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review 2014-11-08 13:04
Villagers - Brandy Schillace

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!


Villagers is the second book in the Jacob Maresbeth Chronicles.


I lost all my notes on this book when my eReader decided to go YOLO last week and delete all the books that were on it. You can read all about it in my post Troubles With My Kobo Glo. It now seems that the biggest problem is in fact the lost notes, so, my next reviews will focus a bit less on the weird stuff I noticed whilst reading, because even though I tell myself I will remember it, it all gets a bit blurred especially when reading multiple books at a time.


It's my bad for not reading the first book (I hadn't noticed this was in fact the second book in a series), but I felt like I was missing some things in this book. With a main character named Jacob and him being some weird kind of vampire, it's hard not to think about certain other vampire books for teens, but for the remainder of this review, I won't talk about it.


It's one of weirdest vampire books I've read. Part of me was glad that it didn't play a too big role in the story, but now there was more than once (in the span of just over 100 pages) where I completely forgot he was a vampire (or sort of one). Things don't really get explained, but I guess that's because this is the middle part in a trilogy, famous for adding/explaining little. I think this way I missed both introduction and conclusion, which made it a bit hard to follow.


Besides the vampire part, it's mostly just another book about High School, kids with angst and dating problems. Nothing special. So, why still 2,5 stars? Well, I did have a very enjoyable evening reading it, and it managed to prevent at least some clichés from entering the story, which should at least a little bit be rewarded.

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review 2013-06-29 00:00
Urban Villagers: Group and Class in the Life of Italian-Americans
Urban Villagers: Group and Class in the Life of Italian-Americans - Herbert J. Gans An immigrant neighborhood is slated for destruction and no one can stop it. Even though they failed, no one forgot, and 30 years later a newspaper dedicated to the neighborhood was still in circulation.
Leonard Nimoy ("Spock") had also grown up in that neighborhood.

The writer of Urban Villagers, Gans, was suddenly a full professor at Harvard, when that apparently still meant something. Harvard had (has?) a policy of only giving full professorships to full professors of exceptional merit from other universities.

He arrived in Cambridge as a kind of economic immigrant himself. He describes the Italian-American neighborhood which existed not far from an as yet surviving Italian-American neighborhood which received such extreme praise in [b:The Death and Life of Great American Cities|30833|The Death and Life of Great American Cities|Jane Jacobs|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1168135326s/30833.jpg|1289564]. In that book, Jacobs mainly praises a similar neighborhood for its visual compactness and street layouts optimized for scrutinizing neighbors. A certain amount of such sociological analysis can be ascribed to Italian-American outlooks. Otherwise it would seem laughable for itinerant professors to idealize Boston's tiny neighborhood fiefdoms.

As in a lot of cases, this is a niche academic book which is still highly accessible, but not populist enough to garner ratings on Goodreads. Eye-opening, profound, it helps explain how differences in economic mobility and ways of analyzing the world, inside vs. outside a "village", make survival of an entire village impossible.
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