Friday, June 24, 2016

Book Review: "Approval Junkie: Adventures in Caring Too Much" by Faith Salie

I need to stop reading biographies of people who I don't know who they are. It has literally, never turned out well. But nothing else really was appealing to me at Blogging for Books so here we are.

Honestly, this book made me sad for Faith.

I'm obviously not a mental health professional, that is my disclaimer. But she makes a lot of comments about how she barely ate a lot of the time, and comments about how skinny she was and how super conscious she was of what she ate and how it was kind of an obsession. And then she says something like she was almost anorexic. If you're that obsessed with your weight and think about food as much as she did than you have some kind of mental disorder.

Some of the stuff that she did perplexed me. Like for days she agonized over what to wear to her divorce from her terrible first husband. Something that said professional adult but also with some sex appeal. I thought "wow, I think I'd be so happy to get myself unhitched from this jerk that I'd show up in my jammiies because I'd be so excited that I couldn't sleep!" But then the more I thought about it I got it.Things in your life aren't going as planned and you probably feel a real sense of lose of control, but you can certainly control what you wear so you throw yourself headlong into it.

I think the best thing about this book is the story of the author's mother. She sounds like a hilarious, but still serious lady who was a big influence on Faith (she did sit ups while doing her rosary, so maybe the obsession with fitness and weight came from there). And the cover is fun. But still, with maybe a slight personal bias I'm going to say  2 stars.

This book was provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and honest review

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Quarterly Classics Club!

I have had a couple of accidental blogging breaks due to extreme busy time at work, but I wanted to break my accidental silence to put in a plug for Jamie's Quarterly Classics Club!

Where we will, wait for it, read a classic every quarter!

We're starting off with the Confessions of St Augustine, a book that Jamie and I both had wanted to read for awhile now. There will be a discussion on Jamie's blog on June 24th.

Go here to hear all the details!


Did he really? I bet we'll find out!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Book review: "Working Stiff: 2 Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner" by Judy Melinek, MD and T.J. Mitchell

Judy didn't grow up thinking that she was going to be a medical examiner. She had her heart set on being a surgeon but the residency for surgeons is VERY intense (and frankly a little bit dangerous sounding, for patients AND residents). She'd always been good at and interested in pathology, so she found a spot in New York City where she could see if she had what it takes to be a medical examiner.

She got some very strange cases. She got a lot of "routine" cases (lots of drug deaths). She saw some things that made her go home and hug her family a little closer.

There were two parts in the book that really resonated with me.

The first was that the more she learned about the things that she saw doing autopsies the more things she noticed about strangers on the street:

"The matron pushing the shopping cart in the grocery store, with the yellow glow behind the whites of her eyes, is in liver failure...Should I walk up to the woman with a melanoma on her neck and warn her that she needs to show it to her doctor right away?...Doing autopsies for a living did not make me afraid of the world- but I was being haunted by ghosts who weren't dead yet".

That's hard, right? Like you want to help people but also mind your own business? Does the woman in liver failure already know and she's self conscious about her eyes and you pointing it out (even helpfully) will make her feel worse? That's tough.

The other part is when she is talking about working in the days and weeks immediately following September 11th. She even heard the first plane before it hit the tower (she thought "huh, that plane sounds really loud. It must be flying low for some reason".) 

The process that they had to go through and with the "material" they had  to work with was horrible. They would find a female arm fused into a male torso (the heat from the explosions). Or just a hand with a neat, undamaged manicure. It just turns your stomach just to think about it. But it's also encouraging to see how many people worked SO HARD to bring closure to the families of the victims, and if it weren't for them there would be a lot of lingering doubt. It was a very rare case that a whole body was found to be return. Often just feet in shoes or wedding rings (internal sob) were found and so Macy's donated those things that you put your foot in to measure them, and Tiffany's donated ring sizers. All to help try to get people back to their families.


This book is slightly depressing, just because of the subject matter but it really is a fast, interesting read. Medical examiners are an important part of the legal process and it was interesting to get an insider look at what they do! 3.5 out of 5 stars!


Friday, June 10, 2016

All Lady July 2016!!!

Everybody! It's almost time for my favorite time of year! All Lady July!!!!

Me, this cat, and Shaq are so excited! That GIF will never not be hilarious to me. I think it's the butt wiggling. Cracks me up!

So, All Lady July is a yearly tradition here on Library Educated. We spend the month celebrating all things ladies! We talk about books written by women, we talk about great female characters in books, there's guest posts, there's lists, there's a giveaway, there's silliness and wonderfulness and girl power and I loves it. I just think it's the most fun. 

We kick off on July 1st with a kick off post that will tell you more specifics on what to expect from this wonderful month of July. 

I'm always looking for guest posters! If there is a book that is written by a woman that you adore, tell us about it! If you want to make a list of female book characters that you would love to go to Vegas for a weekend with, I want to hear about it! If you think there is a female author that you think deserves more recognition, toot a horn for her on this blog! All Lady July is more fun with company, and while we already have some great guest posts lined up there is always room for more folks who want to get in on the fun! If you want in, tweet me! (@whoffs) or shoot me an email (check my "about me" page) and tell me what you want to share for All Lady July.

Thanks for reading and I can't wait to see you in July!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Book review: "How May We Hate You" by Anna Drezen and Todd Dakotah Briscoe

You guys, I'm going to sum up this book's lesson: "Don't be jerks! Say please and thank you! Treat people like actual people!" This should not be as hard as it is, and YET.

Anna and Todd both have worked at hotels in downtown New York City, which is basically a job that involves a lot of googling and trying to figure out what people are saying. It's a funny book and they have some great stories about all kinds of people who walk through their doors. There are some real aholes floating around out there in the world, and it sounds like a lot of them go on vacation to New York City.

Besides having interesting stories there are also helpful tips about being a good hotel guest, not getting ripped off by people and getting the most out of your concierge (it starts with, don't be a jerk). There's also some really funny maps and graphs. I also learned something about housekeeping unions, which is not really something I ever thought I would say but it's true! 

Favorite quote from the book: "Hotel lobby art is required by law to be either boring, terrifying, or uncomfortably sexual".

This is a fun, short, entertaining read written by folks that don't take themselves to seriously. If you have a friend in the hopsitatlity industry, this would be a good gift for them! 3 stars of 5!

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Blogging for Books

Monday, June 6, 2016

Book review: "Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields" by Wendy Lower

I, ironically, was reading this book on and around Mother's Day, and let me tell you - none of these women are going to be winning mother of the year.

Hitler's plan for German women was basically this: have a bunch of "racially superior" babies, raise them up as good Nazis and keep a good house for your loyal Nazi party member spouse. But that wasn't what happened to every woman. Some of the women in this book were husband-less and wanted a career and so found themselves working in hospitals or in offices of powerful men. Some of these women followed their husbands to their postings in the farther reaches of the Reich and did not stand idly by as they terrorized everyone around them.All of the women that are profiled in this book were stationed "in the east". In this case that means Poland, Estonia, Belarus, etc. One of the reasons that some of these women were more able to fit into "less traditionally female" roles was that they were so far from Berlin. 

This book is a little bit confusing because there are so many women mentioned (13) and their stories are all interlaced. It's a lot of names and I got a lot of people mixed up.But anyway. We find out what the women were doing before the war, how they ended up where they did, and what happened to them after the war.

Frankly, a lot of this stuff is hard to read because the things that some of the women did were incomprehensibly cruel. What makes it doubly cruel is that it was utterly unnecessary. The women who were wives of the men running the camps were not really expected to have anything to do with their operations. And yet some of them were down there every day torturing prisoners and being right in the middle of everything. 

I'm only going to give you two examples because they are representative of the things we are talking about.

-One woman would hold out a piece of candy to a child and when the child got close enough to take the candy she would shoot them in the head. And then just laugh uproariously like this was the best thing she'd ever seen.

-One of the camp wives (who also had children of her own, by the way) stumbled across 6 Jewish children who had escaped a transport. Her husband was away, so she brought them into her house and fed them a meal and told them they were safe. And then took them outside and shot them.

The nurses were charged with things like "painlessly" killing people who were "less desireable" - mentally handicapped, physically handicapped, etc. One thing that really surprised me was the some nurses in the east actually killed German soldiers. Men who had traumatic brain injuries, "mutilated" or were "not worth saving" got a quick injection of something lethal and died.

Almost none of these women spent serious time in prison after the war (though I believe the woman from the candy example above was executed) for multiple reasons. But some were able to be identified by survivors and imprisoned.

An interesting aspect of this book was the you could really see the research that the author did.There's also a couple of interesting pages about percentages of women who commit murder in peace times vs war times and the like.

I'm not going to rate this book because assigning a star rating to a book like this seems kind of gross. But, I will say that if you are looking for a thoughtful and well written book that shines light on people who literally, got away murder, I feel like by reading this book and seeing the names there is a little bit of justice served for the victims of these horrible people.


Friday, June 3, 2016

Memory Lane: Quinn and Wesley's River Cruise Adventure....

A year ago today (almost) Quinn and I were on our way to Europe for our river cruise!

Now, here's a funny side note that I can share now, that I couldn't share at the time.

I had decided that once Quinn and I got back from the river cruise I would start to look for a new job. But,  a few days before we left I got an email from good friend and frequent LE contributer Jen with a subject line that said "SUPER IMPORTANT JOB OPENING". Turns out the administrative person for the department where she works was leaving, and it seemed like it could be a good fit for me. I apply and do all the regular amount of worrying and then get called for an interview. Turns out they want to do it on Friday....the Friday Quinn and I are leaving for the cruise. A day that we have choreographed basically down to the hour and now a monkey wrench that could change my future is thrown into the gears. Luckily I was able to get the interview scheduled at noon, which is just enough time for me to interview, jump in my car, literally speed to the city where Quinn lived and then have dad drive us to O'Hare to catch our flight.

The stress level was nuts, because I'm a worrier anyway and then you add an international flight AND a job interview for a job I really wanted in the mix? I was almost beside myself. So I go into the interview and talk to two of the people I would be working with (who were both aware that I had a plane to catch so we were efficient. Though I did tell them that I had my passport, Euros and Czech money in my purse right at that moment, I did).  One of them walked me to the front door and as soon as I knew he couldn't see me I kicked off my interview shoes, through on the flip flops that were ALSO in my purse and literally ran for my car.

We made it in (not plenty, but enough) time and as we were sitting in the terminal I was writing my "hey thanks for interviewing me!" cards and mailed them from a random mailbox that I found in the terminal. (Because I had the cards in my purse, already stamped. LITERALLY ALL THE THINGS I OWNED WERE IN THAT PURSE. Sometimes being hyper organized comes in very handy. Though I'm only hyper organized when I travel). 

At any rate, we had a great time and when we got back I had another interview with my now boss and got the job! So those were some high intensity days but it all worked out for my good in the end (except now Quinn and I are always looking for deals for the next river cruise, naturally).

If you'd like to hear about mine and Quinn's river cruise (which was tooooooo fun and beautiful and filled with lovely people and drinking) there is a whole tab on the top of the blog that will lead you to those posts. Link here!