Book Report!

I use my Kindle for almost all book buying now, and I had been neglecting my shelf of hard-copy books that I had collected pre-Kindle, so I decided to try to make it through all of them over summer break (I work in a school). Most of the books in this post are from my hard-copy pile. I haven’t read them all yet, but I’m close!

Please Stop Helping Us

I work in a school with a majority of black students, so I’m always interested in learning more about how to best serve them. I’ve been frustrated at times with the way my school “helps” our students so much that we end up doing a lot of things for them that they can and should be doing for themselves, especially considering that we are a high school and our students need to be preparing for their imminent entrance into “the real world.”

So I was intrigued by the title of this book, and wanted to see if it would validate my perspective. And it does, I suppose, but it’s written by a conservative Republican (black) man, who was a little too quick to use the word “liberal” as a slur for my taste. I am skeptical about the author’s perspective and motivation, and would very much like to read something that responds to his specific claims. He uses a lot of data to support his arguments, which I appreciated very much, but data can be found that supports anything, so I’m not swallowing it blindly. Overall, I thought it made decent arguments, but I’d like to hear others’ responses to it.Love Saves The DayI read this author’s previous book, Homer’s Odyssey, which was a true story about a blind cat’s experience living in New York City when 9/11 occurred just a few blocks from his apartment. It was very interesting, and the author clearly knows a lot about cats. This book was about a cat who tries to settle into a new life when her previous owner passes away, and the cat is transferred to a new home. It was sweet, funny, heartbreaking, and heartwarming. I know it sounds silly because it’s about a cat, but I don’t care! Hangman's DaughterAn interesting book very loosely based on the author’s ancestor, an executioner in a small town in Germany in the 1660s. It’s written as a mystery: we’re trying to figure out who’s killing the town’s children and why. It was good, I enjoyed it.For White FolksThis was required reading for my job, and it seemed like it might be a decent complement to  “Stop Helping Us”, and it kind of was, but the two books aren’t really in the same conversation. This book is more like a curriculum guide for teachers, with specific ideas for how to engage black students and how to leverage the strengths of black culture and youth culture for use in the classroom. I was trained as a counselor, not a teacher, so I felt like I need more information/training in order to actually implement these suggestions successfully, but it stirred up some good ideas and thoughts.
As You WishThe Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies, and this book, written by the actor who played Westley, is a look behind the scenes of the making of the movie. It was really charming, and funny, and had the same spirit as the movie itself.

Lies My Teacher Told MeI’ve been wanting to study history for a while, since I don’t know much of it, and I feel like I didn’t learn it at all in school. It’s hard to know where or how to begin, though! But this book was meant as a start. It intends to present many aspects of American history that K-12 history classes misrepresent, omit, or just totally lie about. I found especially interesting its indictment of text books and the text book industry, which are essentially corrupt and awful. Who knew! Very interesting book.

Funny GirlMy dad gave me this book because, apparently, he read it himself solely because he likes Hornby, and he was done with it, and figured I might as well take it off his hands. 🙂 It was okay. It’s about a woman trying to make it as a movie star in London in the 1960s.

Wolf HallUgh, so boooooorrrrrrring. I had heard great things about this book, which follows Thomas Cromwell’s experiences with the Tudor family, as Henry VIII was trying to divorce Catherine so that he could finally bed wed Anne Boleyn. I’ve seen the show The Tudors, so I already knew all of the plot. Maybe if I hadn’t, this would have been more interesting. Maybe. Possibly not. It’s an interesting story, but this book did not do it justice. But a lot of people apparently like it, so what do I know.FoodJim Gaffigan is a comedian who has a lot of jokes about how much he loves food, and this book is kind of a compilation of all of those jokes. I had already heard the jokes, so it wasn’t that entertaining, but whatevs, it was okay.

Augie MarchOof, no. Again, I had heard good things about this book, but it was really really boring. The Adventures of Augie March? More like the boring, every day nothingness of this wet noodle. Augie March is a guy growing up in Chicago during the Depression, and he gets various part-time jobs, lives in various places with different people, goes out with various girls, and that’s pretty much it. There was a mildly interesting part toward the end where he tries to train an eagle in Mexico, but for the most part, it was a waste of time.

Book Report!

Nameless Novel

Nameless NovelI was talking with a co-worker about movies, and found that we have similar interests in things that are strange and disturbing, so he recommended this book to me. It’s described as “infamous” because it is so depraved. haha It feels wrong to begin this post with such a disturbing book, but I make these lists in the order in which I read the books.

So what did I think of this one? It was okay. It definitely contained a lot of offensive material (to the exclusion of anything else), but it was so devoid of anything real that it wasn’t actually disturbing to me. There has to be some sense of reality, of humanity, of something you can relate to in order to evoke any real emotion or response, but because it was all just a jumble of outlandish lewdness and violence, it was almost like reading a string of unrelated words. I’m glad I read it, because it’s different from anything else I’ve ever read, but basically it was boring.

Also, I will reiterate that my Book Report posts are not book recommendations, just documentations of what I’ve read. I would definitely not recommend this particular book to 99% of people.

The Psychopath Inside

The Psychopath InsideI’ve been interested in serial killers for a while, and understanding what in the world makes them the way they are. Over the years, I’ve learned more about psychopathy and sociopathy (basically the same things), not only in relation to serial killers, but just as a way to understand those individuals we see regularly who seem to have no concern for anyone but themselves; people that I wouldn’t otherwise understand at all.

I heard about this book while listening to the author’s TedTalk on a podcast. His TedTalk was all about his neuroscience research and his discovery that he himself is a “low-level” psychopath. He breaks down what psychopathy is, and possible causes of it, as well as how it might be beneficial in some ways. Very interesting!

The Woman In White

The Woman In WhiteThis is considered to be one of the first mystery novels written, which sounded interesting to me. Unfortunately, I found it boring. It was a bunch of mess around inheritances because no one actually had real jobs back then so they had to just kill each other or pretend to be someone else in order to “maintain their status in life.” Also, it was too long for what it was. Meh.

Before Ever After

Before Ever AfterIt’s like a time-travel romance fluff. Meh, it was okay.

The Secret History

The Secret HistorySo good! It felt really meaty, like I was reading a “real book.” I’m not sure exactly what that means, but that’s what it felt like. It’s about a tight-knit group of college students who find themselves in a sticky situation. The timeline is the most interesting part, as we learn *what* happens before we learn *why* it happened.

The New Jim Crow

The New Jim CrowI read this for work. It’s about how our criminal “justice” system targets young black and brown men, and the name alludes to how it has become our society’s new way of segregating the races. I have no real response other than a sad, “yup.” This system is terrible in many ways, and it needs to be dismantled and rebuilt entirely.

A Visit From The Goon Squad

A Visit From The Goon Squad

The story follows a handful of characters whose lives intertwine, and the timeline is disjointed (you never know if you’re reading about things that happened last week or 2 decades ago). The characters aren’t particularly likable, and they don’t really do anything of interest. It wasn’t my thing. I think you need to read it in just a few sittings because picking it up a couple times a week (which is how I read) makes everything too messy. You can’t keep track of who’s who and what’s happening when. Oh well.

The Outcasts

The OutcastsI tend to like westerns, and this one seemed to have a cool heroine, so it seemed like a good prospect. It was okay, but I didn’t have much respect for the female protagonist (she made terrible decisions, and was a bit of a pawn), so it was kind of a let down. Though, one of the characters complained about the The Woman In White, which made me giggle.

Looking Backward

Looking BackwardMy dad mentioned this book to me (though he doesn’t remember it) when we were talking about economic/social structure, and communism/socialism/idealism. It was kind of a “You think things could be better? Read this book. You’d probably agree with him [you silly idealistic communist].” But in a nice way. 🙂

The book is essentially the author’s description of how he thinks society should (and possibly would?) be organized in the future. He wrote the book in 1887, imagining (fantasizing about) life in the year 2000, when everything is perfect, there is no poverty, no greed, nothing bad whatsoever, basically. He never uses the word “communism” (my favorite euphemism he used was “living in concert”), but socialism was pretty much what he described.

I mean…I don’t have any problems with his ideas, but throughout the book I was just imagining patting him condescendingly on the head like, “Yeah Edward, that’s a nice idea.” Kind of how people do to me. Of course he’s being naive. Of course it’s too perfect to ever occur in reality (especially expecting such a drastic change in just 100 years and without any growing pains, or sense of what steps it took to get to the end point). But I don’t think it’s unrealistic to believe that our economic and social structure could be drastically improved, and that we should work toward something like this. It was a nice model for inspiration.

The Asylum

The AsylumA page turner! It had a lot of similarities to The Woman in White (hidden identities, inheritances, mistaken parentage, accidental commitment into an insane asylum), but it was much more interesting. It was fun, suspenseful, and sometimes scary. Loved it!

Book Report!

Zero Waste HomeThis was a fantastic book! Bea Johnson has a family of four, and they produce about a quart of garbage A YEAR. A YEAR. One quart. Of garbage. A year. Look!

zero-waste-home-trashThat right there is literally the Johnson family’s yearly garbage.

So the book is Johnson’s description of how she and her family accomplish this. She gets into very specific details about this, categorizing everything in terms of the 5 Rs: refuse (refuse stuff you don’t need in the first place), reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot (compost).

As you can imagine, some aspects of their life are unrealistic for the average person (she makes all of her own cleaning and feminine hygiene products, she has literally one sweater/one hat/one pair of jeans/etc., she even made her own cheese for a while), but it’s a really good example to work toward in baby steps.

HowToBeWoman pb cNope. All right, so Moran is some sort of vaguely well known music critic in England..? So maybe if I were into that kind of thing, I would have enjoyed this more. But as it stands, this was just a meandering memoir/feminist manifesto that was boring, self-indulgent, and hyperbolic. I got it because I usually appreciate feminist discussions, and people said that it was funny, but this one just didn’t work for me.

Brooklyn TP smallNope again. This had all my favorite things: Irish stuff, the 50s, and romance. How could I go wrong? Well. It was boring. Nothing happened. And what did happen was really unsatisfying. Boop.

AttachmentsThis, I liked. I’ve read Eleanor & Park (another by Rowell), and this was similar. A simple, sweet (but not saccharine) love story.

Thinking Fast and SlowBoooooring. I only got about a third of the way through, which normally I wouldn’t even count, but since this book seems to have so much superfluous chatter in it, I feel like I pretty much got the gist. The idea is that we all have two brains, essentially: our fast brain (like our gut feeling), and our slow brain (more considered, logical analysis). And there you go, that’s pretty much the whole book. The rest is just the most boring, repetitive way of describing it you can imagine.

Sex_at_Dawn_Ryan_Jetha_2010This book was great! It has had a significant impact on my perspective on romantic relationships and marriage. It’s nonfiction, and it explores the hypothesis that humans are not naturally monogamous (but rather, for lack of a better term, promiscuous like chimps and bonobos, our closest living relatives). And heck, I’m convinced. The implications of this are huge, as our entire modern social structure is essentially, counter to our natural inclinations.

The book also delves into other anthropological analyses and theories, including that humans are probably not naturally violent (which contradicts many prominent theorists), and that changing from hunter/gatherer to agriculture was detrimental to our health and happiness. I’m interested in finding information that might refute any of the assertions made in this book (just because I like to learn as many different sides of an issue as I can), but for now, I’m sold.  Read it!

Book Report!

Dark PortalNot a fan. This  is a book about talking mice who seek something (I can’t really remember what), and who are being chased by talking rats. I just didn’t care about any of it, didn’t care about the characters, didn’t care what happened. Nothing about it held my interest. I don’t know why. I usually get into books with talking animals. Oh well.

VoyagerThis is the reason why I haven’t read many books in the last few months. This monster was big, and took longer than it should have. This is the third book in the Outlander series. There are 8 books now, and there appears to be no end to it. This might be the last one I’ll read. I liked the first two, but it’s getting a little repetitive (they fight, they make up, he gets kidnapped and beaten, they get reunited), and it seems like Gabaldon is just like, “Ok, I guess I have to keep writing these…what else should I have them do…hmm maybe this time they’ll be on a tropical island!” It’s getting stale.

The Sun Also RisesI swear I don’t hate every book I read. But…I didn’t love this one either. I liked it at first; the clean, simple writing and all. But nothing happened in this damn book. I guess I’m supposed to have recognized some sort of deeper meaning or whatever (Brett’s misuse of men is mirrored by the teasing and slaughter in the bull fights..? I don’t know. I hate that English class crap), but ugh. nothing happened. What’s the point?

Survival SchoolsI read this for work. It’s a description of “Survival Schools”: charter schools that were created in the 1970s to cater to the Native community in the twin cities. It was educational, but read like a text book.

Paper TownsThis is the dude who wrote “The Fault in Our Stars”, which I will NEVER read (1. I do not like books that end with a main character SPOILER ALERT dying, 2. the movie stars Shailene Woodley, whom I cannot stand for unknown reasons, and whom I would not be able to avoid picturing while reading the book, and 3. it just seems really cheesy). BUT John Green seems really cool and funny and smart, so I was interested in reading something of his. So a friend (June of the Moon) lent me this one. It’s about a teenage boy who has a crush on a teenage girl (I know, cheese), and who ends up falling down a rabbit hole to find her when she suddenly goes missing. It was good, pretty fast paced, held my attention, and I liked the ending: not a fairytale ending, but satisfying enough.

5 Love LanguagesMy mom gave me this one (surprise surprise). In my family, we talk about Love Languages, and Myers Briggs, and the Enneagram like other families talk about the weather. So I already knew about this, but I learned a bit more about it. Essentially, your love language is the principal way in which you feel loved and/or express love for others. The Five Love Languages are: Quality Time, Gift Giving, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, and Acts of Service. Knowing your own language and being able to “speak” the languages of your loved ones is a key to maintaining healthy relationships. For realz.

The Tragicomedy of Public EducationI bought this book when I was trying to formulate a plan for my master’s thesis, and I was floundering. I ended up going in a little different direction, so I just now got around to reading it. It’s basically explaining that public education kind of sucks now because the people who are in charge of it are being dumb. Like, he says that we know things that we could and should be doing better, and we actually ignore them because it’s too much trouble. I mean, obviously it’s complicated, just like anything that is run by various entities with various agendas who don’t really work together, but it kind of boils down to people being dumb (not unintelligent…but like…intentionally not engaging their brains). It had some good information in it, but a) it kind of just validated all of my personal opinions, which I feel like is not as good as reading something that challenges your opinion and presents new perspectives, and b) he used a lot of words to say not much, so it was a little redundant.

One Perk of Working in a School

This past weekend was amazing. Since I work in a school, we had Thursday and Friday off, so it was a nice break. I am a woman of simple pleasures, so the things that made me very happy this weekend seem kind of silly, but just let me have my fun.

Thursday, I slept in, cuddled in bed with Jane forever, which I think she was maybe okay with:

Photo (27) - Copy

Photo (26) - Copy
When you can see the third eyelid, you know they’re happy.

I got lunch, and since it was THE MOST GLORIOUS FALL DAY IMAGINABLE, I did one of my favorite things: walked around a lake listening to podcasts.

Photo (26)

Photo (27)Then, YOU GUYS, I got a facial. Wha..? I’ve never had one before, and I’ve never done a spa thing for no reason (like it wasn’t a gift from someone or whatever). I’ve just never done it before, and I was curious. I’m a planner, so I rarely do things like this on the spur of the moment, so that was kind of fun (I mean, I booked it the night before, so there was SOME planning, but a lot less than I normally do). It was very nice. There were a lot of …feels: creamy, oily, gritty, dry, wet, heavy, light, dark, there was even some pain (she used something that I think had cinnamon in it, so it burned the way that it burns when you chew cinnamon gum).

Then I went home and had some chai tea and started a new book.

Photo (28)Super exciting story: I picked up one of my ginger cookies and thought, “Hey, what if I dunked this cookie into the tea? What would that taste like?” So I did, and it was like heaven.

Then I opened my window, and it was amazing. (This is Minnesota, so it’s usually too cold for that in October, so this is a bigger deal than it seems.)

Photo (29)I had dinner with the folks, and finished the book. Starting a new book is exciting, and finishing a book is satisfying. Both feels in one day!

The next couple of days involved some brunches with friends, running errands, getting stuff done around the house, reading two more books, and attending a RollerGirls bout (so much fun!!):

Photo (28) - CopyI also baked an apple pie…

Photo (29) - CopyAnd got some library books…

Photo (30)…for babysitting the nephews!

Photo (31)Whew!

 

Book Report!

The Heart Goes Last

This is the fourth episode in the Positron Series. I can’t really say much about it, because it’s still in progress. The plot has thickened, our protagonists have been filled in on their missions to take down their community’s managers, and we’re now about to see what the world looks like outside of their dystopian village.

The Highly Sensitive Person

As a Highly Sensitive Person, it was nice to hear that some of my more annoying quirks are shared by others like myself. For example, I always noticed that I perform extremely poorly just when it most matters (i.e. when I’m being assessed, tested, or scrutinized in any way like during auditions, work training, or dance performances). I can do just fine when no one’s looking, ya gotta believe me! It is maddening.

And it was helpful to learn why this happens: HSPs are at a continually higher rate of sensitivity to stimuli, so when anything more is added (i.e. stressors), we become overwhelmed and we shut down, whereas most others simply have heightened arousal (e.g. nervousness) or some lucky ducks experience improved performance. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really seem like there’s a whole lot I can do about this problem.

Another thing to note about this book: a lot of the information was referenced in and/or related closely to information in Quiet (a book about introversion which I also read recently).

The Black Moth

The gal wrote this book when she was like 19. Nutso! I read this because I really like Robin Hood-type characters, which can include Highwaymen. I just think the whole concept of a Highwayman would make for a really good story, but I’m not really aware of any yet (I should totally write one :)). When I heard of this one (“The Black Moth” is this Highwayman’s nickname), I thought I’d check it out.

It was alright, kind of just light and simple. It is a “Regency Romance“, so the dialogue is old-style and some things just feel odd in a modern light. One such puzzling element: the height of the drama revolves around the lead female character being physically abducted and brought back to the villain’s house to be raped (or rather, forced into marriage, and then raped). Pretty dark, right?

Well, when she is *SPOILER ALERT* saved at the last moment (literally, the villain is about to tear her dress off, and the hero breaks in through the window or something similarly Errol Flynn-esque, and they have an almost-deadly sword fight), the hero and his band of helpers (including some of the heroine’s own family members) stay and eat dinner with the villain in his mansion. And the story pretty much ends with that happy little scene. Wha…? As a woman, and ya know, a human being, I found that offensive.

North and South

Ughhhhh this book was the worrrssssttttt. It was like it was trying to be Pride and Prejudice, but without the charming characters, believable plot, or witty dialogue. It went on forever, nothing happened, and worst: the characters were completely unlikable. It took me forever to read.

Ready Player One

What a great book! I should apparently only read dystopian novels, since I seem to always like them. So this one takes place in near-future America (about 30 years from now), in which the economy has completely collapsed, and climate change is looming yet larger, but people are kept pacified by escaping into an ever-available virtual-reality-ongoing-multiplayer-video game-type of thing.

The protagonist is competing in a global, virtual, easter egg hunt with very real (and mortal) consequences. The creator of the hunt grew up in the 1980s and was obsessed with the decade, so the book constantly throws out references to 80s pop culture, which was really fun. Very fun, satisfying ending too.

Start with Why

I read this because it was referenced by the CEO at my new job (part-time, an organization that works with technology in schools). I guess the idea is okay..I don’t disagree with it. In fact, it’s often my mantra (as in “Why again are we doing things this way..?”). But it’s not the “make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons” book that I anticipated. What it’s really saying is, basically, when big corporations do a good job of marketing a desirable lifestyle to its customer base (what I believe Sinek actually means when he talks about “the WHY”), people will buy their product and the company will make more money. Which is like..well…duh.

I did like one line, which paraphrased Thomas Friedman (“The World is Flat”..which I should read): “Pessimists are usually right and optimists are usually wrong but all the great changes have been accomplished by optimists.” So true. Being a realist, people (i.e. optimists) often consider me to be a pessimist. They can call me whatever they want, ’cause I know I’m right. Too bad I’m useless.

 

Eleanor and Park

A friend of mine (June of the Moon) lent me this one and said it was really good. I was wary (it’s a YA romance…and I’m just..always dubious about everything in life ever), but I really enjoyed it. I just finished it about an hour ago. It kind of helped to show me what romantic love is (or at least this version of romantic love). I guess that’s mainly what this book is, in essence: one long definition of young love. I was also really grateful that the ending was not unhappy. The beginning eludes to a really tragic ending, so I was none too pleased about that, and braced myself for it, but was pleasantly surprised when it didn’t happen! It was a nice (though not unblemished) world  to visit.

 

Some Books I Like (or Liked)

Ok you guys, I’ve been trudging through the same book for like a YEAR, so it’s gonna be a while before I post a new “Book Report!”. So in the meantime, I’d like to document some of the books that I like, have liked in the past (when I was young and stupid…er), and/or think everyone should read.

The GiverOhhh man, what a good book. This was the first dystopian story I had ever read (I was in maybe 4th or 5th grade), and it blew my mind. If you haven’t read it (who are you??) it’s about a boy in an alternate/future-type society who discovers that there is a dark side to his idyllic world. I’m the kind of person who finds utopian societies desirable (They ride bikes everywhere! It’s always San Diego-style climate! Everything is clean and in order! What could be wrong with that?), so once in a while I need people to spell out for me exactly why removing people’s freedom miiiight be a bad thing. Also, fun fact, I have read this book exactly twice: Once, when I was in elementary school, and once about two years ago. Reading it as an adult, I learned that I had previously NOT AT ALL understood the ending, and had foolishly thought that it ended MUCH more optimistically than it really did. Ahhh childhood naivete, how sweet.

Charlotte's WebI already have a tendency to anthropomorphize animals, so maybe this book was just kindling the flame. I really do find, though, that the more I learn about animals (I mean facts, data, research), the more similar to humans they seem to be. They learn, think, communicate, share, comfort, despair, fear, envy, protect, fight, make peace, etc. What separates us from them? Not much, I think. Mostly, this book made it so that I feel guilty and apologize (out loud) when I kill a spider. I do still kill them though. Charlotte was great and all, but she doesn’t need to be hanging out in my shower.

Harold and the Purple CrayonI love this kid. I’ve always liked to draw, but I never felt like I was very imaginative or creative, so the way that Harold thinks is so inspiring. He invented thinking outside the box. I also like the idea of creating the world that you want live in (in a broader sense, i.e. don’t litter if you want to live in a world with no litter on the ground), and Harold was totally in control of how his world turned out. If he got into a jam, he had the presence of mind and creativity to draw himself an escape route. What a great role model.
Catcher in the RyeI am just such the little emo kid. I read this in middle school, of course, and thought that it was speaking directly to my black little soul, of  course, and I was all, ooo now I have permission to be brood-y and mad at the world. If you haven’t read it (again, who are you?), it’s about a teenager dude who meanders aimlessly through New York, having various interactions with people that all validate his sense that people are “phony”, disappointing, and generally beyond his grasp and/or beneath him. It’s nice, as an adolescent, to see someone acknowledge that sometimes people really are inane/self-centered/moronic/etc. But when you gain a little maturity, it’s just like ughh…yes, sometimes it rains, but must we spend an entire 200 pages discussing just how unpleasant the rain is?

StiffI LOVE this book. I love Mary Roach as a nonfiction writer; she could make any topic interesting, engaging, and easy to understand. In this book, she explores all of the common things that we do to a person’s body after death (e.g. embalming, burial, cremation, scientific studies, etc.).

Hitchiker's Guide to the GalaxyI love anything that intelligently presents our social world to us through the lens of an outsider. We humans are so silly. And this book is so entertaining. Read it!

Pride PrejudiceI am a female, yes? Two words: Mr. Darcy.

FreakonomicsThis book quickly teaches you not to trust any assumptions, opinions, or assertions made by yourself or anyone else. Ever. Data is your friend. And the more valid the data the better, though it’s best to just, ya know, keep gathering as much data as possible on every topic ever because you’ll never know the one right answer to anything. And apparently our world is built entirely on disproved assumptions that people have chosen to ignore.

Alias GraceHey, weird! Margaret Atwood is on this list, who’da thunk? This was like the book version of The Sixth Sense- not that it’s the same story-line at all, but it had a surprise twist ending. I love stuff like that!! It had the kind of ending that makes you see the entire rest of the book in a completely different way.

Sylvia PlathI read this simultaneously with a friend while we were in college (the perfect time and experience for reading this). I can’t really explain what about this book was so great, but she was just a really good writer (no duh). Whenever I think of this book, I think of this one line that she wrote when she was nannying for a family one summer, and she ladled ice cream into bowls for them after dinner. I’m not going to attempt to recreate the line, but just that some random line about ice cream has stuck with me for so long is what I liked about the book. The simple but beautiful way that she described little things like that just delighted me. And the book really  showed how hard she worked to be good and to be recognized as good (in the male-dominated world of writing). Writing is something we can all “do” in the sense that we can all sing (physically, we can), so you don’t always realize what it takes to be really good at it.