Posts

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Image
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood made me squirm because Atwood creates a world that feels like it would be all too easy to slip into without truly noticing until it was too late. Atwood's ability to create characters who feel real made me identify with the characters even when I didn't want to. I felt the pain, the fears, and the hidden desires and joys of the characters as they traversed a world that would be a nightmare for most of us. In fact, The Handmaid's Tale stayed with me as I went about my day and popped into my dreams on a few occasions. Atwood deftly brings together elements of society and belief systems that continue to divide us by exploring a potential outcome that I don't think anyone wants. The Handmaid's Tale pushed me to think about my place in the world and my role in protecting the rights that matter to me. I couldn't help but think about what I would do if I faced a world like the one Atwood creates in The Handmaid's Tale.

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg

Image
When I bought White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg, I thought I knew what the book would contain. I thought I understood the class history of America. Isenberg presents a history that makes so much more sense that the romanticized version of history I was taught in high school. She argues effectively for the idea that we've always had a class system in America and that we all buy into that class system even while proclaiming we are a classless society. Isenberg presents factual elements and references historical documents to support her supposition that America has always been a country with a class system. Her expansive discussion of indentured servitude and other poor people shipped to America in our early history is enlightening. She discusses how our class system affects everything from the economy to politics. I felt uncomfortable at times because I really wanted to resist parts of the book that didn't resonate with what I wanted …

The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou

Image
I read The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou several years ago and loved it so much that I often pull it off my shelf and peruse the contents. Sometimes I open it randomly and read whatever page I land on. Other times, I seek out a poem that has taken root in my thoughts for one reason or another.  The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou has become a book I turn to for inspiration, encouragement, enlightenment, and education. Angelou's poems speak to the existence we all share on this planet and her words resonate across the artificial barriers we draw between us. When she writes about us all being part of the "Human Family", she pushes us to see beyond the stereotypes and see how much we all have in common. When she writes about being a "Phenomenal Woman", she reminds us all that we have the power to embrace our own phenomenal selves. The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou includes many poems that speak to her life experience and her observat…

Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann (Translated by Carol Brown Janeway)

Image
I bought Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann (Translated by Carol Brown Janeway) while in Germany. When I got home, I placed it in my to-be-read pile. I moved it down the pile several times before I decided to read it. Finally I picked it up and started reading. The story is intriguing. The formatting is different than I'm used to. The characters were interesting if not always easy to like. Once I started reading, my curiosity about where the story was going kept me engaged even when I struggled to relate to the characters decisions. Measuring the World explores the human desire to make sense of the world around them through the stories of two highly determined and intelligent men. As I read Measuring the World, I felt like I was on a journey myself trying to understand the world through the eyes of the characters.


The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook by Ann Crile Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn

Image
I bought The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook by Ann Crile Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn when it was released in 2014. I've used it several times though there are several recipes in it I've yet to make. Most of the recipes are quite easy to make and offering interesting flavors. It's a wonderful cookbook for those just starting on a plant-based diet or those looking to add some simple but tasty recipes to their plant-based diet. I've made some of the recipes for friends who quite enjoyed the food even though they haven't adopted a plant-based diet. The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook offers a nice variety of recipes to appeal to differing moods and taste preferences offering options for me to keep trying .

How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job by Sally Halgesen and Marshall Goldsmith

Image
How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith examines the habits women tend to develop that work in one part of their careers but don't translate well to other parts. Based on their years of experience coaching both men and women as well as research into women and men in the workplace, they've honed in on habits that women tend to adopt that men don't necessarily adopt while also referencing that both men and women develop habits that can stymie their advances in their careers. While there are moments the book feels a bit overly generalized, Helgesen and Marshall readily admit that there are women who don't adopt these habits and men that do. They deal with tendencies and how to address those tendencies rather than absolutes. One thing that sets How Women Rise apart from many self-help books is that it doesn't approach the subject from the concept of the broken or inadequate wo…

One Good Dog by Susan Wilson

Image
One Good Dog by Susan Wilson shows the power of connection to change lives and bring us to our best selves. I found it really hard to sympathize with Adam March's loss of wealth and social standing even as his story progressed through facing his losses and dealing with a past that he'd worked so hard to suppress he'd adopted the role of the man he wanted to be instead of the man he was. In fact, I related more with the chapters told the dog's point of view. I felt his pain. I felt his desire to change. I felt his will to survive. I felt his need to serve a purpose. The dog represented everything I wanted to feel for March but struggled to feel. Wilson pulled me into the lives of the characters to the point I wanted to influence their decisions and push them to do the right thing. One Good Dog illustrates how easy it is to let perception lead to biases based on the superficial parts of life.