Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Mini-reviews: November & December (part I) 2017

So let's try again for these mini-reviews. Those reviews that I already wrote and then were lost, probably to end up with all the missing hair ties and socks the dryer eats.

I was saying that I am impressed with how quickly I am getting through these mini-reviews. It helps that right now I'm on maternity and it's not that I suddenly have TONS of time because maternity is like a vacation (it is NOT) but the munchkin does do a lot of sleeping which gives me some down time. Sure, writing these posts happens in bursts but I'm getting more done than when I was pregnant and had more time but lacked the mental energy (dammit work, for zapping that). We'll see what happens with posting once work starts up again but hopefully I'll be able to catch up with the mini-reviews before then.

It turns out in November 2017 I only have one book I read that I haven't already reviewed*, but there are a bunch in December, so here are the reviews for November plus half of December.

November 2017
Gabi, A Girl In Pieces by Isabel Quintero
Excellent coming-of-age book about Mexican-American high schooler Gabi dealing with a number of things: parental and cultural expectations, dating, a gay friend dealing with discrimination, another friend who is pregnant, a drug-addicted father, a pregnant mother, a brother getting into all kinds of trouble, and self-image, as Gabi spends a lot of time emotional eating. There's a lot going on, with some heavy topics, but it feels natural, not overwhelming.
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December 2017, part I
Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change by Ellen Pao
Memoir of Ellen Pao's life and especially her gender discrimination case against the venture capital firm she used to work for as well as her time as interim CEO at reddit, working to get rid of some of the seedier parts of the site. She talks about her upbringing, her accomplishments (degrees in Engineering, Law and Business from Princeton and Harvard) before getting to her time at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. She talks about how intense the work is and what she has to do, as a woman to be taken seriously, while being passed up for promotions and being shut out of opportunities that were set up for men only. I enjoyed the content and believe Pao but the writing isn't great. It's not terrible but it can be repetitive and there are times where Pao really hammers in her degrees and accomplishments. Important topic but not my favorite writing.
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Neurocomic by Hana Ros and Matteo Farinella
Graphic novel about the inner workings of the brain, told as something of an Alice in Wonderland type story. It gets into the science of dopamine and neurotransmitters and some of the history of how we know the things we know. Or they know. I dunno how much of the science I've retained but that may be more on me than the book and the way the information is presented. Fun story and hey, maybe you'll learn something. And if not, hey, there's a giant squid at one point, so that's fun.
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*Full list of November 2017 books read:
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
Why Have Kids?: A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness by Jessica Valenti