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text 2017-12-31 12:49
December 2017 Wrap Up
Bad Feminist: Essays - Roxane Gay
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race - Margot Lee Shetterly
Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape - Jenna Miscavige Hill,Sandy Rustin,Lisa Pulitzer

Last monthly wrap up of 2017. So many DNFs.....

 

Challenges

BL/GR: 166/150 Complete!

Pop Sugar: 52/52 Complete!

Library Love: 2; 54/36 Complete!

16 Tasks: 32 points total

 

Books Read:

1. Saga Volumes 2-4 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples - 4 stars to each volume

 

2. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterley - 5 stars (Recommend especially to the Flat Earth Society reading group, but I am going to be recommending this book to EVERY DAMN BODY in 2018)

 

3. Let Us Dream (from the anthology Daughters of a Nation) by Alyssa Cole - 2.5 stars

 

4. Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected by Kelle Hampton - 0 stars

 

5. Selected Poems of Langston Hughes by Langston Hughes - 2 stars

 

6. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang - 3.5 stars

 

7. I Know What I Am, But What Are You? by Samantha Bee - 3 stars

 

8. Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxanne Gay - 4 stars

 

Books Re-Read:

9. Saga Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

 

Currently Reading: Beyond Belief: My Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill (50% completed)

 

 

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review 2017-12-25 19:15
Review: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race - Margot Lee Shetterly

I watched the movie back in January and it was great. And then I kept putting off reading the book, even though I earmarked it for the Pop Sugar Challenge prompt. So comes December and I am down to two prompts left and figure now is the time to read it. After finishing, I could have kicked my own butt for waiting so long.

 

Image result for iceberg book meme

 

So we have all seen this meme from time to time. Exhibit A to prove this meme true is Hidden Figures. Great if you saw the movie, but the women profiled had much longer careers at NACA/NASA then the movie portrayed and did much more than that one mission. Although my favorite lady in the movie was Katherine Goble Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn won my heart in the book (I thought NASA did her dirty at the end of her career). Shetterly also deftly brings historical context to showcase what these ladies were up against and how they achieved success on their own standards. It was more than Jim Crow; it was the Depression, their own families, WW II, and their colleagues.

 

I highly recommend this book!

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text 2017-12-25 16:00
Even More Festive Tasks and Books
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race - Margot Lee Shetterly
I Know I Am, But What Are You? - Samantha Bee
Dime Store Magic - Kelley Armstrong
[(Butterfly Swords)] [By (author) Jeannie Lin] published on (October, 2010) - Jeannie Lin
A Rose for Major Flint (Brides of Waterloo) - Louise Allen
Echoes in Death - J.D. Robb
Emma And The Outlaw - Linda Lael Miller

Square 15 - Newtonmas

Book: Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly (5 stars - HIGHLY RECOMMEND)

 

Task: I am appreciating the alchemy that Arizona Diet Green Tea, apple liqueur from a local vineyard, and Jack Daniels' Honey whiskey has on my spirit while I peruse my dashboard while the holiday dinner is prepped and cooking. No reason for the diet version of the tea other than I like it a little more than the original formula. Next glass I am going to substitute mead for the whiskey.

 

 

Square 12 - Festivus

Book: I Know What I Am, But What Are You? by Samatha Bee (3 stars)

Task: Perform the Airing of Grievances

 

The books chosen for this task all have something in common - hype for the series or author that elevated my expectations, and that in reading these books my expectations were not only met, but plummeted to their death in the most gruesome way. And yet I read these books all the way to the end in desperate hope that they would end better than the 90% of the story. I was wrong to hope.

 

1. Dime Store Magic by Kelly Armstrong

     Weak-ass witches, dumbass villains, and a plot centered on a 13 year old girl's first menses. I should have taken the DNF and just not read for that Halloween bingo square. I don't understand how this author is so popular in the paranormal romance sub-genre - the writing was as weak as the witches.

 

2. Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin

     Aka A Walking Tour of Tang Dynasty China. Horrible first book except that readers get a small taste of the MCs in the second book (which was great! seriously, skip the first book and just start with the second). The only thing the dumbass heroine knew how to do well was runaway. So. Much. Walking.

 

3. A Rose for Major Flint by Louise Allen

    The first two books, written by other authors, were wonderful so I got my hopes up that the final book in the trilogy would send the series out on a high note. It failed miserably. This was basically a Harlequin Presents dressed up in early 19th century clothing. I was very much looking forward to Major Flint's story, but by the end I wished I didn't bother starting the book. I was so bored for most of this book that I would put it down to do household chores. A shallow, self-absorbed, manipulative brat of a heroine that is a dime a dozen in Regency romance. But it's too late as she and Adam have intimate relations and now Adam feels he has to marry the twit. Adam should have left her on the battlefield, honestly. 

 

4. Echoes in Death by JD Robb

    It's at this point in the series (book #44) that I am ready for the series to be done. Just give Eve her captain bars and let her ride the desk until retirement. The ghost writing is so strong in this novel and nobody wants three books worth of damn house renovations. The side characters were out of character (*side-eyes Peabody*). I am also tired of the crimes in the series - seems like the plot lines are ripped from Law & Order: SVU, just raping and brutalizing women and children. Of course the killer is a serial rapist and murder with Mommy issues (well, technically, Auntie issues). 

 

5. Emma and the Outlaw by Linda Lael Miller

    Old skool romance that is just too crazy to make it a "so bad it's good". Originally published in 1991, I read a 2014 reprint that wasn't updated at all. Once the sex starts between Steven and Emma it doesn't stop. EVERY CHAPTER after Steven takes Emma's v-card in a field of daisies has at least one sex scene. Steven really likes Emma's breasts;  so much nipple sucking and licking. Seriously after a while, the sex scenes were just repetitive nonsense. And there is endless threats of rape and one attempted rape of the heroine. But it is the not so subtle racism in this book that made me want to throw my NOOK at the wall. Memo to publishers/authors: before reprinting old romances, revise/update/edit the fuck out some shit that you got away with earlier, for modern readers are going to red flag that shit. Between the racism and the constant verbal rape threats/real sexual assaults by Macon and Fulton on Emma, I started to become sick and couldn't wait for the book to end (I was curious about the killer's identity).

 

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text 2017-12-08 22:27
Friday Reads - December 8, 2017
Burning Bright: Four Chanukah Love Stories - Jennifer Gracen,KK Hendin,Stacey Agdern,Megan Hart
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race - Margot Lee Shetterly
When Dimple Met Rishi - Sandhya Menon

This weekend I am getting my Bah-Humbug self into the holiday spirit even if I need alcohol to do it. The tree is up in its place of honor (second floor landing) and lights strung; the kids just need to put the ornaments on. I'm taking the boy child out tomorrow so he can shop for the family gifts; girl child will get to do it on Monday. I am baking lots of cookies this weekend for Monday's cookie drive on base (spouses' group makes bags of homemade cookies for every Airman living in the dorms - roughly 12,000 cookies are needed).

 

So with what little time I have to read this weekend/upcoming week, here is what I plan to read:

 

1. Burning Bright: Four Chanukah Love Stories by Various Authors

     Hanukkah starts on December 12th. We celebrate (kind of) on the first night.

 

2. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

    For an upcoming square and for Pop Sugar. I've already seen the movie and loved it. I'm hoping some non-fiction gets me out of my DNF streak of late.

 

3. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

    Impulse borrow from the library

 

COYER starts next weekend, so I am trying really hard not to read off my list until then. I am seriously striking out on the books for the 16 Tasks for the Festive season challenge - I just DNF'd another book tonight.

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review 2017-11-28 13:09
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race - Margot Lee Shetterly

Alright, you guys know that I'm basically down for anything aerospace, so it was inevitable that I was going to read this part historical, part biographical overview of coloured women who worked at NACA and later NASA at Langley. And I have to say that it was interesting because I knew next to nothing about the role of the early computers (human computers) that did all the number crunching before electronic computers were used and while a lot of the bugs were being ironed out when they finally were rolling out.

 

I did go into information overload a few times because I just didn't know that many details about the history of segregation in Virginia and the American South (broad strokes, yes, but a lot of the specific people were unfamiliar, and it seems crazy to literally close all the schools instead of integrating them...sigh). It does help explain some of the things I'd observed in American TV shows over the years without really understanding why things were like that. I also found that the last few chapters seemed less focused and could have been much stronger. It was a case of trying to include too many people, I think.

 

Oh well. It was still an interesting read and I recommend it. You know, compared to some of the books marketed as "science" that I've read recently, there were far fewer physical descriptions and digressions, and the ones that were there were generally appropriate since this book is part biography.

 

Related post:

Musings on 16 Festive Tasks Squares

(first part of the book focuses on WWII)

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