A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns is a 60-page guide, in comic form, to using singular they/them pronouns, including how to handle it if you mess up, a script for introducing yourself with your pronouns and asking others for theirs, ideas for trying to move away from gendered language in your workplace, and more. Archie Bongiovanni identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, while Tristan Jimerson identifies as male and uses he/him pronouns, so the work includes a couple different perspectives.
I had seen a bunch of mentions of this online and picked it up thinking that it would primarily be an introduction to they/them pronouns geared towards employers and employees. It can function that way, and from that perspective, I particularly liked the last few pages (quick and easy pronoun reference chart, scripts for asking about someone's pronouns and what to say when you mess up someone's pronouns, quick and easy ideas for using gender neutral language). They sum things up nicely and could serve as handouts in trainings.
I also liked the idea about group leaders starting things off by having everyone introduce themselves with their names and pronouns, and Jimerson's section about trying to train himself out of using gendered language in his workplace (he runs a small restaurant) made me realize there's a lot more to it than pronouns. For example, employees will often refer to customers as Sir or Ma'am, something that, in my area, would be culturally ingrained as well.
About two thirds of the book was geared towards folks who probably don't use they/them pronouns and may be trying to incorporate them into their language. The other third was geared more towards non-binary readers - basically advice and pep talks about dealing with people who've never used singular they and didn't even know it was a thing, and people who aren't fully supportive or who are consistently rude or awful.
There was one part of the book that gave me pause. In the section on how to find out someone's pronouns, the authors provide one sample script and then include a couple questions not to ask. One of those questions is "What pronouns do you prefer?" because "By using the word 'prefer,' you're suggesting that gender is a preference" (29). Although gender is not a preference, there are enough pronoun options that I don't think it's out of line to consider pronouns a preference.
Overall, it's a nice little guide, but the title really means it when it says it's quick. It doesn't dig very deeply into any of the topics it covers, and it doesn't point readers to any particular more in-depth resources (no "Recommended Resources" section).
I debated over whether to give this 3.5 stars or 4. I settled on 3.5 stars because there were times when a few more pages of info would have been nice, even considering that this was written to be a quick guide. At the very least a "recommended reading" section should have been included.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)
The interaction between the Divine and man are considered some of the most important and inspiring moments within each of the Abrahamic faiths, yet the question always is who was the Divine? Zecharia Sitchin reviews Divine Encounters throughout the ancient Near East whether recorded in the Bible or on cuneiform tablets in this companion volume to his series, The Earth Chronicles.
Through the first three-quarters of the book, Sitchin reviews numerous encounters that he has previously written about. Among these topics are the Creation of Man (the “first encounter”) and the Fall, the sexual encounters between the divine and man, the Flood, and man’s search for immortality all with their own specific chapters. Sitchin also covers visions, oracle dreams, and angels which he has previous mentioned and written about in his books, but never dedicated time to looking into them before. Where Sitchin really covers new material is the theophany at Mount Sinai, discussing the Prophets of the Old Testament, and finally an essay in which Sitchin examines which Annunaki was the God of the Old Testament.
For those that have read most of Sitchin’s books before, the majority of this book is a review of the previous five books he had written at the time of the publication. The only new ground that Sitchin covered was in the last quarter of the book in which he really examines Exodus, the Old Testament Prophets, and he examination of which Annunaki was the God of the Old Testament which resulted in a surprising conclusion especially for those reading this book for the first time.
Divine Encounters is a book geared for people who have never read any of Zecharia Sitchin’s work, but included material at the very end that was new for long time readers. While I liked the new material, the fact I had to reread nearly 300 pages of topics I’ve read over the course of five books was annoying. So if you’re a longtime read of Sitchin’s, get this book to complete your collection but read it last. If you’re a first time reader of Sitchin, the vast majority of the book will give insight into Sitchin’s theories which are fully fleshed out—except what is covered in the last quarter of the book—in The Earth Chronicles series.
‘Oh, Dad, how little you know,’ said Liv, her head returning to her phone.
How little I know. I have a feeling this one cold, hard sentence, uttered from my twelve-year-old daughter’s lips, might sum up my life.
Ben Robinson is an art teacher, in his mid-40s, and is trying to figure out how he'll survive the upcoming summer holidays -- 6 weeks with his three kids, and a marriage who's spark is gone out (possibly for good). Oh yeah, and an aging father with dementia moving in with them, rather than a nursing home. Meanwhile, he's trying to prepare for a half-marathon, which is about a whole marathon more than he's ready for.
We get a day by day (or close to it) account of how this goes for Ben. The short version is: not very well. Particularly in the beginning. Ben meddles in his fifteen year old son's love life (with some really bad sex tips -- all of which I'm considering passing on to my kids), cannot understand his twelve-year-old daughter's social media life (and nascent pubescence), and derails his eight year old son's summer plans without trying. Things go downhill from there, really.
His dad is having trouble remembering that he doesn't live in the same home, or that his wife has been dead for a few years -- this is a source of strain for both Ben and his father -- and the relationship becomes strained. Ben is having trouble seeing his father this way, and his father is having trouble being this way. Both are trying their best, but this
Speaking of a strained relationship, the number of things wrong with his marriage keeps growing, and every thing that Ben tries to do to fix it just makes things worse. He and his wife aren't communicating well -- one of those problems that keeps feeding itself and growing worse.
Throw in an accidental participation in an anti-Brexit demonstration, a road rage incident leading to social media notoriety for one member of the family, teen romance problems, summer-altering injuries, and well -- clearly, someone needs to write a survival guide.
As Ben and his family try to get through their struggles intact -- and maybe even better than that -- there's plenty of fodder for humor. There's a lot of heartwarming material, some real laughs and more than a few chuckles. There's some really effective writing and characterization.
However, there's also Rance's need to go for the big laugh. And here, he basically turns Ben into Basil Fawlty -- with all the wild schemes, failing schemes, shouting, misunderstandings and slapstick involved. I don't think any of these scenes or moments worked for me. When he's going for subtle laughs, or those that grow from character, I really enjoyed it. When the subject matter is serious (or at least non-comedic), Rance is really strong. It's when he's obviously trying that he falters.
‘Marriage,’ said Dad. ‘There’s always ups and downs. You just keep riding it, son. It’s like a rollercoaster. You can’t get off, so you just hold on, and do your best to enjoy it.'
‘I’m holding on for dear life, but life is harder than it was, Dad. The world has changed. The rollercoasters are bigger and scarier now. The drops are bigger, the hills higher.’
‘Oh tosh. The world might change, but people don’t. Love is still love, clear and simple. Don’t blame the world for your problems, son. Hold on tighter. Love stronger.’
That's one of the more earnest moments -- and there are plenty of them in the latter part of the novel, all set up well in the early part -- and it shows the heart of the book -- and there's plenty of heart. Rance won me over, and got me to put more of his books on my list because of these kind of moments, and the genuine laughs I got from the smaller moments, I've got more of his stuff on the TBR.
It's a nice, pleasant book that'll tickle your funny bone and warm your heart.