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review 2017-06-22 22:16
Love is Love
Love is Love - Phil Jimenez,Various

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review 2017-06-19 08:27
Origins of Totalitarianism
The Origins of Totalitarianism - Hannah Arendt

This wasn't what I'd hoped it would be, but I think the fault was probably my expectations rather than the book itself. I'm not much for philosophy; I much prefer history. I was hoping for a thorough, fact-driven analysis of the various totalitarian regimes throughout history, determining key characteristics and similarities. Instead, it's a philosophical treatise on Arendt's view of how the Jews became the scapegoats and how Nazi Germany gained power. Fully one-third of the book is taken up with Arendt's analysis of the rise of antisemitism in Europe. The rest involves grandiose oft-repeated axioms based entirely on Nazi Germany. It talks about the importance of a key central figure and an isolating ideology that includes a sense of exceptionalism, etc, etc, but I can't say I feel much more enlightened now that I've finally (finally!) finished it. And maybe there's a stylistic thing, too-- to me, it felt like her grand assertions were stated over and over, and despite the book's length, there was precious little hard evidence to back them up.

The most intriguing part of the story isn't even told in this book: for all of her stony detachment when talking about antisemitism and Hitler and the rise of the Nazis, Arendt was herself a German Jew who escaped to America. I think I would have found her philosophizing far more powerful if she'd allowed a bit of the human element to seep through.

All in all, while I'm relieved to have finished it, I'm glad I picked it up in the first place. While I found it a dry read, it was still an interesting one, such as her comparison of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes and her assertion that autocratic regimes seek to repress opposition while the core goal of totalitarian regimes is domination and control. While it wasn't a great fit for me, I'm sure it's a phenomenal book if you're a fan of philosophy and have an attention span that's a mile longer than mine.
 

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review 2017-06-19 08:26
Foundations of Drawing
Foundations of Drawing: A Practical Guide to Art History, Tools, Techniques, and Styles - Al Gury

I picked up Foundations of Drawing because I've always enjoyed casual doodling and am always interested in opportunites to improve my techniques. Foundations is a gorgeous book, with carefully chosen illustrations at least every other page. However, don't go into the book looking to learn basic drawing skills or improve your techniques. At its core, I think this is more of an art history/ art appreciation book. Only the last twenty pages or so, which are very high-level "walkthroughs" of still lives, portraits, figure studies, etc, were much in the direction of artistic instruction. The majority of the book delves deeply into the history of different materials and techniques as well as discussing various artistic schools and styles. While I didn't really learn anything to improve my art, I did learn a lot, from new artistic terms such as sfumato to the effects of different papers and brush materials. If you're interested in the history and logistics of art, or if you want a coffee table book full of gorgeous and thoughtfully-chosen artwork, then Foundations of Drawing may be worth a look.

~~I received an advanced reader copy of this ebook from the publisher, Ten Speed Press, in exchange for my honest review.~~

Cross-posted on Goodreads.
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review 2017-06-12 05:47
Modern Romance
Modern Romance - Aziz Ansari,Eric Klinenberg

This book was fine, and interesting but I listened to it on audio and really just didn’t enjoy Ansari’s narration, this may have been in part because I listened to it at 1.6 and I think he got extra chipmunky. Also nothing in this book was actually that new or surprising to me thought maybe that’s because I’ve watched my friends go through dating in the modern world. Personally I’m just glad that I’m one of the few people now a days who met her spouse through work and didn’t have to deal with all the stress of online/tech based dating.

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review 2017-06-08 02:32
The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women - Kate Moore

A riveting and thoroughly researched history of the young American women whose lives were irreversibly changed by radium. During World War I, dozens of young women, some still teenagers, were hired to paint dials numbers and hands with a magical substance called radium. No one told them it was toxic. The numbers and hands were so small, the girls only had one option to get the brush fine enough to paint them properly: put them in their mouths.

 

Lip, dip, paint. Over and over again.

 

When the girls started getting sick, no one could figure out the cause. It took some time before anyone even considered that what they did at the factory could be the cause. And when even a hint of blame was placed on the radium, the company worked as hard as it could to divert the blame to something, anything else.

 

It took decades for the young women, many of whom had died horrible, painful deaths decades before they were meant to pass, to get justice. Moore tells the never-before-heard story in painstaking detail. Truly an incredible book.

 

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for this honest review.

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