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text 2017-07-23 00:33
Reading progress update: I've read 73 out of 168 pages.
The Final Conflict: Omen 3 - Gordon McGill
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review 2017-05-13 18:21
Made me think, don't agree with all of it.
Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair - Sarah Schulman

"Snowflakes." Liberal college campuses are denying speakers freedom of speech. Oh, don't like what I said? Do you need a safe space? Are you triggered? Are you upset over the election?

 

While this book is not specifically about any of the above, I definitely thought of some of the ongoing discussions/arguments (depending on how you put it) and the conflicts that arise. Author Schulman takes the reader on why and how things like texting and emails are harmful for communication, the difference between conflict and abuse (and how to resolve them), how this dynamic can manifest on both the personal level and within the public sphere, and so forth. 

 

I was not familiar with her background prior to reading this book but despite some of the mixed reviews I thought this would be an interesting book that would be good reading. And it was, but I'm not sure how helpful this can be since I couldn't help but feel the author is writing very much from her own personal experiences (which in itself is not terrible but not always applicable to other people) and may not fully realize some of the complex issues that go on in many of the situations she writes about.

 

For example, I honestly wondered if she's had bad experiences with the silent treatment or ghosting. She blames the person who refuses to talk for "withholding" and that it's detrimental to everyone involved. Or she talks about an example of receiving an email cancellation for a lunch date and says "Email creates repression and anxiety" (pg 45). She honestly reminded me of anecdotes that I've heard where the romantic relationship ended yet one partner insists on "hashing it out" or "working through our issues" or whatever but it becomes a long, dragged out process where's clear that partner just doesn't want to let go and often doesn't accept it until the other party deliberately puts up barriers (cutting off all contact, blocking on social media, sending a third party to communicate to leave them alone, etc.).

 

Or, in another example in the introduction, she talks about how her high school guidance counselor warned her not to tell her parents about her sexual orientation due to their homophobia. She writes that by doing so "he upheld the distorted thinking, unjustified punishment, and exclusion." Schulman continues to write that if she is in a similar situation now with her students, she offers to speak to the parents, to provide alternatives, "to intervene and stand up to brutality in order to protect its recipient and transform their context" (pg 27). 

 

I honestly found that quite misguided. She made it about her and what she would do but what about the students? What is their background, could they be in danger if they were outed to their parents/peers/community, do they have resources, do they WANT to come out? I do not share her experiences but this made me incredibly uncomfortable. Certainly there are many situations where having someone like a professor speak on your behalf can be quite helpful but I was puzzled by the lack discussion on the possible dangers too. 

 

That said, I think there is merit to the book. I can agree that sometimes there is a reaction for too quick of a judgment in situations that really could be resolved by an honest conversation where both parties do want to resolve the situation before it escalates. Email and texting are handy as forms of communication but sometimes there is an essence lost when communicating that way. 

 

But in the end, I feel the author thinks there should be a greater level of engagement and assumes too much: that both parties want to resolve the situation amiably, that there is an equal dynamic (the want for communication *can* become abusive by demanding someone's time, emotional labor, maybe even money if it requires travel or phone minutes, etc.). On a personal level I can respect that and have encountered people who feel the same way that Schulman does: more communication, that people should be willing to educate, etc. But I do thinks she projects a little too much of her own personal preferences and feels entitled to something that not everyone wants to give.

 

People also liked her chapter on HIV and the chapter on Israel and Palestine but honestly I can't help but be a bit jaded as to how much of her own personal biases may have played a part after the initial chapters. They were also not topics that interested me (and quite frankly felt out of place--sometimes the author really didn't do a great job in switching/transitional between the personal and the not so much). At times it also felt like the author put down a lot of words but didn't actually SAY anything substantive.

 

Again, it made me think and I would be interested in reading more but at the same time it felt like the author is in a bit of a bubble. I'd borrow it from the library or get it as a bargain book.

 

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review 2017-04-24 23:24
Slow Burn
Conflict Management - Rachel White

Pros: 

  • I liked Law once we started to get his POV. He wasn't perfect but he did try to do his best by people.
  • I liked the crime part of the story and would have liked more to be made of this.
  • Christian. Law's brother was unapologetically rude and not just because of his illness.
  • The slow burn
  • Not everything was resolved at the end.

 

Cons: 

  • The slow burn was exceptionally slow which isn't a problem, but Morgan couldn't make his mind up. I'm surprised he didn't give himself whiplash.
  • I'd have liked for them to work on the 'crime' issue together
  • Anita. Bro this, bro that. It got old really quickly.
  • I don't understand [spoiler]why Law got fired for whistleblowing. I'm sure there is protection in place for employees. [/spoiler]
  • Things were repeated, a lot. I'd have liked these to be streamlined for a tighter storyline.

 

Ultimately a story about two insecure men with poor dating history, one who knows what he wants but doesn't think he can have it, and the other unable to decide what/who he wants.

 

I'd be interested to read a story about Christian finding his special someone. He was an interesting secondary character.

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review 2017-04-04 02:13
ARC Review: Conflict Management by Rachel White
Conflict Management - Rachel White

This was my first foray into this author's writing, and it was a complete success. I even added a new shelf for this (doing-the-bossman) because it clearly needed that.

This book is at its core about two socially awkward men, one the PA to the other, both struggling with their own personal issues and trying to do the best they can.

Morgan works as a PA for Lawrence King at the recycled paper company. At first, Morgan really dislikes Mr. King due to his awkward attempts at flirting which Morgan deems creepy (and which are inappropriate, for sure). It's always tricky, I suppose, to tell your boss that you're not receptive to his advances, because that could cost you your job, but it's also sexual harassment.

So initially, things aren't going so well between Morgan and Law(rence), until Morgan tells him what's what, and Law, to his credit, backs off, red-faced, realizing that his attempts at flirting aren't welcome.

But then Law's brother ends up in the hospital, and Morgan sees another side of his boss, and his opinion of the man slowly begins to change. Already impressed by the man's sincere apology for his unwitting creepiness, Morgan finds that he's starting to like the guy more and more, and doesn't quite know what to do with those feelings.

As does their relationship. This is by design sloooooooooow burn, and it needed to be. Law is dealing with his brother's illness, his ex-boyfriend's assholishness, a big merger at the company he works for, and his plate is pretty full. Morgan too has some struggles. His attempt at dating Harvey, a young man he meets at a beach cleanup activity, goes awry when Harvey makes a stupid racial comment, and Morgan, being mixed race, has no time for such a fool.

As Law and Morgan continue to accidentally be in the same place after working hours, the UST between them sizzles, but neither makes a move. Because reasons.

Like I said, sloooooow burn. I loved it. I loved the explosion and the fireworks when they finally got it on. I giggled at the awkward morning after. And how both Law and Morgan struggled to keep their hands off each other, even if they had agreed this would be a one-time thing.

Over the course of the book, Morgan goes from a somewhat insecure young man to developing a strong backbone, unwilling to compromise on his principles, even if it hurts him to do so.

Law too grows throughout the story, even if he required a push from his brother to finally stand up for what's right, and for what he wants.

The intrigue here deals primarily with the company they both work for, and includes embezzlement and fraud, which really drives the plot in the last third of this book.

I really appreciated the inclusion of a strong female character in this book, in Morgan's friend Anita with whom he shares an apartment and who's his sounding board. Their relationship was almost that of a brother and sister, and I really enjoyed the scenes where they were both on page together and bicker like siblings.

I even liked Law's brother Christian, who provided the push Law needed to do what he wanted to do. I intensely disliked Simon, the ex-boyfriend, who's just a narcissistic asshole and who didn't really add anything to the plot at all other than possibly give a little bit of background information to explain parts of Law's personality.

This being billed as a romance, there's a strong and hopeful HFN that really made me believe these two will make it long-term. I'd like to get a glimpse at their future and how they work through the obstacles still in their way at book's end.

This was a great read overall, and I enjoyed myself immensely, reading it in one day because I just didn't want to put it down. Well done!


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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text 2017-03-02 16:28
Where The Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak

Leveling System and Reading level: Lexile AD740L

 

This book is about a little boy who gets in trouble and is sent to bed without his supper. He drifts off and is in a land full of huge monsters. The little boy becomes their king. When he gets back to reality hes more understanding. 

 

I would use this as a writing prompt for the children. I would use this in a 3rd grade classroom. I would ask the children to write about what they would do if they were in that little boys situation. This would be more of a fun writing prompt. 

 

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