Tag «Nonfiction»

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.

breakdown

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

similarreads

Connect: Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Single Sundays: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

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 Why Not Me? (from Goodreads):

In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.

In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions,” Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady,” she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”) And in “Soup Snakes,” Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”)

Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.

breakdown

Author: Mindy Kaling
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Humour
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Source & Format: Own–Audiobook | This was a giveaway gift from the awesome Tonya @ Lilybloombooks

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I won Tonya’s audiobook twitter giveaway, I struggled to come up with a book to pick. But when I looked at where I was on the hold list for Mindy’s Why Not Me?, I decided that it would be a great choice (I was VERY far down on the hold list and really wanted to read it sometime in the near future).

I really enjoyed my second attempt at reading Mindy’s first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me when I read it as an audiobook. So I was ready to be thoroughly entertained as I listened to this latest one.

The Concept:

In this book, Mindy gets a touch more personal in terms of what she writes about. While her previous book chronicled her life and professional past, this one gets a touch more philosophical shall we say. Meaning it’s a lot of Mindy sharing her thoughts on everything from weddings to dating to life in general. Which is fine and all but it isn’t as exciting or as fun as it could be.

Don’t get me wrong, I like this serious side of one of my favourite comedians. It really grounds her and makes you realize that celebrities are just like us despite their day job. I love that humanizing aspect that this book provides. Sure, at first it seems like Mindy is complaining about her life despite the fact that she lives better than the average person. But at the same time, as you listen to her story and thoughts, you realize she is just a person like the rest of us.

However, I felt like I was in the same position I was in with Amy Poehler’s book Yes Please!–I don’t want to listen to someone’s philosophy on life for 6 hours. I don’t find it entertaining, especially when I picked up a book expecting to laugh out loud throughout it. So while I appreciate the fact that Mindy is strong enough to share her insecurities and views on life with the world, I did get a little bored listening to it all.

The Writing/Narration:

I definitely didn’t laugh as much as I did in her previous book but that is ok. I appreciated seeing this alternate view to the Mindy I have in my head (who is this weird mash-up of all her characters that I have seen her play as well as her genuine self).

Her writing has a great flow and I love the way she narrates it. It is so much better than reading the words on a piece of paper because the tone gives so much more to the meaning she is trying to get across.

Did it Impact My Life?

Not really. I still want to be her BFF (even though she talks about the fact that she doesn’t understand why people always say that in her book).

My Rating: 4/5

overall

While not as funny as her first book, Mindy gives a solid effort in this book and it is entertaining nonetheless. Highly recommended for fans of Mindy Kaling.

Read if You Like: Mindy Kaling, celebrity views on life
Avoid if You: dislike Mindy Kaling (we can’t be friends anymore 😉 ), dislike memoirs

similarreads

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Single Sundays: Bossypants by Tina Fey

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 Bossypants (from Goodreads):
Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon — from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.

(Includes Special, Never-Before-Solicited Opinions on Breastfeeding, Princesses, Photoshop, the Electoral Process, and Italian Rum Cake!)

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Audiobook 2016
Author: Tina Fey
Genre: Nonfiction, Humour, Memoir
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: April 5, 2011
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I probably should have started with Tina Fey’s Bossypants when I first wanted to get into celebrity memoirs. It seems to always grace the list of great nonfiction reads for women and one of my good friends totes her praises to everyone, especially this book.

I too, love Tina Fey. She is one of my favourite comedians and I am always impressed by her intelligence. I personally think she is one of the smartest and most talented female comedians in the entertainment industry and she never seems to get the credit she deserves if you ask me. And she also makes up one of my favourite comedic duos when she teams up with Amy Poehler:

Need I say more? I think it is fairly obvious that I had very high expectations for this one!

The Concept:

Like all celebrity memoirs, this book consists of Tina describing her road to frame and fortune through a series of personal essays but features her incredible wit and sarcasm. It’s nothing new really but the spin she puts on everything makes it very enjoyable.

The Writing/NARRATION:

Without a doubt, this is probably the funniest audiobook I have ever had the pleasure of listening to! Tina’s way of approaching things and the observations she makes are so smart and funny that this book was a lot of fun to listen to! Usually, it takes me awhile to get through an audiobook but I just couldn’t stop with this one.

Not only is it funny but it is also very smart. Tina’s intelligence really shines through in this book when she describes why she approaches situations that she finds herself in. She is such a strong woman and I think it really shows here.

Did it Impact My Life?

In a way it definitely did. I like the approach that Tina takes to women’s issues. Obviously, Tina is a feminist who strives for gender equality but she isn’t in your face about it nor is she one of those women who is “odd” because of it. She is extremely sensible and I think is an example of what the modern women should be when it comes to fighting for gender equality. She not only has broken a lot of the stereotypes about female comedians but she is so chill about it all that it really is amazing. She is definitely a personal hero of mine and this book really reaffirmed that fact for me.

My Rating: 5/5

overall

This book was everything I was expecting it to be: enlightening and hilarious! It was so much fun to listen to and I can only hope that she will be inspired to followup this book sometime in the future.

Read if You Like: Tina Fey, celebrity humorous memoirs
Avoid if You: memoirs

similarreads

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Single Sundays: America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t by Stephen Colbert

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 America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t (from Goodreads):
Book nation, in the history of mankind there has never been a greater country than America. You could say we’re the #1 nation at being the best at greatness.

But as perfect as America is in every single way, America is broken! And we can’t exchange it because we’re 236 years past the 30-day return window. Look around–we don’t make anything anymore, we’ve mortgaged our future to China, and the Apologist-in-Chief goes on world tours just to bow before foreign leaders. Worse, the L.A. Four Seasons Hotel doesn’t even have a dedicated phone button for the Spa. You have to dial an extension! Where did we lose our way?!

It’s high time we restored America to the greatness it never lost!

Luckily, AMERICA AGAIN will singlebookedly pull this country back from the brink. It features everything from chapters, to page numbers, to fonts. Covering subject’s ranging from healthcare (“I shudder to think where we’d be without the wide variety of prescription drugs to treat our maladies, such as think-shuddering”) to the economy (“Life is giving us lemons, and we’re shipping them to the Chinese to make our lemon-flavored leadonade”) to food (“Feel free to deep fry this book-it’s a rich source of fiber”), Stephen gives America the dose of truth it needs to get back on track.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Nonfiction 2015
Author: Stephen Colbert
Genre: Nonfiction, Politics, Humour, Satire
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

In September 2015 I decided to start listening to audiobooks. It takes me approximately an hour to go grocery shopping when I am at school when you factor in walking, buying and returning home. I reasoned that would be the perfect time to listen to an audiobook instead of regular old music.

Lindsey @ Bring My Books wrote a great review of Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me audiobook and it inspired me to try listening to audiobooks of nonfiction novels–especially humour ones. Why I didn’t clue into that earlier is beyond me but it made me want to try an audiobook!

This one was just based on what was available when I looked. I loved watching The Colbert Report and I figured if I could watch Stephen Colbert on a daily basis, listening to him narrate his audiobook wouldn’t be that difficult.

The Concept:

As a Canadian I will admit that I didn’t get every American reference–however, I probably know more than the average Canadian about American politics thanks to my viewing of The Daily Show with John Stewart and The Colbert Report. He even throws in some hilarious Canadian references that had me laughing like a crazy person as I took the subway.

This book is essentially a satirical view of American politics and ideals. It basically reads as if you were watching an extended episode of The Colbert Report but on a much more candid level. As you progress through the story, Stephen gives his ironic tips on how to reclaim every American stereotype I’ve ever heard. It’s entertaining and hilarious and was everything I expected from Stephen Colbert.

The Writing/Narration:

Like I said, I felt like I was listening to a longer episode of The Colbert Report–which is exactly what I was expecting. I couldn’t imagine anyone else delivering this novel other than Stephen Colbert.

Did it Impact My Life?

I suppose it did. The simplest way is that it made me like listening to an audiobook. I had tried to listen to one or two before but I couldn’t get past a female narrator changing her voice to sound like a man during YA fiction. But listening to the author narrate their own nonfiction title–that works for me.

It also taught me a bit more about American politics and ideals. It was rather enlightening.

My Rating: 5/5

overall

This book thoroughly entertained me. It was so much fun to listen to! I don’t think it would have been the same experience if I had read it. Having Stephen Colbert actually speak the words in the way they are intended to be really helps the humour come to light.

Read if You Like: political satires
Avoid if You: don’t like books that deal with politics

similarreads

  • A Nation Worth Ranting About by Rick Mercer

readingchallenges

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Single Sundays: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

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 Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) (from Goodreads):
Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”

Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!

In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

breakdown

Author: Mindy Kaling
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Humour, Biography
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: November 1, 2011
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I actually tried to read the paperback of this years ago when my roommate lent it to me but I just couldn’t get into it! And that absolutely shocked me because I love Mindy Kaling. She is one of my all time favourite comedians and I think the Mindy Project is one of the smartest and most humorous comedy shows in recent years. So why couldn’t I get into it?

I think it was the same problem as I had with Amy Pohler’s Yes Please book: I didn’t find the text to be funny. I need to hear the tone of delivery when a joke is told and I can’t do that when I read a book on my own.

In the fall of 2015 I decided to try my first audiobook and it was Stephen Colbert’s America Again. It was hilarious and confirmed what I had suspected: I can listen to humorous audiobooks better than I can read them. So when I saw Lindsey @ Bring Me Books post her review of Mindy’s audiobook, I was inspired to try and read it again.

The Concept:

This is basically a memoir of Mindy’s rise to fame and how she got to be where she is today. It’s your typical memoir book but I thought Mindy had a cool take on things. It wasn’t depressing or boring; rather it had a fun, humourous spin on things. I also liked that it had a linear projection but she added random tidbits here and there.

It was really neat to get her thoughts on The Office  (one of my all time favourite shows) and what it was like to work there. But I also enjoyed the stories of her early days. I think I love Mindy so much because she is so relatable. I think most women have had similar experiences to Mindy at some point in their life and getting her hilarious but heart-felt takes on things was great.

The Writing/Audio-Presentation:

One of the reasons I think I struggled with the physical book was that Mindy writes like she talks. Which is fine, but part of Mindy’s charm is her delivery. So to actually hear her say her words in the exact tone that she wants you to hear them in really made this audiobook work. It was super easy to listen to her and I’m sure I looked like an idiot laughing at some of the things she said.

Did I mention that BJ Novak makes an appearance as well? I simply adore BJ and Mindy together in a completely platonic way. They seem like the best of friends in real life and I think that is the coolest thing ever!

Did it Impact My Life?

Not particularly and I really don’t think it is supposed to either. But, it did restore my faith in celebrity memoirs…so long as they are audiobooks.

My Rating: 4.5/5

overall

I enjoyed the audiobook 20 bazillion times more than the printed copy. I feel like the humour is more apparent and it is just a lot of fun to listen to. However, if you don’t really like celebrity memoirs or the Mindy Project, you probably won’t like this one!

Read if You Like: Mindy Kaling, celebrity memoirs, humourous audiobooks
Avoid if You: don’t like Mindy Kaling

similarreads

  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Single Sundays: How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

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 How to Be a Woman (from Goodreads):
Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven’t been burned as witches since 1727, life isn’t exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them? Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women’s lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother.

breakdown

Author: Caitlin Moran
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Feminism, Humour
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: June 16, 2011
Source & Format: Public Library–Audio Book

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

After successfully listening to my first audiobook (Stephen Colbert’s America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t), I quickly went out to find another one to listen to while I ran errands at school. I remember seeing this book everywhere when it first came out and I heard it was a pretty funny read. I was also interested in how it approached feminism. I had tried earlier to read Spinster, a book that I thought focused on the modern view of a women but instead focused on one woman’s discovery of notable female poets…at least, that was all I got from the first two chapters before I DNF’d it.

So while How to be a Woman is essentially a memoir, the promise of humour made this book way more appealing to me and so I was excited to read it.

The Concept:

The book is essentially Moran describing her growth into womanhood from her youth to now. What makes it fun is Moran’s witty and often cynical approach to the various topics, like getting her period for the first time or shaving her legs. Things every woman has essentially had to go through or every girl will go through–making it very relatable for the female reader and enticing a laugh from her simultaneously.

The Writing / The Narration:

She reminds me a lot of a Georgia Nicolson from Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, only if she was 35+ years old and lacked a filter. And I mean no filter. There really isn’t a thing that Moran does’t touch in this book and while I admire and respect that, it didn’t make it any easier to read/listen to.

Case and point: her lengthy chapter on the discovery of masturbation and pornography. First, I commend her for discussing a somewhat taboo topic in society but that didn’t make it easier to listen to while I was grocery shopping in public…

One thing I think this book struggled with was maintaining the balance between Caitlin Moran’s personal life and her observations of what it means to be a woman. I had no idea who Caitlin Moran was before I picked up this book and so I had very little interest in hearing her long-winded stories about her personal life. I understand that this book is a memoir and a lot of her stories were completely relevant to the topic at hand–but it made me feel as though this book was 20x longer than it really needed to be.

And I’m upset that I feel that way because when she actually does get to the observations of society and what it means to be a woman, I was thoroughly engrossed. Her reflections are spot on and it makes me wish she spent more time talking about them with little tidbits of her life thrown in here and there instead of having the first 5 or so chapters retelling her life story.

Did it Impact My Life?

Yes, in a way. It reminded me that it shouldn’t be awkward to talk about some of the things she does in the book and I think it shows some of the double standards we have in society with respect the men and women. There is a time and a place for everything of course, but I think my reaction to some of the topics she addresses goes to show how conditioned I am about certain things. So in that sense, I found this book to be enlightening.

It also reassured me that I am not alone in my observations of how females act or why they feel pressured to do something a certain way. As I was listening to some of the things she was saying, it was absurd to me that some of these positions/standards haven’t been challenged.

concSLOW

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall

While I think some of the humour would have been lost if I was reading the actual text, I think I might have preferred to read this one instead. The audio book clocks in at approximately 8 hours and I know it would have taken me only 5 to read it. I felt like it was slower at times and I think reading would have let me move past those parts at a better pace. But once I got used to Caitlin’s approach and she started to delve deeper into the feminist issues, I found it much easier to listen to.

Read if You Like: cynical humour, British humour, books about female views
Avoid if You: want a short audiobook

similarreads

  • Yes Please by Amy Pohler
  • Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

readingchallenges

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

DNF Review: Spinster by Kate Bolick

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 Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own (from Goodreads): “Whom to marry, and when will it happen—these two questions define every woman’s existence.” So begins Spinster, a revelatory and slyly erudite look at the pleasures and possibilities of remaining single. Using her own experiences as a starting point, journalist and cultural critic Kate Bolick invites us into her carefully considered, passionately lived life, weaving together the past and present to examine why­ she—along with over 100 million American women, whose ranks keep growing—remains unmarried. This unprecedented demographic shift, Bolick explains, is the logical outcome of hundreds of years of change that has neither been fully understood, nor appreciated. Spinster introduces a cast of pioneering women from the last century whose genius, tenacity, and flair for drama have emboldened Bolick to fashion her life on her own terms: columnist Neith Boyce, essayist Maeve Brennan, social visionary Charlotte Perkins Gilman, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, and novelist Edith Wharton. By animating their unconventional ideas and choices, Bolick shows us that contemporary debates about settling down, and having it all, are timeless—the crucible upon which all thoughtful women have tried for centuries to forge a good life. Intellectually substantial and deeply personal, Spinster is both an unreservedly inquisitive memoir and a broader cultural exploration that asks us to acknowledge the opportunities within ourselves to live authentically. Bolick offers us a way back into our own lives—a chance to see those splendid years when we were young and unencumbered, or middle-aged and finally left to our own devices, for what they really are: unbounded and our own to savor.

breakdown

Author: Kate Bolick

Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Feminism, Sociology

Heat Rating: N/A

Point of View: First Person, Single

Publication Date: April 21, 2015

Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I don’t know how I found this book. Normally, I find out about my nonfiction reads from The Daily Show or because the author is a celebrity I like. I think I found Spinster after reading So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed via Goodreads but who knows! Anyways, I wanted to read it because I wanted to explore the topic of marriage expectations for women in today’s culture.

It’s going to get a bit personal and so I apologize. But I wanted to have this discussion because it helps explain what I wanted from this book and why I picked it up.

I’m 23 and I always thought that I would be in a serious relationship, if not possibly married by this age. But I am still single and have no romantic prospects in sight. Prior to starting university, I had a plan to find my husband, go to graduate school and then have kids before I was 30. But the more I thought about my post-post-secondary, I realized I didn’t want to spend another 4 years in school (a total of 8 years of post-secondary education) and then have kids before taking off time to have children. And so, I made the decision to pursue a different post-graduate degree and just let my romantic relationships go with the flow. I want to be clear that I have never felt pressured to be married and have kids. It’s just something that I want to have in my life when the time is right. As of right now, I know I’m not ready for kids and I’m OK with that. Out of my close group of friends, only one is engaged to be married but isn’t getting married for a while; only a few are in serious relationships and the rest are single like me. So I don’t feel like I am behind or missing something from my life. Why do young people, especially young girls, feel like they can’t remain single. It drives me crazy when I watch Say Yes to the Dress and I hear the girls say “This is the most important day of my life”. Is it really? I don’t deny that marriage isn’t an important event in someone’s life. But what about the day you graduated from university? What about the day you started your first job; or accomplished a big goal? Why is marriage SO IMPORTANT? And why is is especially for females?

That was what I was hoping this book was going to explore.

Why I DNF’d:

This book was not what I was expecting! I thought it was going to be an insightful look into the way society has viewed single women throughout the decades. Why I thought that when I reread the synopsis now is beyond me–because what the synopsis says is what you get! This book is really just a memoir of Kate Bolick and her explaining how these 4-5 women made her into the woman she is totally. Which is great and all, but I honestly don’t care! It doesn’t interest me! I’m not one to read memoirs–even if it is someone who I admire or am interested in. I also had a hard time with the writing. It was way too academic for me, making it read more like a college essay than a story. I also had a hard time with the flow. Reading the first entry lost me in terms of why this little blurb was relevant to this little blurb. I found myself getting bored and when I wasn’t bored, I was frustrated and so, I decided to DNF this book.

My Rating: N/A

overall

This book just wasn’t what I wanted it to be. I wanted a book that explored cultural expectations of single women and instead, I got a memoir about a girl who became a woman. Perhaps if I had stuck it out, I would have read the parts that I wanted but my perusal of the pages ahead didn’t look very promising

Read if You Like: memoirs Avoid if You: want an investigative look into popular cultural

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Single Sundays: We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist

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 We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True Story (from Goodreads): 
A bright, poignant, and deeply funny autobiographical account of coming of age as an amputee cancer survivor, from Josh Sundquist: Paralympic ski racer, YouTube star, and motivational speaker.

Josh Sundquist only ever had one girlfriend.
For twenty-three hours.
In eighth grade.

Why was Josh still single? To find out, he tracked down the girls he had tried to date and asked them straight up: What went wrong?

The results of Josh’s semiscientific, wholly hilarious investigation are captured here. From a disastrous Putt-Putt date involving a backward prosthetic foot, to his introduction to CFD (Close Fast Dancing), to a misguided “grand gesture” at a Miss America pageant, this story is about looking for love–or at least a girlfriend–in all the wrong places.

breakdown

Author: Josh Sundquist
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Humour
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: December 23, 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I can’t remember whose blog it was (if it was yours, let me know!), but I found out about this book there. It was applauded for its humour–and I love a story that can make me laugh!

The Concept:

It takes a lot of guts to admit your embarrassing dating stories to your friends; but to write a book and share it with the world? Now that’s bold and takes a lot of guts. Not that anything is extremely embarrassing–it’s actually pretty typical and realistic. But I could see why, looking back, that it is embarrassing 😉 Whether or not all those things happened? I’m sure they are embelished a bit, but it sure is entertaining!

The semiscientific approach was a cute way of analyzing the events without it being like an essay. It kept the flow going and definitely added to the humorous tones of the novel.

The WRITING:

This book was super easy to read! It never dwelled on anything too long, it had a great flow and it was funny! Humour can be really hard to convey through text but I think Josh did a great job with it here.

did it impact my life?:

Not particularly, though I think a lot of us can relate to the events that happen to Josh. We all have those stories where we assumed things when it comes to our romantic lives.

To me, the main message of this book was to not let the past get you down. Reflect on the past and learn from it but move forward.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

This book is perfect for those who want a quick but uplifting, humourous read. I had a lot of fun reading this and I think most people will as well!

Read if You Like: humourous true stories
Avoid if You: want a more thought-provoking read

similarreads

readingchallenges

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

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.

breakdown

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

disclaimer

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

readingchallenges

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

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

readingchallenges