Category Archives: Book Review

What Color Is Your Parachute? 2018: A Practical Manual For Job-Hunters And Career-Changers Book Review

Job searching is hard, period. But Richard N. Bolles is trying to make that search just a little easier.

Last year’s edition, entitled, What Color Is Your Parachute? 2018: A Practical Manual For Job-Hunters And Career-Changers, is a practical and reliable guide for the job hunter. In the book, Mr. Bolles talks about everything from resumes to cover letters to figuring out your ideal job and helping those who are changing their careers midway through adulthood.

I initially read this book in 2014, when I needed comfort during the job hunting process. I re-read the book because I will be out of work as of one week from today and I needed that same comfort. In the last four years, the book has not changed (with the exception of references that were not available 5 years ago).  What I really appreciated about this book is that it both challenges the reader and provides support during a difficult time in their professional and personal lives.

I recommend it.

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America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today Book Review

History is full of stories of women who have made the world a better place, but their contributions are unknown at worst or trivialized at best.

Pamela Nadell would like to change that narrative. Her new book, America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today, is the story of Jewish women from the earliest days of the American colonies to our modern era. Over the course of the book, she examines the lives and experiences of notable women such as Abigail Franks, Emma Lazarus, Fania Cohn and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

This book is one of the best history books I have read in a long time. It is dynamic, easy to read, exciting to read and educating the reader without hitting them over the head.

I recommend it.

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Women Warriors: An Unexpected History Book Review

When it comes to war and women, the general image that comes to mind is not the warrior on the battlefield. At best she the wife, the sweetheart or the mother doing her part on the home front while the men are fighting for their country. At worst, she is the victim of rape, enslavement or of a massacre.

Pamela D. Toler’s new book proves otherwise. Entitled Women Warriors: An Unexpected History, the book examines how women throughout history have taken up arms to protect their nation and their people. Jumping throughout time and different parts of the world, Dr. Toler examines the reasons why these women went to battle and the challenges they faced both as women and warriors.

I found this book to be fascinating. I loved that instead of focusing on one area of the world or one specific part of human history, the book spans the gamut from ancient times to the 20th century. My only warning is that some readers might consider the book to be a little too academic for their taste.

I recommend it.

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The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump Book Review

The FBI is one of the most important aspects of our legal system. Without their tireless work, this country will be a dangerous place to live.

It doe not help when certain members of the executive branch question the motives of the members of the FBI.

Andrew G. McCabe worked for the FBI for over twenty years. After succeeding James Comey, he was fired in 2018. His new book, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, is the story of his career and the last few years on the job from his perspective.

Part memoir and part retrospective, the book examines how the current administration (both during the 2016 election and presently), is using every tool in the box to undermine the reputation and hard work that the FBI puts in to protect this country.

Unlike a certain President who is apt to tell lies and half-truths, Mr. McCabe comes off as honest and respectable, even if it makes him look bad in the process. From my perspective, this is just another reason why you know who is ill-equipped for the job that he was unfortunately voted in for.

I recommend it.

 

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Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House Book Review

Political tell alls are the rage these days. How it is viewed depends on the where one stands on the political aisle.

The newest political tell all comes from Cliff Sims. Published this year, his memoir is entitled Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House.

Before working for you know who, Mr. Sims was active with the conservative news movement. After the 2016 election, he joined the administration as the as Special Assistant to the President and Director of White House Message Strategy. Mr Sim’s role varied on you know whose mood. He was sometimes an adviser, sometimes the whipping boy and sometimes a companion. While he worked in the White House, he took copious minute by minute notes.

This book was an eye opener for me. Most of the tell all political books that have come out in recent years have been partisan. But Mr. Sims has found a way to be bi-partisan while telling the story of his experience working for you know who.

I recommend it.

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The Scar: A Personal History of Depression and Recovery Book Review

Mental illness affects millions of people around the world.

Mary Cregan knows all too well the pain that mental illness can bring. In her new book, The Scar: A Personal History of Depression and Recovery, she talks about her own bout with mental illness and how she was able to survive.

When she was in her late 20’s Ms. Cregan had it all: a job that made her happy, a loving marriage and a soon to be new addition to the family. The joy of a new child soon turns to grief when the baby dies two days after she is born. The death of her daughter plunges her into depression and thoughts of suicide. Years later, in writing this book she reflects on her deeply personal and heartbreaking experience with mental illness while talking about the history of how mental illness was viewed and treated.

One of the most glaring aspects of mental illness, from my own experience, is the feeling of being alone in the world. Ms. Cregan’s book reminds me that those of us who suffer from mental illness are not alone. We may not have asked to join millions of others who suffer from mental illness, but it brings us together in a way that allows us live full lives while grappling with a disease that will always be part of us.

I recommend it.

 

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The Bronte Myth Book Review

Among the great writers of the 19th century, the Bronte sisters stand tall. Lionized as proto-feminists and adored in the literary community for their contribution to the world of literature, fans sometimes have to ask themselves where fact ends and fiction begins.

In 2001, Lucasta Miller published The Bronte Myth. The book starts with the brief lives of the Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte and follows their posthumous celebrity as their image is shaped to fit the needs of the biographer. In the book, Ms. Miller delves deeply into the facts and the myths of the Brontes and how both have been used to tell the story of the legendary sisters.

When I heard about The Bronte Myth, the concept sounded interesting. I am sorry to report that the concept I had in my head did not meet reality.

The book is not for the casual or virgin Bronte fan. It borders on academic and is probably better suited for a reader who is well versed in the story of the Bronte sisters, their brother Branwell and father Patrick. But my main issue is that Ms. Miller spent most of the book talking about Charlotte. Granted, Charlotte lived the longest of her siblings, but the book is not entitled The Charlotte Bronte Myth. She spends about 60% of the book talking about Charlotte, 20% talking about Emily. The other 20% are given to Anne, Branwell and Patrick. I think I would have liked this book more if all of the Bronte siblings and their father were given equal attention.

Do I recommend it? Sort of.

 

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Unbecoming: A Memoir of Disobedience Book Review

It’s 2019. In an ideal world, we would judge each other as an individual, not by factors such as skin color, religion, sex, etc. But we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in a world where we judge each other based on external factors without knowing who the other person really is.

Anuradha Bhagwati knows all too well about the reality of the world we live in. The only child of strict Indian immigrants, Ms. Bhagwati was on the traditional academic track until she dropped out of grad school to join the Marines. She tells her story in her new memoir, Unbecoming: A Memoir of Disobedience Book. Among the branches of the US Military, the Marines is by far the toughest. Especially for a bisexual woman of color who has the balls not only to succeed, but to stand up the misogynistic and racist men who make it clear that her presence in the Marines is not wanted.

After leaving the Marines, Ms. Bhagwati used her experience to break barriers. Her efforts opened the doors for women to be treated as equals by their commanders while speaking out about the pervasive sexual assault and sexual harassment that women in the military face every day.

 

This book, from my perspective, should be a must read for every woman. I find the author to be nothing short of inspiring. She could have taken the easy way out and followed the expected path in life. But she took the road less traveled, leading her to pave the way for other women to take the road less traveled.

I recommend it.

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Truth in Our Times: Inside the Fight for Press Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts Book Review

In a thriving, living democracy, the press does not merely exist as a mouth piece for those in power. The press provides balance, holding up a mirror to the country and asking question to ensure that the democracy lives on. The problem these days in the US is that certain elected officials believe that the press should be there just to be a mouthpiece. Any media organization or reporter who says otherwise is labelled as “enemy off the people”.

For the last 17 years, David E. McCraw has been the Deputy General Counsel at the New York Times. Last month, his new book, Truth in Our Times: Inside the Fight for Press Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts was published. In the book, Mr. McCraw describes how his legal expertise was used to advise reporters and editors on news stories that might rattle some cages. He also describes how the current Presidential administration has done everything they can, short of illegally throwing journalists in jail, to stop the Times from printing certain articles.

While the New York Times is not my favorite newspaper, I admire the journalists who fight daily for our rights to free press. Written openly and candidly, this book is for those who believe in the American democracy and are willing to fight for it.

I recommend it.

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The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation Book

The mother-daughter relationship is a unique and complicated relationship.

In 2016, TV personality Melissa Rivers published The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation, a memoir about her relationship with her late comedian mother, Joan Rivers.

Joan Rivers was not an ordinary mother. She was mouthy, un-pc like at moments, uninhibited and walked over boundaries as if they were nothing. But she loved her daughter fiercely. In this non-linear memoir, Melissa tells the story of her mother’s life and their unconventional relationship as only she can.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It gives the reader an insight to Joan Rivers as only her daughter can.

I recommend it.

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