Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lean In - Sheryl Sandberg

I feel like every woman in the working world has read, or will read, this book.  So of course I had to be part of the movement.  I've heard it referred to as a modern day feminist manifesto, and have seen so much energy around the book, how could I be a woman and not read it?  So I did.  I finished with mixed feelings.  Overall I think it is great to have this conversation, but the non-mom in me was a bit irritated that so much of the book relied on parenting and household responsibilities tactics.  I really Just wanted to know how to make myself more relevant in a business environment dominated by men.

I think Sheryl did a great job illustrating difficulties women face in the workforce.  Being an introvert I face a double whammy in this respect.  I have been looked over and ignored in meetings.  I know this.  I have seen women speak up and speak over others and thought 'wow, she's aggressive'.  Now I know that maybe she isn't more aggressive than the men in the room, maybe I just notice it more when a woman is outspoken.  And maybe I need to be more outspoken to compete with extroverts and men in the room.

Sheryl is very pointed at some of the challenges women face in the workforce which I think is great in a lot of respects.  An area I would have liked to see more of is around women who don't have kids.  I understand that children bring in an entirely new complication to being successful in the workplace, but it isn't relevant to all women.  A book that all of us could relate to might have been more fitting.  I do not have kids, or any real 'home life' obligations, but that doesn't make it easy for me to compete in the workforce.  Sheryl gave a few stats about how women aren't as aggressive in negotiating, are less likely to take promotions if they don't feel that they've done enough work to deserve the position, or how women will only apply and interview for positions that they meet all 'requirements'' for, where men will interview for positions where they are much less a 'fit' for the position.  These are great stats, and I think it is great to be aware of this type of information.  But I don't think it was enough.  Most of the discussion in the book revolved around women 'sneaking out' at five thirty to have dinner with their families, or how to manage pumping while in the office.  Great advice for those who have kids, but much less helpful for those of us who don't.

Overall I did enjoy the book.  I finished it with a touch of inspiration to push my life forward and desire to stretch my comfort zone on a professional level.  Definitely a worth while read.  Easy and quick to get through, yet enough content and supporting evidence to make her points believable.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Size 14 Is Not Fat Either

Size 14 Is Not Fat Either by Meg Cabot is the second book in the Heather Wells Mysteries series.  It continues to follow Heather Wells as she works as an assistant dorm director at New York College.  In this installment, Heather finds herself investigating a local frat after a cheerleader is found dead in Fisher Hall.

Another easy, chick lit read.  This installment doesn't have as much "mystery" going on as Size 12 Is Not Fat, but it does have quite a bit of action and we get to see different sides to the Heather Wells character.  There are still some writing quirks like Wells being a bit juvenile at times, but at least the residence hall instead of dorm correction is only mentioned a couple times.  If you enjoyed the first book, I'd recommend this one as well.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist's Quest to Discover If Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, or Why Pie Is Not the Answer

Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist's Quest to Discover If Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, or Why Pie Is Not the Answer by Jen Lancaster is a humorous memoir about the author's weight loss journey.  Lancaster takes us on her weigh loss mission from "not caring" about how she looks and being forced to reevaluate for medical reasons to joining Weight Watchers and hitting the gym.  There are failures and successes along the way as we see how she finally finds a way to ditch some of that "pretty fat".

I'm usually a fan of humorous memoirs (as you might already know if you are a regular to this blog) and having had my own weight loss journey in the last few years, thought this book would be a fun read.  It turned out to be more of a miss than a hit for me though.

The subject matter would have held my interest, had the book been more focused.  The author starts out with a lot of complaining and excuses, which is often very true to form when starting on a path to getting an exercise/diet routine.  While it was realistic, it was pretty boring to read about and it really takes 100+ pages for Lancaster to get the story going.  I also found that I didn't really like Lancaster.  I'm sure a lot of women will find her relatable and her inner dialogue can be entertaining but after a while it was just too much snark and complaining for me.  Weird, since I normally like snark/sarcasm (thus my love of Laurie Notaro books) but Lancaster's humor just didn't hit the mark.  If you enjoy humorous memoirs, you *might* enjoy this book, but I don't plan to read any more books by this author.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Size 12 Is Not Fat


Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot is about a woman named Heather Wells.  Wells used to be a teenage pop star but after leaving her record label, splitting up with her boyfriend and her mom running off with her money, she starts working as an assistant dorm director at a New York college.  Things seem to be finally settling into a rhythm for Heather until students start dying and she thinks there is more to the deaths than it seems.

This novel is a really easy fun read, chick lit to the core.  The plot is entertaining and Heather is a likable main character.  There were a few things in the writing I could have done with out (such as the correction made way too many times of residence hall instead of dorm!) and Heather's inner dialogue is a bit repetitive at times.  Otherwise though, it’s a fun read.  The plot keeps you interested and the characters keep you invested.  Would recommend for any ladies looking for a light and quick read.  There are four more books in the "Heather Wells Mystery" series and I plan to read at least one more.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Grimm: The Icy Touch

Grimm: The Icy Touch by John Shirley is a media-tie in novel based on the tv show Grimm.  It follows Grimm Nick Burkhardt as he tackles a new case involving The Icy Touch gang, whose members happen to all be aggressive wesen.  Nick is unaware that this particular gang is led by a wesen who has a history with Grimm's that goes back to the times when Grimm's fought to the death.

I've been a fan of Grimm since the show started back in 2011.  While perusing the book store, I stumbled upon this book and put it on my Christmas wish list.  It is definitely written for fans of the show, since the author doesn't give a ton of back story about the main characters. However, anyone can pick this book up and read it and enjoy it like they are watching a single episode of the show.

I had a few issues while reading when some things the characters did or said didn't really seem "in character" but it wasn't so off putting that it took away from the overall story or the feel of the book.  Since it reads like you are watching an episode of the show, fans can picture how the characters sound and such while reading which is fun.  I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Grimm!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand is the true story of Louis Zamperini, a man from California who is thrust into the turbulence of World War II and somehow lives to tell the tale.

Several people recommended this book to me since it came out and I finally gave it a read. I'm so glad I did. Louis Zamperini's life/story is nothing short of extraordinary. It begins with his childhood in California before moving on to his time in the war where he was a POW in Japan. Zamperini endures so much during and after the war, it is mind boggling.

There is so much history, knowledge and information in this book, it is truly impressive. It is a very involved read, but worth it. Read it and prepare to be amazed by this man's true story of survival.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is the story of Clay Jensen, a high school student who returns home from school to find a box of cassette tapes on his front porch.  He plays the tapes and discovers they were made by Hannah Baker, a fellow classmate who had committed suicide two weeks earlier.  On the tapes, Hannah shares the thirteen reasons why she killed herself and Clay learns more about Hannah and some of his other classmates than he ever could have imagined.

This novel was pretty good.  It is written from Clay and Hannah's point of view, so you get to hear Hannah's side of the story as well as Clay's reactions to them.  I got to certain sections where I wish they would have just let Hannah share her side instead of going back and forth to Clay, but for the most part the writing style was enjoyable.

I wouldn't recommend this novel to anyone younger than twelve or thirteen since it talks about some intense stuff such as suicide, underage drinking, sexual situations, bullying, etc.  However, I do think it is a great read for teens to address those topics and perhaps even start a dialogue about them.  I felt like the novel was able to do a good job of capturing how young people treat each other and how the effects of that treatment have the potential to be so damaging.