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Search tags: biography-and-memoir
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review 2017-11-29 23:54
The Art of Asking
The Art of Asking - Amanda Palmer

I was not prepared for what I got in this book. I knew it was a memoir, but it really does focus on asking and all ways we ask people for things and all the things we don't ask for until it hurts too much. It's a beautiful book and made me realize that  I really need to work on asking more.

I absolutely loved this book. I'll be honest, I hadn't actually heard of Amanda Palmer before seeing this book. I'm not as big into music as I am books and I've rarely gone to Kickstarter, so it's not much of a surprise either. I listened to her TED talk (and I do love TED!), which covers many of the same bases as her book. I'd consider it a really condensed version.

The art of asking is really rather genius, though it's not exactly foreign to my life. There's a connection between what Palmer refers to as the art of asking and my husband's work in the church. Churches don't make people pay for their services, they ask. But churches are dying off and Kickstarters are getting more money every day. They seem to have lost the art to it. I have recommended the book to him and I hope he reads/listens to it.

I listened to it, which was definitely the way to go. Palmer narrates the book and she even sings a song between chapters occasionally. For me, it did just as promised in the blurb. It made me rethink some things, specifically what it means to ask instead of demand and to share the process of creating art with those around us.

I hate Twitter but I understand her love of it. I've never been good at starting conversations with people in front of me. I've never been good at being seen or letting others know that I see them. With these in mind, the book has created a degree of fear that I will never get to where I want to be. But then it always comes back in a haunting sort of way. I can get there, but I have to grow first and I have to do the things that need to be done.

Plus, I want connection when I get there, not adoration or whatever. It made me pay a bit more attention to the Twitter feeds of the artists I do admire. It makes me want to connect with them on some small level. I'm working up to it. I followed a few more since reading this, mostly comic creators that I love. Reaching out for connection is a little terrifying. But I think about standing on that box, trying to give someone a flower. I want to try something like that one day.

I loved that the book began with a introduction by Brene Brown. Some of you may recall my love for her and her work. Their messages share that connection can only happen after the risk of vulnerability. It only happens when we've reached out to someone who can reject us, but doesn't. If they are forced, it's not connection.

There were plenty of adorable anecdotes, but the meat of the book rests on just what the title implies. There is an art to asking. The book also dives pretty deeply into the art that can be present in giving. Some give, and some do so artfully. There is a difference. My mother has been one of those who give artfully. She has a way of not making the recipient feel shame, which is also important to connection. Palmer sums it up in "take the donut" or "take the flower". I love food, so I prefer "take the donut". I will also have to work on taking to donut in the future. I tend to be the bashful sort that prefers people keep their donut but totally appreciates the offer.

Has anyone else read this book? Did it make you take another look at asking, giving, receiving, connection, vulnerability.....?

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quote 2017-09-23 22:39
"It's not irony or satire if it's indistinguishable from the real thing. Shouting slurs at people isn't somehow mitigated by whether you really, secretly mean it or not."
Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate - Zoe Quinn

Crash Override by Zoe Quinn, page 75 (footnote)

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text 2017-07-04 03:02
This choice of July's Kindle First may just be a winner ...
The Sky Below: A True Story of Summits, Space, and Speed [Kindle in Motion] - Scott Parazynski,Susy Flory

Well, the husband — who is absolutely almost never a reader of fiction (meaning he can read but just doesn't for fun) — saw the spacesuit helmet cover on The Sky Below (I downloaded to the fire to checkout the Kindle motion features and all the video added).

 

He has been engrossed and even sometimes chortling ever since. He is actually frustrated that I won't talk about the book with him because haven't read yet or been in mood to start a memoir.

 

So, it may be a damn good book or it may be a damn good book just for old men.  It's definitely a kindle first getting read rather than just downloaded while free.

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review 2017-06-19 03:38
Hidden Figures - The Movie

 

Our number came up on the hold list for the movie Hidden Figures. I don't watch a lot of movies (since I'm too busy reading instead) but I'd been curious how they were going to condense 20+ years into a movie that wasn’t a documentary.  There were quite a number of changes because of the limitations of creating a reasonable length movie.  Primarily, the movie only covering a few years in the early 1960's, years which occur in the middle of the story told by the book, and by creating several composite characters.

 

I generally think the movie was well done. I liked how the coffee pot in Katherine Goble/Johnson's lab stood in for the repeated tensions about the sign on the colored tables in the lunchroom. While a bit overdramatic, I think the bathroom “runs” to the other side of the campus – work in hand – were a nice touch to show both inconvenience and dedication. I liked the visual of how the "girls" in their brightly colored dresses popped out of the sea of caucasian engineers in white shirts.  And while a stock Hollywood trope, I liked the march of the former West Computers to their new lives in the IBM mainframe lab.

 

I didn't like how the movie turned Katherine's checking the numbers for John Glenn's Freedom 7 trajectory into a last minute nail-biter. While the time shifting of the true request to have a human check the numbers generated by the IBM computer, for the sake of the movie they felt the need to raise the stakes and add a false crisis. 

 

In the book, the focus was clearly on the women and their accomplishments and while the sexism and racism of the day was ever present, I felt like it wasn't the focus of the story.  In the movie format, with the need to center the composite characters played by big stars Kevin Costner and Jim Parsons, I almost felt like the movie was too much about racism and sexism and not enough about how the women developed and what they accomplished.  But some of that may just be the time limitations of a movie.

 

In closing, I'm glad I took the time to watch Hidden Figures soon after I read the book, but I'm also glad that I waited to watch it at home for the cost of a trip to the library to pick up the DVD rather than paying theater prices. 

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review 2017-06-15 17:27
[Book Review] Believe me
Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens - Eddie Izzard

Eddie Izzard's comedy is like a cultural language in itself.  You can identify people by their jokes and quips. 

"Cake or death?" 

"I was on the moon, with Steve!" 

"Obviously, Hitler never played Risk as a child." 

Et al.  There's a joy in discovering another fan and playing with the shared joy of Izzard's humor, and I've adored him since I discovered him and his embodiment of genderfuck while in my early teens.



Believe Me is like a conversation with Izzard.  The voice is so unmistakable that reading the book one cannot but help hear Izzard narrating in one's head.  The memoir is poignant and touching, with a deft seasoning of Izzard's humor, and a careful handling of painful and difficult subjects.

I also highly recommend the audiobook, read by Izzard, and enriched with "live footnotes" as Izzard makes on-the-fly additions to the text and existing footnotes.

Advance Reader Copy courtesy of Penguin RandomHouse in exchange for an honest review; changes may exist between galley and the final edition.

Source: libromancersapprentice.blogspot.com/2017/06/book-review-believe-me.html
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