Cramm This Book: So You Know WTF Is Going On in the World Today Book Review

When we get to a certain age, it is not uncommon to see the younger generation as lazy, entitled, or selfish. While this may be true for some, the truth is that young people are not always what their elders think they are.

Cramm This Book: So You Know WTF Is Going On in the World Today was published last month. Written by The Cramm founder Olivia Seltzer, this book takes both historical events and news headlines and explains them in a way that Gen Z would understand. Diving into contemporary issues (Black Lives Matter, Me Too, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, climate change, etc), she explains the history behind each and how that history has impacted its current status.

Reading this book gives me hope for the future. Though it is written for a certain audience, the appeal does not stop beyond the age of 25. Her ability to translate the past into understandable chunks is the key to its success. Its the type of book that if used in an academic setting, has the potential to make history come alive and feel relevant.

My only issue is that the section on what is going on in the Middle East (with Israel in particular) is missing some important facts that complete the story.

Other than that, do I recommend it? Yes.


A League of Their Own Character Review: Jimmy Dugan

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*I apologize for the delay in posting. There is only so much writing I can do in a day.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movieĀ A League of Their Own. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

It is easy to judge someone based on a popular image or perception. That image can only change when we are with that person or persons, hopefully forcing us to reconsider what we think we know. In A League of Their Own, Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) is hired to coach the Rockford Peaches, one of the all-female teams within the AAGPBL. While the men are fighting for the United States in World War II, they are temporarily being replaced by their wives, sisters, and neighbors.

A former baseball player whose career has been taken over by constant drinking, Jimmy is given the opportunity to revive his reputation by taking the coaching position. His reaction is well, can only be described as chauvinistic. But then again, we have to remember what time period the film is set in (though to be completely honest, this idea is still sadly too prevalent, even in 2022). Over the course of the film, the booze is replaced by his renewed love of the game and his growing respect for his players.

That does not mean, however, that Jimmy is easy to get along with. He can sometimes be described as crass and a little short with some members of the team. He does however become close with Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis). Dottie has the talent and the drive to succeed. But she also has a husband in the army and is eager to return to normal life. Jimmy wants her to stay to the end of the season, but he knows that he cannot force her to do so. Though the Peaches don’t come out on top, Jimmy has regained his sense of self and a healthy appreciation for the women on his team.

To sum it up: the character arc from unlikeable to likable is a common one. What makes Jimmy stand out from other characters is how he changes over the course of the narrative. He goes from someone who the audience does not trust to someone we trust implicitly. He may not be as mannered or cultured as other people. But we know that he admires the players and in doing so, has transformed his life for the better.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination Book Review

Over the centuries, women have been portrayed as many things: the innocent victim who is in need of rescue, the slut, the man-hater, the marriage-minded miss, etc. The problem with these images is that they are 2-D and without room to grow beyond the boxed-in perception. The only way to smash these stereotypes is to allow us to tell our own stories from our perspective.

The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (published in 1979), this classic 1970’s second-wave nonfiction book examines how female characters are portrayed in 19th-century novels. Authors Susan Gubar and Sandra M. Gilbert compare the images of women created by male writers as opposed to the images created by female writers. Using the analogy of Bertha Mason (the literal madwoman in the attic) from the Charlotte Bronte novel, Jane Eyre, they dive into the fiction of authors such as Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, Mary Shelley, etc.

This book is a classic for a reason. Forty-plus years after its initial publication, it is as relevant today as it was back then. Their theory that women writers have a greater insight and ability to create 3D fully human characters as opposed to the typecast idea of females that some male writers have can still be seen today on both the page and the screen.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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