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url 2017-08-16 17:40
My Previous Book Reviews

I started by own book review blog on blogger.com as my New Year's Resolution before I ever found out about this website.  I plan to share all of my reviews on both platforms now, but I would LOVE to have people check out my previous posts.

 

nerdybookshelf.blogspot.com

 

Here's to many more books, many more reviews, and sharing the joy of reading!

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review 2017-08-16 17:32
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business - Charles Duhigg

I recently went to Barnes & Noble to buy some books for my birthday.  I found a table that had a buy 2 get 1 free deal, but you had to pick books on the table.  Immediately I knew two books I wanted.  I had no idea what I wanted for the third book.  So I meandered around, picked up a few different books, read a few different pages, and stumbled across this book.  I had never heard of it before, never heard of the author, and had no idea what it was about.  But I've always been interested in cognitive science (science of the brain) and a "why we do the things we do" study of psychology.  It peaked my interest enough where I picked it up and brought it home.  As soon as I started reading it, I realized I would need a highlighter for all of the morsels of knowledge Duhigg provides along the way.


The book covers three different sections.  The first section explains how habits form as part of every day life.  It breaks down the science behind the formation of habits and how we can change them.  The second part of the book shows how to focus on successful habits to grow an organization or company.  The third part looks at large society groups, like churches or the civil rights movement, and how they respond to habits.  Throughout each section, it continually reminds you how the habits are formed.


As I'm finishing the book, my group of friends has decided to go on a diet starting August 1st.  Here I am reading a book about understanding your habits (both good and bad), learning how to change bad habits and create new habits, and finding the insight to recognize why I may have failed before.  What wonderful insight it has provided for me!  I still have to put in the hard work, but at least I feel like I know what to look for now.  I can follow some of the advice and plans in the book to set myself up for a better chance at success.  I really am intrigued to know if my diet will be more successful now that I've read this book.


Not only did the book make me think about my upcoming diet plans with my friends, but it opened up the thought process for a number of different habits I've formed.  To quote from the first chapter, "more than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day" aren't actual decisions, but habits.  If we can become more observant and retrospective as to why we have created habits for ourselves, it is remarkable to think of the outcome we may be able to have.  Of course, there are positive habits.  Not all of them are negative.  I guess the point is to sit and understand why the habit exists, if it is a positive or negative habit, and if there is a way to change it for the better.  I may not want to change every habit I have ever formed, but I'm hoping that this book has at least given me the option to change some of my habits for the better.

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text 2017-07-29 21:25
Reading List for Anti-Confederates
Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad - Eric Foner
Segu - Maryse Condڻ
  • Considering HBO’s recent and ill-conceived move in terms of future television, I thought I would present a brief list of books to read that will either educate you about slavery that are not objectification.  Please keep in mind that I am undoubtedly missing or forgetting some books simply because my area of interest is not Civil war.  I am trying to highlight books that are slightly less popular than Roots, the works of Frederick Douglas, or Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

 

  1. The Hanging of Angelique by Afua Cooper.   This book is not about American slavery but about slavery in Montreal.  Angelique was a slave woman who was accused and found guilty of setting a fire that destroyed part of the city.  The book details slavery in Canada and illustrates something that people in the United States really don’t know about.  Cooper spent at least 15 years researching this book, and she expands the topic slightly to deal with slaves in the colony in general. 
  2. Kindred by Octavia Butler. So, you can’t read Sci-fi and not include Butler’s book on a list like this.  Butler’s heroine finds herself in a time jump, where she is forced backwards to exist at the same time of her ancestors, including both slaves and the “owner” who raped them.  It is a stunning and wonderful novel.
  3. Segu by Maryse Conde. This novel concerns a family in Africa at a time when both slavery and Islam take hold.  Members of the family responded to the conflicts differently.  While most of the book takes place in Africa, there is a sequence set in the New World that deals with slavery and one members of the family’s reaction to it.  Conde’s writing is impassioned and her characters live.  There is also a sequel, Children of Segu.  Her book I, Tituba is about the slave in the Salem witch trials and is highly recommend as well.
  4. The Benjamin January novels by Barbara Hambly. Hambly’s series is about Ben January a listened doctor who returns to New Orleans from Paris after the death of his wife.   Ben is a black man, his mother and father were slaves, and he cannot practice medicine in New Orleans, which is part of the recent purchase.  The series concerns January solving various crimes while dealing with tensions between Americans and member of New Orleans, as well as the racism that he is subjected to every day.  His mother (a freed slave) and his sisters (both free, one a mistress) also play central roles.  The book takes a harsh look at slavery as well as what free blacks dealt with; Hambly even uses real life cases in the books.  Much of the series’ strength comes from the development of Ben who eventually remarries and resists the slave owning structure.
  5. The Land Shall be Deluged in Blood by Patrick Breen. Breen’s book is a history of the Nat Turner Rebellion.  He presents as much biographical detail about those involved in the Uprising as he can, examines why there wasn’t more support, and compares it with the events of Haiti.
  6. The Underground Railroad by Coulson Whithead. In a slim volume that imagines the Underground Railroad as a truly a railroad, Whithead uses real life examples of reactions and escapes from slavery to chronicle one woman’s fight for freedom.  The book is quick read and worthy of all the praise it gets.  Every section has a real-life story that it is based on.
  7. Gateway to Freedom by Eric Foner. Foner’s book is about the Northern areas on the Underground Railroad.  He looks at the various groups in places lIke Philadelphia who tried to help slaves to freedom.  He also highlights the various laws that made such actions illegal as well as how slave catchers took everyone who was black regardless. 
  8. Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horowitz. This book is less about the Civil War or civility, but about how certain people cannot get over the Confederacy losing.  In other words, Horowitz’s book showcases why a show such as Confederate is wrong.  Scary reading.
  9. And finally – slave narratives. Today, with the advent of ereaders and Project Guttenberg, it is quite easy to read slave narratives in addition to 12 Years A Slave or Narrative of a Life by Frederick Douglass.  This is not only due to the copyright free nature of the works (copyright expired to be more exact) but also Federal Programs that sent people out to record the narratives.  Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Escape in a Chest, William Brown’s narrative (as well as his fiction story about Jefferson’s daughter), Noah Davis’ narrative.  You can also read the works of Ida Wells, who wrote about lynching as well as various anti-slavery tracts.  All for free.
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review 2016-12-05 07:47
Review: Bearly Working (Grizzly List #3)
Bearly Working (The Grizzly List Book 3) - Julia Talbot

This was even more adorable than the first two books of this series. I loved that there was no angst whatsoever in this cute little story.

This had the fastest insta-love of all insta-loves ever. I don’t think they said more than a couple of sentences to each other before the I love yous were bursting out. But hey, it’s true love!

Cute cute cuteness all around with these cuddly bears.

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review 2016-12-04 07:56
Review: One And Only Bear (Grizzly List #2)
One and Only Bear (The Grizzly List Book 2) - Julia Talbot

Very cute bear shifter story.

Bear shifter Oscar thinks a relationship or sex is not for him since he has never felt a lot of attraction to other people. But as any bear he does like to cuddle, so he places an ad in the Grizzly List Weekly for a cuddle buddy.

Big grizzly bear Patrick is intrigued when he sees the ad for a friend to cuddle with. After some online conversations the two decide to meet. Patrick immediately sees that Oscar doesn’t need a friend, he needs a bear like himself to take good care of him.

Everything seems to be going well between the two, when Patrick takes Oscar to meet his friends. When socially awkward Oscar feels overwhelmed Patrick doesn’t understand it, and they end up breaking up.

Of course once Patrick pulls his head out of his ass he is ready to beg for forgiveness if that’s what it takes for the cute white spirit bear to take him back.

I have to admit I’m not a big fan of the break-up trophy (especially the reason, Patrick was being a DICK!), but the cuteness of the rest made up for it. And there is snuggling. Lots of bear snuggling.

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