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review 2019-04-22 02:35
Intersex (for lack of a better word) by Thea Hillman
Intersex (For Lack of a Better Word) - Thea Hillman

I picked this up because I’m confused by the whole concept of nonbinary gender identities (don’t most people vary in some way from the stereotypes of their gender?), and so I’m trying to read about it. This book taught me something about intersex, though nobody in it uses non-standard pronouns, but more than that it’s about the author’s sexcapades, a bit about her childhood, and a platform for half-developed arguments.

This short book is a collection of very short (typically 2-3 pages) personal essays, from the perspective of a queer activist who lives in San Francisco and has a lot of sex. And I mean a lot. Sex parties, S&M, exhibitionism, threesomes – if you want a bunch of descriptions of an adventurous sex life, some of them graphic, this is your book. Attending sex parties seems to have been the author’s primary after-work activity for a good chunk of her life, and that chunk gets a lot of focus here.

She starts talking about intersex about halfway through the book, where it turns out the author is not in fact intersex by the most common definition: someone born with ambiguous genitalia. She is physically a woman, though as a child she developed a minor, borderline version of a hormone disorder (Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia) that can cause intersex in girls, but she had hormone treatment that forestalled the most noticeable effects. As an adult and an activist, she was recruited into intersex activism, and reasoned that:

Here is a seemingly tailor-made issue for me: it’s about sex, it’s about breaking down boundaries, and it’s cutting edge – because who else do I know working on this issue?

So then she decides to start identifying as intersex and advocating for that group’s issues. Which I’m glad to have learned a bit about. Based on this book, intersex activism seems to be primarily focused around preventing doctors from performing medically unnecessary plastic surgery on the genitals of infants born intersex. Hillman’s opposition to this is based on first, her belief that people’s natural bodies and genitals are beautiful and that she feels cheated out of her natural body by the hormone treatment she received as a child, and second, the fact that many of her intersex friends lost feeling in their genitals, and/or the ability to experience orgasm, due to the surgery done to them as babies.

This is of course a terrible result, but I wanted to know more: how often do the surgeries go wrong in this way? (After all, lots of transgender people choose to have surgery on their genitals.) And I think the author, living in a queer enclave where having a threesome with her girlfriend and a transgender woman with a penis at a sex party is just your average Tuesday night, doesn’t recognize that for most people, there is significant value in being physically normal. Not everyone has either the opportunity or the desire to live a life like hers. And it’s easy for her to say – as an adult in her milieu, and having had childhood medical intervention – that she wishes she’d had her natural body. She might have felt very differently if she had in fact gone through puberty at age 6, grown body hair and had a maximum height of under five feet. Now even if the risks are low, it sounds like surgery should wait until the patient is old enough to weigh the risks and make an informed personal decision, but I don’t buy Hillman’s simple anti-medical-intervention stance.

Finally, while the writing is good and at first I felt it showed a generosity of spirit, at later points I questioned whether she was hiding pettiness behind a socially unassailable exterior. She uses one essay to settle scores with a woman who invited her to a party and then decided she didn’t want a date; another to insist that she made a thoughtless joke offending another conference attendee because “I simply just misunderstood” the situation, and not deliberately or just thoughtlessly; and she writes condescendingly about her parents, forever surprised when they understand her or do anything right.

At any rate, overall I did learn a bit from this book, which is well-written, short, and kept my attention pretty well for the most part. But it’s not one I would recommend.

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url 2019-04-13 18:20
A to Z Essays

A to Z essays helps all the student for their studies.it provides essays on different topic.


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review 2019-04-10 18:45
TRACING THE TRAILS: A Constant Reader's Reflections on the Work of Stephen King by Chad A. Clark
Tracing The Trails: A Constant Reader's Reflections on the Work of Stephen King - Chad CLark,Duncan Ralston,Richard Chizmar

TRACING THE TRAILS is a non-fiction book that reads like one Stephen King fan talking to another. (In this scenario, I am a King fan!)


This book is broken up by novels and decade, then short stories and then the novellas. After all that, there are essays on several of King's works written by other authors such as Duncan Bradshaw and Kit Power to name a few. (To be honest, I was a bit King'ed out by then and didn't read all of those essays carefully, just scanning them instead.) There were a few movie reviews as well, namely the IT miniseries and the new IT movies.


When I say it's broken up by novels and then by decade what I mean is these are essays and/or reviews written by Chad A. Clark in that order. The ones I enjoyed most were written about the novels IT, MISERY, THE STAND, SALEM'S LOT and PET SEMATARY.


My library hold for the audio of PET SEMATARY came in while I was still reading this book and seeing what Chad said here resonated with me, because this is the first time I've read PS as a parent:


" Regardless of what you want to call it, one of King's strengths is to take a character's story and present it in a way that you find yourself admitting that you might do the same thing. It's about taking the crazy and making it seem kind of sane. And ultimately, in the end, I find it almost as scary to realize how much I am being brought around to that mindset. "


Me too, Chad. Me too.


I enjoyed the short pieces written about King's short stories. Most especially ALTERCATION, (because I loved that story too and because my mom is in that situation right now), and UR, which was among MY first purchases for Kindle, (just like you, Chad.)


Regarding the novellas, I most especially liked the write up about THE MIST. I, too, am one of the few who liked the ending of the book AND the ending of the film. To be honest, I might have even liked the film's end a wee bit better. Let the discussions begin in the comment section below!


Lastly, there was a piece among the essays at the end about that scene in IT. Yeah, you know the scene I'm talking about. After reading Chad's take, maybe I understand a little better why King did it, but I still don't like it.


I don't think this book would work very well for people that do not enjoy King's work at all. That said, if you're a fan like me, (and Chad!), and you grew up reading King's early work. And if you continued reading his works for what seems like (and may BE) your entire life, then this is the book for you. You don't have to have liked all of the books King has written, in fact, it might be even more interesting for you if you haven't liked them all. Chad's reviews provide insight to what we King fans are thinking and even if you don't agree with everything Chad has written here, you might find this walk down Stephen King lane informative and fun.


Highly recommended to King fans, of course, but also to anyone looking for a more in-depth look at King's works throughout the years. Chad won't let you down!


Get your copy here: TRACING THE TRAILS


*I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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text 2019-03-29 10:55
2019 Reading Goals: Non-Fiction Science Reading List - Progress Report #1
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot
Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World - Laura Spinney
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History - Elizabeth Kolbert
Code Girls: The True Story of the American Women Who Secretly Broke Codes in World War II (Young Readers Edition) - Liza Mundy
Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet - Claire L. Evans
Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars - Nathalia Holt
Upstream: Selected Essays - Mary Oliver
Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation - Dan Fagin
Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond - Sonia Shah
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements - Sam Kean

After three busy months, a check in on my progress with this reading project:



1. The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean (Flat Book Society pick)

2. Pandemic by Sonia Shah (substitute for a DNF)



1. The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman

2. The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel


Currently reading The Fever by Sonia Shah (about malaria). Up next is Tom's River by Dan Fagin.



In addition to the twelve books listed in this post, I hope to read a few of the Flat Book Society picks.


1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

3. Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World by Laura Spinney

4. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

5. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

6. This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein

8. Code Girls by Liz Mundy

9. Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt

10. Broad Band by Claire L. Evans

11. Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver

12. Tom's River by Dan Fagin

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review 2019-03-28 17:02
The Gospel of Wealth Essays and Other Writings
The Gospel of Wealth Essays and Other Writings - Andrew Carnegie,David Nasaw



















There's no doubt in my mind that Andrew Carnegie was immensely special and immensely extraordinary human being, for his writing proves to me that he had a truly unique immensely rich mind with which he had enriched many people's lives. So this book with his essays and his articles was quite a read to me and it offered me a truly special and truly great glimpse into his character and into his personality, and especially his extremely rich mindset. So if you've heard of this man, and wish to learn something about him, especially how he formed his thoughts with which he enriched the minds of others, then this book is like a treasure box for you, for it offers the proof that Andrew Carnegie wasn't just one of the greatest, he was also one of the most noble and one of the most kind human beings and businessmen during the era he lived. 

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