all the time. She gives us little looks into her life but not as much as some other authors do. I can understand some people need privacy and are not as open, but sometimes it felt as if I was reading a textbook. I went into it expecting more of a memoir type thing so maybe that why that bugged me.

 

I enjoyed this book and learned a lot from it. I learned how to put down roots, and I realized that while I may not be out placemaking, I do get involved in the community in some ways, and that makes all the difference. I think that’s why I  have stayed here a record of 5 years. My friends can’t believe that I would stay in Cleveland for so long, but I do like it here. I would recommend this book to anyone feeling that old familiar itch to move..move…move…. Trust me I have moved dozens of times, and no place is “better” if you don’t attempt to put down some roots. So if you are one of the people who has a VIP to Uhaul then go and read this book…you can thank me later.

 

five-stars
Rating Report
Writing
five-stars
Cover
five-stars
Overall: five-stars

Book Review: Geek Girls Unite: How Fangirls, Bookworms, Indie Chicks, and Other Misfits Are Taking Over the World by Leslie Simon

Posted August 14, 2015 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

ISBN: 9780062002730
Geek Girls Unite by Leslie Simon
Published by HarperCollins on October 4th 2011
Genres: Social Science, Popular Culture, Women's Studies
Pages: 196
Format: ebook
Source: Scribed
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars

What do Amy Poehler, Bjork, Felicia Day, Martha Stewart, Miranda July, and Zooey Deschanel have in common? They’re just a few of the amazing women proving that “geek” is no longer a four-letter word.
In recent years, male geeks have taken the world by storm. But what about their female counterparts? After all, fangirls are just like fanboys—they put on their Imperial Stormtrooper Lycra pants one leg at a time.
Geek Girls Unite is a call to arms for every girl who has ever obsessed over music, comics, film, comedy, books, crafts, fashion, or anything else under the Death Star. Music geek girl Leslie Simon offers an overview of the geek elite by covering groundbreaking women, hall-of-famers, ultimate love matches, and potential frenemies, along with her top picks for playlists, books, movies, and websites. This smart and hilarious tour through girl geekdom is a must-have for any woman who has ever wondered where her sassy rebel sisters have been hiding.

my review

I am a hardcore geek. play games, I read fantasy and sci-fi. I watch firefly and star trek and all those geeky shows. I read comics and I know all of Joss Whedon’s work by heart. So when I saw this book on scribed I was wondering how the author would describe us, feel girls.

She brings up a good point that women in the geeky circles face a lot of discrimination. WE have all heard the stories of fat shaming at cons and all of that. I wish it wasn’t true but alas it is. When people find out that I am a hardcore gamer they usually don’t know what to say. I think that this is an important issue to bring up and discuss.

I felt that this part of the book was well written. I agreed with the hardcore geeks and the book geeks. I, however, had a hard time believing that women who are good at decorating are geeks but maybe that’s me discriminating. I need to examine this in myself.

The book is mainly written for people who are not geeks so to me all of this was stuff I already knew so I was kinda bored reading this. If you are not a geek and you are curious to the inside world of the geeks then this book is for you.

three-stars

Book Review: Chernobyl Strawberries: A Memoir by Vesna Goldsworthy

Posted June 25, 2015 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ISBN: 9781843544142
Book Review: Chernobyl Strawberries: A Memoir by Vesna GoldsworthyChernobyl strawberries by Vesna Goldsworthy
Published by Atlantic on 2005
Genres: Great Britain, Serbs, Social life and customs, Television journalists, Yugoslavia, Yugoslavs, Biography & Autobiography, General, Social Science, Customs & Traditions
Pages: 290
Format: eARC
Source: netgalley
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars

How would you make sense of your life if you thought it might end tomorrow? Vesna Goldsworthy's formative years were a breeze - a pampered child of the Serbian middle class, a top student at Belgrade University, a presenter of a fashionable radio programme and a poet who performed her work to a crowd of thirty thousand people. At the age of twenty-four she left Yogoslavia for London, confident that she would be just as good at being English. But then, more than a decade later, illness invaded. In prose that is exquisite in its precision, Vesna tells the story of herself, her family and her lost country. Although purportedly an account of forty years in the life of a passionate woman, Chernobyl Strawberries traffics in the births and deaths of whole worlds. Vesna Goldsworthy's captivating memoir about exile, love and motherhood marks the emergence of a gorgeous new literary talent.

why I read this book

I was browsing NetGalley when I saw this title. I thought it was going be a gritty memoir about what I have no idea. The aftermath of a nuclear fallout, maybe?

my review

 

I must admit that I went into this expecting a gritty memoir. I did not get it. It is a memoir where nothing much happens. She says that she wrote this book for her son when she was diagnosed with cancer. I have no problem with that but still. She had a normal happy childhood in Yugoslavia, and she talks at lent about that. I had a more  growing up in the Appalachian Mountains but ok. It was hard to get into this book. I would have DNF’ed it but as a review book I felt obligated to finish it. It did pick up steam when she talks about the war for her BBC radio show. I really liked that part. The rest of it meh. I finally made me a tall glass of a hurricane drink to plow through it. Once properly inebriated I found some sort of poetic beauty in her words. I saw what she was trying to do. Paint a picture of what everyday communism was really like. We hear horror stories about it every day but this was like a sweet gentle lullaby. Until the war part but even that as she was in England it was sort of a detached vibe. Maybe if I went into it with no expectations it would have been different but alas.

it-was-ok

three-stars

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

Review: The Convert

Posted May 28, 2011 by Hillary in ARC, Book Reviews / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Convert by Deborah Baker
Published by Graywolf Press on May 10th 2011
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Islamic Studies, Religious, Social Science
Pages: 224
Source: publisher
Goodreads
four-stars

*A 2011 National Book Award Finalist* A spellbinding story of renunciation, conversion, and radicalism from Pulitzer Prize-finalist biographer Deborah Baker What drives a young woman raised in a postwar New York City suburb to convert to Islam, abandon her country and Jewish faith, and embrace a life of exile in Pakistan? The Convert tells the story of how Margaret Marcus of Larchmont became Maryam Jameelah of Lahore, one of the most trenchant and celebrated voices of Islam’s argument with the West. A cache of Maryam’s letters to her parents in the archives of the New York Public Library sends the acclaimed biographer Deborah Baker on her own odyssey into the labyrinthine heart of twentieth-century Islam. Casting a shadow over these letters is the mysterious figure of Mawlana Abul Ala Mawdudi, both Maryam’s adoptive father and the man who laid the intellectual foundations for militant Islam. As she assembles the pieces of a singularly perplexing life, Baker finds herself captive to questions raised by Maryam’s journey. Is her story just another bleak chapter in a so-called clash of civilizations? Or does it signify something else entirely? And then there’s this: Is the life depicted in Maryam’s letters home and in her books an honest reflection of the one she lived? Like many compelling and true tales, The Convert is stranger than fiction. It is a gripping account of a life lived on the radical edge and a profound meditation on the cultural conflicts that frustrate mutual understanding.

This ithe converts a tale of Margret Marcus a Jewish girl growing up in the shadows of War World Two. While she hears about the horrors going on in Europe, her fascination  is with the Arabs. She gets upset at the formation of Israel and decides to convert to Islam. She has also spent time in mental wards.

Mawlana Abul Ala Mawdudi a man known for his staunch support of political Islam became her guardian when so moved to Pakistan. While in Pakistan Margret Marcus who became Maryam jamaleh upon her conversion to Islam, wrote a number of book supporting militant Islam and condemning the West. She was very influential in some circles in Lahore.

However it was not all smiles and writing in Pakistan. Before she had left the United States she had spent time in a mental hospital with Schizophrenia. She states in her letter that her decision to come to Islam is one of the sanest she has made in her life but one wonders. Then she ends up in a notorious madhouse in Lahore.

One gets the sense of reading this of how much of her thinking is muddled by her mental state and how much she really believes. Then again she was probably freer in Pakistan than she would have been in the US. In Pakistan she was able to marry and have kids and have her sister wife take care of her kids leaving her to write and so what ever else she wanted. while if she had stayed in the US she would probably ended up a ward of the state in a hospital somewhere.

Ever since 9/11 it has been a zero sum game for Islam and the West. If one wins the other loses. It was fascinating to trace back this ideology on the Muslim side to a specific political group and how they in a way took Maryam in and used her to showcase just how degraded the West really was.

Here was a perfect example of how when one followed the west your parents could kick you out, get rid of you or drop you off at the local state hospital while you traveled the world. While in Islam once you had a child you are responsible for it forever. That was the thinking anyway. It seemed it was to their own best advantage to use her to their political ends.

I found this book fascinating. The whole thing seemed unreal. Even the author admits all this was hard to imagine until she went to Lahore. First when she read the letters in New York public Libary it seemed that Maryam had finally found a place she could call home. That it was not rife with the strife that afflicted her with her parents in the US. However when the author went to Lahore she found something unsettling. From her old foster family saying that what she wrote home to her parents is not exactly what transpired in Pakistan. That she was guilty of a multitude of sins. When the author finally reached her for an interview she found a woman who acted complete different than what her letters portrayed. I felt that the author was being a little harsh in her judgment of Maryam. But who am I to say? I wasn’t there. Where the author gets to this point in the book I felt that it starts to fall apart. It as if the author let her emptions color what she wrote and we only get a nuanced version of the “real” Maryam. With sayings such as “I could not wait to leave the room” we are getting the author’s emotions instead of what the story was supposed to be focused on.

The rest of the book is tightly written and a fascinating look at Maryam life as a political Islamist. Pick this book up if you want to know why someone would trade a middle class existence to a Life under a veil in poverty struck Pakistan.

four-stars

Bitch in the House

Posted November 22, 2010 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Bitch in the HouseThe Bitch in the House by Cathi Hanauer
Published by Harper Collins on September 16th 2003
Genres: Essays, Literary Collections, Social Science, Women's Studies
Pages: 320
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Virginia Woolf introduced us to the “Angel in the House”, now prepare to meet... The Bitch In the House. Women today have more choices than at any time in history, yet many smart, ambitious, contemporary women are finding themselves angry, dissatisfied, stressed out. Why are they dissatisfied? And what do they really want? These questions form the premise of this passionate, provocative, funny, searingly honest collection of original essays in which twenty-six women writers—ranging in age from twenty-four to sixty-five, single and childless or married with children or four times divorced—invite readers into their lives, minds, and bedrooms to talk about the choices they’ve made, what’s working, and what’s not. With wit and humor, in prose as poetic and powerful as it is blunt and dead-on, these intriguing women offer details of their lives that they’ve never publicly revealed before, candidly sounding off on: • The difficult decisions and compromises of living with lovers, marrying, staying single and having children • The perpetual tug of war between love and work, family and career • The struggle to simultaneously care for ailing parents and a young family • The myth of co-parenting • Dealing with helpless mates and needy toddlers • The constrictions of traditional women’s roles as well as the cliches of feminism • Anger at laid-back live-in lovers content to live off a hardworking woman’s checkbook • Anger at being criticized for one’s weight • Anger directed at their mothers, right and wrong • And–well–more anger... “This book was born out of anger,” begins Cathi Hanauer, but the end result is an intimate sharing of experience that will move, amuse, and enlighten. The Bitch in the House is a perfect companion for your students as they plot a course through the many voices of modern feminism. This is the sound of the collective voice of successful women today-in all their anger, grace, and glory. From The Bitch In the House: “I believed myself to be a feminist, and I vowed never to fall into the same trap of domestic boredom and servitude that I saw my mother as being fully entrenched in; never to settle for a life that was, as I saw it, lacking independence, authority, and respect.” –E.S. Maduro, page 5 “Here are a few things people have said about me at the office: ‘You’re unflappable.’ ‘Are you ever in a bad mood?’ Here are things people—okay, the members of my family—have said about me at home: ‘‘Mommy is always grumpy.’ ‘Why are you so tense?’ ‘You’re too mean to live in this house and I want you to go back to work for the rest of your life!’” –Kristin van Ogtrop, page 161 “I didn’t want to be a bad mother I wanted to be my mother-safe, protective, rational, calm-without giving up all my anger, because my anger fueled me.” – Elissa Schappell, page 195

0066211662.01._SX140_SY225_SCLZZZZZZZ_This is an anthology with 26 well known woman writers who discuss about motherhood and marriage and one was on weight.
Feminist lit has come a long way than when it was still in its infancy. The woman have almost everything feminist has fought for and yet they still seem to be missing something. They fell out of touch with what feminism is today. That is not to say this is a sad book. It is not. Far from it. There are undercurrents of anger spread through out the book. All of us are like that right?
I found it refreshing to see woman talk so honestly and candidly about the “bitch” that often emerges in motherhood. All to often we hold this part hidden because “good” mothers are not supposed to feel this way. Which itself is a ridiculous notion because really, when you have a crying baby and are trying to handle a demanding job who is ever going to feel “good enough”? This book explores that concepts well. I agree with what a lot of the woman say, just cause you have it all, does not mean you feel like you have it all. This is an example of how some woman have come to feel disjointed by today’s feminism.
It also explores how in the coming days of a major event a wedding or a baby the couple believes such things like housework to be split evenly. However once the big day arrives it is usually the woman who gets the brunt of doing housework on top of everything else. This is seems to be a source of pride, sort of like super wife or super mom. Again not every woman will feel this way but it is a recurring theme. I also found it refreshing to hear some of the woman talk about taboo subjects. For example a few of the woman were mistresses. That is not something that media talks about openly.
This book was well written especially since it is an anthology. The woman who put all the stories together did well in making all the different stories flow into one another. It did not read as 26 separate stories but rather as a continuum from one story to the next.
This maybe me digging into the symbolism a little to deep but I also feel that this book encompasses the idea that we all are different with our own unique experience but that we can come together as woman and make a beautiful whole, just like this book.

three-half-stars

Woman: An Intimate Journey

Posted October 28, 2010 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Woman: An Intimate JourneyWoman by Natalie Angier
Published by Anchor Books on 1999
Genres: Health & Fitness, Human Anatomy & Physiology, Life Sciences, Science, Social Science, Women's Health, Women's Studies
Pages: 438
Goodreads
five-stars

With the clarity, insight, and sheer exuberance of language that make her one ofThe New York Times's premier stylists, Pulitzer Prize-winner Natalie Angier lifts the veil of secrecy from that most enigmatic of evolutionary masterpieces, the female body. Angier takes readers on a mesmerizing tour of female anatomy and physiology that explores everything from organs to orgasm, and delves into topics such as exercise, menopause, and the mysterious properties of breast milk. A self-proclaimed

women

First of all I want to comment on Angier writing. It was a cross between a lyrical method and a science no nonsense method. I couldn’t make up my mind if I liked it or not. Sometimes I wish she would stay with one kind of writing. At times it grated on my nerves. At other times I thought it was beautiful way of composing a sensitive and oft misrepresented subject.

The context of the book was well written and informative. She uses science and anecdotes from the animal kingdom to illustrate her topics.

She takes the reader on a journey though the female anatomy. At 30 years of age I wish I read this book when I was 18. It provided advice on what’s normal and what’s not. It also answers questions that you may be to embarrassed to ask. The author is an accomplished biology writer so she knows in depth about what she writes.

I liked that it was written from a feminist point of view. I often feel that there are not enough books that give women a reason to feel good about themselves and their bodies. This is a book that does both.

five-stars

No Pity

Posted October 4, 2010 by Hillary in book review / 0 Comments

No PityNo Pity by Joseph P. Shapiro
Published by Times Books on 1994
Genres: Civil Rights, Human Services, Law, Political Science, Social Science
Pages: 382
Source: library
Goodreads
five-stars

Jerry's Kids. The Special Olympics. A blind person with a bundle of pencils in one hand and a tin cup in the other. An old woman being helped across the street by a Boy Scout. The poster child, struggling bravely to walk. The meager, embittered life of the "wheelchair-bound." For most Americans, these are the familiar, comfortable images of the disabled: benign, helpless, even heroic, struggling against all odds and grateful for the kindness of strangers. Yet no set of images could be more repellent to people with disabilities. In No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement, Joe Shapiro of U.S. News & World Report tells of a political awakening few nondisabled Americans have even imagined. There are over 43 million disabled people in this country alone; for decades most of them have been thought incapable of working, caring for themselves, or contributing to society. But during the last twenty-live years, they, along with their parents and families, have begun to recognize that paraplegia, retardation, deafness, blindness, AIDS, autism, or any of the hundreds of other chronic illnesses and disabilities that differentiate them from the able-bodied are not tragic. The real tragedy is prejudice, our society's and the medical establishment's refusal to recognize that the disabled person is entitled to every right and privilege America can offer. No Pity's chronicle of disabled people's struggle for inclusion, from the seventeenth-century deaf communities on Martha's Vineyard to the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1992, is only part of the story. Joe Shapiro's five years of in-depth reporting have uncovered many personal stories as well. You willread of Larry McAfee; most Americans, assuming that a quadriplegic's life was not worth living, supported his decision to commit suicide rather than cope with a system that denied him the right to work or make his own decisions. Here, too, is the story of Nancy Cleaveland, a fif

This book was suggested by a friend. I have bipolar and I am Deaf. The Deaf part is a minor inconvenience if you ask me. The bipolar part is a huge obstacle. To be honest I was kind of feeling sorry for myself. What did I do to deserve such a thing as Bipoar etc. A friend suggested I empower myself and read books that show that I can deal with it and put the pieces of my life back together. Hence this book.
The title says it all. No Pity. It is true. Disabled people do not want pity but rather an equal chance to do what non disabled people take for granted. For example Deaf people want equal communication access. They do not want any special privileges just the chance to do the same job with the same pay and such as hearing people. Physically disabled people want equal access to public transportation so they can get to their jobs and be independent.
The part that really made me think was the section on mental retardation. I along with 99 percent of the population had always though people with mental retardation needed special help. This book tells otherwise. It shows that people with this can and do lead independent lives. It also goes to show that what people think and the reality is sometimes two completely different things.
That ties in with the major theme of this book. That non disabled peoples attitudes and not the actual disability is what holds most disabled people back. The author gives example after example of this. He also includes a section on ADA and how most businesses and people balk at the idea when in reality they just need to get creative and provide simple and affordable ways to accommodate people. He also shows that the ADA has even helped non disabled people. That when the rights of disabled people are implemented we all benefit.
This is a book I would recommend everyone read. If not for the enjoyment factor but for the education factor.

five-stars

Outcasts United

Posted August 25, 2010 by Hillary in ARC, book review, Book Reviews / 1 Comment

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Outcasts UnitedOutcasts United by Warren St. John
Published by Random House Publishing Group on April 21st 2009
Genres: Emigration & Immigration, Soccer, Social Science, Sociology of Sports, Sports & Recreation
Pages: 293
Goodreads
five-stars

BONUS: This edition contains a reader's guide. The extraordinary tale of a refugee youth soccer team and the transformation of a small American town Clarkston, Georgia, was a typical Southern town until it was designated a refugee settlement center in the 1990s, becoming the first American home for scores of families in flight from the world’s war zones—from Liberia and Sudan to Iraq and Afghanistan. Suddenly Clarkston’s streets were filled with women wearing the hijab, the smells of cumin and curry, and kids of all colors playing soccer in any open space they could find. The town also became home to Luma Mufleh, an American-educated Jordanian woman who founded a youth soccer team to unify Clarkston’ s refugee children and keep them off the streets. These kids named themselves the Fugees. Set against the backdrop of an American town that without its consent had become a vast social experiment, Outcasts United follows a pivotal season in the life of the Fugees and their charismatic coach. Warren St. John documents the lives of a diverse group of young people as they miraculously coalesce into a band of brothers, while also drawing a fascinating portrait of a fading American town struggling to accommodate its new arrivals. At the center of the story is fiery Coach Luma, who relentlessly drives her players to success on the soccer field while holding together their lives—and the lives of their families—in the face of a series of daunting challenges. This fast-paced chronicle of a single season is a complex and inspiring tale of a small town becoming a global community—and an account of the ingenious and complicated ways we create a home in a changing world.

This is a captivating story of a football (soccer) coach who is a woman and her charges who are refugee boys. Some are mere children and some are teenagers. They hail from all over the world from war torn regions of the globe.outcasts They all arrived here in America with their families in a predominantly white town outside of Atlanta Georgia.Many lacked even rudimentary skills English.

The coach Luma grew up in the Middle East and came to America for collage. After observing that the boys lacked a positive way to interact she decided to create a football team. She had a lot to deal with as the boys understandably had issues that they were grappling with.

Both preserved and friendships and close bonds were formed. The story goes beyond football. Luma also assisted in other matters also. If one of them did not have adequate food she would buy some. She had her own business and hired several of her charges mothers. She also set up a tutoring program to make sure all did well in school.

This is a perfect example of a woman making a tremendous difference in a group of lives. Not only her football players but also their families. In what could have turned out to be more gang members, because of her they have a real chance of being successful.

I felt that the author Warren St John captured this in his book beautifully. It was well written and illustrated how when a group comes together in a positive way good stuff can take place. It wasn’t all roses in the book, the author presented a balanced portrait of the hardships many endured. For example, the lure of gangs. Without providing any spoilers let me just say this, sometimes the “glamour” of being a gang member won out over the hard work Luma demanded. All in all it is worth the read.

five-stars