Tag «Sociology»

Single Sundays: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Modern Romance (from Goodreads):
A hilarious, thoughtful, and in-depth exploration of the pleasures and perils of modern romance from one of this generation’s sharpest comedic voices

At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?

Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”

But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find a decent person who lived in their neighborhood. Their families would meet and, after deciding neither party seemed like a murderer, they would get married and soon have a kid, all by the time they were twenty-four. Today, people marry later than ever and spend years of their lives on a quest to find the perfect person, a soul mate.

For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before.

In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Nonfiction 2016
Author: Aziz Ansari
Genre: Nonfiction, Humour, Romance, Sociology
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person
Publication Date: June 16, 2015
Source & Format: Audible–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

In the past, I’ve watched a few of Aziz’s stand-up routines and loved to hate his character Tom on Parks and Rec. I found out about his book when he did an interview on the Daily Show explaining its premise and his motivation to do it. He could have gone the traditional routes of writing a book that most comedians do but instead, he decided to look at a serious social question: why is love so hard to find in this modern age? A question that has always been of interest to me.Tom Haverford Parks And Rec Quotes. QuotesGram

So while I was curious to learn more about the modern predicaments of love, I also wanted to try listening to an audiobook that wasn’t particularly a celebrity memoir. I wanted to see if I could handle reading a book that was more fact based than personal biography. Would it capture my attention or would it make me feel like I was sitting through a lecture at school? While I didn’t think the latter would be possible with someone like Aziz narrating the story, it was more a question of the content than the author for me.

The Concept:

I find it fascinating when you look at the stats: divorce rates are up, people are staying single longer, many relationships start online and so many other interesting observations when it comes to modern romance. The dating world today is vastly different from what it was 30 years ago–to even 10 years ago!

What I really liked about Aziz’s book was that it explored all of these facts in one way or another. He tackles a little bit of everything, from online dating to lower birth rates in Japan, using his own personal experience as well as the evidence of various studies and focus groups. And he pretty much attempts to answer every question you have on why romantic relationships have evolved in the way that they have.

The Writing / Narration:

This book had a great flow to it. It starts on a more personal note but eventually progresses to more objective views on everything, with Aziz giving little humourous tidbits along the way. It was very easy to listen too for that reason. I felt like each chapter built on the previous and it felt like I was on the journey with Aziz as he attempted to tackle these questions himself.

Aziz isn’t just spouting out random facts or endlessly listing them either–which would make this book boring. Instead of listening through a lecture, I felt like I was listening to a story unfold. So it kept my attention throughout.

Did it Impact My Life?

I learned quite a bit actually from this book. There were some really interesting studies that will probably stick with me for quite a while: like why having more options can be detrimental or why people prefer to text. I also think it made me evaluate my own stance on romance when it comes to my personal life. Not in a huge, life-changing way, but I think it reminded me to remain open and to not let my preconceptions get in the way of potential relationships. Relationships don’t have to be set in stone nor do they have to follow a predetermined path and this book was good at reminding me of that.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

If you like reading about sociology or insights on modern culture but find non-fiction reads to be dry, I highly recommend this book! It was fresh, fun and very easy to follow. I think I would have enjoyed the printed book just as much as the audio–but if you are a fan of Aziz, I recommend the audio book.

Read if You Like: sociology, humour, lighter nonfiction
Avoid if You: want a sociology book with no humour

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Single Sundays: Your Ex-Boyfriend Will Hate This by Blue Sullivan

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Your Ex-Boyfriend Will Hate This (from Goodreads):
Your Ex-Boyfriend Will Hate This, is a relationship advice book that differentiates itself mostly by not being about dating at all…

Instead, it’s about answering the four core questions in life:

1) Who are you?
2) Where are you?
3) Where are you going?
4) Who are you going with?

The book suggests that the last of these questions can only be satisfactorily resolved by answering the other three first.

You must know who you are before you can know where you are in life.
You must understand where you are in life before you can decide where your life is headed.
You must also know your destination before you can choose the right “travel” partner.

To address these essential questions, we invite the reader to contemplate the origins of:

Their ideas on love.
Their ideas of what constitutes the “perfect” mate.
Their ideas of their own personal “type”.
And most importantly, their ideas of themselves, including their own capacity to love and be loved.

Your Ex-Boyfriend Will Hate This isn’t a set of inflexible rules for who you should be, how you should behave, or who and what you should care about because life is messy, and people are not the same. This book helps you unearth the “rules” which best suit you. Often success in life isn’t about discovering concrete “answers,” it’s about asking the questions better.

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Author: Blue Sullivan
Genre: Nonfiction, Self-Help, Dating, Relationships
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: 2014
Source & Format: Provided by Author–eBook

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I will admit I’ve never read a “dating help-book” before. My romantic life is a little lower than zero so I wasn’t sure if it really was for me. But when I was asked to review this book, I admit my curiosity was peaked. What appealed to me was the promise of self-discovery and enlightenment–not a set of rules that women think men like and need to do in order to “get a man”.

And don’t be deceived by the cover! It isn’t a romance novel at all. It’s a relationship advice novel for women: it is entirely nonfiction!

The Concept:

I can’t stand when my fictional book heroines change who they are to be with their “one true love” — so it TOTALLY doesn’t fly with me in real life! But what I really liked about this book is that the focus is on YOU–as in who are you as a person? What do you like in a partner? Where do you see yourself in a few years? 

The idea is that you have to find out who you are in order to make sure you find the right person to spend the rest of your life with–or have a casual relationship with. That was another thing I really appreciated about this book: it didn’t “slut-shame” or tell women not to explore their sexuality! I thought it was a really modern, open opinion on dating in today’s society and culture and I thought that was great!

And while this book may be geared more towards women who are attracted to men, the basic premise can apply to anyone of any sexual orientation.

The Writing:

This book was funny throughout but serious when it needed to be. I definitely laughed out loud with some lines with their witty cynical sarcasm. The humour didn’t make me feel like I was reading some PhD scholar who has spent his/her entire career researching relationships and was now telling me how to act in a relationship. Instead, it felt like a conversation with a real person who has personal experience and the research to back up their statements. It made the book very easy to read.

Did it Impact My Life?

A little bit. I think because I don’t really have a whole lot of dating experience, a lot of the dating topics didn’t really apply to me. But at the same time, I think the general message of knowing yourself first before you find someone else is the take away lesson for me.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

A fun and informative modern relationship advice novel that has a great message for women: find out who you are first so you aren’t defined by your relationship.

Read if You Like: relationship advice books, humourous nonfiction
Avoid if You: don’t like nonfiction, books about relationships

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Single Sundays: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed (from Goodreads):
For the past three years, Jon Ronson has traveled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us, people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly or made a mistake at work. Once the transgression is revealed, collective outrage circles with the force of a hurricane and the next thing they know, they’re being torn apart by an angry mob, jeered at, demonized, sometimes even fired from their job.

A great renaissance of public shaming is sweeping our land. Justice has been democratized. The silent majority are getting a voice, but what are we doing with our voice? We are mercilessly finding people’s faults. We are defining the boundaries of normality by ruining the lives of those outside it. We are using shame as a form of social control.

Simultaneously powerful and hilarious in the way only Jon Ronson can be, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is a deeply honest book about modern life, full of eye-opening truths about the escalating war on human flaws and the very scary part we all play in it.

breakdown

Author: Jon Ronson (The number of times I typed Ron Jonson: 30)
Genre: Nonfiction, Psychology, Sociology
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m a huge Daily Show (with Jon Stewart) fan. One night, he had Jon Ronson on to discuss his newest book which was this one. The premise fascinated me and he is quite a humourous guy so I knew this book wasn’t going to be particularly dry. (I couldn’t find the Daily Show interview on YouTube but check out his interview with Channel 4 if you are curious)

Social media is so ingrained into society that it’s crazy! Never before have we been so connected to the entire world–and it to us–and I think we often forget that. Who hasn’t heard a story about someone posting something on Facebook only for it to bite them in the ass with their partner or boss finding out? Sometimes the world even gets on their case! It also is the prime method for delivering cyber bullying, often resulting in deadly consequences.

And while social media does have it’s negatives, it does have it’s positives. Social media can cause real change when like minded people band together.

The question Ronson purposes is: when is this “banding-together” taken too far?

The Concept:

This book is basically a documentary but in written form. It has interviews, investigations and history all relating to the topic of public shaming. All are very well researched and thought-out.

While I mostly read this for the social media aspect, I found myself fascinated by the other types of shaming discussed: like prisoners in a jail or public shaming as a verdict for a legal case. There were also some shaming situations that I had never considered before discussed which I found to be really interesting (like “watch your speed” signs”).

Not only does Ronson talk about what public shaming is and its various forms, he also tries to find out why public shaming has the effects that it does on some people and not others. I’m a science student, so I really liked the psychology aspect to this story. It added another layer to this story I think.

The WRiting:

This book had a great flow to it and was easy to follow. I never really got bored with it and it kept my attention from start to finish. Everything was explained clearly and it was broken down nicely. It really felt like you were on this journey with him as he explored the world of public shaming.

Ronson has a witty sense of humour and I found myself chuckling on occasion. His personality showed in his writing and I think that’s what stopped this book from being dry.

Did it Impact My Life?

Yes! It’s funny (in the ironic sense), that the day I started reading this I noticed a video trending in Canada that was a “fail” video about some Jeopardy contestants getting Canadian city questions wrong. I will admit, I’m the first person to watch a fail video because I have a twisted sense of humour. BUT this book made me realize that maybe I am a part of a bigger problem. That by watching that video–even if I’m not saying hateful comments to that person–I’m contributing to the “attack” on that person. How that affects that person can vary (it could ahve positive or negative outcomes) but this book has definitely made me think twice about what I post AND click on when using the internet.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

I really enjoyed reading this book! I found it to be very interesting and easy to read. I think people of all ages can enjoy this book but I encourage those in the “Millennial” generation to give this a read. It never hurts to think twice about the consequences of your social media actions 😉

Read if You Like: documentaries, investigative journalism
Avoid if You: don’t like nonfiction books

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