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review 2017-03-16 12:36
Get Your Sh*t Together - Sarah Knight

Made me think a lot about life and how I am too much of a people pleaser and not enough of a me pleaser.

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text 2017-02-22 16:26
Reading progress update: I've read 71%.
Sh#t Your Ego Says: Strategies to Overthrow Your Ego and Become the Hero of Your Story - James C. McCrae

This book goes from intensely interesting to completely confusing. The parts that are working for me are very eyeopening and thought provoking. Luckily I don't feel the need to force the confusing parts into something real to me

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text 2017-01-01 08:32
2016: The (non-fiction) books I liked best.
The Unknown Unknown: Bookshops and the Delight of Not Getting What You Wanted - Mark Forsyth
Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World - Lawrence Goldstone,Nancy Goldstone
The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase - Mark Forsyth
The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language - Mark Forsyth
Going to Hell in a Hen Basket: An Illustrated Dictionary of Modern Malapropisms - Robert Alden Rubin
Housekeeping vs. the Dirt - Nick Hornby
Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader - Anne Fadiman
Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing - Melissa Mohr
Completely Superior Person's Book Of Words - Peter Bowler
The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well - Meik Wiking

So I read a lot of non-fiction this year.  76 books.  I've been thinking about why my non-fiction reading exploded this year and all I can say is that this year I craved an escape into facts, or as must be evident by my list above, the desire to escape into a bookshop and hide for the duration.


With few exceptions, the ones I liked best, the 5 star books-I-want-to-hug were all about books or words.  A definite theme going on this year.  The exceptions were all over the place though: a gardening book, a cultural anthropology book and an illustrated book of the Psalms.  The two that didn't fit above are below:



The Produce Companion: From Balconies to Backyards--the Complete Guide to Growing, Pickling and Preserving - Meredith Kirton,Mandy Sinclair  The Produce Companion: From Balconies to Backyards--the Complete Guide to Growing, Pickling and Preserving - Meredith Kirton,Mandy Sinclair  









The Illuminated Book of Psalms: The Illustrated Text of all 150 Prayers and Hymns - Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers  The Illuminated Book of Psalms: The Illustrated Text of all 150 Prayers and Hymns - Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers  










My 4.5 star reads this year are also worth mentioning and even more numerous (15) and are much more varied in subject.  More books about books and books about words or grammar, but science and history also make a showing. These are books that were excellent but for whatever reason had something I questioned or found confronting.  With scientific books that's almost always animal related.  Sometimes the book just didn't make me want to hug it, but I still recommend it.  Who knows?  Maybe it'll be one you want to hug. :)  


Fucking Apostrophes

The Gift Of The Magi And Other Stories

The Book of Human Emotion

The Polysyllabic Spree

A Passion for Books: A Book Lover's Treasury 

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology

The Book of the Dead: Lives of the Justly Famous and the Undeservedly Obscure

Lost in Translation

Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen

The Poisoner's Handbook

The Hotel on Place Vendome: Life, Death, and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris

The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons

The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland

The Sceptical Gardener: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Good Gardening

Why The Dutch Are Different: A Journey Into the Hidden Heart of the Netherlands


Happy Reading!

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review 2016-12-13 16:29
My Holiday InD'tale Magazine Reviews #2
Tempting the Dryad: A Fada Novel Book 3 (The Fada Shapeshifter Series) - Rebecca Rivard

Read full review HERE

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2016/12/my-2016-holiday-indtale-magazine-reviews.html
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-11-15 09:07
Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing
Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing - Melissa Mohr

I'm sticking an overall "Spoiler" alert on this post as a general warning for anyone who is uncomfortable with the subject of swearing, obscenity or profanity.  Just pass this post on by.  Also it's REALLY long.


Did I like this book?  Fuck yeah!  


Seriously though, this is an excellent, concise history of what humanity has considered to be socially unacceptable to say or write since Biblical times.  Incredibly easy to read, and written in an accessible style that does justice to the academic research behind it while never taking itself too seriously; I had a really hard time not reading out a great deal of it to MT (and at the same time finding certain passages impossible to read out loud).


Mohr breaks it down to 6 chapters: Roman, Biblical, Middle Ages, Renaissance, 18th/19th centuries and finally "Fuck 'Em All" - modern swearing and where we go from here.  She uses the titular phrase as a loose premise: how swearing has moved from the Holy to the Shit and back again through time (because as she explains, all 'swearing' - until the more modern creation of racial slurs - was based either on religious oaths or bodily functions).


I expected the book to start off slow because I find ancient history tedious; full of unfamiliar names and dates I can't keep track of.  That certainly wasn't a problem here.  Chapter one - To Speak with Roman Plainness was quite possibly the most confronting chapter of the entire book for me.  In the Introduction Mohr explains that researchers have found certain swear words cause a measurable physiological response in people; these words induce a greater level of skin conductivity than other emotive words like cancer or death.  Chapter 1 had my skin snapping, because the Romans' favourite vulgarity was, - excuse the immaturity but I can't even type it, the c-word - and the author did not share my shyness. In fact this word was possibly used more often than fuck until the Renaissance; the index at the back of the book certainly has more entries for the it. 


With skin still twitching, I dove into chapter 2, the Biblical.  Wow.  Wow because I thought I knew how colourful the Old Testament is but it turns out I didn't.  And wow because there's some great theological information here behind oaths - why we take them and why they've always been considered sacrosanct.  The broad stokes were nothing new, but the subtleties were eye opening.


The remaining chapters were less of a surprise, but still incredibly interesting.  The sub section on Euphemisms in the Victorian age is hysterical.  Quick trivia question:  What were these words used to describe?:








Answer:  Trousers.  Victorians couldn't say trousers because they are what covered legs and legs were attached to...  at this point any good Victorian woman would have already fallen into a swoon and marriages were likely being arranged to avoid scandal.


It's also the Victorian chapter where I found a word obsolete since 1886 that I am personally going to try to bring back:  nackle-ass.  Means poor, mean, paltry or inferior and I find it oddly appealing.


The final chapter looks at our modern day embracement of all things Holy and Shit and the rise of a new class of obscenity: the racial slur.  She touches on legal rulings of what can and can't be said under the First Amendment and the British hate speech laws and the ambiguity inherent in trying to legislate speech.  Mohr wraps up the book with another scientific study showing that swearing when you're injured really does help:  researchers have found that subjects plunging their arms in ice water can hold that arm under up to 40 seconds longer if they swear as opposed to saying a neutral word.  So next time you stub your toe, let 'er rip - you'll feel better!


It's obvious I loved this book and highly recommend it to anyone curious about our language and its history and has a healthy amount of tolerance for just how bawdy and colourful it can be.  I guarantee you'll learn something.  :)


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