14 February, 2015

Book Review: Self-Made Man

From Goodreads: Following in the tradition of John Howard Griffin (Black Like Me) and Barbara Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed), Norah Vincent absorbed a cultural experience and reported back on what she observed incognito. For more than a year and a half she ventured into the world as Ned, with an ever-present five o'clock shadow, a crew cut, wire-rim glasses, and her own size 11 1/2 shoes-a perfect disguise that enabled her to observe the world of men as an insider. The result is a sympathetic, shrewd, and thrilling tour de force of immersion journalism that's destined to challenge preconceptions and attract enormous attention. With her buddies on the bowling league she enjoyed the rough and rewarding embrace of male camaraderie undetectable to an outsider. A stint in a high-octane sales job taught her the gut- wrenching pressures endured by men who would do anything to succeed. She frequented sex clubs, dated women hungry for love but bitter about men, and infiltrated all- male communities as hermetically sealed as a men's therapy group, and even a monastery. Narrated in her utterly captivating prose style and with exquisite insight, humor, empathy, nuance, and at great personal cost, Norah uses her intimate firsthand experience to explore the many remarkable mysteries of gender identity as well as who men are apart from and in relation to women. Far from becoming bitter or outraged, Vincent ended her journey astounded-and exhausted-by the rigid codes and rituals of masculinity. Having gone where no woman (who wasn't an aspiring or actual transsexual) has gone for any significant length of time, let alone eighteen months, Norah Vincent's surprising account is an enthralling reading experience and a revelatory piece of anecdotally based gender analysis that is sure to spark fierce and fascinating conversation. 

Thoughts: Oh dear, where to start. I can't even begin to tell you what a mess this book is. The amount of times I wanted to throw it across the room in sheer anger (but didn't because I was reading it on my Kindle) is ridiculously high - higher than any other book I have ever read before. Norah Vincent sells not only men short, but women as well. From what I can gather, men are poor put upon idiots who are unable to help themselves and are constantly manipulated and played by women. Women are calculating, manipulative bitches who want it all and a man to deliver it.
I stopped taking notes. I kept hoping I would come across some great epiphany about the gender divide. I finished it because it's our book group book this month. At the very least, it should provide some great discussion.

Self-Made Man is a definite 1 star.

 *        Did not like it
**       It was OK
***      Liked it
****    Really liked it
*****   It was amazing

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09 February, 2015

Book Review: Bones Never Lie

From Goodreads: The gripping new Temperance Brennan novel from the world-class forensic anthropologist and Number 1 bestselling author Kathy Reichs. Tempe is faced with the horrifying possibility that the killer who got away in Monday Mourning is back...
For a decade, Temperance Brennan has been haunted by the one who got away.
The killer of young women. The monster.
And the one who has now come back.
Feeding on fear, grief and rage.
Killing again. Killing girls.
Getting closer.
Coming for Tempe.

Thoughts: Bones Never Lies is the 17th book in the Tempe Brennan series. They're a good read. Don't go into them expecting something brilliant and new, but you can expect a good story line, a strong female character and lots of action. This is a series I will continue to read until I start to find the characters annoying and repetitive. (I found this happened with Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series)

Bones Never Lie gets 3 stars

*        Did not like it
**       It was OK
***      Liked it
****    Really liked it
*****   It was amazing

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January in Review

This year I thought I would try and post a review of each month. We will see how we go - best intentions and all that!

Some stats for January.

Kindle - 2                                       Library - 4
Book - 5                                         Own - 2
Fiction - 4                                      Borrowed (non library) - 1
Non-fiction - 3

Female Author - 4                         New to Me Authors - 5
Male Author - 2
Australian Author - 1

In January I completed 7 books.

Not a bad start to the year! My pick of the bunch would be Middlesex. I loved the story, the writing and the characters. It would be a great book group book.

Our book group book for this month was We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. It provided some great discussion and was another highlight for the month.

Anna Karenina is the audio book I'm listening to at the moment. Given it has 238 chapters and runs for 38 hours, it may take a while to get through! I am enjoying it though and with most chapters being around the 10 minute mark, it is easy to make sure you finish a chapter before getting out of the car. I am up to chapter 79, which equates to around about 12 and half hours of listening time - just short of 33% - yep, I'm in for the long haul!

That's my January. How was yours? What were your picks for the month?

03 February, 2015

Book Review: Not Quite What I Was Planning.

From Goodreads: Deceptively simple and surprisingly addictive, Not Quite What I Was Planning is a thousand glimpses of humanity—six words at a time.When Ernest Hemingway famously wrote, "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn," he proved that an entire story can be told using a half-dozen words. When the online storytelling magazine SMITH asked readers to submit six-word memoirs, they proved a whole, real life can be told this way, too. The results are fascinating, hilarious, shocking, and moving.
From small sagas of bittersweet romance ("Found true love, married someone else") to proud achievements and stinging regrets ("After Harvard, had baby with crackhead"), these terse true tales relate the diversity of human experience in tasty bite-size pieces.
The original edition of Not Quite What I Was Planning spent six weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and thanks to massive media attention—from NPR to the The New Yorker—the six-word memoir concept spread to classrooms, dinner tables, churches, synagogues, and tens of thousands of blogs. This deluxe edition has been revised and expanded to include more than sixty never-before-seen memoirs.
From authors Elizabeth Gilbert, Richard Ford, and Joyce Carol Oates to celebrities Stephen Colbert, Mario Batali, and Joan Rivers to ordinary folks around the world, everyone has a six-word story to tell.

Thoughts: Can't quite remember where I heard about this. I knew it wouldn't be a long read, but it's an interesting idea.
It's a great concept, can you tell a story in 6 words? For me, some of these six word stories were brilliant - conveying as much emotion as a full book.

So devastated, no babies for me. 

Young optimist: proven wrong. Prematurely old.

Others read more like PostSecret's than stories.

Not What I Was Planning was a nice read, nothing brilliant, but enough to encourage me to seek out more stories. If you're interested in more 6 word stories, here's a good place to start.


Not What I Was Planning gets 3 stars.

*        Did not like it
**       It was OK
***      Liked it
****    Really liked it
*****   It was amazing

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