Category Archives: Books

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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Thoughts On the 20th Anniversary of The Lost World

Like all good things, our favorite television shows must come to an end. After they end, they fall into one of two categories. In the first category, the show fades into memory as a relic of that time in your life. In the second category, you are still emotionally tied to the show years after it has left the air.

For me, The Lost World, falls into the second category. This year, the small but committed fandom (of which I am a part of) is celebrating the show’s 20th anniversary.

Loosely based (and I mean very loosely based) on the novel of the same name by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Lost World is about a group of explorers who find a world populated by creatures and characters that had only been thought to exist in the imagination.

To celebrate the show’s anniversary, a new Instagram account has been setup to excite the fan base and encourage new viewers to discover the show via Amazon Prime.

For me, The Lost World is and will always be one of my favorite television shows.  The writing was amazing, the acting was pure perfection and it was just one of those programs that I will always love.

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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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Mr. Malcolm’s List

The intrigue of love and romance never gets old.

One of the newest entries into this basic narrative is Mr. Malcolm’s List.

This short film, directed by Emma Holly Jones and written by Suzanne Allain (who also wrote the book of the same name) is absolutely brilliant. Written in the spirit of Jane Austen with a multi-cultural cast, this piece is sure to delight fans of Jane Austen and British Period Dramas.

Jeremy Malcolm (Sope Dirisu) is the most eligible bachelor of the season. Miss Julia Thislethate (Gemma Chan) is sure that she is the future Mrs. Malcolm. But Mr. Malcolm has an extensive list of qualities that he is looking for in a wife. His friend, played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen (whose character is nameless for the short film) is trying to tempt Mr. Malcolm into matrimony. Enter Selina Dalton (Freida Pinto), Julia’s friend. Julia plans to use Selina as revenge against Mr. Malcolm for his rejection of her suit, but in doing so, she may ruin her friend’s chance at happiness.

I adore this film. It has all of the hallmarks of a BPD (British Period Drama), with the biting satire of Jane Austen. But at the same time, but it feels entirely new. Not only do I love the color blind casting and the completely female production team, but I also love it is also going to be made into a feature length film.

There are only a handful of films where I gladly pay for the movie ticket well before the movie hits theaters. Mr. Malcolm’s List is one of these movies.

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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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Flashback Friday-Emma Approved (2013-2018)

Emma Woodhouse, Jane Austen‘s heroine in the aptly title novel Emma, is introduced as “Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich”.  In her world, Emma Woodhouse is the queen bee. She thinks that she knows everything about everything. Emma Woodhouse is in for a shock.

In 2013, the YouTube web series, Emma Approved (2013-2018) transferred the world of Emma from regency era England to modern-day. Emma Woodhouse (Joanna Sotomura) is a lifestyle coach and matchmaker. She is completely confident that she can help her clients to achieve their personal and business goals. Her long time friend and business partner Alex Knightley (Brent Bailey) is tries to burst Emma’s bubble as gently as he can, with a hint of sarcasm.

Emma Approved was the follow-up to the successful Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Though it was not as well received as LBD, I enjoyed Emma Approved with the same level of enthusiasm that I did LBD. Last year, Emma Approved came back for a short revival, which to my mind was just as enjoyable as the original series.

Not only did I appreciate the color blind casting,  I personally think that it’s adorable that the two lead actors are together IRL.

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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Filed under Anne Bronte, Book Review, Books, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Feminism, History, Jane Eyre, Writing, Wuthering Heights