Genre: Women's Studies

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: 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

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

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