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Search tags: general-non-fiction
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review 2017-07-21 07:17
Other-Wordly
Other-Wordly: Words Both Strange and Lovely from Around the World - Kelsey Garrity-Riley,Yee-Lum Mak

I'm a sucker for words; especially unusual words, or foreign-language words that have no straight translation into English, and the beauty of this book's cover made it impossible to resist it, even though I already have similar books.

 

Luckily this small but beautifully illustrated collection of words are almost entirely different from those found in the books I already have and the author also included English words that are rarely used or hardly known (Deipnosophist, n, someone skilled in small talk or in conversing around the dining table).

 

Bonus points to the author and publisher for including not only an index of the words themselves, but an index of the words by language.  Demerit points because once again nobody thought to include a pronunciation guide, and figuring out how to pronounce cwtch (Welsh, n, hug or cuddle; a safe place; the cupboard beneath the stairs) is beyond my meagre abilities to even guess.

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text 2017-06-12 00:40
DNF at 19%
Poison Pills: The Untold Story of the Vioxx Drug Scandal - Tom Nesi

I only read part one of this book, but I feel I got the basic outline on what happened. The writing is not really compelling in narrative; rather than unraveling the story in a coherent manner, the author throws all the different plot points at the reader all at once in a badly written newspaper-like tone. Dry, incoherent, and disorganized adds up to a boring read.

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review 2017-06-07 10:25
Review: Not My Father's Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming
Not My Father's Son: A Memoir - Alan Cumming

Content Warning: involves scenes of child physical abuse

 

Alan Cumming's memoir is an unflinching look at the physical, mental, and emotional toll that child physical abuse takes on the child later in life and how one man went about healing from the abuse. I really liked how the book was structured; each chapter is set up in a then/now format, so there specific moments highlighted and how that moment resonates in the now.

 

The book follows three storylines, all with the theme of fatherhood: Alan's father/abuser is dying of cancer and drops a bombshell on Alan and his brother that they must figure out if it is true or not; Alan's time on the BBC documentary series Who Do You Think You Are? as he explores the life of his maternal grandfather; and how his first marriage ended after his wife and him explored the idea of parenthood and his mental breakdown. All while talking of difficult topics such as the abuse and his mental health low points, there are lines of sparkling wit that Cumming is known for to lighten the mood a touch (OMG, that Patty Smith/Mary J. Blige/Harvey Weinstein story was hilarious!). Cumming is honest in that he sought out professional therapy and that his healing was in a constant state of progress throughout the highs/lows of his career.

 

Definitely recommend.

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review 2017-05-24 07:14
Make Your Own Lunch by Ryan Porter
Make Your Own Lunch: How to Live an Epically Epic Life Through Work, Travel, Wonder, and (Maybe) College - Ryan Porter

This is one of those books you give to high school students or beginning college students.  The author provides motivational stories on making your own decisions about what you want to do with your life aka "make your own lunch".  The book is amusing and well written.  It's not a bad book, but I wonder how realistic some of the advice is.

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review 2017-05-22 09:12
The Wonderful Weekend Book
The Wonderful Weekend Book: Reclaim Life's Simple Pleasures - Elspeth Thompson

One of my impulse buys from the library sale, I thought it would be a fun source of inspiration for new weekend activities.  

 

As it turns out, the author and I are apparently on the same page when it comes to ways of enjoying a weekend:  most of the things she recommends or suggests are things we already do, to some extent.  Except learning to play the ukulele - er, no thanks, I'll pass on that one.  Still, MT and I are guilty of the weekly Sunday shop; something both he and I dread, and even though we take advantage of farmer's markets, there's just always something on the list that can't be gotten without a supermarket trip.  (We're not quite ready to trust online grocery shopping yet, either.)

 

There are a lot of good ideas here, helpfully broken down by season and all-year-round activities.  While the ideas are universal to all, the main drawback is that the book is entirely UK-centric, providing liberal lists of UK sources and the author's anecdotes about great places to stay or things to do in the UK.  The debate about how worthwhile it is to go to France to stock up on alcohol seems a particularly moot one to someone living in Australia (or anywhere else that isn't Europe for that matter).

 

Frankly, it's not a book I'd say is worth buying in the shops, but if your library has it, or like me, you find it for a buck at the library sale, it's not a bad source for ways to mix your weekend up a bit.

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